I am not going to the Madonna concert tonight.
And neither should you.
Even if you’re not Catholic.
Yes, the Catholic Church is condemning Madonna again.
In 1989, it was because of the Like A Prayer music video, which features burning crosses and the singer getting stigmata-like wounds on her hand.
In 2006, it was because of her Confessions tour, which featured the singer hanging on a cross with a crown of thorns on her head and singing Live To Tell.
I see a pattern here.
Her current Rebel Heart tour features the song Holy Water, which is performed with pole dancers on cross-shaped poles wearing nun costumes minus the bottom half.
But the Media Development Authority (MDA) is not allowing Madonna to perform the song at her M18-rated concert here because the segment contains “religiously-sensitive content which breach our guidelines”.
I’m guessing MDA is referring to the cross-shaped poles and pole dancers in nun costumes minus the bottom half.
But apparently, to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, MDA censorship no enough.
The Archdiocesan Communications Office released a statement:
“Many have expressed their concern and even outrage at the performer’s disrespectful use of Catholic and other Christian symbols during her performances.”In the Philippines, where Madonna performed last week presumably without MDA interference, Catholic bishops called her concert the devil’s work and wanted a boycott.
After all these years and the various controversies, you would think by now, someone in the Catholic Church would have come to the realisation: “Hey, this Madonna could just be trolling us.”
All I am saying is Madonna is the Amos Yee of popular music.
Except she has better hair and is old enough to be his mother.
Madonna is 57 years old. If she were Singaporean, she could withdraw her CPF. Well, partially at least.
But despite her CPF eligibility, she can still provoke the church like she’s 31.
In the Archdiocese’s statement, Archbishop of Singapore William Goh “reminds all Catholics that it is our moral obligation not to support those who denigrate and insult religions”.
In other words, if you’re Catholic, abstain from the Madonna concert. Is it still Lent?
Hey, you could go to the Kool & The Gang concert at Marina Bay Sands instead.
Unless the Archdiocese has something against having a celebration to last throughout the years.
The band even had a hit song in the 80s called Cherish — just like Madonna.
Both acts also recorded songs titled Celebration.
So Kool & The Gang are practically the same as Madonna but without the crucifixion fixation.
And the tickets are cheaper too.
No, wait — the Kool & The Gang concert was last night. Aiyah, just missed it.
Did anyone go?
If only MDA had banned Kool & The Gang from playing their hit Ladies’ Night for promoting lesbian parties, they could’ve have had more publicity for their show.
Unlike Kool & The Gang, Madonna doesn’t need extra publicity.
More than 22,000 are expected at the National Stadium tonight. Who knows how many of them will be Catholic?
It has been suggested that in response to Archbishop Goh, Madonna’s opening song should be Papa Don’t Preach.
But this won’t work because the archbishop is only a year older than Madonna. So he’s a bit too young to be her papa.
Like the archbishop, I want people to skip the concert too — but for a different reason.
In every country on her tour, Madonna has ended the concert with a performance of her 1983 hit Holiday draped in the country’s flag.
This part of her show has caused a flap, so to speak, in Taiwan and most recently, the Philippines.
I expect Madonna will wear the Singapore flag tonight as well.
Our law says no person shall use the flag as part of a costume except during the National Day celebration period between July 1 and Sept 30.
It’s February now.
I remind all Singaporeans that it is our moral obligation not to support those foreigners who break our laws.
There is no neutrality in law. One is either for or against. Being present (at these events) in itself is a counter witness. Obeying the law must come before the arts.
As law-abiding citizens, we should subscribe to authentic arts that don’t break the law and not support the “pseudo arts” that promote law-breaking at the expense of respecting the flag.
So if you’re a Catholic Singaporean, you now have two good excuses, I mean, reasons for not seeing Madonna.
They’re better than “I can’t afford the tickets.”
- Published in The New Paper, 28 February 2016
UPDATE: She caved! In the end, Madonna didn't don the Singapore flag at the Singapore concert. She used a blue flag with a peace symbol design instead. Could it be because of this column? More likely it was because of what happened in the Philippines. Not such a Rebel Heart after all.