Archive for the 'knowledge and belief' Category



Crowd numbers at population protest

I see that many people on social media have pointed out the large discrepancies in reports of crowd size at yesterday’s protest against the Population White Paper. Variations in estimates always accompany any outdoor event unless it’s a ticketed one.

My earlier article quoted the organisers’ figure of 4,000 to 5,000, a figure they announced at least twice during the rally itself. My own calculations — which I completed only after publishing the earlier article indicate that 3,000 to 4,000 may be more accurate. Continue reading ‘Crowd numbers at population protest’

Shoes and the public

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I needed a new pair of shoes; the old pair didn’t survive Bali.

The sales assistant at Famous Brands saw me take an interest in a sample shoe on the shelf. I was flexing it to check its suppleness, scrutinising its sole, but still a little doubtful about the colour. She said, in Chinese, “It’s a good brand.”

“Why are you speaking Chinese to me?” I asked. “Would you speak English to me please?”

“Yes,” she replied (in English), followed two seconds later with another sentence in Chinese extolling the virtues of the shoe. Continue reading ‘Shoes and the public’

Change we must, by William Lim

Change We Must

William S.W. Lim
12 September 2012

Introduction

This lecture will be in two parts. The first part will highlight four critical issues why Singapore has to change. The second part will focus on the complex challenges ahead.


Part 1

1.0 Four critical issues

There are four critical issues that Singapore must contend with and are the reasons that it must change. They are:

1.1  Interdependent global conditions today.
1.2  Progress of Singapore not enough.
1.3  Myths and realities of Singapore.
1.4  The misunderstood nature of creativity. Continue reading ‘Change we must, by William Lim’

In the national conversation, some kinds of talk don’t come cheap

There are three huge hurdles to making anything worthwhile out of the national conversation that the government has launched.

The first is the attitude the government brings to it. Early indications are not encouraging; there is reason to suspect that they dearly want the outcome to more or less confirm what they want to hear, but there is possibly a second motive which I will write about soon. Consequently, the process is being tightly managed. A related issue is the lack of open data and access to information. How can the public meaningfully participate if the government insists on releasing only such information that suits its agenda? Continue reading ‘In the national conversation, some kinds of talk don’t come cheap’

Torturing the poorest of the poor, in the name of law and order

“Does it still hurt?” I asked Rubio that Wednesday evening.

He nodded and asked me for some painkillers.

Over the counter, there weren’t a lot of options. I did the best I could for him.

“What about clothes?” I asked. “Do you have anything else besides what you’re wearing?”

“No, don’t have,” he said. “Everything gone.” Maybe they had all been thrown away by the landlord when he failed to return and pay his rent. Continue reading ‘Torturing the poorest of the poor, in the name of law and order’

Baby bust – survey

Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for our resident population (citizens and Permanent Residents) was 1.20 in 2011, said a document released June 2012 by the National Population and Talent Division.  “The last time that the TFR of the resident population . . . was above the replacement level of 2.1 was in 1976.”

Clearly, our population bust is a serious issue.

The proportion of singles has increased across all age groups between 2000 and 2011, the document said. Among citizens aged 30-34 years, singlehood rates increased from 33% to 44% for males, and from 22% to 31% for females. Continue reading ‘Baby bust – survey’

Speech for Humanist of the Year 2012

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′

Can Singapore seize new manufacturing technologies?

The above picture represents a revolution. It is also a window to fresh ideas about the economic directions available to Singapore.

As most Singaporeans may recognise, the picture is of a board at a bus stop listing the route details of buses that call there. Almost all bus stops in Singapore have boards like that. But did you realise that no two of them are the same? Every bus stop has a different set of route listings, with details commencing from that particular bus stop. Thus each printed board is unique.

How is that revolutionary?  Continue reading ‘Can Singapore seize new manufacturing technologies?’

Love and survival through Khmer Rouge years

The above picture is of four women flanking a man in the centre. The women – constituting two life-long couples – were about to share their life stories at a workshop in Phnom Penh recently with about 34 gay activists from Cambodia’s Asean neighbours in the room (and about 50-60 more Cambodians).

I was among them, and I’m almost sure most of the Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) activists found it hard to see these women, hailing from the deep provinces of Cambodia, as “one of us”.

Continue reading ‘Love and survival through Khmer Rouge years’

Pastor heard telling dads to strike sons

 Listen to this audio (only 1 minute 41 secs). A pastor tells this flock that when they see a limp wrist in their sons, they should “crack that wrist”.

“Give him a good punch,” he adds.

Called “a horrific anti-gay tirade”, it was featured on the Huffington Post, 1 May 2012. The recording was originally publicised (provided?) by Jeremy Hooper of the blog Good as You. The voice in it is said to be that of Sean Harris (pic at right), a pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, in North Carolina.

Harris is heard endorsing the use of physical force on boys if they show any sign of effeminate behaviour.

Continue reading ‘Pastor heard telling dads to strike sons’


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

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