Worms, dating and editorial consequences

Two university students boarded the train, standing near me. Continuing their conversation from earlier, he asked her: “Does your church have any rules against dating guys who are not Christian?”

She replied: “I don’t think there are any explicit rules, but it won’t be encouraged. Certainly the cell group, if they find out, will apply pressure on you to stop.”

“What kind of pressure? What will they say?”

“Don’t know exactly, I mean, it hasn’t happened to me. I suppose they will say something like compromising your faith. After all, it’s not really what god would want. . . ”

Question to consider: Is this really a matter of faith, or an example of peer pressure and socialisation?

Some time later, I was at a cocktail function that came with a buffet dinner. About one in three of the guests were Indians working in Singapore, one of whom was standing in line at the buffet just behind me, and with whom I was having a conversation about how he found life here since arriving six months earlier. Picking up some fried noodles with the tongs, I asked him if he wanted some.

“No, thanks,” he said. “I’ll be taking the rice.” And then he added, “I’m not used to that. No offence, but it feels like worms going down the throat,” half-laughing at the thought.

Primed by that remark, over the next half-hour or so, I looked at the plates of the other Indians at that function. Indeed, just about every one had rice; no one had noodles.

How representative that observation was, I don’t know. Certainly Singaporeans of Indian ancestry have no difficulty with ‘worms’.

* * * * *

People often confuse their subjective feelings, which are often the result of socialisation, with some kind of eternal truth. Homophobia is a prime example. Like racism, sexism and food preferences, it is learned behaviour, but ( though less so with food preferences) one that is rationalised through appeal to convention and pseudo-logic, such that it has the ring of truthful authority. I say ‘pseudo-logic’ because when one examines the bases and follow-on arguments, they are often false — unsupported assertions regardless of contrary evidence  — or logically flawed.

Homophobia for some arises out of a subjective ‘yuck factor’ much like swallowing worms (yuckiness is also learned behaviour), but more importantly, is reinforced by an entire culture of “othering” gay people,with negative attributes assigned to them. Association with gay people is discouraged. The associator risks social opprobrium and accusations of betrayal of the in-group, a process that resembles that of a cell group exerting subtle control over the choices and thought patterns of a member.

A continuing difficulty for webmasters is the degree to which homophobic statements, including thinly disguised appeals to pseudo-reason, should be allowed. This seems to be more difficult for webmasters than taking decisions regarding racist statements. Why is this so when homophobia is equivalent to racism? Most probably it’s because an intellectual position against racism is longer established, and ordinary people, even if they themselves cannot quite articulate the intellectual arguments against it, have imbibed the conclusion — that racism is wrong — as morally-binding. The intellectual position against homophobia is just as strong, but perhaps not enough time has passed for this to migrate into popular consciousness.

Yet, even recognition of this does not resolve webmasters’ difficulties. Precisely because the intellectual arguments against homophobia have not sufficiently passed into popular consciousness, so should anti-gay remarks and rationalisations be allowed to be aired, in order that they may be rebutted?

Some might say Yes. But this runs up against the simple fact that for most people, the opinions they hold are not formed through intellectual enquiry, but through conformity to social climate. In other words, allowing anti-gay remarks and rationalisations to be aired and hopefully rebutted, ultimately does very little to change people’s minds. If anything, allowing those remarks and rationalisations to be aired in the first place does the opposite: it lends legitimacy to homophobic positions as somehow equivalent in the eyes of casual readers to the opposite conclusions arrived via higher reasoning.

Most webmasters will not allow racist comments to be aired merely in the hope that someone somewhere will rebut them intellectually. The allowing itself is seen as wrong. It is seen as lending some legitimacy to racism.

I myself have shifted back and forth between the two editorial positions. There have been periods when I’ve been more accommodating of homophobic comments, and there have been times when I have been stricter. At this moment, I lean toward the stricter side, and make no apologies for disallowing homophobic comments that will not pass muster if race was substituted in them as the issue at hand. I make no bones about the fact that this is a liberal, progressive site, seeking to change minds and society.

What about freedom of expression, some will ask?

It’s irrelevant. The very asking of the question betrays a poor understanding of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a civil right — this means that the state is enjoined from violating it. Note: the state. Private citizens can do what they please with their private properties. Thus ‘private’. Newspapers traditionally have been mouthpieces of their owners and editors, arguing for and promoting certain viewpoints. Restaurants are not obliged to pin any and every damning review of their food and service on their front doors. Mosques do not have to include Islamophobic letters to the editor when putting together their monthly newsletters. A political party is not obliged to carry criticism of its program on its website.

Even when it comes to the role of the state, it is generally accepted that the freedom of expression that the state should protect is not an absolute one. Arguably, states can regulate hate speech — which includes speech that deliberately demean an entire class of persons, urging social and political restrictions on them. Thus, even by that measure, there is a good case for not permitting the airing for homophobic views.

And so it shall be here.

55 Responses to “Worms, dating and editorial consequences”


  1. 1 ricardo 27 September 2011 at 08:02

    You’ve got to be taught,
    Before its too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people, your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

  2. 2 Poker Player 27 September 2011 at 10:32

    “There have been periods when I’ve been more accommodating of homophobic comments, and there have been times when I have been stricter. At this moment, I lean toward the stricter side, and make no apologies for disallowing homophobic comments that will not pass muster if race was substituted in them as the issue at hand.”

    There is something to be said for being lenient in this case. Let their stupidity show. Let readers respond, homophobes being as stupid as they are – sarcasm is enough. In fact, it helps your cause – who wants to be on the stupid side.

  3. 3 meiming 27 September 2011 at 10:36

    So, I take it that instant noodles and pasta have no market in India…

    Actually, we fellow Singaporeans (of Malay, Indian and Chinese origin) have more common with of life when compared with those who recently come from Indian or China.

    • 4 yawningbread 27 September 2011 at 22:49

      I don’t know. Maybe someone can tell us. As I said, I don’t even know if the sample of about 10 – 15 at a dinner party was representative. By the way, ‘pasta’ is not always noodle-y in shape.

      • 5 Anonymous 28 September 2011 at 15:37

        I don’t think noodles are that alien to the Indian palate, not only is Maggi noodles is pretty popular (it’s sold in regular grocery stores), chow mein is also common in Indian Chinese cuisine (Hakka influence originating from Calcutta) and street-side stalls.

      • 6 Ling 1 October 2011 at 00:21

        Hmmm. I was in Bangalore and my Indian Indian (not Singaporean Indians) friends told me how much they loved Maggi Masala and cooked it for me. Maggi Masala has a big following and I think Mustafa imports it too. So yea I guess it depends on which part of India you are looking at.🙂

  4. 7 Old Singaporean 27 September 2011 at 13:38

    For once, I find myself disagreeing with you. Editorial positions should not lean towards the stricter side. Nearly all people have very sticky positions and very rarely change their minds no matter how rational or logical your arguments are and how irrational or illogical theirs are. But, as long as there are the rare persons who are intellectually honest and open, there is the possibility of moving forward. Also, resistence to a change of view is emotionally based, which explains its irrationality. For that irrationality to be diminished, it needs to be constantly exposed to the light of rationality, and that takes time and patience. These arguments apply to any views and not only the homophobic ones.

  5. 8 wikigam 27 September 2011 at 16:12

    @ricardo
    Do Clarify your stand , what have to be “taught” ?

    “Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender” Edited by Carol.R Ember Melvin Ember . Pages 213 :

    1)One of the most common philosophical mistakes is to
    confuse what is with what ought to be. One variation of
    this confusion is known as the naturalistic fallacy—the
    idea that if something is natural, then it is good.

    2)The confusion of “is” with “ought” is so common
    that some scholars have fallen into the reverse error of
    concluding about what “is” based on what they think
    “ought to be,” thus committing the moralistic fallacy

    ->So wrong “education” enforcement will cause the bad impacts to the social.

    • 9 Anonymously Annoyed 1 October 2011 at 05:25

      Hi Wikigiam,

      Not Ricardo here, but this was a catchy little number “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” from “Pacific Island” – a 1948 Broadway number by Joshua Logan, which was remade into a movie ten years later. The “what” that has to be “carefully taught” in the song was racism, with the implication that such attitudes are not inborn, but rather, socialized in people.

      The movie was plain cheesy – and that’s putting it rather mildly – but provided a good exercise in examining pertinent issues like colonialism, racial prejudice, and the imagining of the “other”. [That is, if you can bear to sit through all those musical numbers.] And of course, it is worth noting that people continue to be “taught” certain undesirable attitudes – including homophobia – through the act of socialization.

      Anyway, Ricardo – I hope you don’t mind me stealing your thunder here. I watched the “Pacific Islander” movie as part of a History class in college, and the tempation was too great to resist. And yes, the song remains etched in my mind even till today. =)

      • 10 Anonymously Annoyed 1 October 2011 at 08:31

        Mea Culpa, the title of the musical/movie was SOUTH PACIFIC, not Pacific Island (or Islander). That’s what happens when you try to post something in the wee hours of the night. Also, as you can see, I remember the song more than the movie…

  6. 11 Anonymous 27 September 2011 at 22:50

    if the mind set is there, and airing something contary to mind set would reinforce mindset, how does one change mindset in society then?

    • 12 yawningbread 28 September 2011 at 10:38

      By exposure, not by reasoning. The human race has this ridiculous idea that we are a rational, intelligent species. We are not. Most ideas and opinions are not formed rationally. As a species we tend to use our reasoning powers to rationalise what we want / like / hate anyway. Of course, there are exceptions. . . but they are exceptions.

      • 13 Poker Player 28 September 2011 at 10:51

        A Nobel laureate once said that new scientific theories gain acceptance through old scientists dying.

      • 14 walkie talkie 28 September 2011 at 12:28

        Despite the use of reasoning as a post-conviction tool to justify our non-rational or pre-rational loyalty to a conviction, good reasoning can still be used to to show bad reasoning. The goal is not to change minds base on reasoning alone, but to clear away bushes (bad reasoning) laid on the road so that people cannot hide behind those bushes, so that in the end they cannot say that “reasons dictate that my position is the correct position” but are forced to admit “I held on to such a such position because of my taste and preferences”,

      • 15 tk 28 September 2011 at 15:54

        You’d hope that as more of the world’s population attains University level education – which after all is about learning to think for yourself, and think rationally and deeply – these “exceptions” will become less rare (I would even say “the exception is the rule” on YB), but your anecdote about the kids on the train is depressing.

  7. 16 Pauls 27 September 2011 at 23:17

    The following article is relevant to your point that “yuckiness is also learned behaviour” and the parallel between food aversions and reactions to homosexuality.

    Wulf Schiefenhövel. 1997. Good taste and bad taste: Preferences and aversions as biological principles. In Helen M. Macbeth (ed.), “Food preferences and taste: continuity and change”

    “we are equipped with a very complex sytem for evaluating the wide range of specific qualities in foods. Whereas some parts of the system, like the area postrema mechanism, are more or less ‘hard-wired’ and have fixed biological mechanisms, other parts are very susceptible to various inputs during ontogeny. They are the entry ports for environmental, i.e., cultural stimuli, which then create the preference and the aversions typical of human cultures.
    […]
    “the disgust reaction seems to be triggered easily. […] This reaction is not limited to foods, but extended to a wide range of other socio-cultural markers, particularly ones which are subject to moral evaluation.”

    • 17 sivan 29 September 2011 at 08:11

      Highly contestable. A brief trawl through 19th century ethnography will reveal that the european scholarly community often presented inter-racial mixing as something naturally abhorent. Read Bourdieu’s classes and classifications for more about the cultural construction of taste as being an issue of social dominance over some groups over others. Of course there is a biological dimension to certain preferences. But I think an aversion to homosexuality is not one of them. A good indicator is the very fact that attitudes in the younger generation are very different from those of the older generation with regards to homosexuality. ( generally speaking). This would indicate that culture has a much larger role than biological predisposition. If you look at the evolution of sexuality, i’m sure you will find that social conditioning as a very strong influence. By saying that an aversion to homosexuality is ‘natural’ or biologically primed you are also making several related claims. ( Homosexuality is unnatural etc etc)

      • 18 Pauls 11 October 2011 at 18:13

        I think you may have misunderstood. The claim is NOT that there is a biological basis to an aversion to homosexuality, but that there is a biological system that evolved to create aversive responses to certain (potential) *foods* and it is this system that can be ‘hijacked’, so to speak, by purely cultural factors, both in food choice and in other areas (the perception of homosexuality being one of them). To whole point of bringing up the article and quoting the relevant passages was to reinforce the idea that aversion to homosexuality is learned behaviour.

  8. 19 Cher Yiing 28 September 2011 at 00:46

    I find myself disagreeing with having a strict policy, although it depends on the purpose of the blog. My logic is this: If the purpose of a blog is to air one’s view in public and to generate discussion, by censoring opposing views in the comments, you are naturally restricting yourself to only people and opinions that agree with yours. This ultimately results in in-bred, self-reinforcing discussions, which often leads to self-righteousness and the certainty you pointed out earlier in this article. The very self-selection of the readership already skews the discussion towards one spectrum. Censorship simply skews it further.

    I do not have differing views (vs. yours) on the specific topic of homosexuality based on the body of scientific evidence available but I think this practice is not conducive to self-examination in general. Regardless of how strongly one believes in a ‘truth’ or ‘fact’, there is always room for self-examination and debate.

    As some of my previous comments have stated, I do not believe in certainty and there are numerous examples of cognitive bias that I try (not always successfully) to avoid. I would say censoring comments results in falling into such a trap.

    There is a more granular debate around whether certain comments are more offensive than others (e.g. a proclamation of hate without justification vs. a ‘reasoned’ argument), which I think is another topic of discussion.

    • 20 yawningbread 28 September 2011 at 10:35

      Er . . please don’t imagine that the anti-gay remarks I disallow are anything that could further discussion. They are the kinds of low-IQ statements that few would consider worth their time responding to, and the result of that is that if I post them, they will be allowed to stand unrebutted.

      • 21 Poker Player 28 September 2011 at 10:49

        “low-IQ statements”

        In that case, doesn’t allowing them actually *help* the gay cause? The other side is seriously stupid.

        “they will be allowed to stand unrebutted”

        Because they are “self-rebutting”.

      • 22 ET 29 September 2011 at 23:08

        It’s oppressive for a minority to continually have to justify its existence and repeat facts ad nauseam that irrational opponents refuse to see.

      • 23 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 10:34

        “It’s oppressive for a minority to continually have to justify its existence and repeat facts ad nauseam that irrational opponents refuse to see.”

        White racists have the same complaint as you and the same assessment of the rationality of their adversaries.

      • 24 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 13:43

        “It’s oppressive for a minority to continually have to justify its existence and repeat facts ad nauseam that irrational opponents refuse to see.”

        Consider the alternative. We don’t allow speech and writing that go against fact and logic. For you to be able to enforce this, you need an authority that can ***decide*** what is factual and logical.

        So you have basically changed the nature of the struggle. Instead of constant justification and debate, we will have interminable fights for control of that authority.

        It is a matter of the lesser evil.

  9. 25 Confused 28 September 2011 at 01:12

    “What kind of pressure? What will they say?”

    “Don’t know exactly, I mean, it hasn’t happened to me. I suppose they will say something like compromising your faith. After all, it’s not really what god would want. . .”

    Errrrmmm, i don’t get it here: is the lady’s reply implying that she thinks it is God’s wish for us to date very selectively, i.e. the other party has to be a Christian? Or is that an implied wish by her cell group, her congregation, or her church? Or, is that an implied wish by the institution that her church represents?

    Anyone can shed some light about why a God who loves would like us to restrict our love?

    • 26 walkie talkie 28 September 2011 at 12:21

      Perhaps it has something to do with the idea (rightly or wrongly) that it is better for lovers travelling on a life-journey intimately together to share

      1. the same deepest life-purpose and
      2. to share the same ultimate vision and
      3. to share the same fundamental existential narrative

      which many times would be religious or spiritual in nature than otherwise. Whether or not it is God’s will (if the Christian God is real) is not explicitly clear in the Christians’ bible.

    • 27 Ian 28 September 2011 at 15:19

      Afraid that one might be converted?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interfaith_marriage
      they do have reasons that can be lifted off the bible.

    • 28 ET 29 September 2011 at 22:36

      It’s one of the hallmarks of a cult that you marry within it. Given the small population and pool of marriageable talent, it seems daft to limit your options like that.

    • 29 Tan Tai Wei 30 September 2011 at 13:30

      They have been taught that Paul had said “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship has darkness with light…?”, and they were further told that that was God’s command through Paul, period. “Unequally yoked” meant dating and even marriage, we can’t be sure. For Paul also said to those who had unchristian wives that they should continue the marriage, and use that to influence the unbelieving partner to the faith.

      But intelligent Christians should consider the social context of Paul’s. He had the responsibility of preserving the emergence of a new faith, and spreading it. Today, it has long been established. Even if Christians don’t “go into all the worlds and preach the gospel”, it has already been there for some two centuries. You just have to search the net and discover it. “How could they know without a preacher?” Well, a thorough search in libraries and the net would tell more and more authentically than listening to the average young preacher!

    • 30 WallyT 1 October 2011 at 00:59

      I think the context of Christianity is important.

      In brief, the idea of how one becomes a Christian is not through qualification via good works but through accepting ransom.

      So the idea is mankind is in dire straits due to a series of unfortunate events and in need of fixing.
      (Think of Global Financial Crisis, bad choices made, evil snow balling and oh look, the economy is in the toilet.)

      Jesus comes into the picture as that ransom, dies for the debt of evil and those who access that line of credit, are free from debt & become Christian.
      (The terms of that line of credit are good, in fact, free, no repayment necessary, just friendship.)

      So, no boasting for the ones who are debt-free, just gratitude.

      But imagine if one were debt-free and started dating someone else who was in debt.

      You’d think, “Well, since it’s so easy, get that dude debt-free too.”
      Yeah , right?

      But what if that dude doesn’t want to access the super-duper line of credit?

      Then you have a problem.

      It’s not that the dude doesn’t deserve to be loved, or cannot be loved, but the cosmic destiny bit is not sorted and in the narrative of Christianity, it’ll end badly.

      So there isn’t a hard and fast rule that you absolutely cannot be married to a non-Chrisitan, but the circumstances will be tricky.

      I know I went heavy on analogy but you can check out the scriptural references here for a legit Christian picture:

      Romans 3:23
      Romans 6:23
      John 3:16
      Romans 10:8-9

      And the verse that tends to be quoted about pairing up:

      2 Corinthians 6:14

      14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

      Don’t react too strongly to the terms, just think about the debt analogy.

      Hope that helped a little bit.

      : )

  10. 32 wikigam 28 September 2011 at 11:06

    @Confused

    It is a human’s “moralistic fallacy”. Immoral humans like to push all their fault to the ” GOD”.

  11. 33 sivan 29 September 2011 at 08:20

    I do not mean to insult or offend anyone with this comment, certainly faith is a personal choice so long as that faith does not impinge upon the personal freedoms of another……but….I will say this because i believe respect does not preclude dialogue. I am continually astounded by the strength of some elements of religious faith, (particularly the kinds of faith that manifest themselves in singaporean society) against the weight of reason, evidence and plain old garden variety rationalism. Just the other day i saw a video clip of a Singaporean pastor prince, preaching overseas in the netherlands. He was advocating blanket support for Israeli policies as a universal Christian duty. Blanket support? does that not seem morally incompatible with Christian teachings? What about palestinian christians? Boggles the mind the amount of ignorance that is available in the golden age of auto-didacticism that has been made possible with the internet.

    • 34 Anonymously Annoyed 10 October 2011 at 00:31

      A bit late here, but THANK YOU. What about Palestinian Christians indeed. I tried, for more than a decade, to preach the same message to fellow church-members, family, friends and relatives. After that, I just gave up and left. Couldn’t heck it any more, and didn’t want to. They can stew in their stupidity for all I care, God bless their souls.

      • 35 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 18:06

        They support Israel to hasten the “Rapture”.

        This monumental stupidity actually guides the foreign policy of the world’s remaining superpower.

  12. 36 ET 29 September 2011 at 22:58

    I agree with the policy of not posting homophobic comments, whether they are just plain nasty, or couched in polite but poisonous language, false facts and false logic. It is just online bullying.

    These astroturfers, often religious and/or political zealots, appear to be a relatively small band of social terrorists that like to bully and demonise gay people (and other minorities) on sites created as a space for gay people to discuss their issues among themselves.

    This site is broader than that of course, but that is no reason to allow a minority to be bullied or terrorised online. A gay 14 year-old just committed suicide in NY because of online bullying; there were several similar cases last year. Such bullying should simply not be allowed. It is a form of terrorism against a minority.

    • 37 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 10:43

      Let’s dissect this.

      You encounter proposition A.

      You can oppose A and offer arguments against it.

      Or

      You can silence A
      – if you have the power of the state – this is absolute
      – if you control a blog, this view is not aired in the blog

      Or

      You can do a variant of silencing – label it falsehood and irrational and then use THAT as a justification for silencing it.

      Notice that it doesn’t matter what A is.

      • 38 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 10:52

        You can’t pick and choose when to apply freedom of speech.

        Oppressed communities gain freedom and respite because somehow their views eventually get aired and find sympathy.

        One of the ways their oppressors keep them in bondage is by silencing theirs views and perspectives – and how better to justify this silencing than by the labels of falsehood and irrationality.

      • 39 ET 12 October 2011 at 03:03

        Freedom of speech has never been absolute. And we are not talking here about state sanctions, though presumably you have no problem with people stirring up racial conflict online. Let’s stick to the blog scenario.

        You’ve set up an obvious fallacy. We’re not talking about labelling things falsehoods. We’re talking actual, malicious falsehoods. We’re talking totally made up “facts” versus scientifically verifiable evidence. And we’re talking serious defamation of minorities, whether put in crude terms or not. Essentially anti-gay propaganda, similar to the blood libel against the jews (that they used the blood of christian children in their rituals), that results in people being beaten to death, being raped, and people committing suicide, across Africa, America and even in Singapore. Small minorities don’t have the same access to media that majorities do, so even if they’re granted freedom of speech, they don’t have as loud a voice. That way lies various holocausts. And there is one brewing across Africa right now against gay people, they are the new scapegoat, thanks to the wholly malicious and untrue propaganda seeded by American evangelical extremists. The same propaganda you hear in Singapore.

        I’m not talking about stopping an ordinary, genuinely inquiring discussion about the facts. Not putting up posts that are obvious lies and defamation of a particular group is admirable.

        There is now available online a video of a gay African being beaten to a dead and bloody pulp, drenched in gasoline, covered in wood and set on fire. I have not watched it, and won’t post it here. Google it if you want to see it. This violence has been caused by the same sort of propaganda I have seen religious figures and their supporters spouting in Singapore. Even on Straits Times online. I have no wish to encounter it repeatedly on decent websites.

        So thank you Alex, for redressing the balance slightly and setting some standards.

      • 40 Poker Player 12 October 2011 at 11:19

        “Freedom of speech has never been absolute. ”

        Neither is the ability to tell truth from falsehood.

        Nor the ability to agree on what constitutes “genuinely inquiring discussion about the facts.” or “obvious lies and defamation “.

        It is now “obvious” that the earth spins around its axis. It wasn’t always like that.

        What we really need to be afraid of are people who are sure about what truths and falsehoods are.

        Liberal democracy and the free speech that goes with it are about making do with the bare minimum that people can agree on are true.

      • 41 Poker Player 12 October 2011 at 11:25

        “We’re talking totally made up “facts” versus scientifically verifiable evidence. ”

        You have an overly starry eyed view of the scientific method.

        Max Planck wrote: Scientific theories don’t change because old scientists change their minds; they change because old scientists die.

  13. 42 Rabbit 30 September 2011 at 01:17

    As much as people can choose what to eat rice or noodles and which religion to follow, gay people cannot choose their own orientation. Orientation is not a choice, cannot be taught nor influenced. Thus I find it disturbing that S377A is kept to hate a small group of people who were born gay.

    Discrimination largely lie in the fault of the government who is always afraid of the strong and bully the weak as also seen in the case of how MOM handled general foregn workers’ dispute. When PAP chose to be blind and unthinking,some segment of the society will follow and exploit the systems for profit, at the expense of the larger populace local or foreigners.

    To add further insult to injury, the judge decision is very much determined by what the govt think, not by reasoning eg keeping ISA, S377A and anything to fixing opposition. For litmus test of how effective and partial the court works, has any supreme judges todate questioned PAP consitutions or legislations? or do they just follow blindly all the shits that came out from 2/3 in parliament? I leave the answer to readers.

    • 43 walkie talkie 10 October 2011 at 10:14

      Hi Rabbit, you said “As much as people can choose what to eat rice or noodles and which religion to follow, gay people cannot choose their own orientation. Orientation is not a choice, cannot be taught nor influenced. Thus I find it disturbing that S377A is kept to hate a small group of people who were born gay.”

      Let me point out first that I support the repeal of S377A and there is nothing wrong with sex between persons of the same gender. Having said this, let me point out the errors in your argument. While people’s sexual orientation is not a result of choice, whether or not to engage in sex is a choice (and a number of people both straight and gay seems to have successfully chosen to remain celibate such as many, though not all, Buddhist monks and Roman Catholic monastic monks and Eastern Orthodox priests).

      S377A is targeting at sexual activity itself and not criminalising a person for his sexual orientation. That means, when a straight man engages in sex with other men (such as in the situation of a straight man in jail), he can also be prosecuted under S377A if the government decides to prosecute.

      • 44 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 11:19

        I would go further and say that

        “Orientation is not a choice, cannot be taught nor influenced.”

        is completely irrelevant.

        Some religions (there is definitely choice here) are intended as jokes and satire but there is no law prohibiting their practice.

      • 45 ET 10 October 2011 at 17:06

        One of the main reasons that laws like 377A have been held to be unconstitutional is because, while disingenuous people may say they apply to everyone, they actually target a minority. Forbidding gay sex between men targets gay men, preventing them from having a sex life, while lesbians and heterosexuals are free to have lesbian and heterosexual sex and full meaningful relationships without interference.

        For example, if there was a law that banned the consumption of alcohol on religious premises, though said to apply to everyone, it would be targetting the Christian practise of Holy Communion (where wine is drunk at the altar which is said to change into the blood of Christ). An apparently general law that would target a minority. Targetting a minority means they are not being treated equally under the Law.

        The argument that a law forbidding gay sex is against a behaviour not a minority has universally failed as it is disingenuous. Of course there are a number of other strong reasons too why laws like 377A have been held unconstitutional, such as the intolerable invasion of privacy.

  14. 46 WallyT 1 October 2011 at 00:42

    Say only pro-gay things or you will be branded ‘Stupid’.

    Ok. Your blog, your rules.

    • 47 Poker Player 10 October 2011 at 10:24

      This blog is also against slavey. Say only anti-slavery things or be branded stupid.

      This blog is also against white discrimination against ethnic Chinese. Oppose the Chinese Exclusion Act and the White Australia policy or be branded stupid.

    • 48 walkie talkie 10 October 2011 at 10:26

      Where in yawning bread’s article did it say or imply that “say only pro-gay things or your will be branded stupid”? I hope you are not intentionally distorting what the article is saying as that will make you an unChristian Christian or a devilish Christian or son of the devil, for the devil like to intentionally distort the truth.

      So where in yawning bread’s article did it say or imply that “say only pro-gay things or your will be branded stupid”?

  15. 49 ricardo 1 October 2011 at 19:31

    > Do Clarify your stand , what have to be “taught” ?

    @Wikigam

    It’s in the song. “To hate all the people, your relatives hate,”

    See South Pacific for pointed and very relevant comment on this.

    We “teach” when Hollywood demonises Muslim “fundamentalists”. When we label Opposition as “divisive”, non-Christians as “not what God wants”. When we talk about FT. As a child I was taught about the “evil” Barisan Socialis.

    Would you allow bullying, both physical and verbal, of those different or disadvantaged in a children’s playground?

    The struggle for hearts & minds begins very early and many battles are won or lost before you leave Primary School.

    If you are lucky, you might, as an adult be able to review some of these taught “truths” rationally. Or you might become a (hate mail WARNING) rabid PA apparatchik, dedicated to not only confounding the Opposition but also to stamping their bloody & broken bodies into the earth.

    So yes. I support strict editing of anti-gay hate mail.

  16. 50 BT 1 October 2011 at 22:59

    I am tickled by the worm reference. India and especially the major cities have Chinese restaurants packed to the gills with Indians enjoying ‘worms’ in all it’s delicious avatars. You probably met a bunch of mountain tortoises.

  17. 51 Wee JS 7 October 2011 at 11:14

    I appreciate your views. Looking forward to your writings!

  18. 52 Syn KK 7 October 2011 at 11:37

    Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude
    Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
    it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right
    Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

    Taken from Corinthians 13:4

    I cannot understand why these people with distorted truths roam this land we called earth. My wife is Catholic and I am a non=christian. why do they even discriminate in the begining. Such persons with personal agenda should never run the lives of others, abusing the word of God

  19. 53 walkie talkie 12 October 2011 at 04:31

    Hi ET,

    You said: “One of the main reasons that laws like 377A have been held to be unconstitutional is because, while disingenuous people may say they apply to everyone, they actually target a minority.”

    S377A can be said to be targeting gay men only if there is a intrinsic link between gay men and sex between men. But there is no such intrinsic link, because a minority straight men do engage in sex with other men, and some gay men do not engage in sex with other men. So S377A targeting the ACTION of sex between men is really different from the situation of a law targeting gay men.

    You said: “Targetting a minority means they are not being treated equally under the Law.”

    Even if a law targeting an action results in a minority group being affected or treated differently by law is not BY ITSELF unconstitutional. For example, the law against theft results in a minority group (those with kleptomania) being disadvantaged. If just because a minority group (e.g. a group with some non-typical innate desire) is being treated differently is unconstitutional, then the law against theft would be unconstitutional. ( I recognize that theft involves “harming” others while consensual sex between adult persons of the same gender does not involve harm. But that is a different matter from your suggested principle that a law treating a minority group differently amounts to unconstitutionality.) Note that the law against theft is not targeting the minority group called kleptomaniacs. It is really targeting an action. Kleptomaiacs would not be arrested until they took action to steal.

    My view is that S377A should be abolished, but my reason has nothing to do with whether or not a minority is being affected by it; my reason has to do with the ACTION targeted by S377A. That targeted action does not cause any harm (there is no empirical evidence that sex between men intrinsically causes harm), and hence should not be criminalized.

    You mentioned that “if there was a law that banned the consumption of alcohol on religious premises, though said to apply to everyone, it would be targetting the Christian practise of Holy Communion”

    Even this example of yours is not about targeting a minority group, because one major mainstream Christian church, the Methodist Church, forbid the use of wine in Holy Communion. They use grape juice. Another major mainstream Christian denomination, the Salvation Army, also do not use wine in any of their rituals. So there is no intrinsic link between being a Christian and drinking wine in religious premises. Because there is no intrinsic link between Christian rituals and wine, plus using wine in rituals is not an exclusive practice of Christians (some Taoists use wine in their rituals), a law forbidding the use of wine in religious premises is not a law against Christians even though majority of Christian Churches (other than the Methodist denomination and the Salvation Army denomination) are affected. [this is similar to the situation of sex between men – no intrinsic link between the men-with-men sex and gay men]

    • 54 ricardo 17 October 2011 at 06:18

      Er.rrh. Banning the use of alcohol on religious premises would be targeted at Methodists, the Salvation Army and Taoists. There is a long history of “official” Christian faiths using torture, discriminatory laws, the ISD .. oops, I meant the Inquisition, to combat Heresy. (aka Opposition views)

      • 55 ricardo 17 October 2011 at 06:26

        Err..rh. Sorry.

        Should be “targeted at Christian sects who are NOT Methodist or Salvation Army”. This might occur if our Lord LKY became Methodist or Taoist.

        St. George (Yeo) is Catholic but has espoused Taoist views.


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