Gone are the days when you spot a public issue you take offence with, capture it, and submit it to STOMP for a miscellaneous food voucher worth $50.
Today, the people of Singapore take action into their own hands by creating online petitions and getting people to sign them, just to catch the attention of a figure of authority.
A recent petition to ban Nas Daily from setting up camp in Singapore was uploaded by Azman Samsudin online. It sounded too ridiculous to be true, so we tried to find out if he was a brilliant satirist, or if he was just your regular Rachel Chan.
We emailed him 10 questions. Turns out, fact really is stranger than fiction.
I am Azman Samsudin, and I’m a freelance singer/songwriter, dancer and part-time bartender.
Do you think that Nas will be banned from Singapore if the petition hits 5,000 signatures?
No, but with enough signatures (for example, a million or so), I believe so that the government of Singapore will have to reconsider the implications of having such individuals into our shores.
What do you think the repercussions will be should the petition not go through?
If an individual with a mass following projects his or her own personal idea, it’s mostly accepted by their followers. Nas was an ex-Muslim and he created his own religion, based on his massive followings. There would be disastrous results if he were to set foot on our shores and impose his ideologies on our youngsters.
Nas uses brainwashing elements and subliminal messaging to reach his massive audience. 12 million, to be exact. He forcefully indicated his ideologies about on religion in his videos; he doesn’t follow them due to his own personal issues. If we have certain individuals that have various beliefs that differ from our own on our shores, I believe that he will pose a threat to our peaceful, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic country.
Your petition also said that you didn’t want him to come to “make matters worst”. What’s so bad about the current state of things?
In light of the recent bans (Watain, Religious Scholars Ban), I believe that we all have a chance to create such petitions to be looked at thoroughly by the government. As a matter of fact, our country welcomes foreigners without having a personal modus operandi, as we are more than happy to have them over. But if we were to invite those individuals that have a personal agenda against us, we will not be able to flourish together and move forward as a country.
Why the emphasis on religion in your petition?
I am not against Nas for being an ex-Muslim, just that he may have kept his personal statements and also understandings to himself. He didn’t pass judgements based on his personal experiences as it may move his massive followers if he kept doing what he did.
As a Muslim myself, I am open to everyone who does not have hidden motives and am able to welcome them over.
How is Nas using ‘religion’ for his own benefit?
He has a massive following, so if he were to regularly post videos of religious views, it might move them (especially the younger viewers) to accept his ideologies as their own and it may motivate them to leave their current religion. Understandably with a massive following, they have the power to have an ideology and nobody will go against that.
What is your definition of a good Muslim then?
Those that do good, help others and love one another without hatred. But we do have limits to which we may do so because if we were to unwillingly love one another despite them doing bad to us, it will come to a point that we have to negotiate with them. We are normal human beings and no prophet, after all.
We have limited avenues in Singapore for us to project our dissatisfaction or change. If we wanted to, we have to apply a permit to do so. Who in the right mind will do so, just to voice out their concerns?
Technology has somewhat evolved for the betterment of humanity. In the past, some issues may not have been addressed or communicated properly. Thus, those that want to voice a change had to either create a demonstration or an outlet through which they would be heard by the authorities.
It is the result of such petitions that caused the Watain band to be banned from performing, thus making it an absolute impact for voicing out a change. There are other outlets too, but not as great as what a petition can do. Thus, the petition is a great way for our voices to be heard by the individuals and organisations, as it will eventually be presented to these organisations, one way or another.
One of our colleagues thinks your petition is satire. Are you secretly Rachel Chan (who started the petition to ban Watain)?
Indeed, it is satire. At first, I made it as a meme to the ‘Ban Watain’ petition. However, as I studied Nas’ videos and found him to be talking about Islam, I was moved to have my say.
I am not Rachel Chan. She is, in fact, a real individual, given her Facebook profile picture with her family members. I wish I had the brains to push such a stunt, but I am unable to do so, hahaha.