Archive for the 'personal perspective' Category

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’

Goat days

For a while, Daisy Hulou was good friends with Freda, even sending her a birthday card. But soon after, Daisy was seen being dragged into the bushes by Goat, the village head. We don’t know exactly what happened in the bushes, but immediately after that, Daisy asked Freda to return the birthday card she had sent. Freda asked her why she changed her mind, but she would not answer. She turned cold and uncommunicative.

Several months later, Specky told the village that the incident when Goat pulled her into the bushes was highly suggestive of rape. Continue reading ‘Goat days’

What the archbishop did not intend

Sometimes, people respond to a hole by digging a deeper one. Archbishop Nicholas Chia of the Catholic Church issued a press statement at around 10:30 pm last night in response to my post Lunch menu a 4-point letter. I only heard about it from reporters, and at the time of writing this, have not seen a copy of the press statement he issued.

According to the Straits Times:

The head of the Catholic Church in Singapore has confirmed that he wrote to an activist group backing its call to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) – but withdrew the letter later fearing it could affect the country’s social harmony. Continue reading ‘What the archbishop did not intend’

How media illiteracy is promoted

The Singapore government has just announced the formation of a Media Literacy Council. I will argue here that what the government has done over the last few decades is to promote media illiteracy. It serves their interests. Consequently, I am skeptical that they have found a new religion.

I will begin my argument by giving you a very specific example. It’s like this: On 25 July 2012, a story Foreign worker told: “If we kill you, there won’t be any witness” was published on the website of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), an advocacy group and charity that seeks fair treatment for migrant workers. (Declaration of interest: I am on the executive committee of TWC2, and have direct oversight of the website. The article in question however was not written by me, but it was passed by me for publication.) In a nutshell, the story told of a worker from India who reported quite scandalous treatment by his employer. He was so aggrieved that it became unviable to continue in the job; he was even fearful for his life. Continue reading ‘How media illiteracy is promoted’

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′

Danger zone: home, part 4

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′

Danger zone: home, part 3

“When [my adopted mother] kicked me out, my grades went up,” said Jeremiah. This only shows how toxic some homes can be.

Yet, being homeless while still a teenager is no bed of roses.

Jeremiah is now with the Ali Forney Center which runs a shelter for LGBT youth in Queens, New York.

Continue reading ‘Danger zone: home, part 3′

Danger zone: home, part 2

A point made by Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center which helps homeless LGBT youth, may be counter-intuitive, but still true: The home can be a dangerous place for some young people, especially if they are gay, lesbian or transgender.

Tiffany Cocco’s story illustrates this well.

“I wasn’t dealt the best cards in life,” she says with a bucketful of euphemism. “My parents were drug addicts, so I was put in foster care at age four.”

Her mother managed to regain custody, but then died two years later of Aids. Both her fathers too died soon after, and she ended up living with her grandfather. Continue reading ‘Danger zone: home, part 2′

Danger zone: school, part 1

“When my son was 13, in middle school, things got a little tough for him,” opened John Otto. “He was bullied by older students, and had to be hospitalized for depression.”

Upon discharge, the hospital recommended that Otto and his wife sign up for PFLAG, the organization for parents, family and friends of lesbians and gays. They had to learn how to support their gay son. Continue reading ‘Danger zone: school, part 1′

A mother’s job

Melina Waldo (right) noticed that her 19-year-old son had recently become rather distant. “I wondered what could be wrong with Craig,” she recalled. His grades were fine, so whatever it was, it probably wasn’t college-related.

She called her three daughters – Craig’s older sisters – who were then living together in Connecticut, and whom Craig had recently visited during a school break. Speaking to her eldest daughter, she asked: “Is he OK? Something has to be wrong.”

Her daughter said he was fine, but Melina wasn’t convinced.

“Is Catherine pregnant?” she asked. Catherine was Craig’s girlfriend (or so she thought). Continue reading ‘A mother’s job’

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




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