Picture from The Online Citizen, one of the most fabulous local websites ever created 🙂 You can see me and BFF cheering our hearts out with our arms outstretched. We’re visible but spot us girls only if you’ve the time to play Where’s Wally *grin*
But yes… God is not blind. Justice, logic and fairness has prevailed!!! Today has been a dramatic 7+ hours, but the AWARE saga is now over and the new exco is now the old exco as the motion of "no confidence" was passed successfully against Josie and her posse cats with a whooping 1414 votes to 761.
The Church of Our Saviour ladies obviously didn’t see it coming. A very strange coincidence was that J+Co. had chosen to book today’s EGM venue, when they’re aware that just next door was a massive on-going church seminar with a big flock of their fellow fundie church members attending. The old guards were as usual, excluded in their meetings to discuss logistics, assistance, etc.
Anyways. With the overwhelming majority voting against them, the exco were advised by the legal counsel to step down and that they did, seemingly quite grudgingly so, despite what they read out as a final statement (because they had to) waaaaaaaaaaaaay after they were supposed to give us their answer.
From our vantage point on the floor, it looked very sore on their part as they butted back in long after their given time had lapsed (very) badly and the voting for the brand new exco was already going on mid-way on stage. Yes, J+Co. did a hijack redux again, after we’d all given them a much-extended grace period and no one could reach them by phone or find them. My photographer friend from a local newspaper had shared with me that the media suspected they’d left the building.
It amazed all of us that these corporate chicks have absolutely no respect for other people and their time – everything has to be about them. Their way, their time, them them them. In contrast, much credit must go to the gentle and kind graciousness of the old guards. These seasoned women who have served AWARE for years are intelligent, wise, compassionate and full of grace. I realise now that these wonderful people have been so under-appreciated for all their time and effort.
Thio’s usurping mentees should be more like the old guards – you know the adage: actions speak louder than words. The exco would have been more dignified at their table if they hadn’t kept yelling for people to "shut up and sit down" or sharply instruct for security to escort the old guards out repeatedly and attempt to jam their oooh-so-scaaaary power down our throats, just because they had microphones that work. There was sadly no sincerity or respect, only cold pompous disdain coming from the table on stage. It was ugly and I’d never felt so disgusted because I felt it was all seriously unneccessary and uncalled for.
There were so many times I felt so appalled, I wanted to throw up. Some of the imposing things they said and did, the attempts of ‘righteous’ justification, made them look so inept and small-minded, but more importantly – extremely unqualified to lead us. These corporate chicks had absolutely no idea what an amazing NGO, which AWARE is, is all about. It’s nuts.
Today saw me at my most vocal, my most passionate… because this was something I truly believe in fighting for. And I was not the only one. About 3,000 people showed up today – and from the clear voting results, well, you know where the majority of us women stood.
AWARE has been around for 25 years and has helped so many women here and overseas. Though I respect the group, I’d never joined as a member till this saga happened simply because the NGO has always been in good hands… until the unfortunate hijack of this secular civic space from a bunch of religious over-zealous fanatics who didn’t get their facts right.
It is just not me to do nothing about it, so friends and I patiently waited in line for almost 2 hours to get in and when we finally made it through the door, we already didn’t like what was happening. How could the exco expect people to respect them if they acted like over-bearing tyrants? I’d honestly expected much more from these corporate raiders who expected to win people over with their leadership skills.
Sally Ang was surprisingly mega unsavvy when she lost the plot and hollered into the mic for us to shut up and sit down and they’d also tried to assert their power unrightly – instructing for the old guard’s legal counsel to sit far away from them – and that of course, did not go well with all us. Geez. Why for the love of God, can’t they ever play fair? Why were they so afriad and insecure? Click on the link above to hear what had happened when the old guard had politely pointed out that Josie’s 3 minutes were up Seriously, what a biiiiyaaaatch!
And Josie’s opening speech was misleadingly scripted as if she had to be given a medal for all of AWARE’s past work when she did squat. Of course us informed people were extremely irrate with her for trying to seemingly take credit for things which were not her work. People around me were visibly upset that she tried to sound so self-sacrificial and giving when she was never there at all the track records and achievement which were the work of the old guards.
I was seated along with BFF’s friend Trudy & Pat Chan and a whole bunch of their friends – all lifetime members of AWARE and these cool ladies were real tough cookies. Very feisty, highly educated and extremely intelligent… these 50,60 year olds had plenty of zest and drive and of course they were angry. The veterans that they were, these women knew much more than anyone else about what was going on. To me, it was an honor to be sitting with them.
The energy all around was highly-charged. Hearing the aloof, jaded-looking exco speak (but not attentively listen) and witnessing their flactuations of insecurity and power, I truly and honestly wished that they’d taken God as a mentor… instead of their self-proclaimed "feminist mentor".
At the EGM, Thio’s pushy behaviour was a huge joke in itself when she burst to the front of the stage, ranting "respect your elders" and kept insisting that she regarded herself as a feminist mentor. Respect has to be earned, everyone knows that. Unless you’re a maniacal tyrant or insecure bully like some fascist dictator or gangster mafia, and simply expect it – OR ELSE. *rolls eyes* Anyways, these forceful people don’t get our respect. They just want our fear.
Truly, we’re all very tired of given BS, being lied to, taking for a stupid beating-around-the-bush ride and assumed to be stupid simpletons easily brainwashed… when WE ARE AWARE – passionate women with wisdom & compassion, and a very clear voice. We want transparency and accountability, we reject hate and discrimination and embrace inclusivity and REAL human rights.
It’s really tragic that these clowns didn’t even know what real WOMEN’S RIGHTS are about & as the long hours passed, it became more and more obvious how sadly ill-informed and unsuitable the exco was. Thio’s inexperienced disciples apparently knew zilch and their religious views simply got in the way of the big picture. How can you put religion into a secular mix when it should be separate?
“While religious organisations can give their opinions on secular organisations, we don’t go into their affairs.” – Archbishop Nicolas Chia from the Catholic Church
I don’t know what’s going to happen to them – how Josie and her pals are going to account for the UNACCEPTABLE misuse of the whooping S$90,000.00 of the NGO’s funds in the few weeks they’ve been in their positions. A smirking supporter from their camp had foolishly retorted that settling the bill was no issue since AWARE’s membership had soared and everyone’s paid fees could be used to offset that.
Well. This church member is very sadly misinformed because this cheque book mentality is not what NGOs are about – these charities are not corporate organisations and the exco was full aware that for amounts exceeding S$20K they had to ask our permission to go beyond this monthly cap. Else it’d be severe misappropriation of our funds and legal proceedings will take place accordingly.
Anyways, the good side of things was that despite the dramatic 7+ hours – which saw me at the venue way before the event started, rushing to Clarke Quay for the opening day of the 3rd season of my show (which is very important to me as well… but this particular saga is far bigger than I am, hence takes up my soapbox space today), before zipping back to the EGM to re-join my kind comrades who had been keeping me in the loop via MMS & SMS on whats going on – is in essence…
AWARE is now back in safe hands Yippie Yi Yay!!!
Also, today revealed the fact that Singapore has plenty of smart, elloquent, passionate women. People like me who don’t believe in letting people get away unfairly with things. Women such as I who don’t take sh*t lying down. Trust me… We were highly shocked by what some people said, and also extremely impressed by others. You would too.
You see, there was a long queue for the mic on the floor… inevitably, there’s 2 distinct camps, the religious fundies from that particular church who’d come to support their "sisters" but sadly had no cowsense or ability of intelligent context (no offense – just being objective… for instance, referring to us all as "a congregation" as an intro in itself already shows where you’re leaning in this secular meeting) versus the level-headed educated folks (stemming from leaders of other women’s groups, qualified women’s studies lecturers, volunteers of AWARE, etc.) who brought up important points in a very logical, clear, unemotional but yet passionate manner.
Founder of Fly Entertainment and well-known local comedienne, Irene Ang, was one of the many who spoke up (kudos to what she said and how she said it), and I met Loretta who was there with her partner. I’m really so proud of my friend 🙂 The cool chick’s the founder of local theatre company, Zebra Crossings, the very talented L has a good chance of being our country’s first NMP for the Arts! Several familiar faces from SPH, Mediacorp and more were also there with me. Someone commented that the air around this was even more passionate than a political election.
Anyways. Now that this wrong has been righted, we can all move forward. Singapore’s Golden Girl, Pat Chan, was hilariously honest when she commented to our group that this was the best forty bucks she’d ever spent. I have to agree with her completely! Gosh… All the drama, the emotions, the twist and turns, it was intense ‘live’ entertainment… *sheepish grin* I’m sure the reporting media was having a field day at our EGM!
Leaving the venue with BFF when the event finally ended just before 10PM, we started to muse if DBS will give Josie the sack next week for all her reported insuborination and this huge PR nightmare. This pussycat is not my friend but I hope they don’t do that to her, because despite her actions, I understand she was just believing her faith. Over our extremely late dinner of bakuteh, the BFF & I also wondered if J+Co. would be upset with their "feminist mentor" for so severely misguiding them.
Thio wasn’t in the exco but she’d masterminded the hijack of AWARE and (mis)used these women to try reach her agenda upon takeover. Perhaps in some other time or situation I may have liked Josie and her friends from church, but what they’ve done is truly not what God would have. You know… WWJD 😉
In its involvement, COOS has set a horrid example to others about what Christianity is about. The religion is one about love, not about jamming forced precepts down people’s throats. It’s true that while I do not personally like J+Co for what they’ve done and tried to do, I still hope that they’d find it in themselves somehow to walk away from this as better human beings, with new knowledge that you need to wholly accept, love and respect people as people – as different as they may be from you or what you’re familiar with.
All the best to the brand new elected AWARE exco… You girls ROCK! And meanwhile, if you’re at a loss about what all this is about… check out: