Taiwanese diva A-mei could not sing her song Rainbow at her recent concert here as she had encouraged fans to openly show affection for their same-sex partners during a rendition of it last year.
The images of those in the audience kissing, including of gay couples, were then projected on a big screen as she belted out the song. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday that "this segment of the show promoted a pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) message".
In his written reply to Nominated MP Janice Koh, who asked why the song was prohibited this time round, Dr Yaacob said that A-mei's Spring Wave 2014 concert last month was an outdoor event where passers-by may "chance upon the performances". As such concerts are typically given a General rating, the Media Development Authority had told the organiser that including the song would cause the event to "exceed a General rating", he said.
The organiser, which had submitted its licence application only days before the event, then decided to pull the song. Dr Yaacob said A-mei would have been allowed to sing the song if the organiser had made clear how it would be performed when applying for the concert licence. But the event would have gotten an Advisory rating for mature content, he added.
Ms Koh also asked if the song was banned from broadcast on radio. Dr Yaacob said the song in itself, did not breach the MDA's content guidelines. "The lyrics, which describe how the singer overcomes a failed relationship with the support of her friend, do not contain mature content when read on their own. There is therefore no issue with the song being played on radio and in public spaces," he said.