Are postings on Facebook considered public or private? Probably somewhere in between, and if that’s the case then I shouldn’t name the person who described this little incident, beyond his initials DC. He wrote:
Our [member of parliament] Dr. Lily Neo came by our place this evening during a [People’s Action Party] walkabout. When she asked how my hubby and I were related, hubby said “We are partners”. Then came a slight pause and she politely asked us to join the [Residents’ Committee’s] Facebook page and left under a cloud of confusion.
[words in square brackets] expanded from original initials by Yawning Bread
That’s the risk that election candidates face when they go on house-to-house visits. You run into people that your party has vilified.
Readers who cheer on opposition parties should not gloat. After stirring up all that anti-foreigner sentiment, opposition party candidates should beware:
1. Meeting a resident and voter, reminding him how foreigners are “stealing” Singaporeans’ jobs. His wife comes out of the kitchen to say ‘hello’, but it is quickly obvious that she speaks with a mainland Chinese accent.
2. Meeting a small business owner with a shop in the town centre and bringing up the topic of how the government isn’t helping small businesses like his. He agrees, mentioning as a specific example the latest hike in levies for foreign employees squeezing his bottom line. Yet without foreigners his business will collapse overnight, he says.
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From EL on Facebook, an obituary notice seen in the Straits Times:
This one apparently was a tragic case, but that’s not why EL thought it worth highlighting. The thing that caught her eye was the way the family recognised the deceased’s partner, naming her in the notice.
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On a happier note, JC posted onto Facebook a little note about what happened at her brother’s wedding reception. The family was called together for a photograph, for which JC’s partner was also asked to join. They saw her as a member of the family.
Oh yes, Law Minister K Shanmugam was present at the reception too, I suppose in his personal capacity.
In Singapore, like many societies, there is a gap between political rhetoric that leans to conservative self-righteousness, often pandering to the most ignorant and closed-minded religionists, and the social reality wherein family and friends extend their love and recognition with little hesitation.
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If Lily Neo had been quick-thinking, she might have parrotted her party line on the gay issue. The standard squawk goes like this: “Singapore is a conservative society and so Section 377A is there to signal mainstream values. However, in all other ways, we do not discriminate against gay people.”
Don’t believe it. Facts that stand in the way of truth are conveniently ignored.
Yahoo News reported on 23 March 2011 that two Thais were fined S$1,000 after being caught in a sexually-compromising position in a public park. Construction worker Ngernthaisong Pichet, 36, and his girlfriend, Phloetphao Somphan, 35 — who was in Singapore on a social visit pass — were caught stark naked in the bushes by an auxiliary policemen at around 11 p.m. in the Beach Road area.
The news report said the couple pleaded guilty to committing “an obscene act in public”. They could have been jailed up to three months and/or be fined.
From this description of the offence and the maximum penalties, it is obvious that they were charged under Section 294 of the Penal Code which is exactly the same law used to prosecute two men recently (after reducing charges from Section 377A) who had been caught in a shopping centre toilet (with door closed). See the details of that case as reported in The 377A hide-and-seek.
Fair enough, you might say.
Except that the two men were fined S$3,000 each. Why is a homosexual couple fined three times what a heterosexual couple is fined?