Alvin and his university, Jovan and his school

If there was any breath of fresh air in the news last week, it was the attitude of Alvin Tan Jye Yee. In a week dominated by Deputy Prime Minister Yeo Chee Hean trying drearily to spin his arm-twisting of the Catholic archbishop into a friendly chat, and the tabling of a data privacy bill before parliament that completely exempted government agencies from its scope, it was wonderful to see a young man stand up against convention.

As most readers will know by now, the law student at the National University of Singapore (NUS) had uploaded onto his blog sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and his girlfriend Vivian Lee (some however have said she is not his steady girlfriend, but this is not a material point). When he posted on an online forum a link to his blog, he became the sensation of the week.

All sorts of self-important people wagged their fingers and weighed in, warning about him being exposed (no pun intended) to prosecution for this and that. The only thing that may save Alvin is that he was in his home country Malaysia when the controversy erupted, making it unclear whether the uploading had been done within Singapore or Malaysian jurisdiction.

The sorriest spectacle, however, is that of NUS now trying to hang him. The university has served him notice of a Board of Discipline inquiry, scheduled for 31 October 2012, for possible “offensive behaviour”, as can be seen from this formal statement given by NUS to the media:

All NUS students are expected to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and should not be associated with offensive behaviour. Any student found in breach of the University’s Code of Student Conduct will be disciplined.

The University does not condone posting of offensive content online by any member of the NUS community. The student concerned is with the NUS Faculty of Law and he is on an ASEAN Undergraduate Scholarship. He is currently on Leave of Absence and is not receiving scholarship funds. The student concerned has been served a notice of Board of Discipline (BOD) inquiry. The BOD will look into the matter and take appropriate disciplinary actions. The student concerned has also been advised to take down the offensive posts.

NUS adopts a rigorous process in the selection of scholarship recipients and scholars are selected based on their academic achievements and personal accomplishments. The University takes a serious view of the conduct of the student concerned. However, this is not a reflection of all our scholars, most of whom are accomplished students making a meaningful contribution to the NUS community.

I think Alvin is single-handedly making a meaningful contribution and not just to the NUS community. He is demonstrating spunk and courage. By challenging musty conventions of behaviour, he is broadening people’s horizons. He is refusing to be boxed in — the very quality that has been essential for any kind of human progress. By punishing him and what he represents, NUS does Singapore and the world no favours.

Alvin and Vivian released a new video on YouTube on 17 October 2012, in which they said: “What do we have to apologise for? For hurting your soft sensitive feelings? For what? For I don’t know, breaching some moral code that you hold dearly to yourself but I don’t necessarily hold them myself? So we will not make a public apology,” he said.

Indeed, NUS should stop trying to impose its notion of shame on others.

See also this interview they did:

* * * * *

Alvin’s story reminded me of a similar story from fifteen years ago.  It’s one of the earliest articles on Yawning Bread, first written in 1997, but polished in 2004.

It’s about a teenager who proudly declared on his personal webpage that he was gay.  His school was upset, accusing him of damaging the school’s reputation.

I hope today we would call such a reaction ridiculous. How can a school pretend that none of its students is gay?  How can a school think that its reputation would be sullied the moment one of its boys come out as gay? What right has the school to punish someone for simply announcing his sexual orientation?

The same thing is happening with Alvin and NUS. What does Alvin being nude or sexual have to do with NUS? What right does NUS have to write such controls into its code?

Here is the story from 1997:

.

Jovan and his school

It first appeared as a frontpage story on the New Paper, 21 Dec 1996, titled ‘Homepage SHOCK’.

The homepage in question belonged to a 16-year-old named Jovan. The untypical thing about his page was that he declared on it that he was gay. You have to remember this was 1996, the early days of the internet in Singapore, and when being gay was still unspeakable. Moreover, he even had his photograph on it. Not many gay Singaporeans even today, would do something like that.

But in other ways, his homepage was quite typical. Like so many teenagers proud of their schools or colleges, Jovan said on his homepage that he was a student at St Andrew’s Secondary School.

This conjunction of “gay” and “St Andrew’s” was the spark and fuel for the events that followed.

After the O-level examinations, the students were told they could come back to the school on 30 Nov 1996 to collect their School Leaving Certificates and testimonials.

In Jovan’s case, however, the school telephoned his mother a few days prior to that, informing her of their objections to his homepage, adding that the Singapore Broadcasting Authority  (SBA) — the body then in charge of censoring the internet — had been informed and they were going to “take action” against her son. There was also some mention about a legal suit for defamation.

Sensible people like you and I will wonder what grounds the school would have for even thinking they were defamed, but this story isn’t about sensible people. This story is about people whose ideas about right, wrong and morality they have never seriously questioned in their lives. It’s about the total inability to think rationally once anything “gay” comes into the picture. It’s about the electric storms in people’s brains as the word “gay” sets off a chain reaction of sex, sin, sodomy, perversion, contagion and damnation. To them the idea of homosexuality is so abominable that (a) there is no need to acquaint oneself with any facts about the subject and (b) one can take unrestrained action to combat it.

To come back to the tale, the mother had not known about Jovan’s homepage, though she had known he was gay. Still, the phone call and the school’s threat of public ignominy sent her ballistic. Jovan immediately took down his homepage.

So, by Nov 30, when Jovan went to his school to collect his papers, the homepage had already been removed, but the teacher in charge still withheld his papers. The reason given to him was that the principal was still on leave, and they had to consult her before letting him out of purgatory.

Like most stubborn 16 year-olds. Jovan refused to go back to collect his documents even when the principal had returned from leave. His father went in his stead. Mother was still ballistic. Fathers will understand the feeling.

The documents were given to his father in a sealed envelope, which according to Jovan, was unusual, as the other boys had got theirs unsealed. On stepping out of the principal’s office, the father opened the envelope, and saw that the testimonial read “… poor conduct; very inconsistent and poor performance…”

Now he went ballistic and turned back to confront the Principal. On the spot she prepared another testimonial, this time saying, “quiet and well-behaved boy.” So much for the value of such credentials called School Testimonials.

By now, the son’s homepage was no longer the issue. In the parents’ eyes, as in most ordinary sensible folks’, the outrageous stance of the school was.

Mother wrote a complaint to the Ministry of Education.

Jovan went further. He contacted the New Paper, and that’s how the story appeared on 21 December 1996.

The New Paper contacted the SBA for their side of the story, and their response was that — forgive the bureaucratese here — they acted on public complaints and referred cases to the relevant agencies. In this case, they “advised the school to take it up directly with the student.”

But was it the SBA who first noticed Jovan’s homepage and reported it to his school? The SBA protested their innocence: they did not monitor personal homepages on the internet.

From what I had heard about the inner workings of the SBA, that was almost surely true. They never had anywhere near the necessary resources to monitor homepages, nor much inclination to do so.

To this day, it’s still a mystery how the school first came to know of Jovan’s homepage.

The newspaper also asked the school for a comment. St Andrew’s said they were “just being cautious, so we could call the boy back to talk to him, or for counselling”.

Excrement of male cattle! The family didn’t perceive the phone call as concerned advice, but more like an ultimatum — remove your homepage from the net or I’ll hold your papers to ransom.

And the tired bit about counselling? We hear it all the time from people who don’t know the first thing about homosexuality. How many times do we have to say it? That homosexual orientation isn’t a behavioural perversion; it’s a pretty normal form of sexuality. There’s nothing to counsel.

Two months on, the family had received no response from the Ministry of Education about their complaint. Nor had the SBA contacted them.

But the last word should belong to Jovan, who told the New Paper, “All I wanted to do was to make a statement that I’m proud of who and what I am.”

45 Responses to “Alvin and his university, Jovan and his school”


  1. 1 mark lim thiam seng 21 October 2012 at 01:35

    he better be proud of themselves.that is their baby.

  2. 2 Jack Lam 21 October 2012 at 04:30

    Alex,

    I am afraid you are completely wrong on this.

    Acknowledging and accepting one’s sexual orientation is not same as performing explicit sexual acts in public.

    What Alvin did is not acceptable to vast majority of Singaporeans.

    • 3 Ian 22 October 2012 at 18:57

      “What Alvin did is not acceptable to vast majority of Singaporeans.”

      And what makes you think that the vast majority can determine what rights and liberties each person gets?

      Alvin did nothing wrong, those ‘morally righteous’ people viewed their sex pictures/videos, then cried out loud about how disgusting it is, demanding for apology.

      Its like a kid kicking a car bumper and sprained his toe. Then stomped to his mother and saying ‘the car hit me’.

      • 4 Jimmy 28 October 2012 at 23:42

        Why not ? Alvin did put it up the video for publicity and for people to enjoy. Then naturally people, or the vast majority or minority of singaporans, will get to decide “what right and liberties each person get”, albeit quitely in their hearts or explicitly and loudly in the public forum like the internet just like you and I are doing.

        For you, it may be ‘morally righteous’ people, for others it is all about probity befitting a scholar student.

    • 5 twasher 22 October 2012 at 22:32

      Not sure what acceptability to Singaporeans has to do with whether NUS should punish him.

    • 6 Tan Wau lau 23 October 2012 at 06:21

      Jack, in the interest of human survival, one need to hold the conservative line as some alleges. Otherwise I see a bleak future

  3. 7 Mike Zeng 21 October 2012 at 07:20

    Jovan would be 28 yo today…..interesting to know what he’s doing now, ie is he still in Sing and working? What a brave and intelligent chap to face his demons…St Andrews School, SBA and MOE, squarely, Good luck to Jovan!

  4. 9 yuen 21 October 2012 at 07:44

    I dont think the two cases are comparable; being gay is not a matter of choice; preferring career as porn star to lawyer is, and others are entitled to discuss whether the choice is a good one once he made the matter public

    as porn goes, Alvin’s stuff was very poor; while newsworthy because few people here have done it before, its entertainment value is low; the real objective seems to be his call for others to come forward and join in; I myself find his need for more sex with more partners rather pathetic, even desperate, but you are free to find positive values in this

    since he has lost interest in the law profession, I see no reason why NUS should keep his place for him; having received an expensive though incomplete legal education using Singapore foreign aid money, I hope he manages to get some use out of it in his future porn and free sex promotional career in his own country

  5. 10 SS 21 October 2012 at 08:18

    There has to be a line drawn on what constitutes decency, and I think publicly posting sex videos has exceeded this set of fuzzy social norm, not to mention about Singapore and Malaysia law.

    If you want to argue about pushing boundaries, then why stop at publicizing sex videos? Why not try push for sex videos with underage but sexually mature people? Where do you want to draw the line?

    If NUS doesn’t do anything, then it signals to all its current and future students that this behavior is acceptable. I fully support NUS action in this case.

    • 11 SAMSAM 22 October 2012 at 12:21

      You are mixing up the law and decency. If he has done anything illegal then he should be arrested. If he has offended your idea of decency then he should not be arrested. Underage sex is rightly illegal but being in a porn video is not.

      The trouble is where to draw the “decency line” as clearly this chap does not find his actions indecent whereas you do. We get into the debate of why your perception of decency should be accepted over this chap’s but it gets very messy. Do you really want reach the situation where we arrest every porn star that travels to Singapore?

      Annabel Chong did not get chucked out of her university in the USA when she did her porn video and even signed up for a further course. I cannot imagine her uni even considered throwing her out. She now has a normal job and is probably a model citizen. It just seems t0 be a problem here in Singapore.

      As for the NUS legal faculty, they should be championing this chap’s right to freedom of expression and free speech.

  6. 12 Kliff 21 October 2012 at 11:43

    This is an interesting read… being currently overseas.. I was not up to date to current news back home. I did briefly saw this news and merely brushed it aside as one of the usual scandals, but since you have used it in such a manner, to convey the idea of going against convention.. it gave me a whole new angle of perspective of the situation. However, if it was just the case of him criticising Singapore then fine but the issue that does not fit quite right is the other sexually explicit stuff. I can sympathize with the second case where all the poor guy did was to be true to himself, but for this case, he is expressing his lust in a most graphical way.
    I do applaud his and his friend’s gust to be able to stand in such a spotlight without batting an eyelid, though it might be to a point of foolhardiness. I think the question here that needs to be asked is does freedom of expression warrant such behaviour?

  7. 13 Vote out PAP 21 October 2012 at 11:47

    Of course NUS doesn’t have a say on this and should just shut up. But the way in which ASEAN scholarships, MOE scholarships etc are awarded comes into question. People should start asking whether the tax money is put into good use. $100,000 is not a small sum. Alvin has said it clearly that he has no intention to become a lawyer since year 1 in university. I hope that the government could cut down its frivolous spending on scholarships if they have no good judgement on people whom the money they are going to spend, instead of relying on the constant refrain that the majority is not like him.

    • 14 SAMSAM 22 October 2012 at 12:33

      I agree that this has nothing to do with the NUS. But how on earth could the MOE predict how Alvin was going to act in the future? Are they the thought police? Simply unrealistic. If future behaviour could be predicted then there would never be a murder.
      And if he does not want to be a lawyer then that is neither here nor there, I am a lawyer and I would estimate most of my batch have left the profession. Most law students do not become lawyers and there is no reason why Alvin should not branch out into other fields – whether porn or not. At least he will not get taken for a ride in future contract negotiations;-)

  8. 15 Chow 21 October 2012 at 13:24

    “What does Alvin being nude or sexual have to do with NUS? What right does NUS have to write such controls into its code?”

    I guess they are just ‘worried’ about their reputation. Employment contracts often state that the employer reserves a right terminate the employment contract in cases where the employee is deemed to have acted in a manner detrimental to the company. That is certainly a catch-all clause since it can cover anything from hurting the company’s interests to sullying their reputation. In this case NUS is probably thinking of the potential damage to their branding in case a large proportion of their students or even parents of students are of the prudish sort. They don’t want parents/students pulling out or applying to a different school because they think that all students in NUS are like Alvin and his partner.

    For me, I don’t really care too much about it. They are free to put up their sex lives on the internet for all to read, enjoy, or moralize. I personally wouldn’t do it, but that doesn’t mean that it is wrong or foolish to do so. What I see is that they are brave enough to put up the videos and the blog and they are certainly brave enough to accept the consequences whatever it may be. That is something I can admire. No prevarication or rationalization.

  9. 16 Teck Soon 21 October 2012 at 14:11

    I agree with you. They didn’t harm anyone so why should anyone care? Jurisdiction hasn’t stopped authorities in Singapore from going after people who have published content in other countries before though. As I recall a British author published a book in Malaysia and was arrested in Singapore when he showed up for the book’s launch right? How is this any different?

  10. 17 Tan Tai Wei 21 October 2012 at 15:29

    Alex, why associate homosexuality with the apparent promiscuity and sexual exhibitionism of the Alvin case? Surely, your campaign against “homophobia” has been that there can be decent and honourable mutual vows made and kept between homosexual couples, analogous to normal marriages and familial bonding? Seems to me that in many “conservative” minds, it is this very coupling of homosexual behaviour with the Alvin kind of conduct that causes their “prejudices” you complain of.

  11. 18 Anon t5T4 21 October 2012 at 16:17

    While I sympathise with what happened to Jovan, I don’t agree with your view that Alvin Tan is “broadening people’s horizons and refusing to be boxed in — the very quality that has been essential for any kind of human progress.” I know I should not try to impose my moral values or any notion of shame on the couple, as what NUS is trying to do, but there is a difference between narcisistic, attention-seeking, amoral behaviour and appropriate sexual conduct. Don’t flame me for being prudish. I am not, but What they are doing is none other than trying to shock the public and gain fame or infamy for what is obviously a publicity stunt for whatever business deals (endorsement for sex toys or a role in adult movies) that they have in mind.

    Sure, if you like to capture photos and videos of your skills in bed for your own enjoyment, do it within 4 walls and do not try to impose your sexual preferences on others. It may be a sense of enjoyment and pride now, but this may prove to be a moment of folly and later, an incident that they will definitely regret (especially for the girl) once they get married and have children. Have they ever thought about the feelings of their families and relatives? Obviously not.

    • 19 Dawn 22 October 2012 at 07:07

      How exactly is posting nude photos online an imposition of someone’s sexual preferences on others? Did he at any point imply that YOU should post nude photos of yourself? Did someone hold a gun to your head and threaten to shoot unless you looked at the pictures?

      The way you implore us not to see you as “prudish” while using phrases like “appropriate sexual conduct”, and your insinuation that what they did was amoral, is completely contradictory. I see where you’re coming from because I personally would never do what they did. However, I also believe that if they want to post nude pictures of themselves for publicity, they have every right to do so without being judged because they are grown, consenting adults.

      Maybe they will regret their actions, maybe they won’t. Ultimately it’s a personal choice they will have to live with. You say you’re not trying to impose your moral values or notion of shame on them, but your very comment suggests an air of moral superiority and condescension that seems pretty damn hypocritical to me.

      P.S. This is detracting from my point, but as a feminist I can’t resist pointing out how the girl especially with regret her actions. Any stigma or loss of “reputation” that she has to deal with is simply a manifestation of ludicrous double-standards in a patriarchal society which assumes that a girl should be ashamed if she doesn’t bleed on her wedding night. The perceived slight to their family and relatives is due to the ridiculous notion that a family’s “honor” is somehow tied to whether a son/daughter has had premarital sex. Anyhow, in this case, Alvin is the one who stands to lose more in terms of his scholarship and place in NUS Law, which he doesn’t seem to want all that much.

      • 20 Dawn 22 October 2012 at 07:09

        *can’t resist pointing out how you mentioned that the girl especially would regret her actions

    • 21 SAMSAM 22 October 2012 at 12:45

      This seems to be the way things are going these days with people revealing every aspect of their lives online. But why is this Alvin guy any different from Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian? People have been depicting themselves naked for thousands of years so there is nothing new here and I’m not even sure this is news – just seems that with the internet the method has changed.

    • 22 Vernon Voon 22 October 2012 at 16:48

      I find your arguments on the slippery slope towards homophobia. Jovan by declaring his orientation on his homepage has also declared his sexual preferences to the whole world. Going by your argument, should he then keep his sexual orientation hidden and within the 4 walls of his close friends and family? Also, who is to say that Alvin and his partner has not fully thought out the consequences of their actions and are prepared to accept them, come what may? They may have decided never to get married, or if so, to sexually open people who would applaud what they did.

  12. 23 ape@kinjioleaf 21 October 2012 at 16:27

    Where do we draw the line? Should schools take on mroal disciplinary roles?
    I’m not sure if Alvin and Vivian broke the law… Singapore law, to be exact but what harm have they do unto others by posing their ‘porn’ in internet? Who’s the victim here?

  13. 24 Terence 21 October 2012 at 20:18

    There is nothing wrong with NUS including in its code of conduct rules against behaviour that might tarnish its reputation. As a private instituton, NUS has the right to set whatever rules it wants for its students – and if prospective students disagree, they can take their business elsewhere.

    Yes, you might argue that NUS doesn’t own its students and what Alvin does in private should logically have no bearing on NUS, but the fact is that the Singaporean public *does* tend to associate a person with the school that they come from. Newspapers play up this association all the time, especially when it comes to sex scandals. So it is hardly unreasonable for a school to impose rules against conduct widely regarded as offensive/immoral, in order to safeguard their reputation.

    Caveat: I am personally not offended by Alvin’s actions, nor do I consider what he did to be morally wrong. I see this as a purely contractual situation whereby Alvin agreed to abide by NUS’s rules and should not now complain if NUS disciplines him for violating them.

  14. 26 yawningbread 22 October 2012 at 00:23

    Oh, how fast amnesia settles upon us. In the 1990s it would have been commonplace for people to argue that (a) homosexuality equates with indecency, (b) homosexuality should be kept in the bedroom and not advertised, (c) any institution would want to protect its reputation from the taint of homosexuality, and should have the right to, and (d) homosexuality is a choice, and people are perverse to choose it. By this reasoning, St Andrews’ attempted action against Jovan would have met with approval.

    Yet I see people arguing that St Andrews was wrong to do what it did, whereas NUS is right to do what it’s about to do because of reasons (a), (b), (c) and (d) except that we substitute “porn” or “exhibitionism” for “homosexuality”.

    I’m not saying sexual orientation is the same as exhibitionism, but may I caution people from assuming that the mores of today are any more permanent or absolute than the mores of the 1990s?

  15. 27 Saycheese 22 October 2012 at 05:23

    Which of Alvin’s action is immoral/objectionable?

    a)Screwing his girlfriend
    b)Filming the sex sessions
    c)Having a blog featuring sex
    d)Uploading his sex videos to his blog
    e)Putting a link in a forum to his blog

    Will any of the above be immoral/objectionable if Alvin is not an undergrad on scholarship at NUS?

    • 28 SAMSAM 22 October 2012 at 13:03

      Well said. This is such a non-story and would not make a ripple in most other countries. The NUS is in a tricky dilemma though – if they sanction Alvin then they will be accused of limiting freedom of expression and free speech, but if the NUS doesn’t listens to the Singaporean public they will be accused of condoning his behaviour. They can’t win, but their mistake was attempting to haul him in for a “talk” in the first place as they are now “involved” and the spotlight is on them so the story now has legs and will run on and on. The Corp Comms department of the NUS has messed up.

  16. 29 exalt 22 October 2012 at 08:49

    I don’t consider his exhibitionism a problem in and of the fact that he was exposing himself. Alvin Tan’s grievous offence was to have low production values, poor lighting, and terribad instagram colour filters that butchered the quality of the videos/photos. At the very least, if he wanted to issue a call for more people join his sex life or make an attempt at “broadening people’s horizons and refusing to be boxed in..”(in your words), he should have put more effort into it. This is just half-baked, grainy. and self-defeating.

    That being said, NUS sounds incredibly butthurt in that statement it released. Hopefully, in the future things will change, but NUS looks like a top candidate for “the most intransigent organisation of the month”, right after the Catholic church.

  17. 30 Chanel 22 October 2012 at 09:24

    Alex,

    Better correct DPM’s surname to Teo from Yeo……lest you want to be invited for lunch by him!!

  18. 31 Sulaiman Daud 22 October 2012 at 09:25

    I disagree with your view that both cases are similar. Like Yuen said, being gay is not a matter of choice but attention-seeking behaviour is.

    That said I have no issue with his decision to publish his sexual exploits. Both Alvin and his girlfriend are consenting adults, and what they do is their business. I do however have a huge problem with his smug assertion that the NUS scholarship means nothing to him and that he has no intention of contributing to our society upon graduation.

    There are thousands of youths in our own country who deserve the public investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars over this loudmouthed braggart. He does not deserve to be championed, nor is his education worth being subsidised by the Singaporean tax-payer.

  19. 32 john 22 October 2012 at 09:39

    Disappointed with the bulk of comments posted below the article. I’m also surprised at the amount of defensive anger, vitriol and condescension directed at Alvin and Vivian. The question is really not about whether one personally condones or accepts the views of Alvin and Vivian or would engage in similar behaviour themselves….it is about whether the press and a university have the right to impose their standards on them.

    Frankly i don’t agree with the idea that Alvin and Vivian had “sex in public” and that the public needs to be protected from such an act. Therefore even if what they did was not acceptable “to the vast majority of Singaporeans”, as the first poster claimed, it simply does not matter. Many things I’ve done in my life are probably not acceptable to “the vast majority of Singaporeans”. Still i’m glad that hasn’t stopped me from living my life the way I see fit. And by the way I think that phrase (“the vast majority of Singaporeans”) allows conservatives to manufacture some amorphous notion of social normativity….one that is often more a reflection of the limitations they choose to impose on themselves rather than a qualitative reflection of social attitudes.

    What Alvin and Vivian did didn’t occur in front of someone’s house , it was on a website. You need to run a search or type a URL to find the site, how many people can say they stumbled across images of the couple unwittingly? IF you argue that they forced their standards on others by violating the public sphere, then by that same reasoning the press should be launching a moral crusade against the makers of any website with sexual content on it. The primitive backwardness of some conservatives in Singaporean society is really pathetic. The media is also pretty hypocritical and janus-faced. STOMP, for example, will shamelessly moralise with one story and then promote articles with pictures of scantily clad women in clubs, blatantly sexualising women to get hits. ( With nauseating titles like “Bikini-babes turn up the heat at……..” )

    Please keep your damn saintly morals to yourselves. I think the goodness of an individual is better measured by what that person does when faced with the plight of others, the injustices of the world and the opportunity to help someone else at risk to herself/himself. Not that person’s sexual preferences.

  20. 33 lauises 22 October 2012 at 11:04

    Hmmm I dont understand why does everyone assume Alvin wants to be a pornstar? Does being a pornstar mean posing sexual content online? In that case any blogger can be considered a writer. He is merely posting his sexual exploits online without intention of making it lucrative.

    Sex blog is not Porn blog. Don’t let the media warp your way of thinking just because of sensational phrasing.

  21. 34 walkie talkie 22 October 2012 at 15:43

    I hope and pray to Jesus that more people will be like Alvin & Vivian in the world and especially in Singapore.

    Singapore needs more people like Avlin & Vivian. This comment is not a parody.

    Seriously, if one were to think deeper about it.

  22. 35 fpc 22 October 2012 at 20:08

    my bet is that he would be burnt up the stick.

    Yet what he did is nothing as serious as the dog comment from sun xu

  23. 36 twasher 22 October 2012 at 22:28

    I’m really curious to know if NUS made the decision by themselves or if they were pressured into doing so by a call from the government moral police.

    The other thing I’d like to know is what would happen if this happens at Yale-NUS. Would Yale cave in again, or would it actually defend free speech?

  24. 37 sporescores 22 October 2012 at 22:52

    Seems like a lot of the moralising commenters here have somehow been forced to look at the photos and videos, leading to their sense of decency being offended. Does anyone know the trick to force someone to read your blog? I have some product advertisements that I would like to force people to look at.

  25. 38 octopi 23 October 2012 at 05:52

    I don’t think he did anything wrong. There are a lot of crazy assertions in the comments, like “he’s distracted from his law studies by putting up a porn blog” – that’s like saying that having a meal with friends is going to distract you from your studies. He’s “going down the wrong path” – well he’s only going down Vivian Lee. People are going to regret what they’ve done after they get married and have children. That is ridiculous – do you worry about your 60 year old grandmother, whether or not she was a porn star in her youth? Would you call her a slut? Chances are you wouldn’t even look twice at her!

    They decided to take a hiatus for the only reason that makes sense – their families are not happy about it.

    What this all tells you is that Singapore (and to a larger extent, Malaysia) is conservative. I’m quite alright with what he’s done. I believe that you can compartmentalise what he’s done and what he intends to do for his future career. I believe that the only way you can assess how serious he is about his work is to look at his grades, and his work, rather than whether or not he has a porn blog up.

    But it does seem as though most Singaporeans will not agree with me. So the lesson here is that if you want to have liberal attitudes towards acts like these, you will not only go up against the authorities, but also the man in the street.

  26. 40 D 29 October 2012 at 11:25

    Alex, can’t you see that most of the anger stems from him being an ASEAN scholar paid for by our money? For him to come out and say that basically he doesn’t care is like a smack on our faces. Also, I don’t think most people would call their act one that would ‘broaden people’s horizons’. By that same token, where does the buck stop? If someone has sex with his/her dog over the web, isn’t that pushing the boundaries too? What about having two under-aged but consenting individuals have sex over the web? You can see where this slippery slope argument goes. Surely that is wrong and surely a line has to be drawn.

  27. 41 Chris Tan 12 November 2012 at 10:53

    When I read the line about how SBA not having enough resources to monitor personal webpages, I immediately remember what I heard over the weekend about censorship here in China. Apparently, they have an army of 300,000 bureaucrats scanning the Internet for anything that may be construed as anti-CCP. Last week, for instance, my posting on Weibo was censored. I wrote about not about the CCP, but about an arrogant Beijinger who claimed that in Asia, only Tokyo could beat Beijing and Shanghai in terms of city development. Even Singapore, he said, could only compete with provincial capitals at best. Nonetheless, the posting was removed, apparently because of the sensitive “Beijing” keyword.

  28. 42 yuen 13 November 2012 at 09:18

    so NUS decides to cancel Alvin Tan’s scholarship for the final year, and to require him to pay the full tuition fee, which is around $25K per year, in effect requiring him to pay back some of the scholarship money received in the past; it seems a reasonable decision to me

    • 43 Tyson 14 November 2012 at 02:34

      How does having a sex blog affects one’s ability to be a fair, skilled and impartial lawyer? Or to contribute to society? Is it not a benefit when someone stands up for their faith/sexuality/social class/race/etc?
      What makes sex a special situation, something not to be spoken of in public?

  29. 44 Tyson 14 November 2012 at 02:25

    Why are people so hung up about sex? It’s not as if he’s forcing you to watch his sex blog. In fact, most of the ‘moral’ commentators here probably were vey interested to watch his blog, just like everyone wanted to see pictures of the Edison Chen sex photos. The human desire to have sex is very natural, and is healthy and laudable when done with consenting partners above the right age of consent (no kids). I applaud their courage in standing up about themselves, I don’t think a sex blog harms their ability to be a good lawyer or a film maker or actor or whatever a person wants to do. Can anyone name how it might do so? I think we really need more people like the both of them. Or else people will still be thinking in a 1950′s mindset – the job of a man is just to make babies and money, and a woman’s to cook and clean.

    • 45 yuen 14 November 2012 at 10:44

      > I don’t think a sex blog harms their ability to be a good lawyer

      you are entitled to your own opinion, but it is a question for employers of lawyers or law educators to judge, to judge; in this case NUS has certain views, and as far as I can tell from his reported behaviour, Alvin Tan himself has agreed to go along


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For an update of the case against me, please see AGC versus me, the 2013 round.

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