HK Pop Star Denise Ho Barred From Performing In Malaysia 'For Her LGBT Views'
Pop star Denise Ho, who is openly gay, says she has been denied permission by Malaysia to perform her concert in April this year because she is an outspoken "supporter of the LGBT community"
The Hong Kong artist, who is a Canadian citizen, said that she has been forced to cancel her concert in Kuala Lumpur which was scheduled to take place on 14 April as part of her 'Dear Self, Dear World' tour after Malaysian immigration authorities rejected her visa "because she is an active supporter of the LGBT community."
Ho, who is Asia's one of the most famous Cantopop stars, released a statement on Facebook, apologising to her fans. "I would be lying if I said I am not disappointed about being rejected for my identity."
"Malaysian friends, I am very sorry," Ho wrote on her official Facebook page.
"Our co-organisers worked very hard for two weeks until we received an official phone call the day before yesterday that my working visa was not approved. According to a colleague who picked up the call, it was because of my role in the LGBT community: 'because she is an active supporter of the LGBT community.'"
She added that an official rejection letter which they received yesterday, 15 February, did not mention the LGBT issue. It only stated that "a number of issues need to be addressed if the artist is brought in for the performance in this country".
Lamenting the state of affairs, Ho said that not being able to hold a concert isn't such a big deal as the suppression of self-identity
"You would think that in 2018, where many countries are pushing for gay rights and same-sex marriages, that the world would be progressing. But in fact, it is not.
"A friend asked: 'is this normal in Malaysia?' But I would ask this, what is 'normal?'
Not being able to hold a concert isn't such a big deal. But time and time again, (these) bans show us, who live under relative freedom, that the civilisation we take as normal and right is not so normal after all.
"Everyone has the right to be themselves. We can be openly gay as someone else can be Christian or Muslim," Ho wrote, vowing to continue advocating for LGBT rights: "I hope one-day people can travel to every corner of the world freely, regardless of ideas, to be their truest selves."
Meanwhile, Reuters reported Communication and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Kuruak saying that while "Malaysia welcomes any artist who projects a wholesome value", all performances in the country must be done in accordance to "local law and values"
While Salleh did not specify why Ho's application was turned down, an employee at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, confirmed to BBC Chinese that the Canto-pop star's permit was denied "because of her role as an LGBT activist."
Last week, an article published on Sinar Harian about the LGBTQ community along with a checklist on how to spot them in our midst drew sharp criticism and ridicule from the international media: