This is possibly my first letter to the forum that has been published – albeit on the online edition. It has been soooooo edited down, it is not even funny.
See Forum letter “Supporting gay rights does not make one gay”
I REFER to Dr Thio Su Mien’s letter on Monday, “Gay activists a key constituency of Aware”.
I was at the Association of Women for Action and Research’s extraordinary general meeting from start to end.
Gays did not comprise a numerical majority at the meeting. Being a supporter of rights for gay people doesn’t make one a homosexual, lesbian or homosexual activist.
I support the Palestinians’ right to live their lives without a wall dividing their communities, but that does not mean that I am a Palestinian. Nor am I a Palestinian rights activist.
I am not sure why Dr Thio calls the supporters of the old guard “sexually challenged”. Does she mean they are somehow physically or psychologically sexually impaired?
Just because I was a “vocal and vociferous supporter of the old guard”, does that make me sexually challenged?
Indulekshmi Rajeswari (Miss)”
I refer to Dr Thio Su Mien’s letter on 18th May 2009.I was at the AWARE EGM from start to end. Firstly, possessing a much better “gaydar” than Dr Thio Su Mien and being much more familiar than her with those people who call themselves gay activists, I can confirm that the hall was not full of them. They were definitely present, but they were nowhere near the numerical majority nor a chief constituency.Secondly, being a supporter of rights for gay people neither make one homosexual/lesbian nor a homosexual (rights) activist. I personally support rights of the Palestinians to live their lives without a wall dividing their communities – a somewhat controversial position (depending on who you ask) that makes me neither Palestinian (unless my parents have lied to me all my life) nor a Palestinian Rights Activist.Thirdly, there is a line between “gay-neutral” and “promoting homosexuality”. A dictionary can easily help divine the line between the two, should anyone be confused.Fourthly, I am not sure why Dr Thio calls the supporters of the old guard “sexually challenged”. Does she mean they are somehow physically or psychologically sexually impaired? Is Dr Thio secretly the physician for all these “vocal and vociferous” women, in order to know this intimately personal information about them? I was a “vocal and vociferous supporter of the old guard” – have I been sexually challenged all this while and did not know about this until a lawyer mass-diagnosed me through a forum letter? I am very confused, and somewhat insulted.Fifthly, anal sex per se is not against the law – the old s377 of the Penal Code was repealed in February 2008. Unless there is a top-secret statute that makes it illegal (which only Dr Thio seems to know of), I believe consensual heterosexual anal sex is very much legal now. Perhaps Dr Thio refers to s377A – that would refer to all sexual contact between men, not just anal sex.
So, if you are not up to date with the minutaie of the AWARE EGM, you are probably not going to get this. The famed page 73, that Thio Su Mien claimed she was on, and hence enabled her to be a feminist mentor? Here it is. (click to read)
Two sentences. Two sentences out of an entire book published by AWARE, and that apparently makes one a feminist mentor.
What does that make Gandhi? God?
Today was a day to be marked down in history, as the day that Singaporeans realised they are indeed in control of their destiny, as the day they decided to take ownership in NGOs, as the day they stood up against the tide of intolerance and stood up for equal rights and inclusiveness. After a much-prolonged, 7-hour extraordinary general meeting (not counting waiting time), the old guard of Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) were returned to power, ousting the new exco who had all but taken AWARE’s leadership by force.
The meeting was stormy, emotional and inspiring. Many women and men stood up to speak up for the old aware and against the injustices perpetrated in the short term of the “new” exco. Many shocking things were revealed – such as the exco spending about S$90k since they took office (when only authorised to spend S$20k). The depth of their ignorance about what AWARE really did and stood for was revealed, as well as their inability to effectively lead. At the end of the long meeting, the no-confidence motion was passed by a margin of 2-1 – 1414 votes for yes, and 716 for no, and after an extended discussion, the exco finally decided to step down. The general meeting then proceeded to elect back the old guard into power – starting with Dana Lam as the president and Chew I-Jin as the Vice-President.
What was the most touching to us was the number of people – men, women, fathers, mothers, teachers, students, christians, muslims… who all stood up and spoke up for inclusiveness, the importance of having a queer-neutral sexuality education program, and why AWARE should help queer women in need.
Sayoni would like to join in congratulating AWARE on its historic victory. This is not just a victory for womenm or even queer women, but for civil society in years to come. For extended reports on the events and commentary, stay tuned!
They have changed the venue from Expo to Suntec.
29th April 2009
To: AWARE MembersEXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETINGTO BE HELD ON 2ND MAY 2009Notice is hereby given that:1. The venue of the Extraordinary General Meeting (“EGM”) of the Association of Women forAction & Research (“AWARE”) to be held on Saturday, 2nd May 2009 , from 2.00 p.m. to5.00 p.m. is hereby changed as follows:
Exhibition Hall 402Suntec Singapore
International Convention & Exhibition Centre1 Raffles Boulevard, Suntec City ,Singapore 039593
This notification supercedes all previous notifications.
2. Admission and registration would be from 12.00 noon to 2.00 p.m. on Saturday, 2ndMay 2009 .Registration for new members will close once the EGM starts at 2.00 p.m.Existing members may be admitted.It is mandatory to show your NRIC for admission and registration.3. Messrs Rajah & Tann have been appointed to act as AWARE’s legal advisors to attend theEGM to be convened on 2nd May 2009 to address legal queries relating to, and raisedduring, the EGM including the matters intended to be transacted, AWARE’s constitution andmeeting law and procedure.
By Order Of The Executive CommitteeJenica ChuaHonorary SecretaryAssociation of Women for Action & Research
27th April 2009
To: AWARE MembersEXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETINGTO BE HELD ON 2ND MAY 2009Notice is hereby given that:1. The venue of the Extraordinary General Meeting (“EGM”) of the Association of Women forAction & Research (“AWARE”) to be held on Saturday, 2nd May 2009 , from 2.00 p.m. to5.00 p.m. is hereby changed as follows:Singapore EXPO Hall 21 Expo Drive, #01-01Singapore 486150Admission and registration would be from 12.00 noon to 2.00 p.m. on Saturday, 2ndMay 2009 .It is mandatory to show your NRIC for admission and registration.2. Messrs Rajah & Tann have been appointed to act as AWARE’s legal advisors to attend theEGM to be convened on 2nd May 2009 to address legal queries relating to, and raisedduring, the EGM including the matters intended to be transacted, AWARE’s constitution andmeeting law and procedure.
By Order Of The Executive CommitteeJenica ChuaHonorary SecretaryAssociation of Women for Action & Research
A lot has happened over the AWARE saga, and because of exams, I have not been able to do a commentary on it. Not that there would be a lot for me to say, every possible angle has been thoroughly canvassed by the bloggosphere and media. It is really quite clear that I do not support the new exco after them using such shady methods and knowing their background. I do not find my confidence in them bolstered after the revelation that Dr Thio Su-Mien is behind it. I have already had a run-in with her daughter, Dr Thio Li-Ann before, as some people would remember – and while I disagreed with her and found her remarks in parliament insulting, I was one of the first ones to stand up and say that she should not be fired or receive death threats because of what she said. My principles, or stance, have not changed. I believe, and still believe, in civil, dignified debate, not name-calling or personal attacks.
So, whoever send that death threat to the new exco – cut it out. You are making us look bad. While I have strong doubts about the veracity of the said death threat, or even any real intention, I am going to treat it as real for the purposes of this discussion, and repeat, once again, that no one, NO ONE, should be doing anything remotely despicable. Having said that (and this is directed at you, new exco) receiving death threats does not make your cause a noble one (Harvey Milk got death threats on a regular basis, and I doubt you are going to agree his cause is noble).
Secondly, as to Josie Lau’s job. I have absolutely no idea what DBS is doing to her position, and frankly, I don’t care. While the revelation that she is the one who led DBS-FOTF linkup is infuriating but not surprising, I believe that issue has already been dealt with and buried. DBS has learned its lesson. But this new saga really has nothing to do with them. I know some of us already cancelled our DBS accounts after the FOTF saga – and now there is a new call from Mr Wang to cancel our DBS cards so that Josie can get fired.
I have to say, this is not a strategy I am comfortable with, or will ever endorse. Boycotting a business that might support an anti-gay cause is one thing, but trying to target it at a person is not acceptable unless she’s a mass murderer/fraudster etc.
Josie is as much as human being as the rest of us, and she has a family to support too – two kids, in fact. She has the full right to have a career and do things outside this career, and express her own views. As do any of us. How would any of you like to be fired because you supported a gay cause? What if all the fundies called in and boycotted the business/company you worked for, just to get you fired? Her job performance has nothing to do with her beliefs – DBS can decide whether to keep her on or not.
I will not, and cannot, endorse such a blunt tool tactic. That’s going too far. Not to mention it will only backfire on us, because we are going to look petty and undignified. Let’s try to do justice to YawningBread’s assertion that we are a mature bunch on this issue.
Not to mention I do not want to hear the new exco play the victim again. It is kind of getting tiring, really. Morever, when they play the victim, they avoid the real issues and hard questions. They are already good at that, lets not give them more opportunities.