I always believe that a sign of a gracious and mature society is one in which there are laws that prevents discrimination 0f minorities and protects those who don’t have a voice. Singapore, based on its laws, is still a long way to go on that front.
Its very unfortunately that as a part of globalisation, we took in a lot of judeo-christian values with regard to sex and violence. Violence seems to be tolerated. Just look what kind of computer games, movies and songs depicting and justifying violence in the name of peace, justice, love, honor, revenge and just for fun. But when it comes to sex, everything is almost a no-no, no pre-martial sex, no homosex, no porn, etc. As if all the violence in our world now is due to sex and not petty power struggle, religious hatred, poverty, anger and money.
As such, I see gay rights as one of the last taboo subject for this society that will finally move our society towards graciousness and maturity. What makes it more difficult are the rich staunch christian imposing their religious values onto society. The muslim population, even though, may feel that homosexual acts is prohibitive in their religion, I feel that they general hold the view that its really a private matter and not something to impose onto society, ditto for the rest of the religious in general. We have already see how the christians ran a letter writing campaign against abolishing 377a or how some (starting the “D” working in “T”) in their own powerful capacity prevented organisations like former-lehman brothers from organising a recruitment drive in Singapore targeting gay people. I am sure more of such incidents goes unrecorded daily, but it goes to show the extend which some of the mega rich churches and christians will go to in order manipulate Singapore to their ends. This is not an effort to demonise all christians, but rather this is what is really happening in our society with some christians, if it had been Buddhists, I would have said exactly the same.
The recent AWARE saga brought out an interesting point, which I have been harping myself, that civil movement and equality don’t happen by themselves alone and many times they are interdependent on other movements. As such, women’s rights movement makes no sense if men’s rights is not also addressed or lesbian rights are ignored or maids rights are not touched. Already this links the women”s rights movements to 3 other groups, men rights, gay rights and migrant worker rights.
Many gay people seem to pursue the idea that gay rights stand alone and few see that in order for society to be more tolerant of difference, the people need to be more gracious and mature in thinking. Most Singaporeans, due to the social engineering by PAP and its laws, are not there yet. I suspect, until now, quite a number of lesbians and women too have the same ideas of a singular pursuit to their rights. Hence, we need to see that for gay rights to be achievable, Singaporeans need to think beyond themselves, they need to care for others who are different and who don’t have a voice themselves and these include migrant works, animals and environment. It is pretty sad to see that most animal rights and environmental rights groups only care about their own causes and fail to see how we are interlinked. Other groups like women rights, gay rights, migrant workers, etc work together due to the nature of their movement each having some components in each others’ movements. What I wish to see in the future, it more of the civil groups coming together and working together for a common cause, to make our society a better one that respect diversity and care beyond themselves.
Personally, I have always been interested about other movements like animal rights, environmental issues, migrant workers, women, trangendered, disabled, etc and I have always seen that we all need to move along in the same path, that is, for a better society. For I see that when Singaporean and hence the law, gives protection to animals (we have very weak animal laws and the silly HDB ruling), pays attention to the environment (how many recycling bins have you seen so far?) and gives migrant works equal rights as other workers, amongst others, Singaporean may over time develop an understanding of why we need to respect and allow diversity in our society and why even though we may disagree with 2 men/women having sex, it should not be imposed onto others, just as we may not want others (for example syriah laws) to be imposed onto us.
So I urge people out there who are interesting in gay equality to look beyond that narrow interest and put effort also in helping other groups gain grounds in their equality or awareness movements. We should all be moving in tandem with other groups in making our society a more gracious, mature, loving and diversity one.