When you should vote PAP

For my gay, lesbian and transgender readers, and others for whom equality, non-discrimination and human rights are important, I have dug up the speeches made in parliament during the 2007 debate on Section 377A of the Penal Code. Thirteen People’s Action Party (PAP) backbenches spoke on the subject and this post will give you a gist of the positions they took. They were not uniformly anti-gay; three of them took a stand for repeal.

In my view, we should wherever possible support them for the courage of their convictions.

I omit from this review the two most memorable speeches: the “straw up your nose” convulsion of a speech made by Thio Li-Ann and that by Siew Kum Hong, because both were then Nominated Members of Parliament, not belonging to electoral parties.

I have also excluded Ho Peng Kee’s speech, because he was moving the Bill and speaking in his capacity as office-holder,  and Lee Hsien Loong’s waffle of a speech trying to square a circle while attempting to defend his government’s position.

Sylvia Lim (Workers’ Party, NCMP) touched on Section 377A briefly but only to say that

the Workers’ Party leadership, several months ago, discussed extensively the issue of whether section 377A should be retained or repealed. After much deliberation, we were unable to arrive at a consensus that it should be repealed and, as such, we would not be calling for its abolition.

That leaves only thirteen PAP MPs who spoke on Section 377A during the debate on amendments to the entire Penal Code. It should be noted however that even though the majority of PAP MPs did not speak in the debate, there was a thunderous ovation given to Thio Li-Ann after she made her venomous speech. One can therefore deduce from that where the typical PAP MP stands.

Background

As most readers are aware, one of the amendments to the Penal Code was to repeal the old Section 377, which made it an offence to engage in “acts against the order of nature”  which by court precedent means anal and oral sex. However, the amendments did not include repeal of Section 377A which punishes “gross indecency” between two men. The effect of this pair of action and non-action was to legalise anal and oral sex between heterosexual and lesbian couples but to keep any and every kind of sex between two males an offence.

Siew Kum Hong (NMP) presented a petition to parliament to repeal Section 377A as well. This proved controversial, such that while there were plenty of other amendments proposed to the Penal Code, the non-inclusion of Section 377A for repeal was the topic that took most of the debate.

Synopses of the 13 MPs’ positions

Christopher de Souza,  devoting a major part of his speech to 377A, kept referring to the “homosexual lifestyle”  — a derogatory term much favoured by the Christian Rightwing for its implication of hedonistic whoring and that homosexuality is merely behaviour that can be changed.

He argued that repealing Section 377A  would mean that the “homosexual lifestyle no longer remains private but travels into spheres traditionally reserved for heterosexual couples.” As examples of the loss of exclusive privilege by heterosexuals, he listed marriage, adoption, tax benefits and spousal rights (“Same-sex partners may be statutorily entitled to benefits because of their new-found spousal status.”). His speech came with the assumption that anyone hearing him would shudder at the idea that heterosexuals shouldn’t enjoy these privileges exclusively.

He ended his speech with a flourish: “Do we want to see our children being taught that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle choice?”

*

Zaqy Mohamad, speaking in Malay, said that in his opinion, the status quo position adopted by the government was “for the benefit for society as a whole”. He noted that the majority view was still conservative. Reporting on the feedback from his “constituents and community leaders”, he said they trusted the government to make the “appropriate decision that will reflect our social situation in Singapore.”

*

Indranee Rajah devoted a large part of her speech on Penal Code amendments to the specific issue of 377A.  Contesting Siew Kum Hong’s assertion that this law denied gay people full equality, a guarantee found in our constitution, she said: “”We do not look at your sexual orientation in determining whether or not you should be prosecuted or you should be
charged.”

Defending the retention of 377A, she compared the situation in Singapore today to the situation in other countries when they had slavery.

At the time when they had slavery, there were laws in place which reflected the public morality of that time. If you had been in America at that time when they had slaves and you had said to somebody, ‘You should not have slaves because slavery is wrong’, nobody there, at that time, would have agreed with you because the society was such that that was the correct thing at that time.

The gist of her argument was that an unenlightened majority had a right to deprive minorities of their rights. Citing another example, she pointed out that some countries today have  “institutionalised discrimination on the basis of either race or religion as part of their official policy. And for those countries, they consider it right.”

So there’s nothing wrong with discrimination against a section of Singapore’s population when “society” wants it, she argued.

*

Alvin Yeo devoted his entire speech to 377A. Echoing Indranee Rajah, he said the meaning of equality is contingent upon the values and beliefs of society. Presumably he means that if society thinks it treats people of a different colour equally even when they are enslaved, that meaning of equality remains valid. With specific reference to gay citizens, he felt that their equality can be compromised because the “principle of equal treatment of all has to be moderated by our aim of preserving harmony among our different races.” It sounded like a call not to frighten the fundamentalist Christian horses.

He concluded with an observation that “laws can and do change” and that gay citizens should put up with their discrimination in the meantime and “try to give this issue more time and not let it be something that divides our society.”

*

Hri Kumar argued that “laws must meet the three Cs, i.e. be clear, consistent and concrete, meaning that they must be substantive, effective and make sense.” Section 377A, he pointed out, falls short of these tests. When the government keeps a law yet say they will not enforce it, it becomes counterproductive, inviting attacks on the integrity of the law.

He also pointed out that claiming homosexuality to be immoral is no argument, since:

society has done away with criminalising a whole host of other conduct, which is far more damaging to family values, such as adultery, which carries a more direct threat to the integrity of the family. And adultery was one of the original Ten Commandments.

and, referring to the government’s refusal to criminalise a husband raping his wife:

I cannot imagine any Member of the House believing that it is acceptable for a man to force himself on a woman under any circumstances, regardless of whether they are married. But we do not completely outlaw marital rape.

He also spoke out against those who used religious arguments: “we must remind ourselves that we are a secular state. . . . and . . . decisions will always be made on secular grounds.”

Moreover “it is stretching logic to suggest that the repeal will lead to a sudden proliferation of homosexual activity.” And as for fears about HIV,

making something illegal only forces it underground. That will restrict the ability of the Government to respond to the HIV threat through promotion and education, when Government agencies feel that they cannot engage with the gay community in any way except a condemnatory one.

Concluding, he posed this question: “assume we are here debating whether to include section 377A into our Penal Code, would we do it?”

*

The debate continued the following day (23 October 2007). Baey Yam Keng pointed out the hypocrisy of it all. Referring to the repeal of Section 377 which nobody had argued against,

The rationale will be that since Singapore is a generally conservative society, we should single out and criminalise all sexual activities between two men while accepting that the same activity of anal and oral sex between a heterosexual couple and sexual activity between two women need not be offences.

Taking on the we-are-asian argument,

While almost all western countries do not have similar laws, we will argue that it is not relevant for us to take reference from them. However, we are also choosing not to benchmark Singapore against countries like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines which do not have laws that criminalise male homosexual activity.

As for claims that Singapore is conservative and social attitudes ought to be reflected in law,

Based on the Pew Global Attitudes Project in 2003, 93% in Indonesia and 84% in Vietnam say that homosexuality should not be accepted by society, but these countries have no equivalent of section 377A.

In any case, he pointed out, such public opinion is highly questionable.

However, whether the perceived majority holding the status quo view has enough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter to make an informed opinion, is another question. I suspect a significant segment of our society does not really care and some are just uncomfortable with this topic and choose the convenient way to stick with the status quo without knowing what the Act exactly is and does. Last week, a resident came to my meet-the-people session and said that she is happy that the government is retaining section 377A. I asked her, “Do you know what section 377A is about?” She said, “I don’t know.”

*

Ho Geok Choo appealed for calm and said that the Singapore should “strike a balance”. She did not say where that balance should be or even what her own views were.

*

Ong Kian Min opened with cannon fire: “I would state categorically that I am not in favour of mainstreaming the homosexual lifestyle.”

He also said that his constituents whom he likened as the (often wronged) silent majority had come out forcefully — the contradiction within his own metaphor seems to have been lost on him — to demand that moral standards and family values be upheld.

The overwhelming sentiment of Singaporeans is that they are not prepared to compromise their conservative family values by opening up to alternative sexual behaviour, nor allowing it to permeate across time honoured boundaries into the conventional family sanctity.

He took pains to thank Thio for her speech and finished with a call that gave away his religious affiliation. Using archaic English phrasing only found among Christians, he implored, “Let the family unit not be compromised.”

—–

Cynthia Phua only mentioned 377A briefly in her speech, choosing to deal with other amendments to the Penal Code instead. However, she too argued for a relativistic interpretation of equality:  “In the application of the rule of law, it has to be in accordance with the social, cultural and political values of each society.”

She wanted Singapore to “protect and uphold the traditional core family structure and values.”

—-

Mohammad Faishal Ibrahim, spent a good part of his speech on 377A.  He tried to appear modern by saying that “gay Singaporeans have contributed to our nationbuilding process and, like most Singaporeans, been loyal to our nation,” but quickly added that repealing Section 377A would be “against the mainstream approval of most Singaporeans.”

The gay community, in his opinion, have the “vote and enjoy the benefits that most Singaporeans are accorded”, concluding by expressing his “strong support that section 377A be retained in the Penal Code.”

*

Charles Chong’s unique angle was in how many of the other amendments to the Penal Code represented moves to make the law more gender-neutral: “Sir, other steps in the same direction include the substitution of “spouse” for “wife” and “child” for “son” in various provisions of the Code.”

He then expressed his puzzlement why some other sections which were also appropriate for “gender-neutralisation”, were left alone. The result was a “blemish” on what would otherwise have been a good exercise in updating the law.

As for Section 377A specifically, he was not convinced that Singapore would

rapidly slip down the slippery road if we were to repeal section 377A, as suggested by some Members. The slippery road argument has less of an impact on me these days, as I have heard that sort of arguments used many times before

and that

we have abolished that archaic regulation and permitted bar-top dancing for some years already, and the world has not come to an end yet.

Referring to points made by both Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong that sexual orientation is inborn, “then it would be quite wrong for us to criminalise and persecute those that are born different from us, regardless of how conservative a society we claim to be, especially if their actions do not cause harm to third parties.”

Like Hri Kumar, he posed the question:

if we did not have section 377A in the Penal Code today, would we think it fit and proper to enact a provision in exactly the same terms? Would we not be seen as being narrow-minded, perhaps even bigoted in our philosophy towards people who are born different and engage in practices not approved by the majority, even if no harm is done to others?

*

Lim Biow Chuan held the view that the role of the criminal law was not only to punish those who have caused harm to others. It should also reflect the public morality of our times.

He announced that he did not agree with the practice of homosexuality (interesting that he saw homosexuality as ‘practice’) and declared that  many residents whose views he sought agreed with him.

He then tried to appear Christian by adding that “The fact that I disagree with the practice of homosexuality does not mean that I despise homosexuals,” but nevertheless Parliament had to send a message that “Singapore is a conservative society whereby the family unit is still seen as the basic structure of society.”

*

Seah Kian Peng devoted a substantial part of his speech to 377A.  Rebutting the argument that retaining 377A would be tyranny of the majority against a minority, he claimed that there is no such thing in Singapore, as evidenced by the fact that we are so enlightened, we even have a system of Group Representation Constituencies “where minorities are protected.”

I am a Member of Parliament who believes that, as a nation, our families are not ready to have an open acceptance of the gay lifestyle, including same-sex marriages and gay adoption of young children. I believe that these key institutions would be weakened by the repeal of section 377A. This view, like this debate, is a matter of principle, not of numbers.

As evident from the above quote, unlike other MPs who argued for retention of 377A on the ground that the majority of Singaporeans wanted it,  Seah’s view was that numbers didn’t matter. Criminalising gay men would always be right even if the majority changed their views and he was the only one left.

* * * * *

The full transcripts have been archived: Speeches of 22 October 2007Speeches of 23 October 2007.

At this point, I have no firm information which constituencies these men and women will be standing for election in, at the coming polls, or even if they’re standing at all. Moreover, if they are part of a GRC team it is entirely possible to find one with a Pro-equality meter reading teamed up with another with an Anti-equality meter reading making it very hard to decide. Furthermore, much depends on the stance taken by the opposing party in their constituency.

Nonetheless, I hope the information provided here will enable you to decide whom to support and whom to roundly reject should an opportunity arise for you make such a choice.

22 Responses to “When you should vote PAP”


  1. 1 Peter Tambuwang 16 March 2011 at 20:24

    Its an interesting approach, to see PAP not as a homogenous unit but to parse between the individuals. But, as you have mentioned, unless Hri Kumar, Baey or Charles Chong runs in an SMC, I would find it very hard to recommend that pro-gay rights readers vote PAP.

    I find Sylvia Lim and the worker’s party very disappointing in taking their non-committal stance, but the PAP is not only very conservative and full of evangelicals, it is the sort of organisation that attracts and encourages that sort of influence with their conservative mindset and disregard for minority rights. Better to break the PAP hegemony than punish Worker’s party, if it comes to it.

    But I have had a rethink about three-cornered fights, and I do think that we do give opposition parties a free pass by allowing for collusive avoidances of three-cornered contests.

  2. 2 Jason 16 March 2011 at 21:25

    Parliamentary debates aside, many incumbents have also had their views made known during the previous GE. At the top of my head is Dr Lim Wee Kiak. In his own words “…I do not think that homosexuality is normal…”. Fine. Everyone is entitled to his opinion. The thing is, what he said was prefaced by “I’m a doctor…”.

  3. 3 joyce 16 March 2011 at 21:48

    Singaporeans have always thrived on being told what to do. Although that might change soon in the future, it is much still ingrained in the Asian mindset. Singaporeans find peace in nomalcy so being told that anything that deviates is unacceptable is comforting for the majority. For people who happen to have same sex preferences, they should be able to find like-minded people soon enough who can offer them alternate solutions like a few common countries to go to for the purpose of marriage and the like. As for adoption and other bedroom issues, there will be less harm if they were kept underground and quietly understood. An upheaval of the law digging up past records might drain tremendously and the conclusion after the period of debates and discussions regardless of the verdict, will hold ill sentiments from the opposing party, whichever way, which I see it possibly as half against half of the population taking into consideration today’s youth. More effort should be channeled into constructive debates and discussions that lead to objective solutions in the areas of pumping life back into Singapore tourism and urban planning. The topic of same sex marriages is highly subjective and personal. As what they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way, and so it goes too for the people with same-sex preferences regardless of the law.

    • 4 yawningbread 16 March 2011 at 23:19

      In a nutshell your view is that since gays and lesbians can find way to circumvent the law, or emigrate, there is no need to address injustices in law. There is no need to strive to make things better in Singapore. As for adoption, since it is possible in your view to adopt a child illegally, gay people should shut up and not complain? And due to illegality, if the child cannot be admitted into school, that’s alright too? And gay and lesbian parents can do without the child benefit sums dished out by the government, and that’s alright as well?

    • 5 Ponder Stibbons 17 March 2011 at 20:22

      By the same logic, if any race in Singapore faces racial discrimination that is sanctioned by the majority race, we should not do anything about it because they can (usually) migrate to some other country where they are the majority.

      By the way, keeping information about STDs underground creates more, not less, harm.

  4. 6 Gazebo 16 March 2011 at 22:28

    YB, this post’s argument is essentially flawed. You have muddled the party’s position, with the individual party member’s position. Let me ground this assertion. Worker’s Party could be essentially in the same state as the PAP i.e. there are party members who agree with the repeal, as well as others who don’t. However Worker’s Party’s members’ views could not be expressed in parliament due to PAP’s hegemony. Nevertheless, what is clear is that despite clear dissent within the party, PAP still insists on not repealing the law.

    Essentially, there is still no ground based on your argument for a PAP vote, at least over a vote for WP. Your article does not support that assertion.

    • 7 yawningbread 16 March 2011 at 23:30

      Indeed, the PAP government refused to repeal the law. The Workers’ Party, in the words of Sylvia Lim spoken in Parliament said, and I quote, “we would not be calling for its abolition.” How do you manage to see a difference where I don’t?

      If any Workers’ Party candidate were to stand up and say “I disagree with my party on 377A and I would personally argue for its repeal in and outside Parliament, regardless of my party’s position”, you will see me writing an article likewise saying vote for him/her. If he keeps quiet (like many PAP MPs have done) it is only natural that I impute the party position to him, the same way I impute the party position to any PAP member who has not spoken up.

      I am being scrupulously fair. I will hold all parties to the same standards of courage and honesty. And as Peter Tambuwang has said in his comment above, we too readily give opposition parties a free pass.

      • 8 Gazebo 17 March 2011 at 01:59

        This is the reason why I specifically mentioned that the PAP still did not repeal the law despite dissent within the party. This whole incident supports the hypothesis that the PAP as a whole, has a fixed set of views which is essentially independent of its members. As such, voting for PAP members who had indicated support for repealing 377a, at least on current evidence, is an ineffective way of achieving your aims of repealing 377. This is because it would merely mean at best, preservation of the status quo. We have to search for other ways of undermining PAP’s blanket views. Short of stripping it’s hegemony, I can see no other way.

        Furthermore, I think it is important to realize that the WP members have not had as ready a platform to voice their individual views as the PAP members have. Yes, there is a possibility that all of the WP members agree with the party’s stand. Yet there is a possibility too that that isn’t the case. I was merely making an assertion that we don’t know exactly what the WP members individually feel with regards to 377a. In fact, if you read Sylvia Lim’s words as a whole, she said that the members “were unable to arrive at a consensus”. i.e. there are definitely WP members who agree with the repeal. I agree with you that we would never know unless they speak up, but please also consider the fact that they definitely have less opportunities to speak up as PAP members do.

        In summary, I argue that voting for the PAP, regardless of individual members’ views, is at BEST a vote for the status quo, which will mean no repeal. This has been conclusively demonstrated and proven. Voting for the opposition, still represents a statistically more viable strategy for the repeal to actually take place, however unknown the party/members’ views are actually. This is because at least the hegemony of the PAP is removed i.e. things are no longer status quo.

        In other words, a vote for the WP is at WORST, a preservation of the status quo, but could potentially be good for your desired outcome. This potential is not present if one votes for the PAP.

      • 9 Poker Player 17 March 2011 at 12:02

        I say vote SDP whenever you can. I don’t see the same complete honesty about 377A from any other party. I remember a thoroughly persuasive, no waffling case CSJ made in response to a pro-377A comment made at the SDP site (unfortunately I lost the link).

        This should have no relevance but I am married with 2 children.

  5. 10 Peter Mak 16 March 2011 at 23:11

    But actions speak louder than words. The MPS who spoke for repealing would still, in any case, be under their party Whip.

    Cynically put, this would just be a wayang.

  6. 11 Black Charlie 17 March 2011 at 00:56

    Charles chong may sound like he is against retaining Sectin 377A. If we think that he is non discriminative by nature, think again. He has made himself clear that this society is made up of Higher mortal (himself included) and lesser mortal at the lower rung of this society. Thus I take his view that nobody is equal. Just like LKY agreed that Gay existed but somehow, the society is operated based on inequality to suit the majority stand. THERE IS NOTHING PAP CAN DO ABOUT IT and by now we are clear which MPs are the hardcore culprits in support of the penal code.

    As for WP, we do not know who is FOR or AGAINST the Penal code but I believe they have very limited resources to dwell upon such issue and rather, helplessly, allow themselves to flow with the trend in parliament. Thus it is too premature to cast a death sentence on them. Unless we have a two-party state for a more robust debate on this issue, we can be certain PAP (mostly christians) will keep discriminating gay people for as long as they retain power.

  7. 12 Robox 17 March 2011 at 02:10

    Alex, I am writing this post on the assumption the issue of the repeal of S377a is the decisive factor for an [LGBT] individual’s decision to vote for a party. (I have to make that assumption, for the sake of simplicity or my post is going to come across as very convoluted.)

    I could be wrong but I have always read you as a classic swing voter, someone who needs to be very convinced by every party fighting for YOUR vote that you should be voting for them. In that sense, you are a very mature voter, and an oddity in Singapore, in my opinion.

    But I feel that you may have hit a blind spot in your argument.

    If I were to vote for Charles Chong, Hri Kumar or Baey Yam Keng based on their individual stands on the issue, and even if one or more of them were in a GRC team with someone like Zaqy Mohamed with his long established public homopobia, what if the individuals or their GRC teams were contesting against an individual or team from the SDP or the RP, both of which are parties that are pro-repeal?

    Wouldn’t having a system of priorities be better?

  8. 13 Jeremy Tiang 17 March 2011 at 03:10

    Alex, thank you. It’s great to see someone going beyond tribal party politics and holding individual politicians to account – and heartening to know that there are PAP MPs willing to argue against the party line.

    It’s a shame that the Worker’s Party can’t reach a clear position. Reading between the lines, it would appear that there are die-hard social conservative elements in the WP too – but we’ll never know. I wish this were different, but then I suppose I shouldn’t expect the opposition to share my position just on the enemy-of-my-enemy principle.

    Let’s hope things change soon. A trivial example, but I never expected to see a casino in Singapore in my lifetime, and yet…

  9. 14 Tan Tai Wei 17 March 2011 at 08:56

    Important to separate these issues and such others on the subject.

    1)Promiscuous homosexual practices; heterosexuals too are prohibited from sexual promiscuity by conventional morality; so censuring such “life-style” not necessarily imfringing upon “justice and equality”.

    2) Homosexual couples adopting or having children; heterosexual couples too are governed by rules of such adoption and having, in the interest of children’s upbringing, etc; so, also, singles adopting or having children.

    Such issues should not be deemed to affect the proposal per se for allowing homosexual couples to find fulfilment and life-companionship in marriage, with “conjugal rights”, etc. Heterosexual couples, by choice or otherwise, may also be childless, and we do not deem that to adversely affect “family life” and children’s upbringing, etc.

  10. 15 Desmond 17 March 2011 at 11:11

    I personally think it would be difficult to “vote for one without the other”. Let’s say any of the pro-camp PAPs run, and together with them there are 4 others (I do believe they would be in GRCs), would I vote for them because of that 1? I really doubt so.

    As for WP, if I want to vote for them, I mind as well vote for the PAP, considering the fact that they have almost no difference in their views of various affairs in Singapore. As much as I would like to have a stronger opposition present, if given the choice betwenn WP and PAP, I’ll take the PAP. At least, I know there, there might be a chance for 377A to get repealed.

    A lot of people might think that this is so a small matter, but when you are the one that is discriminated against and marginalised, how would you feel and vote. I do think our Malay and Indian counterparts know the feeling.

  11. 16 Robox 18 March 2011 at 02:50

    I have to say that the reason why I am thrilled by this article is because it represents a new direction in establishing LGBT political clout in Singapore; it is a great idea for leading activists of the LGBT community to publish the positions of the various parties as well as the positions of individuals in parties that have a less than a favourable position on LGBT rights.

    It represents a formalizing of our political clout, this time as voters, a role we also play that many homophobes still find difficult to come to terms with.

    When news broke in TOC and TR about the queries that the seven LGBT individuals including Alex made to the various political parties, the immediate reactions were of the brand of homophobia that I had thought was dying out in Singapore. I don’t think that it is too much of stretch for me to suggest that the unfavourable positions taken by the many the many parties in the opposition also have the power to embolden the crassest types of homophobia in Singapore, seeing that both blogs tend to be dominated by supporters of opposition parties. (At this point, I would ask why the Socialist Front was left out by the seven individuals especially given Chia Ti Lik’s role in the now defunt SgHR – we still don’t have the vaguest idea about their position, but I am expecting one that is more favourable than not.)

    Formalizing our political clout is not without precedent either; it’s been done in so many other countries, and the time may have come when Singaporeans follow suit.

    Frequently, such campaigns have included the allies of LGBTs as well. I was very impressed that among the 85 or more individuals who filed police reports against Rony Tan included many allies; they outnumber us by many to one, and could frequently be conted on to act in our support as a vote bloc.

    I look forward to further growth in this development.

  12. 17 Roy Tan 20 March 2011 at 14:00

    I’ve assiduously avoided uploading the more homophobic speeches made by PAP MPs during the 377A debate in parliament in 2007, but since the General Elections are looming, you should listen to what some of them like Christopher De Souza think about homosexuality before you cast your vote:

  13. 18 Skyggen 20 March 2011 at 18:01

    I may add at this point that the idea that an exclusive preference for sex with the opposite gender is not entirely a majority view.

    In a survey of 5,000 NUS students conducted by a large international consulting company whose services were engaged by a committee headed by the EDB amongst other government departments, it was discovered that less than 40% of male students and less than 30% of female students exclusively preferred sexual activities with the opposite gender. In other words, the majority of the students polled had engaged in homosexuality. Even more interestingly, approximately 6% saw themselves as neuter or transgendered.

    The results were so stunning that the government has chosen to hide these results. If you work for a government department, you can find this information. If you are an NUS student you may remember this survey performed last year. I urge you to seek out this information.

    We are a rising power. We will one day be the majority. When that day comes, remember this.

    I should clarify that I am generally pro-PAP for their largely successful economic schemes, I am pro immigration, pro practical liberal economics, pro secular government, and pro ERP.

  14. 19 Roy Tan 20 March 2011 at 23:04

    This is part 2 of the above video:

    Cheers.

  15. 20 pugdragon 7 May 2011 at 15:10

    “He ended his speech with a flourish: “Do we want to see our children being taught that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle choice?””

    I don’t see any problem with that. Isn’t this a free country? Aren’t people entitled to their own freedom of choice? Can I impose my durian-hating opinion on people who enjoy them & discriminate or criminalize them? Denial of freedom of choice spits in the face of democracy.

  16. 21 Not Again 19 May 2011 at 07:56

    It is my firm believe that there is no right or wrong in God’s Universe. He has given Mankind a set of guidelines as in the Ten Commandments (I am not promoting religion here), merely for Man to apply or follow as we deemed fit.

    Man has subverted the natural laws of nature, oftentimes for his own purpose, as can be observed from the early beginnings of our civilization until the present.

    From nature, all manner of diverse lifeforms exist side by side in total harmony. We see mono sexual, bisexual lifeforms, polygamous and incestuous practices, killer instincts – for food as well as for fun, harems in animal species, dominant males killing the young to avoid competition – the list goes on.

    Today, we live in a society where all manner of laws are put in place to regulate and control human behavior for the common good of all – this is the function of Government. The responsibility of Government is to uphold law and order as mandated by the people. Who are the people?? We the voters!!

    So, in a good Democracy, the Government legislate laws mandated by the people. But often, the Government pass laws on behalf of its citizens (since we have given them our mandate). So, I would like to be bold here and say that since all laws are made by Man, they can be changed!! Is it really this simple??

    Unfortunately, the answer is no, it is not. Even if this is America – to change a law requires due process. But in PAP Singapore – it is virtually impossible at times, especially if the change does not favor the incumbent. Unless we get more Alternative Voices in parliament, this will be an uphill task. The PAP do not tolerate Opposition in parliament as they will impede their rubber stamping process.

    It is only during the recent GE 2011 that the incumbent realizes that the tide of change is coming, growing into a tsunami and becoming unstoppable – unless the PAP incumbent mend its way drastically and quickly. Thus the hands of the PAP has been forced. Hence the public apology by PM Lee and the subsequent acknowledgement of the people’s choice for change, and more alternative voices in parliament.

    What Sylvia Lim of WP did was sensible and courageous. It is foolhardy to battle the PAP in parliament when there was only three members of the opposition against 82 of the incumbent. Like Napoleon, it is better to retreat in the face of overwhelming force (or face certain devastation), only to be back to do battle again when the odds are more favorable.

    Change has taken place in Singapore with the PAP conceding more grounds to the opposition. We have waited 52 years for MM Lee to finally step down and hand the reins of government to a new and younger team of PAP leaders – lets not be impatient. couple years more will not hurt us. After all the insinuations of Vivian Balakrisnan against Vincent of SDP on his Gay Agenda died as promptly as it was raised during the hustings. This in itself is a great victory of sort.

    The Opposition should be given full credit for their restraint during the hustings – observing all rules laid down by the PAP. It was rather shameful that the PAP on their part did not play by the same rules but instead used smear tactics, name calling,
    violating the cooling off period ruling and creating a non level playing field especially on use of state control media for reporting.

    The above subject on sexual inclination is still very sensitive in conservative Singapore. I believe that the law does not come down hard on people who have the freedom to practice it in the privacy of their homes or hotels. But to openly demand the rights that was outline in some of the blogs above will need time. If anyone wants to speed things up – start by joining a political party and get more involved. I propose you join the Opposition, they are definitely more interesting & progressive.

    • 22 yawningbread 19 May 2011 at 10:30

      You wrote: “I am not promoting religion here”

      Yes you are. Not all religions believe in a singular god, some religions have no god. Only one religion out of the hundreds or thousands that humans have imagined came up with the so-called Ten Commandments; nobody else has heard of them. And then what about people who do not have any religion, who think religions are hogwash? Their views are just as valid.

      I know the rest of your post is about politics, which is fine. Please re-write the comment to remove all references to religion, or else I will probably remove the opening part of this comment. Needless to say I will not accept any comment-responses to the religious bits of the above post.

      —–

      So that people better understand the basis for the above: Whenever someone applies his religious framework and yet says that he is not being religious, the effect is to paint that religious framework as the one and only natural belief system that would apply to everybody, and to imply that other belief systems are invalid. It crowds out other possibilities. That in itself is a promotion of a particular religion.

      Therefore to write of “God” with a capital G in the singular is immediately to position the belief of a singular deity as normative. By the same token, to dismiss by silent exclusion other belief systems that have more or less than one deity.


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