Friday, April 24, 2009

The goat has been got.

I've stayed away from blogging about the whole AWARE fiasco that has gripped Singapore the same way TT Durai and his gold taps did. I generally feel like there is enough sentiment and bloggers out there who would have given the issue enough air time. But early this morning, something in me snapped and I was roused out of my usual morning sleep-deprived stupor, as was Packrat as he was the receiving end of my overdue tirade.

Lawyer Thio Su Mien was in this morning's papers stating that she felt that she needed to lead the coup that toppled incumbent AWARE leadership because of the AWARE Sexuality Education programme that introduces homosexuality as a 'neutral' word rather than a 'bad' word.

'I started thinking, 'Hey, parents, you better know what's happening,'' she said. 'I talked to parents. I said: You better do something about this, otherwise your daughter will come back and say, 'Mum, I want to marry my girlfriend. Or your son will say: 'Dad, I want to marry my boyfriend.''

These parents were flabbergasted, she said, adding that such sexuality education was taking place in the United States and Europe and was not new.

'What is happening in society is that we are redefining marriage, we are redefining families,' she said.

'So I'm a concerned citizen and if people are so ignorant, I think I want to teach them.'

At that point, the only thing that stopped me from swearing and spitting at the newspaper was the presence of my 22 month old baby girl who was picking up words faster than the filters in my brain could work.

Homosexuality is not a neutral word. But she is not against homosexuality. But she has counselled and ministered to them. But they are in pain and are the product of abuse. But she fears that one day there will be a society full of lesbians. And the contradictions go on and on.

I know some who read this will disagree with me. Who feel that homosexuality is something that is bad and that these new women in charge of the only women's advocacy group is doing a wonderful thing for family values.

So let's see if I can deconstruct why this pisses me off. First off, I am Christian and I know that homosexuality is a sin against God. But as are a whole host of other things that aren't open to social and civil persecution. I know that I would raise my children heterosexual imbue upon them that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice we would encourage or condone. But that said and I know this makes the angry radicals out there brand me as hypocritical, I have no issues with people who chosen to be so. But that's because I separate my own beliefs and values from what I expect of society. My views of how I would like to raise my children are based on my Christian values. Our society chooses and is proud to be a secular one. So, in a secular society, why the judgement?

Why the roll back to the closed conservative values of the 80's? Because we have come some distance in acknowledging alternative lifestyles? Of course, one can take comfort in the fact that these fundamental extremists are social activists and social activists only exist in a society that has progressed to the point where civil action is acknowledged as an effective instrument of expression. But we are not the US or a European nation where the citizenry is large enough to be divisive but every group, including minorities get to be represented. In Singapore, we have ONE women's advocacy group, that champions the rights of women, regardless of sexuality. And if this group decides lesbians are not women worthy to be championed, then what use are they if they are marginalising the very people they are supposed to be protecting?

And that's where this woman pissed me off. She claims that the Sexuality Education will encourage an entire generation to grow up gay and want to marry their gay spouses. She worries about lesbians, basically taking over the world. And therefore this coup was necessary to prevent it from becoming a disaster.

I constantly rail at students in class for giving me such stupid, narrow minded and obviously flawed arguments when we speak of gender issues in class. Acknowledging homosexuality does not make an entire generation gay. It's the same stupidity that gives credence to the 'giving out condoms will encourage people to have sex' argument. And it pisses me off that the educated are such bigots.

Perhaps, I am a bigot too, because I have gay friends but would do what I can to prevent my children from being gay. But by that logic, I am then guilty on various fronts. I have Muslim friends and Hindu friends and Buddhist friends. I like them and am close to them. I would not encourage my children to convert but I have them as friends. So am I hypocritical and a bigot? Am I not a true friend to them? But perhaps, I am different because I am not out to crucify them and to deprive them of rights.

Packrat thinks I should join AWARE just so that I can cast my vote of no confidence. I will give it serious thought. I think the both of us truly grew up when we were both living in a society much more liberal than Singapore is. And we have no qualms bringing our children back there to raise them. We do not fear that they will be made gay just because there is Mardi Gras celebrated once a year and that the uni lounges have Gay and Lesbian movements. In fact, we quite like the idea that our children be taught not to judge, that they see that different people live in different ways.

In my mind, it's simple. There is an order to this. Before a woman is gay, she is a woman. Before she is a woman, she is a person. And I believe, respect and rights should be accorded in that order. What so difficult about that?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:11

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