Politics and me
There was once a time I used to keep up with all the political news in Singapore. I used to know whenever the government did this and that, and I used to blog about it too, many many moons ago, on a blog called Singabloodypore.
I left that blog a few months after I started sayoni, partly because of time constraints, and partly because I realised I didn’t want pleinelune to be associated with a blog which was popularly seen as ranting and raving at the Singapore government 100% of the time: don’t get me wrong. I think what Singabloodypore does in pushing the boundaries and being irreverent is good. But I joined that blog at a time when I was angry at many things, a lot more hot-blooded, a lot less mature than I am now, and prone to ranting. Sayoni made me grow up and change in many ways, and one of the results of that was that I learned the art of constructive and respectful criticism.
And of course, there was a practical consideration that I had, of my education. I didn’t need to jeopardise it for the sake of letting out steam about the latest messed-up decision made by the Singapore government. Whatever I said would have no effect, I knew. It wasn’t a completely useless venture though – what I learned and was exposed to, in the time I blogged for them, helped me immensely: the GP A level exam topic I chose was about social apathy towards politics, a topic I knew back to front. [For the record, I got an A1]
In leaving Singabloodypore, I realised things became a lot better for me: it was actually possible for me to live in this country without wanting to leave it. I was no longer so angry about things. What they say is indeed true: ignorance is bliss. And this wasn’t even my country – I had no reason to get upset over it, if not for my innate sense of justice.
Instead, my efforts were directed to a movement I knew would have a more direct, positive impact. This was a fight I could actually call my own without feeling like I was getting all riled up for no reason: queerness has no national boundaries. In helping the community grow and find its own footing, I was able to insulate myself from the political garbage that so stinks up this country. I no longer care so much whether PAP wins or not. I have absolutely no inclination to join or support ANY political party, not withstanding my citizenship. I read this article about WP on the TOC, and I feel no rush of pride, no sense of elation at the strides they have made. I might have, once. But not now. Today, I cannot be bothered if Lee Hsien Loong sprouts horns and declares he is going to pledge the country to Satan. If this country wants to run things differently, it is up to the people who are actually given a vote to cast it, and not sit on their asses complaining about GST hikes and worrying whether the government is spying on them having sex with their wives.
The only reason I got involved in the parliamentary debates is because of the penal code amendments. Not only section 377A, but the marital rape immunity issue. Otherwise, I retreat back to my shell, or rather, I make myself. It is not possible for me to continue investing my feelings into this issue. It is not possible for me to live here while I remain actively aware of the political news.
How ironic, for the woman who once wrote so passionately on the issue of social apathy towards politics – perhaps I am the perfect example of what this country does to passionate people. Perhaps I am the perfect example of the well-executed social engineering subduing the ones who initially escaped it.
And that is also why, despite certain people pressuring me to do so, I refuse to take citizenship and sink roots. For one, I would like to continue working on humanitarian/equality causes for a long time, and I want to be in a place where I am able to make a bigger difference than a country which is 40 kilometres wide. And I am passionate about more than just queer issues: I am not sure I’ve said this before, but I would like to spend some time in a third world country to help sex trade workers. Secondly, the spirit-crushing atmosphere isn’t good for someone like me. Thirdly, politics is transient – what is more enduring is human spirit, and what is more real is human suffering.
Yes, politics is related to the queer issue. Yes, in a country like Singapore, the deeper issue is a general lack of civil rights, and not just queer rights. Yes, you may not be able to get queer rights without changing certain fundamentals here – but that is a pandora’s box I refuse to touch. And it is a issue too big for queer activists to handle alone.
I’m tired of caring, and I’ve retired.
And this is the explanation I promised last time, as to why I renounced political blogging.