Music In Singapore


New member
dear contemporaries,

On the 3rd of August 2010, Midas Production launched SingFest 2010 which showcases acts such as Kanye West, Wondergirls, Ian Brown, The Vines, Hail The Villain, Smashing Pumpkins, the list goes on. And whilst all these might be exciting for many of us here, the festival fails on promoting 3 of our contemporaries, Inch Chua, Sixx and Great Spy Experiment. Refer to any listing made available, and none of them were mentioned.

Refer to the link above and notice the absence of our contemporaries in the listing. In fact, the writer (only known as yahoosingapore) makes no effort, or fails, in identifying Inch Chua who opened the festival.

The link pasted above is taken off a column from Today’s online paper (written by Christopher Toh) and here, read the line which states that Sixx started the event on the day.

With regards to day 2 specifically, Sixx’s act was crossed out on the very last minute due to time constraint. Run a quick search on Twitter and you’d find proof of this. In fact, this matter I believe has been circulating quite widely amongst the music circle, at least those who appreciate our local acts. However, only 1 online article, written by Simran Panaech, mentions the fact that Sixx was cancelled and thought of it as unfair.,4136,251059,00.html?

In this article by the New Paper written by Germaine Lim, is an excerpt which represents how much respect / knowledge Lim has of our musicians.

“After performances by one local band and US girl band The Like, the crowd was nowhere near the excitement that's supposed to kick off the first day of the major local music festival.”

Notice the phrase “by one local band”.

What is apparent from articles found in Yahoo, The New Paper and Today is the lack of respect for local acts. This does not only occur on account of mistakes or lack of acknowledgement by them, as we know that Christopher Toh of Today does make it a point to cover events and acts for his column and blog. That should be acknowledged and appreciated, but the reason behind this note is more than just about mere reports. It is about the responsibility of journalists, aside from getting facts accurate, but to provide their readers with information which are substantial, not just space fillers worth of text. They do have a responsibility in reporting, not just facts, but critical thought / opinion about any given scenario. Unless of course we’re talking about tabloids, which as we all know, The New Paper champions.

Journalists aside, what I am particularly disappointed with is the fact that Midas Productions, the organizers, made no effort in supporting our local acts to its fullest. Especially with regards to what happened to Sixx on day 2 of SingFest 2010, however, in an email as reported on RazorTV, Midas offered an opening slot in a future show they’ll be organizing.

The call to suspend an act based on time constraints is thoroughly absurd. Plans should be made to accommodate, however small a contribution the act may have, as the idea of the festival is to celebrate music. This, of course, does spell out like a romanticized ideal. So it should not come as a shock to us that it is all about business, all about egos to say the least, the fact of the matter is, if it is plagued with such sentiments, the very idea that those who strive to make music for a wide general audience should attempt with caution. It is for us to understand and to learn from such incidences that those with power will use them for their own gains / advantages. It is possible and the probabilities exist.

Should organizers see no need to offend a headlining act, is it right for us to believe that it is perfectly sane to disregard everyone else in favor of the headliners? This should be a chance to reflect on the nature of the industry as we all should come to know.

I believe that this all comes back down to principles. Of course, in an industry, I suppose having principles might mean losing your job. Here’s one for the road.

Is this then the future of music in Singapore? What form of acknowledgement are we to receive from people around us when a portal which people go to for information makes no effort in being substantial in their accounts, lacking research and worst of all, failing to report facts or actualities. Failing to support those who are genuinely ready to express their passion to the people who have decided to attend a festival even if it is the first time they would hear of our acts?

Worst still, reporters or journalists who are ill-informed about music itself, unaware and completely void of any comprehension of what’s happening in the music scene itself? The lack of a definitive understanding or a rudimentary sense of respect and appreciation for the art form isn’t in any way a supportive entity in upholding music made here. Coverage aside, one thing we should learn from this is to tighten our own community, those who appreciate and respect one another.

And what of those who have the ability to influence a wider audience through performances? What of their integrity? Their respect and acceptance of music made in Singapore? These factors determine the future outlook of how our music community will be shaped. How the culture of our music landscape can influence others around us. And if those with power choose to do nothing, what else is there?

I believe the only logical answer left is, ourselves.

In this small community of ours, we face a current segregation amongst one other. This sense of detachment, not just amongst the inherent age gaps between practitioners, but also the apparent cliques that divides what could be a tighter community.

Another problem with our music scene, is also inherent in the legitimacy of those responsible for extending our work to the people should we ourselves have no means, or power to do so on our own. How reporters and organizers are, indefinitely, an extension, a support arm for the work that we do, spells their importance to us as it is how our importance is for them. We are, however small, a culture brewing. A culture, where possibilities have yet to find its way out of a maze to mark, significantly, across the spaces we occupy amongst our society.

The need for respect is much needed. Even if our preferences differ (disregard genres and disregard everything else which music isn’t) we need to respect our peers, our contemporaries and make room for everyone to appreciate each individual’s craft and thought. Competition for the sake of competing will only lead to apathy amongst one other and no good can ever surface from such attitudes. What’s important is to understand why we are, where we are, as opposed to stabbing in the dark, hoping for something good to happen. Realize that in this small community of ours, without one other, there really is nowhere else to be but by ourselves. And this is applicable even to organizers and reporters all the same. Should they see no need to identify with this sense of community, we, those who are in this community should be able to identify the appropriate extensions to help us get our work out.

As ruthless as things may be, we start with ourselves and those around us.

The disappointment in SingFest, we should remember, lies in the fact that everyone in our community isn’t working together, working enough as a group to better our situation. The need for respect comes from understanding and through understanding comes appreciation. The lack of said qualities should come hand in hand when we work together.

Let the world around you know of what’s happening.

As always, send me your thoughts, make me see new perspectives because for now, I cannot see anything else beyond this.

I do hope that in the future, something better can be achieved.

diminish apathy.

better days ahead,
bani haykal