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| On 4 months ago

[UPDATED] Singapore Podcast OKLETSGO Misogynistic Content Towards Women — a Race to the Top

By Zat

OKLETSGO has recently ruffled many feathers online for the lewd and disrespectful way they speak about women on their podcast. The three hosts are Dzar Ismail, 34, Dyn Norahim, 38, and Raja Razie, 38, who are all married with children. Granted, the sexual innuendos are not overt, but it’s often the soft, and subtle remarks that normalise the sexual objectification of women.

I cannot take my eyes off your cleavage.

– one of the hosts of OKLETSGO

There was an occasion where they asked a female guest, mid-interview, what she was wearing during her retelling of a story, and in another, commenting that they can’t take their eyes off Sherry’s, a transgender activist from Project X, cleavage when she was invited to talk about her activism work. “I cannot take my eyes off your cleavage,” one of them remarked to raucous laughter from the other hosts.

It’s like the oft-referenced locker room talk between men, but here, easily accessible by impressionable young men, who might be lead to believe that speaking degradingly about women so publicly and casually is the norm. All this ‘straight talk’ and explicit content are part of the appeal of the show, if their fans who they refer to as ‘Bloods’, are to be believed.

What is OKLETSGO?

OKLETSGO is a Malay podcast launched on February 2, 2019, by former Mediacorp radio station RIA DJs, Dzar, Dyn, and Razie who quit the industry in lieu of a channel that purportedly allows them to speak their mind freely.

With an average of three episodes released weekly, OKLETSGO has over 250 episodes published with more than 100,000 listeners per episode. They are the top podcast channel in Singapore that recently interviewed several big names in the media such as Law Minister K. Shanmugam, comedian Kumar, and YouTube personality, Dee Kosh.

I love young girls.

– one of the hosts of OKLETSGO

Some of the companies that have sponsored their content include, Mendaki, TaqWealthAssociates, Adapt and Grow – SSG-WSG, Nur Insan, Health Promotion Board, Foodpanda, Workforce Singapore, and TeamSitiMusZaiDeanBatisahBros.

As a content strategy, the podcast touches on several controversial topics that are pertinent to current pop culture. In an episode on Jun 8, they invited mother-son duo Ibnur and his mom, who are currently under investigation for using racial slurs and vulgarities in an Instagram story.

They then brought in sisters Nancy and Wendy from Afro Sings to weigh in on the topic. But, while Nancy and Wendy were introducing their name and age, at 6 minutes 42 seconds, one of the DJs commented out loud, “I love young girls”.

Indeed, one does not have to look far into the archives for proof of the casual sexualisation and objectification of women.


The Raja Razie tweet

While their casual degrading of women happens subtly in almost every episode (usually sponsored, and most recently paid for by Health Promotion Board) it was put spectacularly on display by Raja Razie in a twitter reply that has since been deleted.

This is the deleted tweet by Raja Razie:

It was in response to user Nina Lestari who took issue with the podcast’s slut-shaming ways and left a comment on the podcast’s Facebook page, calling it out. She wondered aloud, with examples, if OKLETSGO will be inviting women who are sexually adventurous their show, and if such guests will not be slut-shamed and degraded by the hosts. To which, Raja Razie replied:

It seems that those screenshots from Nina Lestari shows how experience (sic) she is. Amazing.

– Raja Razie, OKLETSGO podcast host

The reaction

This tweet prompted a huge backlash from Malay/Muslim women (and some men) who called out OKLETSGO penchant for sexualising women and normalising such behaviour.

In an article on Must Share News, writer Fayyadhah Zainalabiden shared two examples where the hosts ‘reduce women to a mere sexual object which men only identify by specific body parts’ and ‘lustful banter about a woman’s appearance is exactly why women may feel unsafe being alone in the company of a group of men.’

In an episode, “Help! Kawan Anak I Gelarkan I MILF” or “Help! My Child’s Friend Calls Me A MILF”, at the 10 minutes 30 seconds mark, one of the hosts commented that he prefers “bums and legs” over women’s breasts. At the 22 minutes mark, another host shared his experience with a “Full-blown MILF” followed by a lewd discussion about what this lady was wearing that arouses them so.


The public apology

It prompted a public apology from the hosts, assuring their audience that ‘You have been heard’.

It’s strange, really. An apology without a single ‘sorry’—a point many picked up, questioning the hosts’ inability to sincerely apologise for what they have said on-air.

Men and women who supported OKLETSGO quickly rushed to their defence, citing such classics as ‘if you’re easily offended, don’t listen’ and ‘you cannot make everyone happy’. This user below summarises her support for OKLETSGO very succinctly and wants everyone to know that she is fine with OKLETSGO objectification and perverse degrading of women as it doesn’t trigger her thus far.

The apology that wasn’t

In their Telegram channel which has now been made private and not searchable, Raja Razie allegedly remarked that his personal assistant was the one who penned that public statement.

We OLG will stand strong on our stand (sic) and WILL NOT APOLOGISE TO THOSE YOUNG F***!!!!. We are non apologetic.’

– OKLETSGO hosts on their alleged Telegram group

The Jade Rasif comment

Popular influencer, Jade Rasif, chimed in with her two cents about how their official statement should have included an apology. Within 30 minutes of posting, she was swarmed by male fans of OKLETSGO who said she should ‘shut up and put on clothes‘, that she should be raped, and disparaged her father.

And yes, one of the comment came from the business account of Hipster Pomade SG.

The right column comment translates to:

Fahmi Bear: Cover yourself up and stop making so much noise. She wants to sell herself. let her.

The die-hard ‘Blood’ supporters of OKLETSGO

Worse than the content put out by OKLETSGO are the men and women who support them. These are a mere snippet of the comments posted in solidarity calling on OKLETSGO to ‘never change’ and ‘never apologize’.

Brushing it off as a joke

So, who is worse? The podcast hosts of OKLETSGO who perpetuate the sexualisation and objectification of women, or their followers who called for Jade Rasif to be raped, and threatened Nina Lestari with a thinly-veiled threat of making sure she knows that they know where she lives?

No boobies is okay for me.
Bums and legs are the bomb, because I’m into doggy style.

– one of the hosts of OKLETSGO

Is it mere convenience to brush under the rug critical and dissenting opinions as ‘haters’? Does it excuse the hosts of OKLETSGO from taking responsibility for the family of supporters they’ve built? Does it then, indirectly tell these men and women that it’s okay to bring their daughters up in an environment where they will be objectified by leery men? That it’s just part of life, growing up as a woman in the Malay/Muslim community?

User heymysara puts it best (click here for the FB post):


[UPDATED: 15 June 2020, 9.04 am]

Episode 568: The 10 minutes Podcast Response

In episode 568, uploaded on 15th June 2020, Dzar Ismail outlined the thoughts and feelings of OKLETSGO regarding the situation that has unfolded over the weekend. It was a clarification lead by Dzar, with the occasional input by Dyn. Raja Razie was largely silent throughout the 10 minutes.

In it, he brought up the sharing of sexual abuse by Nina Lestari and how the show was keen to bring her on to share her story so that it can “become a learning point for all listeners and create awareness to the harsh reality of rape”. He also promised Nina Lestari that should she agree to come on the show, “they will be absolute gentlemen and that the focus of the show will be on the sharing of her experience and nothing else”.

“This is a coordinated attack because we are lucky enough to have a wide listenership—1 in 2 Malays are listening to us (sic)—and I feel that’s the only reason why people want to bring us down. This is something influencers have to go through.”

– Dzar Ismail, OKLETSGO host

Dzar rounded up the shortest podcast episode by urging their supporters to not engage in any more discussions online and to treat it as an opinion. He also reassured listeners that OKLETSGO will not stop doing what they do best.

There was no apology from any of the hosts.


[UPDATED: 15 June, 10.15 am]

Mdm Halimah Yacob weighs in

President of Singapore, Mdm Halimah Yacob has weighed in on the topic with a lengthy Facebook post demanding OKLETSGO apologise unreservedly for their misogynistic behaviour towards women.

Women are not objects to be made fun of, ridiculed and trampled upon, and no one has the right to do that to them. Taking cheap pot shots at women to boost ratings or to make some people laugh no matter how offensive, cannot be justified under any label be it freedom of speech or encouraging conversations.


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Zat

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