‘Not acceptable’: Action will be taken if DJ dressed as monk show in S’pore proceeds: Shanmugam

Nightclub set of DJ dressed as monk would’ve been offensive to Buddhist community, says Shanmugam

After being cancelled in Malaysia, NewJeansNim’s show in Singapore faces a similar fate after Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam weighed in on the event.

He said the performance was “not acceptable” as it would’ve been offensive to Singapore’s Buddhist community.

Source: @clubrichsingapore on Instagram

Thus, action will be taken if the performance proceeds, the minister added.

DJ dressed as monk performs with religious verses & Buddhist prayer item: Shanmugam

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (22 May) morning, Mr Shanmugam referenced the South Korean DJ’s performances in other countries.

Source: K Shanmugam Sc on Facebook

Besides performing in a monk’s robe, he also uses religious verses in his song lyrics and a Buddhist prayer item, the minister said, adding:

This would have been offensive to our Buddhist community. This is not acceptable.

Action to be taken if DJ dressed as monk performs: Shanmugam

Furthermore, the police have told the nightclub owners that action will be taken if the performance proceeds, Mr Shanmugam said.

The nightclub understands the position and “have agreed to cooperate”.

He noted that the news had come out on Vesak Day, which was “an unfortunate coincidence”. But the Buddhist community “knows that the Government will take firm action” in respect of such things.

Show was set for 19 & 20 June

The nightclub in question, Club Rich along Middle Road, has so far not released any information on social media over whether the performances slated for 19 and 20 June will proceed.

The show on 19 June is already sold out, with the club adding one more night due to popular demand.

Source: Google Maps

However, the show has met with backlash from the public and the authorities.

SBF calls for DJ dressed as monk to be denied permit

On Sunday (19 May), the Singapore Buddist Federation (SBF) uploaded a Facebook post urging the authorities to reject the permit for NewJeansNim’s performance.

Source: Singapore Buddhist Federation 新加坡佛教总会 on Facebook

Asserting that the DJ is not a legitimate monk, it added that the DJ’s act of donning a monk’s robe goes against the Vinaya rules for monks.

These rules are a set of monastic regulations and ethical guidelines that govern the conduct, discipline, and daily life of Buddhist monks.

Edwin Tong says show cannot be offensive or cause disharmony

On Tuesday (21 May) night, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said on Facebook that a performance “should not be likely to be offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity or nationality”.

Source: Edwin Tong on Facebook

This is stipulated under the conditions of a Public Entertainment Licence (PEL), which the performance must have.

Under PEL conditions, the performance must also not potentially cause disharmony, Mr Tong added, noting:

We take a very serious view of acts which denigrates religion. This is an offence, and cannot be tolerated.

The police have reminded the licence holder to adhere strictly to the PEL conditions, and they have assured that “any performance staged will adhere to the licencing conditions, including ensuring that the performance will not involve any elements which is associated with religion”.

Club agreed to keep within PEL conditions: Police

In response to queries from MS News, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) also released a statement about the performance.

It said as the artiste incorporates religious elements into his act, it “may be in violation” of the PEL conditions.

SPF has engaged the licensee and stakeholder of the club to advise them to adhere to the PEL conditions and they have acknowledged the advisory, SPF added.

They also said they will “ensure that the performance adheres to the licencing conditions, including ensuring that the performance will not involve any elements associated with religion, be it in the attire, hand gestures, artefacts, songs and lyrics”.

SPF warned that breaches will be “dealt with firmly in accordance with the law”, saying:

Operators found to be in breach of the licencing conditions may have their licences revoked.

His shows in Malaysia were cancelled after backlash

The controversy in Singapore comes after NewJeansNim’s 3 May show at a nightclub in Kuala Lumpur received backlash.

Dressed in a monk’s robe, he performed the song “Buddha Hands Up” in a rap style.


昨天晚上參加了一場超屋大法會 功德圓滿 🙏 #台中 #夜店 #超級屋夜店#超級屋superhouse #superhouse#superhousenightclub #佛祖handup #和尚 #newjeansnim

♬ 原聲 – Ling 🌸 – Ling 🍓

The act did not sit well with local devotees, with The Young Buddhist Association Of Malaysia saying it was disrespectful towards Buddhism and hurt the faith of Buddhists, Seehua News reported.

His remaining shows in KL and Melaka were subsequently axed.

korean dj backlash

Source: Bliss Melaka on Facebook

According to China Press, NewJeansNim’s actual name is Yoon Sung-ho, and he was originally a comedian who was ordained in November 2023.

He is known for performing in monk’s robes with a shaved head and is becoming increasingly popular among young South Koreans.

Also read: S’pore Buddhist Federation urges authorities to reject permit of South Korean DJ dressed as monk

S’pore Buddhist Federation urges authorities to reject permit of South Korean DJ dressed as monk

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Featured image adapted from @clubrichsingapore on Instagram and Google Maps.

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