After all, Professor Sanders is a leading international expert on gay issues. He has even been invited to address the United Nations on such matters. If Sanders had been allowed to speak in Singapore, there would be a serious risk that he would actually contribute to public education about gay rights here.
ST Sep 19, 2007Interestingly, we can now observe our dear PAP man Ho Peng Kee attempting to characterize the public event as part of a "political agenda". As if, you know, Professor Sanders was coming to Singapore to talk about the General Elections; the redrawing of electoral boundaries; or defamation suits against opposition politicians.
Lecture permit revoked after cops get info on gay agenda
By Zakir Hussain
A PERMIT for a lecture by a Canadian law academic last month was cancelled after the police learnt it was part of gay activists' efforts to promote their political agenda, Parliament was told yesterday.
Senior Minister of State (Home Affairs and Law) Ho Peng Kee said police also discovered from information online that Professor Douglas Sanders was an advocate for decriminalising homosexual sex.
Explaining the backdrop to the cancellation, he said police found out only after granting the permit that his talk was part of a two-week series of events 'which promoted the gay cause'.
'It became subsequently clear to police that the event was part of the efforts of gay activists to promote their political agenda which involved a foreigner,' Associate Professor Ho said.
'Our laws are an expression and reflection of the values of our society and any public discourse
in Singapore on such matters should be reserved for Singaporeans.
'Foreigners will not be allowed to interfere in our domestic political scene, whether in support of the gay cause or against it.'
He was replying to questions from Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong on why the permit had been cancelled.
In July, the authorities approved a public entertainment licence for an event in which Prof Sanders of the University of British Columbia was to speak on 'Sexual orientation in international law: the case of Asia'.
But the permit was cancelled four days before the Aug 7 talk because, based on additional
information received, police saw the event as 'contrary to the public interest'.
Police had learnt of Prof Sanders' background and that he was 'likely to talk about our Section 377A, which is the criminalising of homosexual sex'.
'He was an advocate for decriminalising of homosexual sex, having spoken, for example, at the United Nations,' Prof Ho said.
Actually, Professor Sanders has no political affiliations whatsoever. He was here just to talk about Section 377A of the Penal Code. And probably Section 377. Basic stuff that every NUS law student will come across in 1st year, in Criminal Law 101.
"377. Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.But of course it is convenient to characterize the above provisions as a "political agenda". Because once you claim that Section 377A is a political matter, then you can say, "Oh, foreigners should not be allowed to meddle in our politics! We must not allow our sovereignty as an independent nation to be raped!".
Explanation. Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section"
"377A. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years."
And stupid people would even believe you.
And now, we see once again why Warwick University, originally slated to open a campus in Singapore, was wise to suddenly change its mind and pull out. Remember? They pulled out suddenly because their academics and lecturers protested. They were concerned that in Singapore, they would be denied the freedom of expression required for them to pursue their academic interests.
But of course! If a foreign professor of law like Professor Sanders is not allowed to speak on Section 377A of the Penal Code, would a Warwick economics professor be allowed to express a critical view on, say, the widening income gap in Singapore? Would a Warwick professor of mass communications be allowed to speak about, say, press censorship in Singapore? Would a Warwick finance professor be allowed to talk about, say, whether Temasek Holdings or GIC should be more transparent about their investments? And so on.
None of the above, you see, can be taken for granted. Peng Kee's behaviour demonstrates that. These Warwick people - they're smart.