Singapore Home Affairs Ministry slams ‘mock, insincere apology’ by YouTuber Preetipls and rapper Subhas Nair

A rap video posted on Facebook by Preeti Nair (left) featuring rapper Subhas Nair (right) was directed against an e-payment advertisement (in the background). ― TODAY pic
A rap video posted on Facebook by Preeti Nair (left) featuring rapper Subhas Nair (right) was directed against an e-payment advertisement (in the background). ― TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Aug 3 — The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has slammed the “pretence of an apology” by YouTuber Preeti Nair and rapper Subhas Nair, which it said “shows contempt for the many Singaporeans who have expressed concern at their blatantly racist rap video”.

“The statement contains a mock, insincere apology,” said the ministry yesterday evening, hours after the pair issued an apology on social media for their three-minute video that was laden with vulgarities.

The video was posted in response to an E-Pay advertisement which featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew dressed up as four characters, including a Malay woman wearing a religious headdress and an Indian man with “browned” skin.

The ministry added that the apology was “a spoof of an earlier apology” issued by Havas Worldwide for the E-Pay advertisement, which Nets has also apologised for.

“This spoofing is a pretence of an apology, and in fact shows contempt for the many Singaporeans who have expressed concern at their blatantly racist rap video,” said the MHA.

The Nair siblings had put up a social media post yesterday saying they were “sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused”.

They added: ”The message behind the music video is that opportunities must be for everyone. For that reason, K. Muthusamy, well known for his ability to address privilege, power and censorship in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of this music video. He speaks to characters from all walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that only some people truly pay.

“Behind the music video is an initiative to provide greater consciousness to consumers, corporations and the many faces of Singapore.”

A joint statement issued on Sunday by Havas and The Celebrity Agency read: “The message behind this advertising campaign is that e-payment is for everyone. For that reason, Dennis Chew, well-known for his ability to portray multiple characters in a single production in a light-hearted way, was selected as the face of the campaign. He appears as characters from different walks of life in Singapore, bringing home the point that everyone can e-pay.”

It added: “We’re sorry for any hurt that was unintentionally caused. Behind the ad is an initiative to provide greater convenience to consumers, merchants and small food businesses.”

MHA: Not the first time siblings have expressed ‘racist sentiments’

The ministry said this is not the first time that the siblings have expressed “racist sentiments”.

“About a year ago, Ms Nair published a video where she acted as a Chinese and mocked the Chinese community’s practices, culture and traditions. She portrayed Chinese as money-minded gamblers,” it said.

As for Nair, the MHA said that a song he wrote recently said that Singapore condones systemic discrimination. It was written for a Mediacorp documentary to mark National Day.

Said the MHA: “Among the lyrics in the song: ‘We live in a system that has normalised us to walk oblivious to a brown man stopped and ID checked’. This is blatantly false.”

The ministry said it will take action whenever there are offensive statements which breach the law, “regardless of the race of the offender”.

It said that last year, it investigated a 36-year-old Indian lady who published comments that made racial insinuations.

“The Police investigated, and in consultation with AGC (Attorney General's Chambers), issued her a stern warning.”

Similarly, in January, the Police charged a Chinese man in court for deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of the Malay population.

“The man had scrawled racist messages about Malays on walls in void decks and sheltered walkways. His messages had been seen by far fewer people than the videos issued by Ms and Mr Nair,” said the MHA.

It added that the police are continuing their investigations and that they would be taking advice from the AGC. ― TODAY

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