24 May 2009
Learn to live with diversity
A sense of common good should prevail, whatever our differences
By Lydia Lim, Senior Political Correspondent
ENTREPRENEUR and innovation guru Guy Kawasaki once criticised Singapore as an one-opinion town.
His precise words were: Israel has five million people, six million entrepreneurs, and fifteen million opinions. Singapore has five million people, six entrepreneurs, and one opinion. Continue reading ‘ST Lydia Lim: Learn to live with diversity’
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’
19 May 2009
Straits times Online Forum
Self-described feminist mentor’s actions invited a reaction
I REFER to Monday’s letter by Dr Thio Su Mien, ‘Gay activists a key constituency of Aware’. I would like to highlight a number of statements she made that serve no purpose other than to confuse.
I am perplexed how Dr Thio can, in the same paragraph, say that Aware’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) manual ‘expressly states that homosexuality is neutral and normal’, and then go on to attack the content of the CSE programme as ‘non-neutral’. Continue reading ‘ST Forum: Self-described feminist mentor’s actions invited a reaction’
18 May 2009
Straits Times Print Forum
Gay activists a key constituency of Aware
I REFER to last Saturday’s letter, ‘Aware has never had a ‘gay agenda” by Ms Dana Lam, president of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware). Since I was specifically mentioned, a response is called for.
First, the fact that Aware has done sterling work for women in the 24 years of its existence is not disputed. The ‘ex-new exco’, in its press statement, acknowledged this contribution and declared its commitment to build on these foundations. Continue reading ‘ST Forum: Gay activists a key constituency of Aware’
7 May 2009
Singapore’s NGO furore
Liberals rally to take on the Christian right
A BLOODLESS coup instigated by a septuagenarian “feminist mentor”; a death threat sent to the new president’s husband by a self-proclaimed “jihadist sleeper”; a 3,000-person showdown. The tiny world of Singapore’s usually timid NGOs has never seen anything like it. Continue reading ‘Economist: Taken unawares’
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’
27 April 2009
Keep religion above ‘petty politics’, says Vivian
Following Aware saga, he urges groups to be ‘rainbow coalition’
By Li Xueying
IN SINGAPORE’S multiracial and multi-religious society, it is ‘potentially dangerous’ for religion to ‘descend into the fray of petty politics’, warned the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports yesterday.
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan made it clear that it is not a good idea to mix religion and what he called the hurly-burly of politicking on the ground. Continue reading ‘ST: Keep religion above ‘petty politics’, says Vivian’