The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have confirmed that they are taking steps to stop the singing of “misogynist” lyrics used in a marching song sung by full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), according to Aware Singapore. Aware posted this on a Facebook post on Friday.
The local advocacy group said that they had raised concerns over the lyrics from a marching song called “Purple Light” after coming across the lyrics earlier this year.
The lyrics of the song include this portion, which was reproduced on Aware's Facebook page:
“Booking out, see my girlfriend
Saw her with another man
Kill the man, rape my girlfriend
With my rifle and my buddy and me.”
In another version of the song, the word "rape" is replaced with "beat".
“We were troubled that NSmen were bonding over misogynist lyrics about committing sexual violence against women. So we raised our concerns with MINDEF [Ministry of Defence] and SAF,” Aware said in its post. Yahoo Singapore understands that marching songs are commonly sung by NSFs as a way to boost morale.
AWARE Singapore then quoted from what appears to be a statement they have received from the two bodies, “MINDEF and SAF have confirmed that they took steps to investigate. They will ‘immediately halt’ the singing of these lyrics, which they describe as ‘contrary to the values of [their] organisation'.”
Reactions online have been mixed, with some netizens saying Aware has over-dramatised the issue.
One Facebook user said, “…it’s a non-issue that’s just being dramatised by a group of women who have excellent legal protection, a strong and supportive government in a very good living environment where they have options and opportunities not that [sic] many other Asian women get.”
Another user justified the lyrics, saying, “The lyrics refer to the way many Singaporean women ditch their boyfriends without a second’s thought when they enter NS. Nearly three-quarters of the attached men in my BMT [Basic Military Training] platoon were dumped during the confinement weeks of BMT, and the lyrics were made up to express their rage and frustration.”
On the other hand, a supporter of the ban said it is "high time" MINDEF stopped the singing of "such an insulting and perverse song".