Young filmmaker Boo Junfeng posed two questions to Lawrence Wong, the incoming Minister for Community, Culture and Youth during a phone-in chat last Friday evening (14 September 2010). The minister’s responses don’t inspire much confidence. Continue reading ‘New ministry, old ideas’
Archive for the 'homosexuality' Category
“The guy from Singapore is the one who would raise his voice and is really showing his opposition to include SOGI,” came a report from an LGBT group in Manila. SOGI stands for ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’. The report was referring to a previous civil society consultation exercise held by the Asean Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (Aichr) as it proceeded with its work of drafting an Asean Declaration on Human Rights. Civil society groups were pressing for inclusion of equality for gay, lesbian and transgender people within the scope of human rights. Continue reading ‘At Asean, Singapore choosing to be anti-human rights’
I see that not only is the gay and lesbian community pleased with the Court of Appeal judgement released on Tuesday, 21 August 2012, some folks are especially delighted with the arguments used within the written decision. For example: that 377A “affects the lives of a not insignificant portion of our community in a very real and intimate way”.
The Court of Appeal reversed the High Court decision on striking out, and thus allows the constitutional challenge brought by Tan Eng Hong against Penal Code Section 377A — the law that criminalises “gross indecency” between men — to proceed.
I would reach for a deeper understanding why the language of the judgement may sound so “gay-friendly” for want of a better word. It is simply because one of the two conditions that needs to be satisfied for allowing a constitutional challenge to succeed is for there to exist a “real controversy”. One could argue therefore that the justices of the court were highly conscious that they had to demonstrate clearly why they thought a real controversy existed, so they naturally had to give play to the arguments against 377A.
It does not necessarily mean they are leaning towards the merits of the case against 377A. Continue reading ‘Constitutional challenge to 377A to go ahead’
Lawsocgate is likely to rumble on for a while. Legal processes take their own time and there are probably some facts yet unseen by the public.
However, I will argue that the issue it has uncovered goes beyond that of the Law Society versus M Ravi. Athough Ravi, colourful a character as he is, has a tendency to steal the show, we shouldn’t lose sight of an even more troubling question about the law profession itself.
Just to recap, on 16 July 2012, a Monday, just as a court hearing concerning by-elections got underway, a Wong Siew Hong from the Law Society appeared in court. M Ravi was then representing Madam Vellama in seeking a declaration from the court that the prime minister does not have unfettered discretion as to when to call by-elections. In chambers straight after the open hearing, Wong produced a letter from a psychiatrist Calvin Fones saying in a nutshell that Ravi was unfit to practise law due to a relapse of his bipolar disorder. Continue reading ‘The ghosts of absent lawyers’
It was a small survey about attitudes to adoption and having children by persons who are single or not conventionally married (as per current Singapore law), but I think it will take me five articles to present the results.
That said, it’s not as if it is such a significant survey. It’s certainly not representative of Singaporeans as a whole since it was conducted on this blog alone, and only open to responses for three or four days. As I mentioned previously, the readership of this blog has certain demographic characteristics — being generally more liberal is one of them. And so, the results are only suggestive of what this segment may be thinking. Continue reading ‘Attitudes to creating non-standard families, part 1′
What is the place of religion in society? Two recent news stories from the US pointed to this question. Both by themselves had little significance for Singapore, but nonetheless gave food for thought.
The first, Republican horrified to discover that Christianity is not the only religion, was about Valarie Hodges, a state legislator in Louisiana, changing her position with respect to a proposed law that would enable school fee vouchers, provided by the state government, to be tendered at mission schools. At first, she fully supported the law, assuming that religiously-run schools only comprised Christian schools. Then, she was aghast to learn that in line with the secular underpinnings of the US, other religiously-run schools would be equally eligible under the program, in particular, a Muslim school that had applied for inclusion.
“We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana,” the article quoted her as saying. Continue reading ‘What limits to ‘religious liberty’?’
The above is a segment of a TV production that was broadcast on ChannelNews Asia on Tuesday, 9 July 2012. The “Talking Point” episode was entitled, “Should we promote safe sex along with abstinence?” This segment however is about homosexuality.
The three participants speaking are a curriculum director from the Ministry of Education, a pupil development specialist from a secondary school and a student. It begins with someone calling in with a question.
Coloured boxes contain my comments. Continue reading ‘Roundabout language on homosexuality only sounds suspicious’
On its website, Singapore’s Ministry of Education says that one of the key messages of its sexuality education curriculum is: “Practise abstinence before marriage, as it is the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and unwanted pregnancies.”
Does no one there realise that even after marriage, sex carries the same risks? So why make it sound like sex is so terribly dangerous only to the unmarried? Playing up the risks in such a one-sided way raises a flag of suspicion that some other motive is at work.
No surprise then that there has been much criticism online. Continue reading ‘The Education Ministry and the abstinence from intelligence’
Below is the speech delivered for the event on 23 June 2012 when yours truly was honoured by the Humanist Society (Singapore) with the Humanist of the Year award. I was asked for something touching on “gay-rights issues/humanism/religiosity”.
Thank you very much for the honour. I think it’s very generous of the Society, though I would understand if it had been a difficult decision since I am a gay man. Some of you may wonder why it is such a big deal that I would open with a sentence about my sexual orientation. It is a big deal because the world in which I am living now makes it so.
But it shouldn’t be so, and it wouldn’t be so if we applied reason upon empirical knowledge, which is the very essence of humanism. To be gay is now known to be a completely natural phenomenon, inherently harmless. Continue reading ‘Speech for Humanist of the Year 2012′
Needing money to escape to New York City, eighteen-year-old Vincent went to a blood donation centre. “I gave plasma to get some dollars,” he said.
On 17 June last year, he got on a bus, leaving his small hometown in Ohio (population 3,000) with no plans to return. Continue reading ‘Danger zone: home, part 4′