Controversial South Korean ‘DJ Monk’ performance cancelled in Singapore


A planned performance by a controversial South Korean DJ at a local nightclub Club Rich Singapore has been cancelled after the entertainer insisted on playing songs involving Buddhist scriptures.

DJ NewJeansNim, who is known for performing in a monk’s robe and incorporating Buddhist mantras into his set, was scheduled to perform at Club Rich along Middle Road on Jun 19 and Jun 20.

However, the club has decided to cancel the act and provide refunds to ticket holders.

“We (were unable to) come to an agreement and change to soundtracks without the religious lyrics,” said the Club Rich Singapore owner Jackie He when asked by Straits Times.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) had been made aware of the planned performance and had engaged with the licensee and stakeholder of the club.

The SPF had raised concerns about the potential violation of Public Entertainment Licence conditions, which prohibit performances that may be offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity, or nationality.

In response to these concerns, the club owner had initially agreed to ensure that the performance did not include any religious elements.

“Club Rich respects all religions and we will ensure that the performance will turn out to be a non-religious related performance,” the owner said in response to media queries on 22 May 2024.

However, the decision to cancel the performance was ultimately made to avoid any potential offense to Singapore’s Buddhist community.

The Singapore Buddhist Federation on on (May 19) took to Facebook to voice their concerns about NewJeansNim, it said “NewJeansNim” is not a monk who should not put on monk’s robe to perform which is against Vinaya”Monks’ Rule”. Hopefully, relevant authorities be able to reject the permits for performance so to avoid bringing embarrassment to Buddhists.

Vinaya is a disciplinary code for monks.

The president of the federation, Venerable Seck Kwang Phing, informed The Straits Times on May 31 that Mr He had informed him of the cancellation of the shows, and expressed gratitude for the “thoughtful and resolute decision” to uphold harmony in Singapore.

“In the future, anyone who wants to hold a show in Singapore should respect our culture and all the religions here,” said Ven Kwang Phing.

He also extended his appreciation to Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong and Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam for their public statements regarding the matter on Facebook.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong had also spoken out against the planned performance, with Mr. Shanmugam warning that the use of religious verses in the performance could be offensive.


A DJ had planned to perform next month at a local nightclub in a monk’s robe. From what he has done elsewhere – he uses religious verses in his song lyrics, and a Buddhist prayer item in his performance.

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

Police have told the nightclub owners that action will be taken, if the performance proceeds. They understood our position, and have agreed to cooperate.

This news has come out on Vesak Day, an unfortunate coincidence. But the Buddhist community, (like other communities) knows that the Government will take firm action, in respect of such things.

Wishing all our Buddhist friends peace and happiness, as they celebrate this special day.


There has been public interest in a planned performance which is said to incorporate religious dressing and other elements portraying Buddhism, as part of the performance.

We have clear rules about what can or cannot be staged, at such public entertainment performances. In particular, such a performance has to be licensed under Public Entertainment Licence conditions.

Under these conditions, the performance should not be likely to be offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity or nationality. It must also not potentially cause disharmony among different groups. The rationale is very clear; we live in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society, we respect each other, and we take steps to protect our social cohesion.

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

MCCY has worked with the police, which has proactively engaged the licence holder, and reminded them to adhere strictly to the licence conditions.

The licence holder has assured the police that they will ensure 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.

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