08 May 2011

New year songs banned in Singapore

A curiosity bought on a recent trip to Singapore. This locally-produced EMI Regal disc of festive songs from 1971 looked innocent enough until I opened it up and found that it had once been owned by Radio Television Singapore. Side One swings along with Chinese versions of Xmas classics such as Silent Night and Jingle Bells, but turn the album over to listen to some Chinese New Year songs and things begin to get sinister. While four of the songs escaped the beady eye of the censors, Good Fortunes and A Happy New Year are clearly marked as "banned". Why? Much as I enjoy listening to banned songs, the pleasure is lost on me here, because neither I nor anyone I have asked has the slightest idea what could have caused offence or threatened to bring down the government of the day. Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

Hi Phil! What an interesting find. I wonder if it has to with Singapore's dialect ban. That didn't happen until 1979, I believe. But the record could have been marked then. If those tracks are Hokkien, Teochew, or Cantonese, then I bet that is what prompted the ban. Let me know!

Phil Benson said...

I'm no expert but it sounds like Mandarin to me. Do you know Chinese? I've just put the songs up on youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HniEpWeJ4FU

Andy Young* said...

Hi Phil,
duriandave's connection took me to your blog.

Interesting posting about songs banned in Singapore. It is a surprise indeed. Could I connect your posting to my blog? Perhaps some readers can explain the ban.

You have a fantastic site.


Phil Benson said...

Andy, Yes, please post it! I'm still no closer to the secret!