Have you heard of the Complaint Choir?

Complaint Choir is a project, where people are invited to complain about anything they want to and sing the complaints out with fellow complainers. The individual complaints are transformed into a cheerful choir song within a workshop process, which unites participants coming from different backgrounds.

I know a lot of you are grinning secretly when you read the part about “inviting people to sing and complain” – the choir is bound to be in conflict with the strict media regulations in Singapore. Guess what? You are right. 🙂

They have been in the media limelight lately because of the cancellation of all their public performances in Singapore. This was in protestation of the Singaporean authorities who did not want to issue a permission for public performances if foreign choir members wouldn’t leave the choir. The choir decided that they did not want to perform under these circumstances and hence all public performances were cancelled.

Said the Complaint Choir on their website:

It was a strong provocation for us to hear that the authorities wanted the Non-Singaporean choir members to be excluded from the choir performances. This would have spoilt the project’s intention to create a strong sense of community, a community that is based on shared complaints about life in Singapore here and now.

We are disappointed that our prejudices against Singapore have been affirmed. We find it irritating that foreigners – people that built this city, nurse Singaporean kids and bring in their knowledge – are not allowed to complain.” – Tellervo + Oliver Kalleinen

Here’s the full lyrics:

THE COMPLAINTS CHOIR SINGAPORE LYRICS

We get fined for almost everything
Drivers won’t ‘give chance’ when you want to ‘change lane’
The indoors are cold, the outdoors are hot;
And the humid air, it wrecks my hair
Those answering machines always make you hold
Only to hang up on you

When a pregnant lady gets on the train
Everyone pretends to be asleep
I’m stuck with my parents till I’m 35
Cause I can’t apply for HDB
We don’t recycle any plastic bags
But we purify our pee

*chorus:
What’s wrong with Singapore?
Losing always makes me feel so sore
Cause if you’re not the best
Then you’re just one of the rest

My oh my Singapore
What exactly are we voting for?
What’s not expressly permitted
is prohibited

“Ooh”

When I’m hungry at the food court, I see
People ‘chope’ seats with their tissue paper
To the aunty staying upstairs:
Your laundry’s dripping on my bed sheets
Please don’t squat on the toilet seats
And don’t clip your nails on MRT

Stray cats get into noisy affairs
At night my neighbor makes weird animal sounds
People put on fake accents to sound posh
And queue up 3 hours for donuts
Will I ever live till eighty five
to collect my CPF?

*chorus

Singaporeans too kiasu! (so scared to lose)
Singaporeans too kiasi! (so scared o die)
Singaporeans too kiabor!(scared of their wives)
Maybe we’re just too stressed out! (even the kids)

“Ooh”

Old National Library was replaced by an ugly tunnel
Singaporean men can’t take independent women
People blow their nose into the swimming pool
And fall asleep on my shoulder in the train

Singapore’s national bird is the crane (the one with yellow steel girders)
Real estate agents’ leaflets clogging up my mailbox (en bloc, en bloc; en bloc, en bloc)
Why can’t we be buried when we die?
No one wants to climb Bukit Timah with me

*chorus

“Ooh”

There are not enough public holidays
My neighbor sings KTV all night
Wedding dinners never start on time
My hair is always cut shorter than I want
Channel 5 commercials are way too long
Why do men turn bad?

*At first it was to speak more mandarin
Then it was to speak proper English
What’s wrong with my powderful Singlish?

People sit down during rock concerts
We have to pay for tap water at restaurants
ERP gantries are everywhere
But I can still see traffic jams on the road
All the bus stops have tilted benches to keep you off balance

*chorus

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