Growing pains and collateral damage

Here is what I have to say about hecklegate (as some bloggers so aptly put it):

1. Not happy with protest does not equal pro-PAP

Just because someone gets pissed off with or disagrees with RN and HHH and #ReturnOurCPF protest because of the perceived heckling during a charity event, doesn’t make them a PAP lackey or sympathizer. Even if they are just pissed off with the protest itself without the incident, it still doesn’t make them pro-PAP. There are many reasons why people don’t agree with the protest, even though they may agree with some of the issues with our CPF and even the proposed solutions. I find it astounding (but not surprising) how some immature folks can draw such conclusions just because one dislike what happened. Read the rest of this entry

Redux: Chan Chun Sing’s gay recruitment

This issue has gone cold, but pinknews recently picked it up again. Again like many LGBT issues there are legends and myths around the stories created, mostly by dissenters… but let’s get back to the basics.

Goldman Sachs published one of their diversity events on their company website with the following message

Goldman Sachs’ LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) Network invites you to attend this networking event to enable you to find out more about our firm, the LGBT Network, and discuss issues and concerns regarding being “out” in the workplace. The event will include a brief introduction to the firm and our culture and an opportunity to network with employees across the firm’s various divisions. Drinks and dinner will be served.

Goldman Sachs recently received an Asia Pink Award for “Extraordinary contribution to the LGBTI community” by Element Magazine at its ceremony in Singapore and will be a proud sponsor of Singapore’s Pink Dot event this June. The firm has also earned a perfect “100” score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees and their families.

Spots for this event is limited, please register before April 25, if . you are LGBT Students graduating in year 2015, 2016 or 2017 interested in attending this event. Successful applicants will receive a confirmation email with event details and location in early May

Read the rest of this entry

Of pink and red polka dots

Throughout the saga of the red dot (AKA FamFest) versus pink dot, a lot of accusation was thrown at both government and pink dotters, but I think it is important to step back for a clearer picture.

First of all, as admitted by Pastor Khong himself:

“#FamFest 2014 is about defending the family against the onslaught of sexual infidelity, divorce, family violence and media that promotes sexual immorality including the homosexual agenda.”

This very much is an exclusive event. Of course, everybody is against family violence, but the event is out there to shame people who may have sexual relationship outside marriage (for more complex reasons), divorcees and single parents as much as LGBT folks. Even if pink dot is not held on the same day, such an event may not be permitted to be held in the Padang, which Khong himself freely admits, as a place for national event. The event is anything but a national event because of its exclusive nature. Unless the dissenters were to tell me that past events like Rugby Sevens, Singapore Marathons, etc, have exclusive clauses against divorcees, single parents, disabled or LGBT, then their argument just don’t hold water. As to whether or not, the government did consider that it was held on the same day as the pink dot, it is everyone’s guess, but I am sure that they are aware.

Read the rest of this entry

Of disrespectful and petty Sri Lankans on Buddhist tattoo

The recent news about a British tourist being deported by the Sri Lankan authorities due to her Buddhist tattoo in the arm certain cause some of use to thing deeply what Buddhist teaching really represents.

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2014/04/24/sri-lanka-deports-british-tourist-for-her-buddha-tattoo/

A few statements coming out from the news feed that makes me question if Sri Lankan themselves really understand what it means to be Buddhist or what reputation they are giving to others about Buddhists or its teachings. Certainly I am no saintly Buddhist myself, but I am very confident of at least a few of its basis teachings. Read the rest of this entry

Weighing in on Hri Kumar’s “them vs us”

FB was abuzz with likes on Hri Kumar’s recent comments on the HPB issue. Many people appreciated that he supported HPB’s publication from a health perspective objectively.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/hri-kumar/them-versus-us/659427524103848

But there a few points in his comments that we often hear or read politicians or fence sitters make that sounds like concern and supportive but is really as good as not saying anything. The way PAP govt. commented on the “hijab” issue is what comes to mind.

Look, I appreciated the fact the he and 2 other MPs were supportive of repealing 377a, even though for him it was only an academic exercise rather than an actual passion for equality in society. However, we know that the PAP would very often identify some MPs to make opposing point of views just to show that there are “some debate” during parliamentary sittings. So whether one makes a point of free will or was made to do so by their masters, it is anyone’s guest. Read the rest of this entry

Disappointed Mountbatten MP and dishonest disappointments

There is something about religion that makes seemingly nice and smart persons turn into complete brainless sheeps. Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuang is one good example. From some feedbacks from friends, it appears that he is a pretty nice MP, however, now they are utterly disappointed by this “disappointed” MP.

http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/disappointed-mp-criticises-hpb-its-faq-sexuality

For me, the disappointment is not that he disagrees with homosexual persons, but rather the brainless and less than factual reasoning that he uses to justify his position, whilst trying to present them as facts. What is more disappointing is him trying to wave his Christian values as secular and factual. I don’t mind if one’s argument is based on religious values, but to be dishonest about it shows a lack of integrity on that part of the person.

Waving the straw men, he is quoted to have said: “homosexual relationships are different from heterosexual ones”. Exactly what is the difference is probably mentioned somewhere later; that homosexual relationships are not normal and there are no facts to say that they can form lasting relationships and that heterosexual relationships are based on values like trust, love, commitment and support, which to him, a same-sex one does not. Read the rest of this entry

AVA says pet shop must assess buyers… but profit more important for pet shops

In 2014 new AVA licensing conditions for pet shops come into effect. One will bar those below 16 years from buying pets and the other is that pet shop owners must assess potential pet owners for their suitability to own a pet. Of course, it a good step ahead to prevent impulse buying, but we know that this won’t stop horrible treatments of animals and conditions in puppy mills and abuses of animals by pet owners.

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/pet-shops-must-assess-if-buyers-cats-dogs-and-rabbits-are-suitable-own

The AVA requires the pet retailers to conduct a mandatory pre-sales screening of each transaction, but already the comments are abuzz as to how this is going to be enforced and what kind of questions to ask. When the tire hits the road, profits for the pet shops will be the first line of consideration. Also are pet shops already doing this currently? If not, this change will only make the comply to as much as it enables to sell the next pet. I honestly don’t think pet shops’ first priority will be the welfare of the animals, if not they will not be selling pets. Instead they will encourage people to adopt pets instead!

Nevertheless, this is a good tiny step in the right direction. It would have been better if there is a pet ownership license; all potential pet owners must go for the appropriate course to get license. Only then can they adopt or buy a pet. The licenses can be revoke due to confirmed abuses, neglect or abandonment. This way, basic pet education is standardized instead of leaving it to profile making pet shops to make up iffy questionnaires.

Lastly, it would have been great if HDB can totally repeal the out-dated no-cats rule (I know its in pilot) or selective toy dogs rules. Both these rules prevents people from adopting cats or dogs (which are not those toy breeds) that really need a home and in a place like Singapore where majority live in public housing, this means only a tiny minority selection of folks can afford to adopt them.

New MCE causes at least 40 mins jam at Central Boulevard

Something you may not get from news regarding the problem with the MCE opening from news media after all the self-congratulatory efforts for the gov’t.

The MCE opening forced traffic from both directions of AYE to exit via Central Boulevard in order to go into Shenton Way or MBFC area. This cause slow traffic to build up from 8 am onwards! I can see from my office building the queue build up all the way to AYE at Keppel Road in the morning. At 2 pm today, there is still a long queue of cars coming via Central Boulevard.

So what would have taken me 15 mins from my home to office in MBFC during morning hours will now take me at least 40 mins more!

The problem as you can see from the picture below is that most of the traffic are trying to go into CBD, but they are squeezed into 2 lanes left turning lanes towards CBD.  I am surprised that they spend all that money to build the tunnel but such a shoddy work on the traffic planning on the Central Boulevard.

MCE Jam

Can Buddhists celebrate Christmas?

A perennial question that pop up almost every year during Christmas, however for me, the question never popped into my mind. For me it is a given that there is no problems with Buddhists celebrating Christmas, going to mass or even singing along during services. I believe that this only becomes a question when people see Buddhism as a religion rather than a system of teachings.

I remember quite a long time ago, I was invited to a Christmas mass with another Buddhist friend, I was singing enthusiastically all the gospel songs and Christmas carols, but I noticed that the friend was hesitant to sing or perhaps he don’t really know the tunes well. Either way, for me even if you asks me to visit a mosque or Hindu temple and pray together with the believers, I will do it as well as any of them can and as enthusiastically also. I don’t believe that doing that makes me any “less Buddhist” or makes me believe in anything different. Read the rest of this entry

HDB flats for singles makes people stupid

Okay, this is not exactly what this writer, Daniel Chia, say, but that is the message he implies, as below

More new flats for singles: Sending wrong message

The push by the Housing Board to supply more new flats to singles is not good news for the nation (“HDB to roll out more new flats for singles”; Sept 24).

First, these flats will discourage the formation of family units.

The Government has been encouraging people to get married. But offering new flats to singles will have the opposite effect.

Second, when two singles who own such flats get married, what is to become of the units? Are they allowed to keep them?

The age criterion for ownership should be raised to 45 and the salary ceiling lowered to $2,500.

The Government should not give in to pressure from singles.

Daniel Chia

What dear Daniel doesn’t seem to be unaware (what world does his live in?) is that this is only the first time HDB actually builds HDB and give some priority to singles. Yes, the government also tried to sell some unsold HDB flats in far flung reaches of Singapore to singles some time ago. But for the longest time, the policy against singles has never changed and yet Singaporeans are not getting married at the age the governments wants them to and not having enough babies. It should be obvious the issue is more than just flats.

Worst, Mr Chia, perhaps as a Freudian slip, implies that people are getting married only to get a HDB flat because it requires two persons (ok parent-child still can), if not there is no meaning in getting married. I don’t know if this Daniel is married or not, but it looks like this is could be reflection of his own life. Perhaps he wished the government offered new HDB flats for singles so that he would not need to get married and is now really pissed about this dilemma.

And almost insidiously, it feels like another hidden agenda against gay equality. After all what does “Pressure from singles” imply? Which singles forms the biggest pressure group but LGBTs? Actually it is very easy to solve this problem, just equalise marriage and you will not have such a big “singles pressure group”.

Anyhow, for someone to say that such move will encourage Singaporeans to stay single is just plain stupid. I can imagine conversations around dinner gong like this:

Mom: When are you getting married?

Single person: I am not getting married, the government allows me to buy house as single, no point getting married.

or

Your current partner: Let’s get married and get a HDB flat

You: Nah, I think I prefer to stay single because I can get a HDB flat on my own without getting married to you… thanks for the offer

or

You: Yes!! Now that I can buy a HDB flat as a single person, I have no desires to get married and have children

To paraphrase one my friend: “Govt should not sell HDB to stupid people”

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