When anti-gay rhetoric turns deadly

Last year to me was a defining shift in the anti-gay movement in Singapore. I am not talking about churches because we know the position that they have always held. I am talking about people who are specifically anti-gay like those in WeAreAgainstPinkDot, who talks about nothing but the destruction of gay folks, spreading misinformation, hatred, fear and encouraging suffering towards LGBT folks. Most of us usually laugh them off as silly, ill-concieved and even stupid logic and generally pay no attention to them. Neither does the authorities in general.

Then #wearwhite movement came into the picture and that to me sent a scary picture of rhetoric turning in action. I agree with my Muslim friends that wearing white by itself is not the problem and indeed if all Muslims who proclaim to support wear white following their sunnah of charity, kindness, peace, compassion and love, this would not be an issue. However, the premise of starting the #wearwhite movement was someone incessed that Pink Dot 2014 happend on the Muslim holy month and of having Muslim representative in their promotional video as sign of inclusiveness and love. I think we all can see the irony of it a movement to as Muslims to be pure at heart is started by someone angry and feeling incessed by insults. This is not different from many gay conversion movements that were started by gay people and who later regretted their involvements. Continue reading

PM Lee is right, Singapore is not ready for gay marriage

Many bloggers took PM Lee to task for one of the article recently.

http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/singapore-not-ready-same-sex-marriage-society-still-cons

Apparently one of the journalist asked PM Lee about gay marriage in Singapore and he said that Singapore is not ready for it because we are conservative society. He also noted that “We do not harass them or discriminate against them” and also that most Singaporeans would not want LGBT community to the the tone for Singapore society.  He, of course, warned against pushing the agenda too hard in case of strong pushback and that the views are very entrenched and that people get angrier as they discuss it.

Personally, I feel that journalist had asked the wrong question. Of course, PM Lee is right that we are not ready for gay marriage because we are jumping the gun on this. With penal code 377a still looming over the heads of gay men and an unofficial policy of non positive portrayal of “gay lifestyle”, we still have a long way to go before we discuss about gay marriage. So I feel that some folks are being unfair to PM Lee on this because the question was the wrong one to ask. Continue reading

The old man and his island

I respect Mr. LKY that is for sure. For his tenacity, vision, frugality and ability to make things happen. Reading about the red box nearly brought me to tears to hear about his dedication and frugality. I would be a hypocrite to say that his works means nothing to me, when I have enjoyed my life as a typical middle-class Singaporean, writing about this in my nice comfortable room and enjoying the fruits of our progress throughout the coming 50 years; be it clean water, safe city, effective public transport system, greenery throughout and all the creature comforts that we have that some of our neighboring countries clamor for.

At the same time, I do have to acknowledge that it is not a bed of roses for everyone. To me, it would be most disrespect to “over-praise” his achievements without understanding how they came about and what we have been led to believe over the years. Indeed, I hear once too  often many Singaporeans ranting off how LKY took a fishing village and made it Singapore we have today. This is not just disrespectful because they are misrepresenting him and his works but a bit too ignorant of the conditions and life of Singapore in 1965.

Some people thinks that that LKY does not deserve the credit to be the father of Singapore, because not all the work was done by him, I beg to differ. I see his relation to Singapore as how I see Steve Jobs is to Apple. After Steve left Apple, the company went downhill and only revive after Steve was reinstated. Steve didn’t “design” the ipod or iphone, but his vision of what his wants to happen made it happen. Steve was a visionary and ruthless at it, which is why Apple can be so successful and so is LKY. I have no doubts that without LKY visions, charisma, drive and ruthless, I would not have enjoyed much of Singapore as I enjoyed as I grew up in this tiny island.

Many people also criticized him for this ruthlessness and political manipulation starting from Mr. Lim Chin Siong and, of course, many other victims since. All I can say is that I believe Mr. Lee had a vision of what he wanted Singapore to be and he would stop at nothing to prevent that from failing. Without getting Mr. Lim out of the way, LKY could not gain control of PAP and did what he did, and it is indeed unfortunate that he was just better at political manipulation than the next person. And I have no doubts that he was really concerned about Singapore, Singaporean and its survival and this has occupied his mind since the day that his took office. It is around his vision that he did what he thought was the best for Singapore and Singaporeans, i.e. that that PAP was the best party for Singapore and everything must be done to ensure that PAP is and continues to be majority and controlling party because it was the best for Singapore. To its end, many political tools were enacted to ensure the success of PAP, which, I believe, to LKY was the best for the survival of Singapore.

Regarding the climate of political fear and prosecution, it is hard to say what would have happened if we had full democracy from the birth of the nation. Would we still have a Singapore like this or would we still be under-develop with politician fighting in parliament? But because we cannot turn the clock and experiment with an alternative Singapore, it would not be fair to say what would have been better at that point in time. Personally, I wished that everyone had at least a fair and just trial and we know that everything is not what it seems according to what Straits Times or our government in power would say.

Just as the slave system helped built America, the Japanese occupation resulted in a rise of independent South East Asia or the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima stopped Japaneses occupation or that Nazi Germany’s cruel medical experiments brought some new medical insights to the medical world. The reason why airplanes are so safe is also because of the number of air plane disasters over the years that resulted in safer and safer air planes. In many ways, we are all beneficiary of some form of injustice, cruel and deaths; the same can be said about the old man and the rise of Singapore. However, knowing what we know now, would we want to see a repeated of all those forms of death, injustice and cruelty? We cannot turn back the clock, but we can jolly well learn from history and use our new insights and wisdom to make a better world without those historical requisites.

Some people commented that a true leader is prepared to sacrifice for the sake of the whole. I call it a bluff because only if you are willing to sacrifice yourself, your family, children and life for that leader, then you are qualified to say something like that. Also it is my observation that who supported or are indifferent about LKY and PAP’s persecution of political enemies and political gerrymandering are the ones who never had to experience the repression and fear of being on the wrong side of the political divide or the wrong side of law, e.g. 377a. But what is most interested is that folks, not all, impacted by those agenda are not necessarily just an angry bunch of folks ready for revenge. Many of them are even more driven to make a difference to the lives of people around them, to help them, to care for them, especially those persecuted wrongly, discriminated or without a voice.

The old man and his island. The father of Singapore, I salute you for all that you have done, the good and bad, for your dedication, tireless hard work and perseverance of making Singapore a worthy place to be and to stay. For putting Singapore on the map when our size only occupy an alphabet in the maps and for making everyone else wished that they had had a leader such as you in their country.

Thank you and farewell.

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. Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.