The social media sphere exploded as petitions surfaced online to get American Idol Season 8 runner-up, Adam Lambert, not to perform at Mediacorp’s New Year countdown concert. Citing reasons such as “inappropriate choice” and how Lambert has the potential to “promote the gay lifestyle”, our little red dot and concerned citizens has drawn media attention to the state of this country and our stand on LGBT rights. Again.
As a Singaporean myself, I must say that I am disappointed by the turn of events and how a celebration must be shrouded by such views in the name of “protection” and “pro-family”. Of course, these issues are always stuck in a grey area as every individual holds their own values close to heart, but must we always bring it to a point of not trusting our own media to do the censorship themselves (considering that we are well-known for it, really) or the performer to be professional, adaptable and to respect the hosting country?
Choosing to turn our backs to acceptance, kindness and inclusiveness, we are not moving forward as a first world nation but holing ourselves up and using “mainstream values” as a defense mechanism. With constant 377A debates and the encouraging growth of Pink Dot every year, are anti-gay laws still considered “mainstream” or just the opinion of the majority? And if it is just an opinion, is the majority always right?
Another question: Any person’s lifestyle is an exercise of personal choice and freedom. Why must every lifestyle that is not heterosexual or complete with both parents, known as “alternative”?
While pulling books on loving penguins that teach our children the value of parental unconditional love are bad enough, we have now moved on to trying to censor the media ourselves – banning performers that are skilled and talented in their own right, based on discrimination of lifestyle and sexuality. And while doing so, we still consume goods and entertainment developed by these people that we shun as and when we please and travel to countries where same-sex couples can enjoy marital bliss for holidays.
Yet, among all these bizarre measures and lengths these self-proclaimed concerned citizens go to shut out all sorts of considerations of trying to understand or simply, agreeing to disagree and live harmoniously with the differences and give-and-take in situations every now and then, they go around enjoying freedom. The freedom to display their choices so freely, and the freedom to do whatever they want because they are “right” and have everyone else experience the consequence of these decisions as one. What about the minority or the other opinions? Do they no longer matter then? What happened to the space where respect is a right everyone deserves to enjoy?
What is home when even one citizen no longer has the power or even count as an individual in the eyes of another?
Another argument to defend the petition was that his latest music video, Another Lonely Night, “features female showgirls and male strippers performing acts of indecency”. We find these videos on Google, YouTube and every lingerie ads (think Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch) and the Internet is the one tool most Singaporean parents use nowadays to educate and entertain their children.
If the reason is good enough to keep such a performer out of our shores, then perhaps the trailer of Fifty Shades of Grey should be kept out of the billboard screens of Orchard Road, objectified women should be kept off our advertisements in the paper and burlesque should not have been part of this year’s F1 race. Children’s shows should then not showcase potential adult themes such as violence, inappropriate dressing or romantic relationships – that includes Powerpuff Girls, Winx Club and Ben 10.
Are we not filled with double standards in this aspect, especially when it comes down to the discussion of sexuality, censorship and moving forward as a nation?
We call ourselves “Global Citizens”, yet we turn our back to half of them.
Photo: Adam Lambert/Facebook