Tighten concert approval process

IMDA also appeared to be aware of Watain's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence, which has the potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore's social harmony.
IMDA also appeared to be aware of Watain's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence, which has the potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore's social harmony.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/WATAIN

I applaud the Infocomm Media Development Authority's (IMDA) decision to cancel the Watain Live In Singapore concert (IMDA pulls plug on gig hours before Swedish band's show, March 8). Still, the matter raises several questions.

First, how is it that only IMDA's approval is needed for a foreign band to perform in Singapore? I would have thought that it would require the approval of multiple government agencies.

Second, why did IMDA grant the permit in the first place, given that its statement showed that it knew "Watain is known for its Satanist views, and some of their previous controversial performances involved animal carcasses and throwing pig's blood on its audience"?

IMDA also appeared to be aware of the band's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence, which has the potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore's social harmony.

Such alarming red flags should have prevented Watain from getting the permit to perform here from the beginning. And what the band stands for is common knowledge.

As a result, I think Singapore's reputation has taken quite a beating.

That things were allowed to advance as far as they did has made us an international laughing stock, and left the people involved, including the band and spectators, disappointed and frustrated. I therefore urge the authorities to foster closer inter-agency cooperation and practise greater surveillance to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Lim Boon Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'Tighten concert approval process'. Print Edition | Subscribe