Personally, I think Mr. Siew Kum Hong has got to be one of the coolest NMPs we have here on this little red dot. I’ve heard and read so much about the man, but I only saw him for the first time last Saturday at our AWARE EGM and I truly applaud this feisty, well-spoken Singaporean for his gusto and brains. No doubt, he has my fullest respect.
Though the AWARE EGM has ended, the saga is far from over. There’s been plenty of news going on still, with many published letters from all sorts of people… and now the Ministry of Education has suspended all sexual education programs by external vendors to review it accordingly for secondary schools, due to inevitable pressure and heat.
My stand on this has been clear from the start – in essence, it’s exactly what Mr. Siew mentioned in his very well-written blog that "First and foremost, I walked away from the EGM proud to be Singaporean. I saw the result as an affirmation of the values that we hold dear (openness, transparency, inclusiveness, diversity and secularism) and a rejection of those that, well, we should not (dishonesty, non-transparency, exclusiveness, intolerance, divisiveness and oppression/bullying)."
While the media played it to be an old guards VS new guards thingy thing, it was really about LOGIC & FAIRNESS to me. I don’t know any of the women personally, on either sides… it’s not a blind/ emotional ‘please come and support your church sisters/ friends’ kinda thing. I THINK THESE PEOPLE IN PARTICULAR SHOULD STOP BEING SO SELF-RIGHTEOUS.
I did what I did because of my own logical reasoning. Not just a blind emotional feeling of what other people say/do/tell me. Plus it’s just not me to sit on my butt and do nothing but sit on the fence; to passively allow and witness something completely senseless to take over something so right. I’m glad that there are other fellow Singaporeans who believe in the voice of reason & were brave enough to take up this call to action and not just let things slide.
I was quietly reflecting about it today on the way to my performance gig at Clarke Quay, when I overheard the news on radio about MOE’s suspension. It made me sigh inwardly in the car because I’d read some published letters from angry parents who are upset that AWARE labels homosexuality as neutral. Sure, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions and schools of thought, but I believe that UNDERSTANDING & AWARENESS is the key.
For instance, and just merely musing for context-sake… What does it matter to me if my child is left or right handed? It might be inconvenient for them if they’re lefties because they’d have some trouble using scissors and other things, but the thing is – everyone’s different. As a parent (in theory, because I haven’t reproduced) I’m not going to force my poor kiddo to become a right hander if its not his/ her dominant hand. Why put them through such anguish just to conform to the majority? It’s not like they’re hurting anyone with just the way they naturally are.
Anyways. AWARE‘s always been a couple of steps ahead, that’s what good NGOs do. With much good scientific research and solid informative programs, they lead the community into realizing important issues. If everyone’s already aware (pun not intended), what is there left to educate? LOL.
More importantly, AWARE has done so much for women back then… in effectively changing people’s mindsets here that it’s absolutely more than OK for women to be highly educated/ career-minded/ financially independent/ etc because times have changed. It wasn’t easy because people never like change. But things evolve. You need to keep up – open your mind, expand your horizons or risk being a frog in the well.
I was sincerely stunned by the fact that Thio actually believes God punished Singapore with SARS because our country allows abortions and she claimed that God told her so. What logic is that!? From someone who dares declare herself a ‘feminist mentor’? These self-righteous religious fundies are very, very, very scary. Whatever God they worship is not worthy of my love, respect and belief. Christianity is supposed to be a religion of LOVE and they’re not setting an example through their actions.
Back to my point. Why shouldn’t homosexuality be labelled as neutral? AWARE is definitely not influencing kids to be gay, please don’t believe the unsubstantiated nonsense Thio and her mentees have tried to scare you with because in the context of the entire sex ed lecture, this homo thing is just a mere 5 minutes of the entire 3 hour long talk.
So before you sign the on-going petition request to tell our Government to throw out AWARE’s current sex ed program, pause to think and ask WHY are you REALLY doing this. Do you FULLY grasp what is going on and do you completely UNDERSTAND the context of things?
As a kid growing up in this Asian society, my parents never talked to us about sex. The only education we got about this ‘taboo subject’ was from school/ AWARE, and from the Internet 😛 I really wouldn’t recommend the latter… for obvious reasons. But yes, the thing is, this NGO has done so much research and we need organisations like AWARE to help lead the community forward.
If Josie and her posse cats actually got their way, kids under Thio’s new program would never be able to make informed choices. It’s so obvious to anyone that with them ladies all from the same religious organisation, there’s absolutely no way things can remain secular. You can try preaching abstinence but it’d be tragic if you’re deluded enough to think everyone’s going to listen and follow. And blowing things up to such epic porportions like with the AWARE saga to champion your religious & political beliiefs, makes us intelligent educated masses even more wary and repulsed. It saddens me when people throw away logic because of ‘religion’.
It makes me ponder… if J+Co had continued to be in the exco, AWARE’s sex ed courses would either take out the bit about homosexuality (as if everyone in our country is completely heterosexual) or change the notes to teach that not being straight is an adomination. It’s a very Kim Jong-il approach in controling knowledge and exposure of what’s really out there, in the real world.
From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely and absolutely believe that AWARE’s current program importantly equips young people with the essential knowledge and understanding – to prevent homophobia or immature teasing, which could very well lead to confused teenagers turning suicidal if they get bullied by intolerant classmates.
This is not me being dramatic – it’s entirely possible because most of the time, we fear what we don’t understand. So please, stop being so goddamn self-righteous and take a moment to truly reflect… on world peace