Posts Tagged 'AWARE'

ST Forum: Offensive to call people ‘sexually challenged’

23 May 2009
Straits Times Print Forum

Offensive to call people ‘sexually challenged’

I read Dr Thio Su Mien’s letter on Monday (‘Gay activists a key constituency of Aware’) with a curious mix of appalled bemusement.

Referring to the ‘activist homosexual group’ that was present at the recent extraordinary general meeting of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) in support of the old guard, Dr Thio stated: ‘Many sexually challenged women were among the most vocal and vociferous supporters of the old guard’. Continue reading ‘ST Forum: Offensive to call people ‘sexually challenged’’

ST Forum: Supporting gay rights does not make one gay

23 May 2009
Straits Times Online forum

Teach sex education in context of meaningful relationships
I READ with interest the reports on how sex education is needed to counter worrying trends and the approaches to be taken.

There is one important factor missing in all the discussions and that is the context in which sex happens – in a relationship.

Sex education is not just about teaching how sex takes place or when sexuality is aroused. Nor is it about accepting the barrage of emotions involved in exploring alternative lifestyles. These make up only one component of sex education. Continue reading ‘ST Forum: Supporting gay rights does not make one gay’

Christians against AWARE Takeover


29 April 2009

Here is a note posted on Facebook written by Gwee Li Sui (not me – though I wish I had!) which I think people should read:

Christians in Singapore, listen! You should not be this conflicted about the AWARE debacle. It appears that a few churches have already taken the opportunity to preach on the issue of homosexuality from the pulpit. Some Christians have also been rattling on about it being time to make a stand and be counted for what one truly believes.

So this is me making a stand right here. I have been a Bible-believing Christian for 25 years now. I want first to acknowledge fellow believers who, like me, are shocked, angered, and saddened by the takeover and feel that their faith has been hijacked and their views ignored. I know that a lot of such affected Christians are out there. There is also another group which may not agree with the new team’s tactics but admires its fervour or sympathises with it for the heat it has been getting. Continue reading ‘Christians against AWARE Takeover’

ST: Churches: Don’t get involved


30 April 2009

THE National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) says it does not condone churches getting involved in recent matters related to the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

In a statement on Thursday, it said it did not condone pulpits being used for this purpose.

‘Our member churches are not involved in the present saga. In fact, our heads of churches have very recently reiterated to their clergy the standing instruction on the proper use of the pulpit,’ said the statement issued by Archbishop John Chew, president of the NCCS, and Mr Lim K Tham, NCSS general secretary. Continue reading ‘ST: Churches: Don’t get involved’

AWARE: Lessons from a fiasco


By Cherian George

4 May 2009

The battle for control of Aware can be a learning experience for civil society activists and the wider public. There are at least three lessons to reflect on: the brand of secularism that works for Singapore; the type of representation that civil society organisations should offer; and the level of transparency and accountability that the public deserve from such groups.


Some may view the outcome of the Aware showdown as a triumph over religious values and then – depending on their standpoint – either despair or gloat. But, this would be a wrong reading of events and only set the stage for more confrontational encounters.

The battle for Aware should be seen instead as a struggle over how – not whether – to insert faith-based values into public life. While there are some societies that interpret secularism as delegitimising the entry of religious values into the public sphere, that has never been Singapore’s way. Secularism here acknowledges that many Singaporeans are spiritually oriented; it respects their right to inject faith-based words and actions into public life. Continue reading ‘AWARE: Lessons from a fiasco’

STForum: What the school programme teaches students


29 April 2009

I REFER to reactions to Aware’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme. The CSE was developed when data released in 2005 showed a sharp rise in sexually transmitted infections (STI) among teenage girls. Between 2000 and 2005, this figure grew 3.4 times. We were concerned because some STIs can cause sterility.

A study by the National University Hospital found that 117 girls under 20 years of age had abortions, and of these, nine had previous abortions. Nearly 30 per cent of women above age 20 had previous abortions.

Clearly, accurate information about safer sex and contraception is severely lacking for teens and adults. Aware’s CSE programme set out to help close the information gap. Continue reading ‘STForum: What the school programme teaches students’

Reply to Recent Comments and Claims About AWARE’s Sexuality Education Programme in Schools


April 28, 2009

Reply to Recent Comments and Claims About AWARE’s Sexuality Education Programme in Schools

1We refer to recent claims and comments about AWARE’s sexuality education programme in schools.

2Sexuality education conducted in MOE schools is premised on the importance of the family and respect for the values and beliefs of the different ethnic and religious communities on sexuality issues. The aim is to help students make responsible values-based choices on matters involving sexuality.

3Core programmes are delivered by teachers but schools do collaborate with other agencies in delivering additional modules. However, in doing so, schools must ensure that any programmes run by external agencies are secular and sensitive to the multi-religious make-up of our society. Parents can choose to opt their children out of these programmes. Continue reading ‘Reply to Recent Comments and Claims About AWARE’s Sexuality Education Programme in Schools’

Today: Keep religion above fray of petty politics, says Dr Balakrishnan


By Zul Othman
27 April 2009

The AWARE spat is not a national problem, and the government has no intention of intervening in it, said the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan.

This, even as he warns the two warring groups — the new executive committee elected this month and the Old Guard of the Association of Women for Action and Research — to “keep religion above the fray of petty politics”.

Dr Balakrishnan said it is a problem they have to solve themselves and in a democratic manner, while abiding by the constitution of AWARE.

The bitter spat between the two groups has been dominating the headlines for several weeks.

Members of the new Exco had said they went into AWARE to bring it back to its original focus, and that is women issues, when it appeared to them that AWARE had veered into supporting homosexuality. Continue reading ‘Today: Keep religion above fray of petty politics, says Dr Balakrishnan’

NewPapers: Tussle For Aware: ‘We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist’


By Veena Bharwani

April 26, 2009

HOMOSEXUALITY. Taboo? Or should students be made aware?

The issue has been a bone of contention between the old and new guard, with the latter citing its inclusion in a sex awareness course for students as unnacceptable.

In particular, the new leadership is outraged by the treatment of the topic in the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programme run by Aware over the past two years.

In CSE, students are told in an ice-breaker activity that words such as ‘homosexual’, ‘pre-marital’ and ‘anal-sex’ are considered neutral. Aware’s new committee said that by deeming these terms neutral, the programme seems to promote the message that homosexuality is acceptable.

The old guard swiftly rubbished this in a press conference yesterday. The talk on homosexuality, said veteran members, constitutes only a very small part of the workshop. Continue reading ‘NewPapers: Tussle For Aware: ‘We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist’’

ST: Aware saga: A new militancy emerges

25 April 2009

Straits Times

By Chua Mui Hoong, Senior Writer

THE battle lines have been drawn. And it is not just between Aware’s new executive committee and its old guard.

The leading women’s advocacy group saw a stunning leadership change when newcomers captured nine of 12 executive committee posts at the group’s annual general meeting on March 28. Older members questioned their motives as well as the sudden influx of new members who joined Aware just months before the AGM.

Four members of the new exco held a press conference on Thursday evening. At the same time as the press conference was proceeding at Raffles Town Club, an exco meeting was called at Aware’s Dover Road premises. The new team sacked the Aware centre’s manager, a paid employee, changed the locks at the Aware office and had a stand-off with old guard members who turned up later.

Some see this episode as a ‘catfight’ among ambitious women. Others see it as a tussle for control of a prominent women’s advocacy group, three of whose presidents have served as Nominated Members of Parliament. Continue reading ‘ST: Aware saga: A new militancy emerges’