Dr Vivian: Let’s not talk about video anymore

Yahoo News
28 April 2011

Dr Vivian: Let’s not talk about video anymore

Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnanhas called for a truce.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, the Minister said there is “no need” to further discuss a video which shows Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) candidate, Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, attending a forum which discussed on gay rights.

Dr Balakrishnan, who will contest the Holland-Bukit Timah against the SDP team led by Dr Wijeysingha, said that he was satisfied with the SDP’s video response to his earlier concerns about a possible “gay agenda” should SDP be voted into Parliament.

“His video statements (by SDP chief Chee Soon Juan) were a response to my question, he’s answered the question. Let’s leave it at that,” said the minister.

When asked if he would bring the matter up again during his team’s campaigning, he said, “No. No need. I don’t need to go any further with that. Questions was asked, I posed the question, he answered,” he added.

However, Dr Balakrishan dismissed that he was employing a “smear tactic” when he brought up the issue, saying “No. This is a legitimate question and he’s answered it.”

In a statement released on Monday evening, the People’s Action Party (PAP) team for the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC had called on the SDP and, in particular, its candidate Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, 40, to be upfront about his “political motives”, prompting a heated war of words between the two parties.

In a swift video response, SDP chief Dr Chee said that while both parties might have disagreements over policy issues, he called on the Minister not to resort to “personal attacks” and adopting “smear tactics”.

Meanwhile, Dr Balakrishnan also rejected calls by the SDP for a public debate, saying that it would just give the SDP an added platform to engage residents.

Explaining that there are no such “shortcuts”, he said, “Personally as incumbents, we’ve been here, our residents know us, we have walked and knocked on every single door in this GRC.

“A team that has just come together in the last few days and has not done their leg work, the reason they want a debate is because they want a platform to reach out to residents.”

Taking a jibe at the SDP’s statements that he was rattled by their contest in the GRC, Dr Balakrishnan said, “Do I look rattled?”

Apart from that, he also stressed that the choices made by voters will have an impact on the outcome and opportunities for young Singaporeans over at least the next 20 years.

“For a young Singaporean who just graduate today, 20 years is half your working life. So there are some very fundamental choices which Singaporeans will have to make up their minds on, over the next nine to ten days,” he said.

Chee welcomes Dr Vivian’s remarks

On the other hand, Chee pointed out that there has been a “very stern rebuke online” about the way Dr Balakrishnan brought up the issue on the video.

However, the SDP chief welcomed the minister’s statements that he will not pursue the issue come campaign period. Chee was speaking at a separate press conference on Wednesday afternoon where it unveiled its party’s manifesto.

“It’s very clear the online reaction has been very negative towards him. And we asked him not to continue, not to persist in this line.

“I’m hoping, and we’re all hoping that we can run this campaign in the spirit that it was meant to be and that is talking about issues that people are concerned about. And not get into personal attacks,” said Chee.

“We take Dr Balakrishnan at his word, that he will not pursue this, and it was very distasteful. The internet community has made that clear to him and we are glad to hear that he will not continue to pursue this matter. We’ll leave it at that.”

In addition, Chee also dismissed the suggestion that the party will take advantage of the situation and turn the tables back on Dr Balakrishnan, saying that this is not what SDP is about. Instead, he called on all parties to adopt a “clean fight”.

“This is one thing SDP is not and that we want to go after somebody in a very negative way,” he said.

“We call on every party to take the high road in politics and discuss what’s important for the future of our nation and the people. And when we do that, we’re hoping they will reciprocate.”

SDP’s Gomez tells Dr Balakrishnan to focus on issues

Channel NewsAsia
26 April 2011

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Dr James Gomez said Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan should stick to issues rather than “play dirty”.

He was commenting on the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) suggestion that the SDP has a secret gay agenda.

Continue reading ‘SDP’s Gomez tells Dr Balakrishnan to focus on issues’

Gay issue shouldn’t be raised in polls, say netizens

Channel NewsAsia
26 April 2011

The latest hot issues on the Internet revolve around section 377A and the issue of promoting gay rights in Singapore.

The Section 377A of the Penal Code criminalises homosexual sex.

National Solidarity Party candidate Nicole Seah posted comments on social networking site Facebook, saying she wondered if Section 377A is a big problem.

Continue reading ‘Gay issue shouldn’t be raised in polls, say netizens’

PAP and SDP square off over ‘smear tactics’

Straits Times,
26 April 2011

PAP and SDP square off over ‘smear tactics’
PAP team asks if SDP intends to pursue gay cause, and Chee says no
By Tessa Wong & Aaron Low

THE opposing teams at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC squared off publicly yesterday over an online video which the People’s Action Party (PAP) said raised questions whether the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) had a secret gay agenda.

First, the PAP team led by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan asked in a statement whether SDP candidate Vincent Wijeysingha, who was filmed participating in a gay rights forum, intends to pursue the cause in Parliament.

This was countered in the evening by SDP chief Chee Soon Juan who in an online video said neither the party nor any of its candidates is pursuing such an agenda.

Continue reading ‘PAP and SDP square off over ‘smear tactics’’

What the video is about

Straits Times
26 April 2011

What the video is about

THE video in question appears to be a six-minute clip posted on YouTube on April 14 by a user called JohnTan88888.

Entitled Vincent Wijeysingha – Gay Agenda, it comprises recorded excerpts of a public forum held last November by lawyer M. Ravi. He was speaking about his constitutional challenge to Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men.

The video begins with Mr Ravi addressing a small crowd, talking about the legal age of consent for homosexuality. He says that in some Western countries, it is as low as 14 years of age for males. Later, a woman is heard asking Mr Ravi what he plans to do to rally the gay community.

Continue reading ‘What the video is about’

Battle heats up in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Straits Times
26 April 2011

Battle heats up in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
By Yasmine Yahya , Amanda Tan , Amresh Gunasingham and Judith Tan

HOLLAND-BUKIT Timah GRC is in the shape of an upward tick. Nestled in its curved hook are Singapore’s affluent. It starts from Sunset Way on the left, then veers down and across to Sixth Avenue. As the tick extends upwards along Upper Bukit Timah, sprawling bungalows yield to smaller houses and condominiums. Perched at its apex are the modest flats of Bukit Panjang.

Different lifestyles, but one similarity: Most of the 91,607 voters here have not voted in at least two decades.

Continue reading ‘Battle heats up in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC’

SDP says it’s in the dark over video clip

Straits Times
25 April 2011

SDP says it’s in the dark over video clip
Party says statements by minister show he’s rattled by GRC contest
By Aaron Low & Esther Teo

SINGAPORE Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Tan Jee Say said yesterday he had ‘no idea’ what Dr Vivian Balakrishnan was referring to when the minister cited a video that would raise ‘awkward questions’ about the opposition party’s motivations and agenda.

The former senior civil servant also dismissed the suggestion by the Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister that he had not done proper checks before joining the SDP.

‘Frankly, I have no idea what video he is referring to, and I have seen a lot of SDP videos,’ said the 57-year-old private investment adviser, a former principal private secretary to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Continue reading ‘SDP says it’s in the dark over video clip’

‘Strange bedfellows’ in SDP team

Sunday Times
24 April 2011

‘Strange bedfellows’ in SDP team
Vivian takes on Chee’s party, hinting of a possible expose over YouTube video
By Judith Tan and Amresh Gunasingham

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday described the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) team running against him as ‘strange bedfellows’ who do not have a shared vision or ideology.

Dismissing accusations by SDP candidate Tan Jee Say that the People’s Action Party had ‘lost its moral compass’, he turned the spotlight back onto the SDP instead.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said: ‘It has been brought to my attention – in fact it is the SDP which is suppressing a certain YouTube video, which raises some very awkward questions about the agenda and motivations of the SDP and its candidates.’

Continue reading ‘‘Strange bedfellows’ in SDP team’

Vivian Balakrishnan says SDP will have to come out of the closet

Straits Times
20 April 2011

For all of us, it is a very heavy responsibility. Our residents’ livelihoods, families and homes are at stake. As far as the effort itself, my overriding imperative is not to let the voters, volunteers and my team-mates down. I am not sure what (the Singapore Democratic Party’s) strategy is. I would like to know whether they have confirmed that they are contesting, I would like to know their line-up. I can’t help feeling that part of the reason for their reticence is they have elements of their agenda they are not prepared to disclose and subject to scrutiny. Eventually, they will have to come out of the closet.

I see a total lack of a plan. Even at national level, I am still waiting for their manifesto. But if you base it on what we have seen so far, it is fair to say that the SDP, as far as policy is concerned, is the most extreme of all the opposition parties. It is an incoherent set of populist calls. And all I can do is to agree with Mr Chiam See Tong’s assessment that they have not changed. Their philosophy, their policies and their approach have not changed.

Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan on anchoring the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC team for the first time

Pink Everest: Nepal appeals for gay tourists


By RAVI NESSMAN (AP) – 2 days ago

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepal wants to paint Mount Everest pink.

It wants gay honeymooners trekking through the Himalayas.

It wants to host the world’s highest same-sex wedding at Everest base camp.

But mainly, the conservative Hindu nation wants a chunk of the multibillion dollar gay tourist market to help pull it out of poverty.

That quest — brushing aside historical biases in pursuit of economic opportunity — is symbolic of one of the gay rights movement’s most stunning successes.

Just five years ago, police were beating gays and transsexuals in the streets. Continue reading ‘Pink Everest: Nepal appeals for gay tourists’