And this time, I am referring to the real JBJ, not the president of a fictional environmental organisation. But then, if I were to write a completely unauthorised sequel to Eleanor Wong’s play, I might be referring to a fictional character after all.
As most of you will be aware, JBJ passed away yesterday morning of a heart attack, in his sleep, quiet and swift. It is of course, a great loss to Singapore. Thus, my Campaign to have a State Funeral for the man who, even though you don’t know it, contributed greatly to the Singapore political landscape.
He is the reason we no longer have appeal to Privy Councils, the reason why our judiciary is so independent of foreign interference. He is the reason we no longer have an Anson constituency, and indirectly responsible for the wonderful GRC System we have today, which makes it easy for young people to join the PAP and get an easy victory. He showed our glorious leaders that defamation suits were the way to go in order to protect their reputations – where would Singapore be today, if our leaders did not sue dissidents? How could we possibly respect them, if they did not win these suits? He is the man who showed Singapore it was not right to discharge bankrupts early.
Most of all, through all these years, he is the man who showed us that it is pointless to speak up, pointless to resist, if you wanted a normal life, if you did not want to be sued left and right, if you did not want to be bankrupted. He is the man who showed us that there is no use joining opposition political parties, and if you wanted to contribute to Singapore at all, the only recourse was to join the PAP.
Yes, people, he was a great man. Without him, would we have learned all these important lessons? Would Singapore be what it was today? No, not at all.
So, if you want a State Funeral for our beloved JBJ, say aye!
A government-linked body has embarked on a review of the regulatory framework over the internet. While the focus of the review seems to be “what to regulate and how to regulate”, there is a sense from those currently being consulted that the aim of this exercise is not liberalisation.
So far, those being consulted appears to be the elite – the “experts”.
There is a need for ordinary bloggers – and filmmakers who intend to put video material on the internet – to get together and organise a submission to the relevant bodies, putting across the perspective of practitioners.
This call for a bloggers’ meeting should interest those who often discuss politics and society in their work.
Date, time and venue:
Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 7 – 9 pm
At the Substation, Classroom 2. Armenian Street
This first meeting is meant for brainstorming the key issues; then to organise into teams to draft various parts of the intended submission. The teams have one week (till the second meeting) to work on their respective parts.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 7 – 9 pm
At the Substation, Classroom 2. Armenian Street
The second meeting is for the various drafts to be brought together and stitched/reconciled into a joint submission.
What to expect:
- Participants should be open about their identity; you may not remain anonymous.
- You should already be operating a blog, or producing content that is meant for uploading (e.g. videos, writing regularly for someone else’s blog)
- We should be able to accommodate up to 20 – 25 persons; we do not need a large crowd as that would be unwieldy.
- The meeting, once begun, will be “closed door” i.e. not open to reporting. No journalists allowed.
- Please get something to eat before the meeting starts; bring your own drink.
Participants are requested to familiarise themselves with the legal and regulatory background beforehand. We do not intend to waste time at the meetings just recapitulating the background.
Suggested reading (do a websearch):
- Broadcasting Act
- Media Development Authority of Singapore Act
- Internet Code of Conduct
- Internet Class Licence Scheme
- Films Act
- Parliamentary Elections Act
- Election Advertising Regulations
- Penal Code, Sections 298, 298A, etc
- Penal Code, Sections 499, 505, etc
- Sedition Act
Please help spread the open call for this meeting.
Dear Ms Thio
I am not as learned as you in law. I am but a first-year law student. A law student who happens to identify as queer, and has spent the last two years working in the queer activism scene, who now loves a woman, who now wishes to rid this country of the blight known as section 377A.
Ms Thio, I am sure you know this section very well… in fact, you dedicated an entire speech to the impassioned defence of it, not even touching on things like marital rape immunity. I am surprised… I thought an educated, feminist woman like yourself would have some feelings on this section which effectively takes away the right of married women to their bodies…. but I digress. You expounded in detail upon the merits of retaining this law. You showed us all how much you hate us gay people – like we couldn’t tell from the letters to ST. When I read your speech, my first impulse was to laugh. Then as I read on, cringing at the leaps of logic, and wincing at the palpable hatred pouring out of the paper.
I will now proceed to rebutt you: point by point.
There is a thread going on in Sayoni (Sayoni account needed) about our chosen causes (perhaps besides gay rights, which is a collective issue for us) – what issues we are passionate about, and might work to make a difference in. People are listing everything from animal rights to censorship to world hunger, talking about why a particular cause matters to them.
Perhaps it is just in my blood, but I’ve never really been able to remain apathetic to things. I can’t just sit back and say, “That’s not my business”. I’ve been feminist for as long as I can remember, and darn proud of it. I was already sympathetic to gay rights way before I came out to myself, and that is perhaps what helped propel me into the queer activism world barely a year after that. In my lifetime, I’ve worked for an assorted 10 or so causes at one point or another, including community service in school. I was in Red Cross in secondary school, so you can imagine the number of hours I spent begging on the streets and knocking on doors asking for donations.
I believe in many causes, such as world hunger, civil rights, equality, environmentalism, children’s rights, [insert cause here]. I respect there are many causes, niche and otherwise, but obviously I don’t care for all of them equally or spend time on. and My life in the past two years has been concentrated on queer rights and HIV/AIDS [I stopped working for AFA recently when school started.] Two causes, according to parents, which aren’t important. They rather me be an environmentalist, or someone who is helping out with world hunger, or poverty. They go for the big-picture causes. [Not that they actually do anything about it – they would rather me do that, because they are nice respectable, non-controversial causes that everyone should be concerned about.]
How do you measure the worth of one cause in relation to another? How do my parents come to the (erroneous, IMO) conclusion that I am wasting my time on this? How do they make the judgment call, really, about what is a worthy cause? Is bone-marrow donation a less worthy cause than getting pocket money for poor children? Are animal rights less important the rights of humans?
How do you tell someone that they should not be working on a cause that they are passionate about, but should focus on something more “worthy”, which might not necessarily be something they care about very much? To me, the worthiness of any cause is an absolutely personal decision. Volunteerism is scarce in this world: the only return volunteers and activists get from spending countless hours and going through problems [most of the time], is the satisfaction you get from it. It is perhaps from seeing a poor child smile happily after her first meal in days, or seeing new laws pushed through the parliament after decades of injustice. Is it wrong to want that sense of satisfaction? I highly doubt it. After all, the only thing that keeps us going after experiencing setbacks and problems is the passion – if you don’t have the passion, the energy, then how can it be artificially induced just because someone else thinks that cause is important?
No, you don’t get to tell me I am caring about the wrong things. You don’t get to tell me children are starving in Africa and I am fighting for the right for people to have sex. You don’t get to judge my passion for a particular cause, or tell me I should be into yours.
All causes are equal – only the person can decide which one is important.
When I posted Intelligent Design aka Christian Chauvinism, I expected to be slammed by Christians, not pseudo-scientists [who quote from books, but don’t make a point]. I am no scientist. My belief in Evolution is in same class as my belief in Big Bang, the existence of extra-terrestrial life, and Global Warming. All are so-far unproven theories, but with overwhelming scientific evidence, or simply rational thought [in the case of extra-terrestrial life] pointing to it. And of course, I don’t ignore that there is evidence pointing the other way too – but isn’t that the great thing about science?
It is not my job to research any of these theories I believe in – that’s for other people to do. Neither is it my job to convince other people of it – again, that’s for scientists to do. My belief rests not on blind faith, but well-reasoned logic in looking at both sides, and coming to a conclusion on which side I consider to have more merit. If tomorrow a respected scientist comes up with a paper that has absolutely (ideally) undeniable evidence that permanently debunks any of these theories, then the said belief will be destroyed without further notice. I put faith in evidence and proof, not rhetoric [which is what the proponents of ID rely on. All I’ve ever heard them say is “Look at all the things around us! There is no way this was a product of chance!”]
When I posted that entry, I was genuinely outraged not because I felt my scientific belief system was under attack, but because of the political ramifications of the said event taking place at a respected university. I consider it an embarrassment and an affront to have a speaker [rev Dr Dave Geisler] whose qualification is not even a basic degree in science, but a Doctor of Ministry in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary try and discredit Evolution as valid science.
Really – what is at stake here is not science, but politics. Politics of science, maybe, but politics nonetheless. What is under siege is not the theory of evolution, but the secular values society is built on.
Otherwise, really… I don’t give a damn about whether you believe the world was created by a mushroom.
Thanks to the generous sponsorship by Harry Elias Partnership and the student discount, the law faculty was given an opportunity to buy heavily discounted tickets for this play and support a faculty member, Eleanor Wong. Yes, the Eleanor Wong, famous for her lesbian lawyer trilogy, who is practically a lesbian icon unto herself. Perhaps even more famous than Irene Ang, who still tells the media that she is just an unmarried single woman. Continue reading