Blog Archive

Sunday, 20 July 2014


We are the majority says people who are against the proliferation of homosexuality in Singapore, and with that majority they are out on a campaign to wipe Singapore clean of its sin and immorality. They are not stopping at just having got rid of the penguins and swans out of the children's corner, but to purge Singapore of its impurities and traits of evil found in every corner of society.  They reminded me of the "red guards" in China during the Cultural Revolution.

It is exciting to see Singaporeans who are so used to keeping their pent up unhappiness to themselves suddenly liberated to a new dimension where they are able to excercised some form of authority or power in telling the authorities what to do. That was exactly how the whole NLB saga got started.

While the climate of people-government relations has changed, fundamentals of society are largely not.  Third and fourth generation Singaporeans are still way behind the kind of liberalism practiced in the western nations even though they may show some form of compromising between the two.

Hence it may still be too early to divide Singapore or Singaporeans into camps of conservatives or liberals. 

For both government and people, it is perfectly opportune time to start finding a new conjunct.  In the past when the people prefers to keep silent, the government can only make intelligent guesses through its machinery of data collection.  Not that the voices now are at all that accurate than the old methods, it offers a test element against its old methods.  The current environment also allows the government to adjust itself, and start reviewing and redefining its processes as continuously its long held principles are being challenged.

Some academics argued that the government will lose more votes than it will gain navigating through the transition and transformation.  That's no more than just a person's opinion. Voting decisions are, more often than not made within the final moments.

In this new environment, the government no longer needs to second guess what unhappy people are talking in their private, and to be caught by surprised when the opposition knew everything that they didn't know about during hustlings.  They probably may even have regretted why they had not allowed themselves to be criticized openly earlier.  Nine days is too short to react, and I believed the government would be more than happy to see more controversies such as the NLB saga emerged before 2016.

The people too is now facing a government which they are not quite familiar with. Some may accuse the government of flip flopping from time to time in the way they do things, the very same term government parliamentarians accused the opposition party of.  Flip flopping is neither good nor bad in itself, and really depending what the flip flopping is for.

Eventually I believe the people will recognized the government as no more the same guardian gods that stand guard at the doorway for centuries without changing.

The balance and equations will change with social behavior. The people may no longer need to align with the opposition to have their voices heard, even as the government gets more engaged to voices of unhappiness.

As for now, the rearrangement of dynamics looks healthy for both the government and people.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


THIS IS MY FAMILY : My wife, me and our cat makes a family of three.  By all account, we are a full fledged functional family.  We take walks together, have tea together, watch the world cup finals together among other wholesome family activities.

But we just don't fit in nicely with what this Google image which I downloaded from Facebook defines as a family, nor that of the general public understanding of one.  Perhaps the difference lies in that our cat is adopted and not conceived by us therefore we are not a "Biological Family" as most families are.

But this is not totally true either.  There are other family structures that are not exactly biological and yet are admitted and accepted into mainstream characterization.  Family with adopted children or parent is one that gets to enjoy social protection and benefits like all other Biological Families.

Indignant, I ranted it out to friends and someone showed me the part in Singapore's constitution that makes reference to the definition of a family.  True enough, cats are being discriminated and deliberately left out of Singapore's constitution.  Indeed if my family do not fall categorically within the narrow definition of a biological family, it should at least sympathetically into the definition of an Experiential Family.

Like a smack on the face I have been told that my broad definition of a family as deviant.  But don't you realized that this so call "Deviant Family" may easily make up half of Singaporean families?  Even the normal Biological Family has become deviant if you may, dressing up their dog as a child for their wedding ceremony.  My friend who has a girl and a dog are calling them both daughters.  Many families have taken their animals as very much part of the family, even to sleeping on the same bed as our cat does.

Is it time to challenge the constitution to allow animals to be definitively and categorically stated, even as gender is also not definitively and categorically stated in that part of the constitution my friend showed me?

Saturday, 12 July 2014


The NLB saga continues with several local writers pulling out of events organized by the National Library Board.  Although it was reported that they were unhappy with the pulping of the books in question, the underlying displeasure lies in censorship of books.  The conundrum arise from the reasons given for the books withdrawal, that of pro-family and being guided by community norms.

The notion of "pro-family" had come to the forefront of public discourse lately, and especially so during the run-up to the Pink Dot annual party at Hong Lim Park.

Pro-Family, rightly so Pro-Creation was used to described the government's stand in crafting certain of its polices, most of which have to do with equality of privileges and benefits.

Some examples are the entitlement to public housing policies, where Build To Order flats, which is also classified as subsidised housing, is once only available to parties with a "family nucleus".  Even now, 3-room BTO  flat types are still not open to singles.  Read more on eligibility.

Other examples are related to leave and benefits that married couples and those with child can enjoy.  Read more.  All in all, the government's pro-family policies are largely geared towards better reproduction amongst Singaporeans, such as the "baby bonus scheme".

And these government policies are seen as discriminating singles, straight or otherwise.  The voices of singles had been extremely feeble, but citizens who are LGBTs found support amongst themselves as a community and had been strongly vocal primarily in the repealing of Penal Code 377A, referring to carnal sex with party of the same sex being illegal.

So the term "pro-family" had been broadly taken out of context to mean anti-LGBT, Lesbians, Gays, Bi-Sexuals, and Transgenders.  Is the government anti-LGBT?  PAP founder and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew thinks that they are born that way and they should be left alone as that.

And that was how the community norm was formed.  For the benefits, LGBT has been generally taken to also mean homosexuals, those who engage in carnal sexual relations with another of the same sex.  Society generally accepts that there are people who engages such relationship, and they have been left alone all along to their own privacy notwithstanding that there are groups who would outwardly decry homosexuality is a sin.

Thus the removal of three titles from the shelves of Singapore's libraries happened only a wink away from controversies surrounding the Red Dot party, was seen as the government's unfairness towards materials that are evocative of LGBT way of life.

But the confrontation this time is not so much on LGBT but that of "freedom of knowledge", "censorship-suppression of diversity", and government's neutral role in the Singaporean life.  

There are those who thinks that the government should be responsible enough to ensure young children are protected, and there are others who feel that young children should be free to experiment and learn, and then we have the government taking a stand to protect rather that expose.  Naturally when two against one, the odd one out would feel that the government is siding.  When it is about lives of little children, there is no two way for the government.

It is therefore unfair of many parties who champions freedom of knowledge & information and that of a diverse society to blame the government to take a cautious stand in protecting children who may not reach maturity to digest and understand the information they are consuming.

It is also extremely disappointing that certain Singapore writers had decided to boycott National Library Board.  It only shows the lack of broad consideration by these writers who chose to pivot on the proliferation of literature and disregard due care for little lives.