Purple Light song banned in the army

I know this is very controversial. But please allow me to speak my mind.
The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) complaint to Mindef recently about a popular song that was sang in the army. The organisation said that the song Purple Light contain a vulgar verse.

Booking out, see my girlfriend.
Saw her with another man.
Kill the man, rape my girlfriend.
With my rifle and my buddy and me.

Following AWARE’s complaint, Mindef have decided to ban that particular verse. From my understand, the song hasn’t been banned. Only the verse “rape my girlfriend” was banned. (Correct me if I’m wrong)
Just a bit of background: The words in this song has been changed over the time. It is a very flexible song and I’ve lost count of the number of version we done. Yes, the “Kill the man, rape my girlfriend” version was already there when I was serving my National Service back in 2000. There are many other versions:
“Kill the man, beat my girlfriend”
“Rape the man, kill my girlfriend”
“Dump my girlfriend, date her sister”
“Kill my girlfriend, date the man”
And many more. Some of them are more crude. Nobody really know what is the original version.
Here is my issue with this whole thing. AWARE claims that “these misogynistic lyrics tolerate and normalise the violent sexual abuse of women, condoning gang rape as a justified punishment for infidelity.” I respectfully disagree with AWARE. I think AWARE, and a lot of people, are reading too much into this song. It is just a song. A nonsense song that soldiers sing during marching and route march to take their mind off their tiredness. It means nothing.
Singing this song does not mean that the men tolerate and normalise the violent sexual abuse of women. It does not justify rape as a punishment for infidelity.
I’ve lost count of the number of people (including myself) who have lost their girlfriend to other man when they are in National Service. If singing this song normalize rape, then explain to me why hasn’t any NSF killed the man and rape their girlfriend?
The answer is simple. Because even though they are singing this song in camp, they all know that it is the wrong thing to do. They all know that rape cannot be tolerated. They all know that this is not the thing to do when their girlfriend leave them (or cheat on them).
For goodness sake, it is just a song. By saying that this song normalise rape is like saying First Person Shooter game normlise killing. And if that is the case, then maybe we should ban all violent games. And don’t stop there. There are tons of movies and TV series that have rape or violence in the story line. I notice that MediaCorp have quite a number of Chinese Drama series with rape in the storyline. Ban those too. In the end, we will just end up with kids cartoons and nursery rhymes.
Is this the kind of nanny state that you want to live in? Is this going to do anything to solve the problem? Wake up!
Banning this song is not going to do anything. If a man want to rape a woman, he will do it with or without this song. If you want to stop rape, then educate them. Educate them to respect woman. Tell them that rape is not the right thing to do. Teach them the right things to do. That will work a lot better than banning a song in army that contain an offensive word.
AND…. and even if this lyrics does normalise rape (which I don’t agree), the right thing to do is to educate the NSF so that they won’t sing it again. Not getting Mindef to ban it. Banning the song only stop them from singing in public. It doesn’t stop them from singing it in their bunk or outside camp. Like I said, banning this song doesn’t solve anything.


  1. Not to mention as well, the misogynistic lyrics in hip hop and pop are playing over national airwaves.
    Plus, from a evidence-based perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between rape incidences and the existence of a misogynistic music culture, particularly when you don’t exactly have data proving that rape is more prevalent in developed countries than developing countries.
    Further to that, I thought we were past the ban-happy phase. Previously it was the government that liked to take the lead in banning things, but it appears that “civil society” has gotten round to taking a ban-happy stance. Which, I think, is a sad state of affairs.

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