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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece, always a pleasure to read your posts. Now we wait for the next religious bigot to turn this discourse stupid.

12:38 AM  
Blogger KF said...

Glad to see you back!

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so you were not shocked
so as many others
or so i believe

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:29 AM  
Anonymous Alan Wong said...

The irony part is that this particular law professor with such an ancient mind did not petition the PAP govt to apply those ancient laws for theri like-minded ancient followers. If she had done so just like our neighbour country had separate Muslim laws for their believers, a lot of problems would have been solved.

But the other irony is that those ancient priests had taken a lot of monies from their ancient followers, so they close their eyes to petition separate laws for their own adulterers, abortionists, homosexuals, etc.

Then I believe these ancient followers must be thinking that after having paid their tithes, these priests have to do something for them in return, ie. to close their eyes to what they have been doing all along.

It would be interesting to find out how much adultery, abortion, gay sex, are actually carried out by these ancient followers. Then talking about abortion, how many doctors are actual followers of this ancient religion.

Are these not peculiar ironies happening in our daily lives ?

11:15 AM  
Anonymous tiredman said...

Good Post!!!

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMHO, this is not an issue about gay or lesbian rights or whether the takeover was legal. This is about the majority of Singaporeans who wish to maintain a secular public space, and about the survival of pluralism in AWARE. Can we condone the COOS-members-domination in this organization when it is supposed to be a secular organization for ALL women irregardless of their religion and sexual orientation. Every Singaporean woman who wishes to protect this original nature of AWARE and the wider secular nature of the Singapore society must support the Old Guards, and send a message to the new exco that they should keep their fundamentalist agenda to their own Church instead of forcing it onto others. Additionally, I think DBS should not pay the price by being involved with Josie Lau. If Josie Lau wants to be involved in such a coup, it would be fairer to DBS if she stepped down as its marketing head first. But meanwhile, no DBS cards, account or stocks for me until Josie Lau is out. I am a supporter of justice and equality. And I am on the Old Guards' side.

10:49 AM  

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