Asia is ga-ga for Lady Gaga

Protests against Lady Gaga have emerged in Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Nonetheless, she is welcomed in Japan, Australia, and elsewhere on her Asian tour 'Born this way'.

As usual Lady Gaga, a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is stirring controversy wherever she goes and Asia proved to be no different than her other concert venues. She will be performing on April 27, in Seoul, South Korea, despite calls by Christians there to cancel her performance. The Alliance for Sound Culture in Sexuality, a Protestant Christian group, considers that the American signer champions both homosexuality and pornography. Known for her outlandish sense of style, which has included draping her thin frame in raw meat, Lady Gaga has also spoken out in defense of gay rights.

On Sunday, April 22, South Korean Christians led public prayers and protests against the planned concert.

The Alliance for Sound Culture in Sexuality has distributed leaflets accusing Lady Gaga of ‘spreading unhealthy sexual culture through lewd lyrics and performances’. Posters plastered by the group in Seoul were removed by city officials.  Lady Gaga's tour begins in Seoul. In South Korea, her 'Born This Way Ball' has been restricted to those above 18 years of age. This is her second visit to South Korea, which is home the second largest Christian community in East Asia, following the Philippines. South Korea has approximately 8.5 million practicing Protestants and 5 million Catholics, thus outnumbering Korean Buddhists

In June, Lady Gaga goes to Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world. Her scantily clad performances have already brought opprobrium from Muslim clerics.  According to AFP, Indonesia Ulema Council leader Amidhan said "I call on Lady Gaga to respect our cultural and traditional values. Most people here are Muslims and we cannot tolerate her revealing outfits and sexy performances." However, no fatwa - an Islamic religious finding on morality - has yet been issued against her performing. "It's better for Lady Gaga to cancel her show in this country if she has no willingness to respect our demand. Please do not destroy our nation's morality and ruin our dignity," said Amidhan, who goes by one name. Tickets for the concert in Indonesia have already sold out.

Equally alarmed by a planned Lady Gaga concert in Manila, a Filipino youth group is urging fellow citizens to boycott the May 21 concert as a threat to the moral values of a country that has the highest percentage of Catholics in Asia and that is considered by some studies as the most religious country in the world. Nonetheless, fans have already bought plenty of tickets, with some going for as much as 15,850-pesos ($372) in a country with manifest poverty and deeply divided economic classes. The leader of Youth for Christ, Laurence Pintero, called on the government to ban the concert, "If the government thinks she is a threat, first and foremost they should stop it," he said. "I think we should be bold. We discourage (people from) attending her concert."

In Japan and Australia, Lady Gaga expects a warm welcome. Known in the Land of the Setting Sun as 'Lady Gaga-san,' the performer gained even more admirers aftering visiting Japan just three months after the disastrous earthquakes and tsunami in March 2011 that devastated the country and spread concerns about nuclear contamination. She declared "Japan is safe," when travel and tourism were deeply affected by fears that deadly radiation and fallout had spread from the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In Australia, Lady Gaga has been crowned "Honorary Citizen of Sydney" for railing against "prejudice directed at gay men and women." In addition, tickets for Lady Gaga concerts in Singapore and Hong Kong are now sold out, while three extra shows have been scheduled at Hong Kong's World-Expo center.


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