Concerns raised over Ng Kok Song’s potential violation of Public Entertainments Act amid campaign trail

SINGAPORE: In a video clip that circulated on social media, Presidential candidate Ng Kok Song was captured singing the famous Chinese song “The Moon Represents My Heart (月亮代表我的心).”

The 2.05-minute video was shared on TikTok by user @aliali_sg, showcasing the 75-year-old candidate singing along with a guitarist at ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre.

The crowd recorded the moment as Ng Kok Song sang the Chinese song fluently.

The conclusion of the song was met with a round of applause from the audience.


Presidential hopeful Ng Kok Song in action! #yueliangdaibiaowodexin #ngkoksong2023 #teresateng #themoonrepresentsmyheart #sgpresidentialelection2023

♬ original sound – @li@ali – @li@ali

During a recent event, Mr Ng shared with his audiences that one of the deepest regrets in his life is his lack of fluency in both spoken and written Chinese.

The former GIC Chief Investment Officer studied in the English stream in school. However, Mr Ng said his “heart is Chinese”, and added that “the way I think, I cannot express it fluently.”

When questioned about his efforts to learn Chinese, Mr Ng revealed that he immerses himself in Mandarin songs, particularly focusing on “The Moon Represents My Heart.”

Although strangely enough, when he was asked to say the reasons of why people should vote for him in Mandarin, Mr Ng bluntly said, “No.”

Possible violation of the Public Entertainments Act raises concerns

While praises were made towards Mr Ng for his singing of the famous song, concerns have been raised that his public singing could potentially violate the Public Entertainments Act, which requires a license for public performances.

Bryan Lim Boon Heng, Vice-Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), expressed his “surprise” on Friday (25 Aug) via Facebook, questioning why the Elections Department and Singapore Police Force did not address this matter.

He highlighted a noticeable contrast from the past when SDP was cautioned by on-site police multiple times against singing the National Anthem or the party song “I Will Be The One” during their rallies due to the absence of a Public Entertainment License.

“Mr Ng cannot feign ignorance if he is bidding to hold the highest office of this land. ”

Mr Lim emphasized that no individual should be exempt from the law and raised the point that there shouldn’t be a situation of “one country, two systems” within a democracy.

PEL mandatory for most events, with certain exemptions

Under the Public Entertainments Act (PEA), unless granted an exemption, any organization intending to offer public entertainment in any publicly accessible location, regardless of whether it is free or involves charges, must adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Conduct the event in a venue approved by the police.
  2. Comply with a valid Public Entertainment License (PEL) issued by the police.

Engaging in or assisting with the provision of public entertainment without a PEL is an offence punishable by a fine of up to $20,000 upon conviction.

However, a licence is not required for the listed public entertainment or arts entertainment activities provided the organiser adheres to the exemption conditions.

For instance, events like “sing-song” (getai) and classical instrumental music performances are exempted if they meet conditions such as limited hours of operation, appropriate use of loudspeakers, avoidance of vulgar or obscene content, and notification to the police at least 7 days before the event.

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