Saturday, May 02, 2009

To hope till Hope creates

The story began when a group of parochialists, under the cloak of noblesse, stole an organisation. Disguised, stealthy, hidden, were hearts of misplaced religious zeal. An ilk of the self righteous. In power, they were proud, arrogant, aloof. With almost casual disregard to the organisation's history, traditions and heritage, they began work by dismantling years of work, building illusory walls, reconstructing the organisation into a prideful image of their narrow religious visions.
"Have you come here to play Jesus. To the lepers in your head"

Than the voices spoke. Voices that refused silence. The truly pure and radiant hearts. First, the pioneers who built the organisation from nothing. Then, the marginalised who felt most threatened. Then you. Then me. And finally everybody. Old Guard, LGBT, bloggers, netizens, muslims, buddhists, christians, Singaporeans. The voices rejected the temptation of silence, rejected the opium of de-consciousness. They voices spoke to reclaim a precious space in secular society. To decry this robbery of a common space. An imaginary space undoubtedly, but real, tangible enough to unite all these different voices. To reject an organisation based on principles of exclusion, on a basis of hurt, from creating boundaries in this common space.

"And I can't be holding on to what you got, when all you got is hurt."

At the Town Hall meeting, the last chance. One by one by one they stood up. Testimony. Witness. Transmission. One story after another. Different stories but one common line. No. We will not shut up. No. We will not sit down. No. We will not accept injustice. The stories piled up, one after another. I am a teacher .. I am a Muslim .. I am a Christian .. I am gay .. I am a Singaporean .. I am a woman .. all different, but all one.

"We're one but we're not the same, so we get to carry each other, carry other"

How they smashed themselves against the walled stony silence, carrying each other, caring for each other. And the parochialists were stunned. Their legal counsel was stunned. Their crafty ploy to stay in power even in the face of no confidence crumbled. Their arrogant faith shaken, their cowardice exposed, their small hearts revealed to all to see. For all to judge. For all to despise. And ultimately, for all to feel sorry. And for all to forgive them.

"Too late tonight, to drag the past out into the light. We're one, but we're not the same. We get to carry each other, carry each other."

And so the different stories, spoken with truly pure and radiant hearts, put an end to this injustice. Restored the meaning of democracy. Recovered a space common to all, open to all. And so the different stories ended this story which began so iniquitously when a group of parochialists, under the cloak of noblesse, stole an organisation.

But we must not forget. We must continue telling this story as testimony, as witness, as transmission so that another iniquitous story cannot be allowed to begin. This is the debt we are obliged to return, for the stories that ended this iniquitous story today.

"And to hope, till Hope creates, from its wreck the thing it contemplates"


Quote of the Day --

'To suffer woes that Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This . . . is to be good,
great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.'

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Carafa's Eye

History is rife with examples of how organisations are subverted, hijacked through the surreptitious entry of agents from rival organisations or political entities. Perhaps the first popularly documented use of this tactic is the infamous Trojan Horse used by the Greeks to breach the walls of Troy and destroy this proud militaristic regime.

The most significant refinement of this tactic occurred with the Commmunist United Front strategy formulated by Leon Trotsky and it became formally known as the tactic of "entryism". Whether in Europe, in China or even in Singapore, the Communists recognised that the key to exponentially increase their support base and importantly, also political influence, was to take over organisations and project power from and through them. The take-over of these organisations were to be led by Lenin's Revolutionary Vanguard. The key group of agents-of-influence who would infilitrate targeted organisations, and from within eventually seize control of these organisations to enact the party's political objectives. Entryism became an important force multiplier for the Communists and the tactic itself remains even as the ideology which spawned it lies in the dust of History.

This particular tactic of entryism is relevant to Singapore indeed as the PAP came into power exactly through this. But the brutal irony was that they did it to the Communists who had in turn, done it against the British.

Perhaps History does move around in circles.

As the AWARE controversy escalates and more truths come under the harsh scrutiny of light, there are seemingly disparate pieces of information which are starting to coagulate into a slightly disturbing pattern.

That AWARE was a victim of entryist tactics is now clear as day. By the admission of the New Exco and more revealingly, by the unveiling of the Feminist Mentor, Thio Su Mien, AWARE had been subjected to an orchestrated take-over. Having read through their statements deeper, what they were trying to hide in their come-clean session were not their religious motivations. What appears to be their main defence was that they are not "organised". There is a key difference here. The New Exco since day one and since their revelations have been stressing that what they did was not organised. Even Thio Su Mien insists that she just sent a few random emails, and only mentor the women occasionally. When you deny something so vehemently, it only opens the enquiry in that direction.

Then, the role of Church of Our Savior and its Senior Pastor came to light. Many, probably including myself, started to think that the orchestrated take-over was conducted under the auspices of COOS. That it was a group within COOS attempting to enforce their religious beliefs on the rest of Singapore. If this is the simple picture, than the end-game is near. There is no possibility that COOS will be allowed to function as it had. The government, no matter how slow or clueless, will never allow the church institution to be used for such purposes.

But what if COOS itself was the victim of a steeplejack? That COOS, just like AWARE, has already been overrun and taken over? This hypothesis cannot be rejected. What happened in AWARE cannot be isolated exclusively. We have to examine other possibilities, examine other connections.

There is a church practice not commonly known to the layperson. This practice relates to the notion of "love gifts". Such gifts, usually in cash, are made to the church or to the pastors in recognition of their contribution to God's cause. As in all religious practices, we assume that such love gifts are given with no strings attached. It’s an act of faith. But then, such a practice can easily be misused. Surely, if faith and piety in this practice is corrupted, a situation could arise where particularly wealthy congregants could exert inordinate influence?

It is not in the realm of fantasy that perhaps there could really be a deeper, underground organisation or fellowship at play here. Other than AWARE and COOS, there could be other organisations at risk or already subverted. Perhaps, there could even be other organisations set up ostensibly with a secular agenda but inexorably linked to this underground council to gently extend its tentacles into society.

Perhaps Josie Lau's past actions needs to be re-considered in this light. She drew much flak for her credit card promotion which provided money to Focus on the Family. From its website FOTF appears hardly a Christian organisation. But its links to a notorious US based evangelical network was easily exposed. So is FOTF another steeple-jacked organisation with links to this deeper organisation?

We have to uncover what remains hidden.

Quote of the Day --

"The new age that You are preparing to inaugurate will have to forget its anonymous architects, the ones who have seen to it that events fitted together in accordance with the plan. The illustrious names of the defeated and the victors remain in the chronicles, available to anyone who wants to reconstruct the intricate events of an era and that which it produced. When those deeds are long gone and those lives have made way for the future, not a trace will remain of that silent army of soldiers of fortune and obscure labyrinth-builders. So it is only a matter of hastening the moment of that disappearance, just enough to allow us to escape the final execution." -- Q, Luther Blissett

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Importance of a Meeting Place

How long did the new AWARE exco think they could hide the reason for the AWARE EGM venue change before someone draws the link?

Read this.


"ill minded man! Why scourge thy kind
who bow'd so low the knee?
By gazing on thyself grown blind,
Thou taughst the rest to see.
with might unquestion'd, -- power to save, --
Thine only gift hath been the grave
to those that whoshipp'd thee;
Nor till thy fall could mortals guess
Ambition's less than littleness!"

Byron, Ode to Napoleon

Monday, April 27, 2009

God's Singaporean Son

This article in TOC instantly brought a wry smile.

"Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles... We are beggars: this is true."

The above words were from the final writings of Martin Luther, a humble unknown German friar, who one fateful night on 1517 nailed 95 theses on the castle church doors of Wittenberg. With this single act of defiance, Martin Luther began a movement which destroyed the edifices of the Roman Catholic Church and irrevocably split Christianity into the various denominations we see today. Despite being the father of what became known as the Protestant movement, Martin Luther's final words were as above. That no one could have indulged the Holy Writers sufficiently. That ultimately we are all beggars, aspiring to achieve just a little understanding of God’s will.

But he is a Protestant after all.

Unlike Senior Pastor Derek Hong from Church of Our Savior, whose reading of the holy writings in the St James Bible has revealed to him God's instructions, indeed God's lines which cannot be crossed, not by his congregation, not even by the nation of Singapore. God's lines no less. Where there are no grades for sin. A pastor from Singapore who professes to know God's will and who acts in His Name based on his reading of the indisputable document known as the Holy Bible. The messiah is here to ensure that the nation does not cross the lines drawn by God?

From the article and the sermon, it is clear that Senior Pastor Hong is blissfully blind and unaware of the anger expressed so vociferously in local cyberspace over the weekend. In his devout vision, this AWARE sage is still a battle between his church and militant gay activists. Hence, his sermon devoted mostly to his insistence of the "sin" of homosexuality and the creeping militant gay movement threatening to turn Gaia into Sodom.

Perhaps Senior Pastor Hong needs to awake from his holy coma. You need not have to understand tongues to read the wave of anger against the new AWARE exco, Thio Su Mien and now, Church of our Savior, expressed over the weekend. Indeed, the anger is no longer just about the anti-gay point. Instead, the anger is clearly on how a church and some members of its wayward flock steeplejacked a secular non-governmental organisation through a premeditated and orchestrated Christian mobilisation of resources. The anger is no longer contained within the LGBT groups, the anger has gone mainstream. Your average Singapore is angry. Because they can see clearly that this action by Thio Su Mien and her puppets, given holy approval by Senior Pastor Hong, is wrong. Wrong from all perspectives. Not only from the LGBT perspective.

That our usual new media blind Ministers fail to see that what has happened in AWARE is more than petty politicking is understandable. They are always slow and headless without Minister Mentor's cloistered guidance. But for a Senior Pastor who seems to have God's prescience and a flock with a Feminist Mentor no less, to fail see this anger is humorous at the very least. Perhaps, they are likely mere mortals after all.

But then which mortal would dare claim to know the lines drawn by God and ensure that the nation does not cross it.

Quote of the Day –

"My hand grasps the killing power in Heaven and earth; To behead the evil ones, spare the just, and ease the people's sorrow." -- Hong Xiu Quan, from God's Chinese Son, Jonathan D Spence

Saturday, April 25, 2009

De-legitimising Legality

Apologists of the new AWARE Exco cite the undisputable fact that they were voted in power legally and constitutionally. This "legality" justifies and legitimises their actions. This constitutionality of their new found status is the constant refrain used to blanket themselves from criticism. Indeed, this constitutionality of their actions gives them an aura of stoicism in the face of the massive critical storm blowing their way.

This constitutionality argument is bullshit. It is a little known fact that when Hitler enacted the Final Solution, he was actually legally empowered to do so. His brilliant legal thinkers had carefully and deliberately solved the legal-juridical problem of sending innocent people into concentration camps. It was not just a dictatorial whim of Hitler; it was a calibrated and constructed legal strategy to empower him to send innocents into concentration camps and from there, into the gas chambers. It was legal then as he saw it, as the German Reich saw it, but do we see it, many years down the road, as legal?

To rely on the constitutionality argument is basically a sign of weakness. It is short-sighted, it is escapism, it is a denial. Self silencing. It provides soothing comfort to justify looking away, stepping aside, denying a horror.

Eventually, it is their motivations which we have to look into. Which we have to examine, dissect, discourse, disagree. The first Government responses are typical. We should embrace tolerance, diversity of views and the usual rigmarole of non-committal opinions. If this is the case, than the new AWARE puppets have already failed because their motivations for assuming power are based on intolerance. Their motivations are based on their own warped, intolerant vision of their religion and what they perceive their God is telling them to do. Their motivations are based on an exclusive rather than inclusive agenda. Their motivations have no place in this space where we term civil society. Their motivations are a betrayal of their own religion.

It is their motivations that matter. Why they did what they did. Its not about whether it was legal or not. Look at NKF. Eventually, most of what Durai did was perfectly legal, perfectly constitutional. Why they did what they did will tell you what they will do in the future. When recipients of AWARE aid and services are excluded because they are different, because they do not believe, because they are sinners.

We should be shocked and we should be ashamed that a group such as this can sit in front of the cameras and tell us that what they did was legal and that what they did was right and what they did was self sacrificing. It was not. From shock, from shame, we should be morally outraged at their audacity, at their presumptiveness that we can stomach their actions and tolerate their galling motivations.

It is legal but it is wrong.

To say it is legal opens up a slippery slope.

Which is why, placing too much emphasis on the EOGM is not necessarily the strategy to adopt. To send this group back into their holes requires a concerted effort. Mr Wang suggests cancelling your DBS credit cards and telling DBS that you do not condone what their employee has done. Akikonomu has a whole list of email addresses which you can send to register your displeasure. Flood the newspapers with your anger. Spread the outrage far and wide and we can uncover new truths like this piece from DogEmperor. if you are in the Church Of Our Saviour or any other church and your wayward pastor stands behind the pulpit calling you to pray for the AWARE puppets, stand up and say no.

Disagree, resist, refuse.

Postscript -- A YouTube leak of the COOS anti gay sermon on their positioned statement.

Quote of the Day --

"Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles... We are beggars: this is true." -- Martin Luther

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Peculiar Irony

It is a peculiar irony that perhaps the Singapore Government's greatest enemy is not the opposition parties, not our weekend activists, not even our vaunted new media but an age-old ideology birthed when a man split the seas into two and another man got crucified on a cross.

Oh our pure and radiant hearts!

This simmering AWARE controversy has been argued along the lines of homophobia. It is seen as a reaction against the perceived gay-friendly direction of the old guard. That is only one side of the story.

There is the other side of this issue which we Singaporeans have been schooled deeply to avoid. To not touch. To pretend that it does not exist. Religion.

The motivations of the new guard of AWARE stems from religion. There is no doubt in that. Their group cohesion rests on an unwavering martyr-like devotion to their God. To their God as they see it. To their God as they expect others to see it. To their God as they will others to believe in it. To their God. Call them the Elect, call them the Chosen, they are God's warriors.

In every congregation, whichever denomination, whichever sect, whichever religion, whichever ideology, there is always this minority group. The self-styled martyrs. The visionaries. The chosen ones. Like Lenin's Vanguard, those who are closer to Utopia, those who are closer to God, those who are deeper believers, those who understand more. And their self appointed mission is to lead you, to lead me, because they are more right. Because we do not know. Because we are ignorant. We are the flock.

Oh our pure and radiant hearts!

But it is Singapore's peculiar irony that even as we witness this encroachment into a common civil space by this group of believers, we are unable to frame the arguments correctly because of this dirty word: religion.

Instead we revert to PAP-esque frames of reference. The Old Guard and the New Guard. There is even a self-styled Feminist Mentor. A certain Thio Su Mien, related to Thio Li Ann, she who uttered that infamous ultra conservative invective in Parliament that left even the most hardcore PAP MPs squirming uncomfortably in their red leather seats.

A Feminist Mentor no less. Pedestaled like a Minister Mentor. The puppeteer behind the machinations of Government, the puppeteer behind the machinations of these new AWARE guards. Whereas one is schooled in the most extreme sensibility of political expediency and practicality, the other is schooled in the most fanatical sensibility as God's executor. An archangel with the flaming sword of justice.

It is Singapore's peculiar irony that we have in potentiality a movement that can topple the Government with one Word as they toppled AWARE with one Word. That is, sadly, the "choice" we have.


To:, Undisclosed-Recipient:
Subject: Re Aware
Attachments AWARE_membership_mail-in_application_form.pdf concerned


Dear All

Please see Attachments on some recent developments in Aware. Aware is a woman's organization which conducts comprehensive sexual programmes for girls and it runs this programme in some of the schools. They encourage girls to express their full sexuality and this includes experimenting with other girls. It would be a good idea to join it and change its focus to other problems of women and families.

..Please ask your like-minded friends to join Aware so that you can give the vote to those who wish to be an agent of change for the Lord. They could also contribute to the activities of the oprganization as there is much to be done for women and families in this dowturn of the economy. Unfortunately, I cannot surface but shall be assisting in the background . I attach the Aware membership application form for your use. The Aware application form has a section as to who ( if any) told you about Aware. You can just leave it blank . Please let me know whether you can join and attend the AGM which will be towards the end of March 2009. The fee is $40/ and should be mailed to the Aware Office ( see application form).

Look forward to hearing from you. Please call me. May I have your phone no?

Su Mien


There is a very famous quote from Karl Marx, religion is the opium of the masses. Perhaps, in our historical context, this statement is incomplete. Maybe he would have said, religion is the opium of the masses and an ecstasy pill for some. Like these little self appointed avout archangels running AWARE now, adrenaline pumping Duracell bunnies merrily piping the rest of the opiated masses into this orchestra of power. But all in God's name, God's name.

Oh our pure and radiant hearts!

This post is about religion and the misuse of religion. This post is about arguing an issue as we see, perceive and sense it. This post is about us, the majority waking from our opiated selfs to stare hard at those who think they have a moral right to decide for us when they have nothing but an illusion of God's stamp provided by wayward churches, wayward pastors.

"That was what shocked us most... That it does not shock you, that it does not stun you all and send you reeling with horror, this long death of civilization unrolling before your eyes." -- Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, Lydia Millet

This post from a long hiatus was demanded by a close friend who insists that I must be shocked by this and that I must write about this.

Quote of the Day –

"More than any of it, what astounds me is the blindness of you people now. A civilization that is blind to itself. I mean blind. In my day there was ignorance too: ignorance is timeless. But at least we were ashamed of it." – Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, Lydia Millet

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Cup of Sg Tea

"The challenge, said Mr Lee, is to be able to boil down information and present news neutrally out of Singapore." ChannelNewsAsia, 23 Feb

like the dregs that escape the sock. scattered views, words, letters sinking into the bottom of the cup. a cusp of information, its meanings diffused into quivery aromatic wisps, swirling languidly in boiling raging water. the dregs sinking down and down. a settled scatter of stilled dregs.

whats left is a cup of a tea. subtly fragrant. calm, peaceful, soothing, therapeutic even.

the dregs at the bottom severed from the dregs in the sock. the associations dissociated. the answers unquestioned. the meanings unmeant. sensibilities unsensed.

leaving only the watered association, the dissolved answer, the distilled meaning.


and a slightly bitter taste.

Quote of the Day --

"We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week...
The bottom is out of the Universe."

Rudyard Kipling