Taylor Swift Singapore Tour Dates Inspire Envy and Ecstasy

Singaporeans are memeing and the rest of the region is fuming as the megastar performs in the city-state for the sole Southeast Asian shows of her ongoing tour

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Simon Frank
7:33 PM HKT, Mon March 4, 2024 1 mins read

Taylor Swift — who we last saw “speaking Chinese” — is currently in Singapore, in the middle of a six night run for the final Asian dates of her “Eras Tour.” As the only Asian shows of the tour besides four nights in Tokyo back in February, the sold-out concerts have attracted a huge amount of attention, generating excitement from fans in Singapore and neighboring countries, plus envy from governments around the region yearning to host lucrative cultural events. Swift’s stay in Southeast Asia has also launched a wave of memes, equal parts cringeworthy and hilarious, as Singaporeans attempt to either capitalize on or parody Swiftmania.

Singapore’s status as the only tour stop in Southeast Asia has attracted fans from China, the Philippines, and beyond, but also raised eyebrows in government offices around the region. Last month Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin claimed that Singapore’s government was paying Swift USD 2-3 million per concert. In an interview with Channel News Asia, Singaporean Minister for Culture, Education, and Youth Edwin Tong stated that the government had provided a grant to secure the concerts, but that it was “nowhere as high” as implied by rumors. The news outlet suggested that they understand the grant to be around USD 2-3 million in total for the six shows.

So, to the grumbles of its neighbors, Singapore is trying to make the most of Swift’s exclusive concerts, which are estimated could bring up to SGD 500 million (around USD 370 million) in tourist spending to the city-state. It’s also hoped that the shows might help build Singapore’s reputation as a cultural destination and shed its somewhat dowdy, business-focused image.

Getting in on the action, Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung posted a video to his Instagram editing himself into Swift’s video for “You Belong To Me,” using the opportunity to remind young Singaporeans to maintain healthy study habits. More acerbically, local satirical news account The Pressing Times posted that “300,000 Asians” were “ready for group therapy with one American lady.” Meme account yeolo.sg even appropriated a viral video of an Australian fan crying at a Swift concert to represent the rest of Southeast Asia’s reaction to Singapore’s show subsidies.

Swift’s Singapore shows continue until Saturday, March 9th. And it seems that just like back in America, she has an uncanny ability to inspire undying devotion among Gen Z and millennial fans, and send older politicians and pundits spiraling into embarrassing behavior as they reach for a piece of the cake.

Banner image via TAS.

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