May 3, 2009

Thank God the Christians Were Defeated

I mean the seven Christians who had invaded Aware five weeks ago and taken over the executive committee, through the use of underhanded tactics.

There were actually eight invaders, including one Peggy Leong. But perhaps sensing that God was not on her side, Peggy decided not to to show up for the EGM yesterday. The rest of her fellow conspirators were thoroughly quizzed and questioned, and then decisively thrown out by the women of Singapore.

The meeting, in all its dramatic details, is now widely reported in the news. I'll just reproduce Today's summary of it:

The Aware EGM: A blow-by-blow account
TODAY Weekend • May 3, 2009
Loh Chee Kong
Alicia Wong

12pm: Queues begin to form, with Aware's membership having swelled to more than 1,800 in recent days as extensive media reports on the leadership controversy sparked interest.The night before, organisers booked an adjacent hall to accommodate the anticipated crowd. By 1.30pm, the queues snake along two levels of the Suntec Convention Centre.

One corporate trainer in her 50s says she feels the New Guard should be given a chance to prove themselves. But undergraduate Kishan Kumar Singh thinks the old guardis more inclusive approach should be the way forward. “The issue affects more than just women ... its a larger societal issue,” says Mr Singh.

Mild argument breaks out between ushers and sections of the crowd, after the latter are told by an unidentified personnel to cut the queue and head straight to the registration booth - only to be turned away.

2.40pm: The EGM starts after a 40-minute delay. The crowd, by some estimates, has hit 3,000. Incumbent Aware president Josie Lau begins her speech but is interrupted repeatedly the audience. She calls for security to “escort” the unruly out. Photographers are also asked to leave as some are using their flashes - against
the house rules, according to the Exco.

3pm: Disgruntled members begin to make their presence felt as they take to the microphones to voice their impatience: They want Ms Lau to go straight to the fourth item on the agenda: The vote of no-confidence.

A shouting match erupts between the Exco and members, after assistant honorary treasurer Sally Ang tells the crowd to "shut up and sit down". Loud boos ring across the hall.

Succumbing to crowd pressure, Ms Lau agrees to skip the first two administrative items on the agenda and call for the meeting to vote on a no-confidence motion - but not before she asks Rajah & Tann lawyer Gregory Vijayendran to spell out that the constitution does not explicitly provide for such a motion, and that it could be
challenged in court.

The lawyer adds, nevertheless: “Whilst a vote of no confidence does not mean the new Exco has to step down, they should consider doing so."

Members are briefed on voting procedure. A new member interrupts the proceedings by criticising the new guard for trying to take credit for the spike in membership. This sets off another shouting match.

The roused crowd chants "Where were you", when immediate past president Constance Singam asks where the new Exco members were in the last 24 years.
Feminist mentor Thio Su Mien takes the microphone and rattles off her achievements to "establish credibility”. “I know you all don't like the term feminist mentor,” she says, urging them to nevertheless “show respect" to elders.

4.30pm: Ballots for the no-confidence motion are cast. Afterwards, while the votes are being counted, the Exco goes on to discuss proposed constitutional amendments. After protests from members that some of them have not even seen the proposals, the Exco proposes a 10-minute break so that members can obtain copies to read through.

Members continue to question the Exco on various matters, including the decisions to sack Ms Schutz Lee - Aware's former centre manager - and to install CCTVs at the association's Dover Crescent premises.

Attention turns to the cost of booking the venue for the EGM. Honorary treasurer Maureen Ong reveals Aware spent $23,000 - enraging several in the crowd who are vocal in their displeasure on the excessive use of funds.

One member points out that under the group's constitution, the Exco has to seek members' approval to spend more than $20,000 in a month. When she becomes agitated, she is escorted out of the hall by security officers.

Upon further questioning, Ms Ong says the Exco has spent $90,000 in the past month, mostly on organising the EGM. The crowd lets out an audible gasp. ”We had to find a venue to accommodate all members,” Ms Ong explains.

7pm: The crowd, getting restless, are told the results will be out soon. Meanwhile, the censure of the Exco continues. A new member who introduces herself as Irene Ho takes issue with being told to sit and be quiet.

She loudly declares, to some cheers from the crowd: “Today is the time to stand up and speak up, not shut up and sit down."

The members start to question the Exco's decision to sack Ms Braema Mathi as chair of Aware's subcommittee on Cedaw (short for the United Nation's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women).

The Exco try to explain how they dissolved the subcommittee “in line with the constitution”, and note that Ms Mathi has not submitted a draft shadow report owed despite repeated requests. Ms Mathi steps in to say she had offered to meet with the Exco, and that their comments are “significantly defamatory".

Other members involved in the Cedaw project voice their displeasure that the subcommittee was dissolved without their being informed. That's tantamount to being sacked without notice, they say.

One member says agitatedly: “You took away our choices, so are we wrong for screaming and shouting at you? How can I respect you if you are treating me as a child?”

8pm: There is a tense silence as Ms Lau reads out the ballot results. This gives way to ecstatic cheers, when it is revealed that the motion has received nearly twice the votes in favour as those against it. While Ms Lau keeps a straight face and tone, many members jump out of their seats and hug one another.

One member of the old guard takes the microphone and spells it out for the Exco: “You no longer have the moral authority to run Aware.” They are asked to step down graciously, or face motion to remove them.

Almost stiffly, Ms Lau says the Exco will speak to its legal counsel and consider. The crowd starts booing; Ms Mathi has to calm them down. Addressing the Exco, the Aware veteran stresses that “the conclusion is the conclusion”, even if the Exco have been “wonderful” in comporting themselves under flak throughout the afternoon.

Others join the call for the Exco to step down. Member Rose Tan says: “I feel sorry for all of you but you just don't have the experience and networks ... Everybody wants you to go, so please, just go.”

The Exco is given five minutes – until 8.40pm – to discuss their decision.

8.40 pm: The Exco, which has exited the hall, is a no-show and uncontactable.There are whispers that they may have made a quick escape. Ms Mathi announces: “By their action and conduct, I declare the current exco has indeed resigned."

Still, she gives them another 10 minutes - and when they fail to reappear, she goes ahead with the motion to remove the Exco. Only two hands in the entire hall are raised in objection.

By a show of hands, the election of the new Exco proceeds rapidly. Names are thrown up and seconded within a blink of an eye. Positions are filled within seconds. The noise level is growing as the crowd cheers for the new Exco, who one by one fill the stage.

9.15pm: Halfway through the proceedings, Ms Lau and her team finally turn up. They interrupt the elections, saying they want to make a statement.

The boos turn to cheers, when Ms Lau announces their decision to resign and wishes the new Aware leadership well. She hopes they will hit the Cedaw-set target of 30 to 35 per cent female representation in the country's political and social spheres – what appears an indirect retort to earlier suggestions that Ms Lau and her team did not understand Cedaw's work.

“I declare the meeting closed,” Ms Lau then says. The microphones are turned off, and as the old guard try to get them turned back on so the election can continue, they applaud the ousted exco for stepping down graciously.

The new exco is finally declared, and Ms Constance Singam, who is all smiles, is brought back as its advisor.

Sounds sappy, but today I actually feel proud of being a Singaporean.

I'm proud of every Singaporean who spoke up against the dishonest tactics of Josie Lau and her gang. I'm proud of every Singaporean who was smart enough to see through the hogwash of individuals like Thio Su Mien the "feminist mentor". Most of all, I'm proud of all the women who forked out their $40, went down to Suntec and sat through a 7-hour meeting to stand up for what they knew was right. I love you all!

A great day for Singapore.

There was one moment when I felt a sense of deep pity arise in me. That was when I was watching this Youtube video of Thio Su Mien. Specifically, it was those parts where she kept saying things like "Show some respect for your elders" and the crowd just went on making derisive sounds at her.

Truly, I felt sorry for Thio. Sorry that she is such a misguided human being. After all her scheming, plotting behaviour in recent months, she still actually seems to think that she deserves respect. And just for being old.

Thio, next time, try being transparent and honest. It's an easier way to get respect.

84 comments:

Jon said...

History has shown that Crusades don't work,
History has also shown that (wo)men do not learn from history.

phew said...

Ironically, the AWARE saga has turned TSM into one of the most reviled women in Singapore. All her respectable past accomplishments are for nought; she will not be remembered as the "first female law dean" but as the Darth Vader-esque "Feminist Mentor".

Her law firm has also been embarrassed by her antics and I suspect that henceforth, only Christian fundies would want work there or do business with it.

Anonymous said...

Thio Su Mien is a brilliant lawyer, top brains definitely. Unfortunately, her downfall in this episode is to show the whole of Spore how a rational mind can go berserk when a fundamentalist religion takes hold of you.

It is as if Thio Su Mien has a split personality, on one hand she is absolutely brilliant able to rationalize her legal thoughts to win litigation cases but on the other hand she switches to the irrational & senile portion of her brain when it comes to her fundamentalist beliefs. Of course, COOS church & Pastor Derek Hong also has a part to play in it.

Which brings me to the report in TOC, Straits Times & Wayang Party when there was description of how COOS members descended on Suntec City in chartered buses & wearing red t shirts. This shows that they were very organized. By whom? My guess COOS, which means could Pastor Derek Hong be telling a whole pack of lies when he told the press he regrets instigating his flock to attend AWARE EGM before the EGM started on Sat 2 May. I am sure if he truly regrets he will do all in his power to stop those organized trips to Suntec City.

And then finally should the head of Anglican church in Spore & also head of National Council of Churches, Reverend John Chew, be given a written notification of this episode where Pastor Derek Hong may have told a pack of lies as eyewitness accounts corroborate that COOS was behind the organized trips to Suntec City. After all COOS is under the Anglican ambit.

Anonymous said...

Justice (and common sense) prevails finally! =)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if the Singapore Parliament will have its own version of this episode when LKW is gone. Singaporeans are not that subversive afterall. People will speak out if things are not right. It encouraging and gives me some hope.

yanjie said...

Dear Mr Wang,

I'm not a Christian, nor do I have a religion. But however, I think it is a little insensitive for your post title and posts to refer to the new guards as "Christians". I don't think it is fair to other Christians, even though it is pretty clear that it is not an attack on them nor an opinion to generalise them. However, I worry that it might provoke unnecessary emotions and tensions to surface.

Anonymous said...

Singaporean women so brave. Maybe it has something to do with not having to go through NS and reservist.

Anonymous said...

This should be a lesson to all church-goers who try to impose all their thinkings on others. Their God is the ONLY GOD, all the other cultures and religions are wrong thus whoever believe in them have to go to hell.

Anonymous said...

The new Guards have good intentions but to let a secular environment have a whiff of religion is just suicidal.
and i do agree that for once, I am proud to be a Singaporean. (=

yamizi said...

Sir,

Many men were there too rooting for their cause as well =)

Anonymous said...

its not over... or it shouldnt be yet. some people in COOS including its pastor has repeatedly defamed and lied while orchastrating a fundie inspired takeover of a secular organisation. leaked emails and sermon have proved it beyond a doubt. seperation of church and state was blatantly ignored.
the police if not the ISD should now clean up.

The said...

As I said in other threads, the supreme irony of this whole sorry episode is that Thio and gang, for all their homophobia, have done the most to further the interest of LGBTs in Singapore.

Now that the Feminist Manipulator and gang have been soundly defeated, let's step back and look at the bigger picture.

Much as I am loathe to give the Gang of Seven any credit, I am feeling magnanimous tonight and would like to credit Thio and Gang (though they definitely don't deserve the credit and the good outcome was furthest from their mind and intention) with the following:

1) Single-handedly created tremendous awareness of the good work that AWARE had been doing for the past two decades.

2) Created awareness by otherwise neutral or disinterest people like me about the discrimination that LGBTs faced in society. The knowledge gained that it is normal among animals, insects, humans, and all god's creatures that some among them are homosexual.

3) Promoted AWARE through the recruitment of some 3,000 new members.

4) Increased the financial strength of AWARE by some $120,000 within a couple of weeks through the membership fees. (Hopefully the $90,000 spent by the defeated Exco can be recovered.)

5) Demonstrated that fair-minded Singaporeans, including Christians, are passionate enough to see that justice is done.

6) Showed that the freak election results that the PAP is so worried about can happened, although the PAP CEC itself is almost invulnerable due to its cadre system.

7) Most importantly, it proved that although freak election results can occur, its solution and resolution need not be to send in the army and tanks.

The AWARE saga clearly showed that Thio-logy and Theology do not belong in secular NGOs and civil societies.

God does work in mysterious ways indeed.

Anonymous said...

Does it seem a bit suspicious that the 154th seems to hate these people?

Anonymous said...

At 1st the pastor said:

"It's not a crusade against the people but there's a line that God has drawn for us, and we don't want our nation crossing that line."

then after all the "top people" step in, he change to

"I regret that this matter has caused concern and unhappiness. My actions on the pulpit have aroused some tension in this saga. I now stand corrected."

This pastor has used the name of God to justified his actions, and now he said he was wrong, so who was wrong? God? or someone has been making use of God's name for personal motives?

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments are interesting from this blog
http://xenoboysg.blogspot.com/2009/04/carafas-eye.html
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paper chaser said...

Maybe you can add a law firm to the list. It is common knowledge that when TSM was head honcho of one of Singapore's top law firms, she transformed the entire office into a pseudo church. Suddenly, there were mass prayers, instructions that only her same faith lawyers could handle certain files and the most amazing thing that you had to mutter a prayer before entering her sanctuary to see her. Creepy but true.

______________________________________________

Anonymous said...
What I am hearing from former members of COOS is that this was a much different church more than 5 years ago.

A different agenda.

A different set of pastors.

Then, for some reason, a group of pastors leaving the church, with Derek Hong and his faction victorious.

You are right in considering if COOS itself was steeplejacked.

_____________________________________________

big lawyer said...

Erm actually if you think TSM's antic during ehr time as head boss of law firm was bad than you know only half the story.

Some time last year, I got a mail through a fren to attend a gathering at a big shot's place at coronation road. Curious, I attended, and lo and behold the hosts were none other than TSM and her hubby. Surpisingly, some of the other guests were like high fliers type in Sg. (erm yeah I am dat type)

Dinner was decent enough, some mindless banter and passable local fare. So after dinner, suddenly all the guests were ushered to the basement. SHOCK number two. The entire basement of their house is rigged up like a freaking mini Church!!!! Started to feel the chill in the back of my spine. Suddenly the food is sitting uncomfortably in my stomach. Than spontaneously, some sermonising started led by Thio's husband. She's standing there looking like a horror movie high priestess and acting possessed. Than the "slaying" started ... this is like excorcism. Some of the what I think "regulars" starting touching people on the head and chanting and people are falling. There is wailing and tongues.

For the unbeliever group like myself staring agape and shocked suddenly someone comes to us and sermonises, telling us to convert to the Lord. the rst of night was hazy and I remember leaving the place nauseated and exhausted.

Till this day, I have avoided the "fren" who invited me. This may be THE secret cult group coz some of the people are really powerful types.

____________________________________________

Atensol said...

Hi Mr Wang,

I was there yesterday with my mum and friends to vote off the 'new guard'. It was truly a momentous event. The supporters of the previous exco were far more passionate and committed to their cause compared to new guard supporters- who resembled lifeless drones and clapped only after Josie and her team spoke.
While the women were seated on the right, I sat together with a bunch of men from diverse backgrounds- gays, Christians, married men (with kids)... all of whom were against what the new exco stood for. We are all against extremism and bigotry seeping insidiously into any secular/ civil organisations.
For once in my 30+ yrs of existence, I am truly proud to be a Singaporean!

skeptic said...

"Truly, I felt sorry for Thio. Sorry that she is such a misguided human being. After all that scheming, plotting behaviour of hers in recent months, she still actually seems to think that she deserves respect. And just for being old.

Thio, next time, try being transparent and honest. It's an easier way to get respect."

Sound like our Minister Dementor Lee.

Anonymous said...

now that the joy(or disappointment) is over,
learn your lesson and don't get complacent.

Alan Wong said...

The moral of the story is that if you do not have the quality and substance to do something in the first place, then be prepared to be torn down to pieces for whatever that you pretend to do.

I do hope our govt leaders will learn a thing or two from this Aware episode that one will eventually have to pay a heavy price for often trying to fool the public or becoming too arrogant in their own ways.

Anonymous said...

thank goodness, you can see they are not above lies and unethical behaviour to get their way, all they need is a convenient scapegoat ( the gays) to mobilise again..

be very wary of what they say in future, its always lies, even mr john hui "condoms are not effective", always quoting from quack/fraudulent unscientific websites like narth.

lest anyone think that catholics are any better, the catholic medical guild is full of weirdo fundies as well.

--
also they were probably going to gut aware completely, by spending 90k in just a month, in 3 months they would have eaten up aware's operating budget for the year, then all the staff can be fired and aware disbanded.

--

Xue Jianyue said...

I guess its really scary when fundamentalism has such a powerful impact on very well-educated people.

The Thios were definitely brilliant people in the legal circle, I am sure. However, this saga really just reflects sadly on them. I was also reminded of this lawyer who became self-radicalised after reading fundamentalist Islamic websites on the net.

It might have been one of us if we are not careful and keep an open mind always.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

My understanding is that COOS was not involved in chartering the buses. Word about bus chartering surfaced on Tuesday 28 April and apparently originated from members of the Josie Lau exco. This was after they brought a stack of new application forms to the Aware office on Monday, forms which had allegedly been distributed and filled in during church service over the weekend.

(The allegation was corroborated by a gay man who used to be a member of COOS. His friends, who are still at COOS told him that forms were distributed at church.)

Actually, if the buses had been chartered by the Josie Lau exco to move their supporters to the EOGM, the current Dana Lam exco should check whether the costs of the charter came out of Aware's funds. It would be unethical for the society funds to be used to transport supporters of one side to a general meeting without offering same to all members.

geriatric_eunuch said...

I'm sure the parallel with the underhand methods used by our incumbent government to retain power has not gone unnoticed by readers.

I shall be a proud Singaporean when voices rise in unison to declare, just as that lady did, "I feel sorry for all of you but you just don't have the experience and networks ... Everybody wants you to go, so please, just go.”

And will Mr. Wang then be writing, "Truly, I felt sorry for Lee. Sorry that he is such a misguided human being. After all that scheming, plotting behaviour of his, he still actually seems to think that he deserves respect. And just for being old.

Lee, next time, try being transparent and honest. It's an easier way to get respect"?

Anonymous said...

eunuch, you missed the most important point.

"you just don't have the experience and networks"

Anonymous said...

the 154th was mobilised by our atheist govt.

from then on, it was a matter of time before public opinion overwhelms the new guard exco.

off topic: on top of cancelling your DBS credit cards, you can stop attending Dr Alan Chin's Lifeline Medical Group GPs to show your displeasure.

Anonymous said...

The likes of TSM will not "suffer" any business loss but may in fact thrive with more support as christians form a large proportion of the elites and rich. Many christian medical specialists thrive on referral from their own church members, such as the famous oncologist who writes regularly in Mind Your Body section of the Straits Times.

Anonymous said...

From wayangparty.com

"An editorial posted by The Christian Post on 1 May 2009 openly questioned and challenged the secular nature of the state:

“Much as anyone would like to believe that secularism is the ideal state of affairs in a multi-religious context, it is not. Christianity among all world religions demands that God and only God be worshipped and obeyed. A secular state that has displaced the God of Christianity cannot help but be essentially hostile to the Christian faith.

This is why it is impossible for the believers of Christ to live out their witness without being persecuted. A state that runs on the basis of preventing offense from being caused to individuals and groups cannot help but persecute Christ and His followers, since not everyone will take too kindly to His message.”... Read more

[Source: The Christian Post]

Anonymous said...

It's time that some of the activities of these fundemental and extremist christians be checked and reported to the higher authorities without fear and prejudice, especially those holding high positions in civil service and private companies.
I have seen departmental heads holding prayer sessions and bible studies during breaks, and their staff had to join in so they get good reports, even though what they did after work would be totally contradiction.

Anonymous said...

My impression of Christians since young is that they like to impose their religion and think that theirs is the only GOD, and non-believers will go to hell. Must become Christians to be salvaged because we are sinners.

Oh please spare me those. And by the way, a person need not be religious to be morally right and lead a meaningful life contributing to society.

Just like one of the post above, many a times, I have been naively "invited" by friends to join in some "lunch/gathering", and after serving the food, there is a session to make you feel guilty about being non-christian, and then they will go on to "welcome" you into their religion. Scared the fright out of me. After a few of such sessions, I have become smarter.

Finally, I am not against any religions. I believe they are all good, but tainted by Man's overzealousness.

Anonymous said...

To anon @ 11.35am

But according to their good book, you cannot go to heaven...

Anonymous said...

Nothing better do do?
Go think of ways of how to create jobs for Singaporeans.
All these trash. When jobs are gone, starvation comes.
Starving people have no energy to write.
No one in this sick world owes us a living. Come to think of it maybe Jackie Chan is right after all. Look at how much China is now able to deliver to herself (1 300 000 000 people) and still gives to many needy 3rd world countries freely.

Anonymous said...

If I hv to spend one more min with the likes of COOS members in heave, pls take me to hell. Perhaps I can drink and party like there is no tmr. And not subject to sermons, dogmatism and boredom.

Anonymous said...

While I am happy that Singaporeans have stood up for what they believe in and made a change, I fear that this the meeting and behavior at Suntec would be used by the PAP old guard to sternly remind themselves why democratic civil liberties, including freedom of speech and expression without fear or favor (or defamation lawsuits, or tea sessions or aircon treatment), must never be lifted; for fear that one day a minister steps up onto stage and is shouted down or bombarded by questions that he/she has no answer to...like "Why did your ministry let Mas Selamat escape?", or "What happened to all of OUR money in Temasek?".

Anonymous said...

From her interviews, its clear that Josie joined AWARE for 2 reasons:
1) To help in the marketing & publicity of the 'dying' organisation.
She couldn't have done a better job. The AWARE saga hogging the headlines in papers. Now everyone knows about AWARE.
2) Out of concern over the sexuality program offered by AWARE.
Now thousands of parents realized that AWARE was promoting homosexuality and anal sex, and are now petitioning the education minister to stop it.

So Josie has fully accomplished her objectives. She gets an A+.

Anonymous said...

A Josie Lau supporter! See that, Mr Wang? You're wrong. There ARE some Singaporeans who are stupid enough to fall for the hogwash from TSM the "feminist mentor". Maybe they'll even believe that she's been a world-famous champion of women's rights since the 1970s, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, this is getting interesting.

Nothing to do with religion actually. More to do with how these fundamentalist faith-based religions are so effective in mobilising and promoting a singular purpose. I hate to compare, but they do stand shoulder to shoulder with the Communists of the older days in light of such qualities.

This is not the first time, by the way, that these fundamentalists have encroached on secular social space and social harmony.

Still remember a couple of years ago? When the newspapers suddenly erupted twice on their extra-curricular activities?

1 - Teachers of their sect preaching to students on the side. Even on the main line on the occasion.

2 - Nurses preaching to patients and playing religious music proudly in office.

All these are just a few explicit examples. The more implicit ones of networking within places of worship, awarding jobs to similiar belief "brothers and sisters", promoting in favour of the same, etc are practically impossible to audit and expose.

This will continue to tear at our social fabric of co-existance.

And LKY probably had a taste of fear when that guy blessed by a senior faith leader ran for election as the Republic's President. That was only test number 1. AWARE might be test number 2.

I am more amused than anything at all these activities of the fundamentalists. Surely, it will hurt me someday. But until I find a way to move them from my path, I have to continue looking for sidetracks to avoid them.

I just don't like confrontations.

geriatric_eunuch said...

@ anon May 4, 2009 10:09 AM:

eunuch, you missed the most important point. "you just don't have the experience and networks"If you're saying that a non-PAP governed S'pore would go down the tubes because they lack experience and networking skills, then I would beg to disagree. If that premise were true, then the US governemnt would collapse every 4-8 years when a new party is voted in because it is standard practice there for the top echelon of civil servants (political appointees) to tender their resignations when the old government leaves office. So too, in greater or lesser degree, for other democracies. Bang goes the experience and networks? No.

The fact is that the bulwark of a nation's government is the institution of the Civil Service whose job it is to ensure business as usual irrespective of who the figureheads are. You might say that political parties come and go but the CS goes on forever in a properly-functioning democracy. Thus Labour's inexperienced Tony Blair (23 years out of power) took over smoothly from old hand John Major in the UK, just as newbie Obama has picked up the baton without a glitch from disastrous George Bush. The experience of the outgoing plitician counts for very little, in truth.

Politicians are hardly geniuses without whom a country cannot function. Most have likely little true expertise in the portfolios they're given. Think WKS in security, Tharman in finance, LKY in GIC, KBW in health... They might be cognisant of broad outlines but it is the back-room boys that they rely upon to flesh out the vague skeleton. That is the true repository of experience.

As for back-scratching, aka networking, it's a highly overrated attribute IMHO. Frankly, when push comes to shove the only things that really matter are the colour of your money and the strength of your right arm. Little favours, yes, anything that significantly impacts your good mate's national interest - forget it.

Anonymous said...

To increase awareness: homosexual acts between consenting adults (which 377A makes illegal in Singapore) is legal in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Communist China.

We are officially the country bumpkins of Asia.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
I have a sneaky feeling, the AWARE saga may raise "alarm bells" among the political leaders here... Singaporeans are not as politically apathetic as before... What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang,

Much as the pro-secular camp would like to believe that 2 May 2009 was a defeat for the COOS-dominated Exco, unfortunately the spin going around the pro-COOS camp is that they won. The comment at "May 4, 2009 3:39 PM" probably a whitewashed version for public consumption. Throw in typical fundamentalist words relating to the Devil, and one would get closer to the actual spin. Btw, the COOS-dominated camp also claims credit for the upshot of membership to 3000 and the increased in awareness of AWARE!

Regarding the Anonymous comment at May 3, 2009 10:55 PM about COOS being steeplejacked in recent years. I would agree. I had a friend who was from COOS for many years until he passed-away more than 5 years back. His approach to Christianity was very different when compared to another friend who is currently from COOS.

Sad but true. Religious fundamentalism has taken root, and dug in deeply.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a day when I am proud of what our fellow Singaporeans stood up for: the very founding principle of our city state which is of equality, respecting diversity, regardless of race or religion.

When I read the New Paper today, it is heartening to see the old guard volunteers who gave their time and energy in ensuring safety, organization and preparation of meals. They did so not do it to please some deity, religious leaders or fellow group members. They did it humbly and with strong dedication, out of equanimity and love for the people who were there. This is really very commendable.

Through this AWARE incident, the love and concern that fellow humans can show towards one another is really greater than those who believe in a God.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, i am concerned over the steeplejacking that we've witnessed here in Singapore, especially when COOS has links to notorious steeplejacking organisations in America and Australia (eg Joel's Army, NAR).

I am not aware whether it is a universal Christian teaching, but my bf's church (or at least when he still attended church), preaches that they should reach out to their collegues at work, bringing them under God's grace (i.e convert them). i'm very disturbed. it's one thing to offer prayers for a collegue who is in perhaps a period of turbulent times and doesnt mind that despite not being a Christian, he is okay with you doing a prayer for him, with him. but it is an entirely different thing from these office lunch/gathering antics. we are religiously tolerant in singapore, but there is a limit to tolerating such antics.

Dear anonymous may 4 2009 3:39pm
i am quite disappointed that parents see "neutral, not negative" as a promotion of homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many "concerned parents" swallowed the "AWARE was promoting homosexuality and anal sex" line from the new exco whole, without any critical thinking or review of the CSE materials at all. I'm shocked by how people jump from "homosexuality is a neutral word" to OMG PROMOTING HOMOSEXUALITY. But then again, I have been reading the comments on the ST Online, which might not be the best place to look for considered, non-hysterical reactions to the whole thing.

My point here is not about homosexuality, it's about the horrifying lack of critical thinking. More such parents and Singapore society is doomed.

And for all those who are horrified by the thought of anal sex: as someone rightly pointed out to me, it's perfectly legal under Singapore law. Between consenting heterosexual couples, anyway. Guess the government does think it's healthy after all. ;)

Anonymous said...

Legalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults may make it legal. But it still doesn't make it morally right.
Just like adultery is no longer illegal, but anyone with a bit of conscience will know that that is morally wrong.

Anonymous said...

"Sounds sappy, but today I actually feel proud of being a Singaporean.

I'm proud of every Singaporean who spoke up against the dishonest tactics of Josie Lau and her gang. I'm proud of every Singaporean who was smart enough to see through the hogwash of individuals like Thio Su Mien the "feminist mentor". Most of all, I'm proud of all the women who forked out their $40, went down to Suntec and sat through a 7-hour meeting to stand up for what they knew was right. I love you all!"

errr... I am no0t too sure. These are the same bunch of apathetic and pathetic Singaporeans who voted in the PAP based on a few upgrading carrots despite a lot of bitching in the coffeeshops. when it comes to the crunch, they succumb to fears that the establishment can track them down, can punish them, can deny them goodies..

Anonymous said...

A Christian friend of mine, newly converted, was asked when he adopted the religion.

Cooly said, his high flying friends are from so-and-so church, and it was a good network for business. So he converted. It's like networking on the golf course for him.

And no, I don't think he's just a mere 1% of converts. Or even just 10%.

nedstark said...

Whether or not a person goes to hell is up to God to decide and not up to man. Therefore one can say that Mother Teresa is in heaven but one cannot say that hitler is in hell.

Anonymous said...

Sigh, people. In truth, all the invaders were all victims of their own delusions. Most of us give them too much credit for a malicious and well-orchestrated conspiracy. It was a series of cascading events guided and triggered by their own incompetence.

This is what happens when you politely allow paranoid (gays are everywhere) and harmful (gays are bad) delusions to fester.

In some way, Christianity is involved; in some way, it isn't. Christianity is involved insofar that the gang uses it to justify their actions to themselves and their supporters. Christianity is involved because the pulpit was used. Christianity is involved when homophobic speech becomes protected as religious speech.

Christianity isn't involved because homophobia is not and never was a central tenet of Christianity. If Christians do not constantly remind themselves and others of this, they are feeding the same paranoid and harmful delusions that drove Josie and gang over the cliff because they did not correct the lies Josie and gang tell themselves.

To those who say 'leave religion out of this', you cannot. If you are not willing to have an honest and open dialogue about it, religion will always lurk in the background and manifest itself as a monster to destroy civil society we all fought so hard for.

-RSE

Anonymous said...

sigh,i dun noe which God you are thanking. .

Anonymous said...

i don't think TSM is "infected" by religion. all the lawyers i know are smart; but most, if not all, of them are unable to use anything but legal tools to negotiate.

imho, TSM is merely unable to communicate with "the masses". her whole life she spoke with lawyers and christians, she probably can't speak enough singlish to persuade a shopowner to give her a discount -- not that she would need it.

Anonymous said...

Geriatric eunuch,

Can you write in proper English? Seriously you write so ostentatiously. Should learn to use a simpler word and/or sentence wherever possible.

I disagree with your view on networking. I am enrolling in the uni this year after 2 years in the army. After ORD I have interned at a major firms and also taught tuition on a part-time basis. None of these jobs were secured through the the proper apply/interview route. It's all about networking; knowing the right people who can really make your life much easier.

Then of course, I dont mean treating people nice for the sake of benefits. Just treat everyone nicely, and the rewards will come later on.

chang! said...

I was at the EGM. If this is called feminism, i don't want them. The worst of animal behaviour were all evident. It support from lesbians were very evident. You exposed the 'christian' conspiracy, expose the 'lesbian' crusade too!

Anonymous said...

They got in legally. You (Mr. Wang) are a dangerous blogger capable of stirring up emotions against a group of people who happen to come from the same church.....they have strong views.....they stood up to something that they feel strongly about....
You use words like Christians, conspirators, underhanded tactics.....please check your use of words....

Yujin said...

Anon at 5.06pm,

I wouldn't even think of putting Josie and Co. in the same league as the Communists. The latter were at the very least, agitating for better pay, better working conditions, independence et al - aims that were towards making life better for the eventual entity that we now come to know as Singapore (check the non-PAP versions of history to confirm the above points).

Josie and Co. on the other hand, are just self-serving ignoramus who wished to impose their value system on us all. Nothing good would have come out of their actions. Thank goodness they were thrown out, along with the "Feminist Mentor".

Btw, Mr Wang, there were men there as well, gay as well as non-gay who stood together in support of the old guard. :)

Anonymous said...

I think there should be a thorough investigation into COOS' involvement in this saga to send out a strong message that there is no place for religious fundamentalism in secular civil society.

Anonymous said...

"check the non-PAP versions of history to confirm the above points."

Sick men. Some people out there are really sick.

It's always "PAP" vs the people.

Why do we want to puncture the boat? What good is it if Singapore sinks?

Look the the world's freest democracy, the US. Once the Democracts are in power, everyone shuts up and Obama get to do his job for the US.

Can we wait till the election year is up then let the hustlings begin? Be professional lah.

Given that everyone above 21 (voter) can think for herself plus the campaigning, the people can then decide who's best to lead them to a better life.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

yeah! 3 cheers
Andrew Gung

Anonymous said...

This is completely off topic but is Dana Lam really 57 years old? I mean, she looks - what? - 30? Her face is smooth as a baby's bottom. Her neck looks a little bit older. Maybe 37. If I join Aware, will my skin look like hers when I'm 57?

Anonymous said...

In the final analysis, this whole fiasco was really never intended to be totally religious in nature (though it ended up becoming so). It was a bunch of successful executive women influenced by their 'mentor' and deciding to get active to get their point across. The only problem was the way they went about doing so. That said, you can almost understand why they did what they did: If you work in Singaporean companies (which the key New Exco members did), you are conditioned to believe that it is pointless to raise objections against the incumbents. Therefore, they did it the only way they knew: take over the organisation then effect the change. And they did so knowing that they had a 'mentor' watching over them - this is so Singaporean corporate mentality.

However, it all went pear-shaped when their 'mentor' appeared in public (which she never intended to do by her own admission) and it turned out that their 'mentor' was not as powerful as she thought she was. In fact, all that resulted in was a focal point in which the Old Guard and their supporters could rally against. When this happened, the floor just fell from under the feet of the New Exco.

I suspect that this was never an insidious conspiracy by the Christian Right to take over AWARE, it was more of a particular woman's ego getting too large and her personal habit (from what I've read on this blog) to sermonise spilling over into the public domain. Whatever happened after the fateful Friday ST front page article was a spontaneous combustion of issues which then spun out of control.

It's all about ego. Remember what she said: "I am a feminist mentor; I was the first female law dean; I did this... I did that... respect your elders.. Everything was about her. Even in the midst of such a maelstrom which was last Saturday's EGM, she could still stand up and talk, not about Aware or its issues, but about HERSELF! She could have spoken about the issues, about the work which the New Exco could do for Aware, about her 'pro-family' position, but no, it had to be all about her.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ May 4, 10.01pm:

Very well put. And from this we can deduce therefore:

1) Josie Lau & Co.s maneouvres were legal (constitutional) - but that doesn't make them morally right.

2) Old Aware's CSE took the correct, non-partisan approach in presenting the facts / law, not the moral right / wrong of homosexuality / anal sex.

Anonymous said...

I rejoice with Mr. Wang for the downfall of those pitiful, scheming, plotting, dishonest Christians. All those who value freedom and privacy, beware of the fundies! (good word, that) Treasure the freedom of saying such things for it may be taken away from us by them!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, hope you can post this in your comments section as this news article appeared only in the New Paper. The final confirmation that Thio Su Mien was from the beginning till the end the grand mastermind of Aware's takeover & also the final judge of when it will end. The New Paper reporter trailed Thio, Josie & gang when they went for their recess to decide on whether to resign graciously. Thio led her gang to a rubbish dump @Suntec City to make that decision for them!

The Electric New Paper :
Aware Showdown
ACT 1
A DAY OF DECISION
Seven-hour drama ends in dump
Quietly, they entered the Aware fray, unaware of the drama they were about to cause. And last night, the new guard of Aware left (for a moment) as steathily as they had come, via the back door
AT a hidden spot of Suntec City, the Feminist Mentor led her flock into a cargo lift.
By Ng Tze Yong
04 May 2009

AT a hidden spot of Suntec City, the Feminist Mentor led her flock into a cargo lift.

The dirt-caked metal grill doors rumbled shut as a red siren sounded, and the women disappeared.

For a while, it seemed that was how the Aware saga would end.

Minutes earlier, the new exco had been handed a no-confidence vote. It was then given an ultimatum: Quit in five minutes.

But for almost half an hour, the new exco was nowhere to be seen.

And as reporters waited outside the cargo lift where they disappeared into, amid the forklifts, humming of machinery and faint smell of trash, the loud cheers of a crowd baying for blood floated in from the doorway leading to Hall 402.

For a while, it seemed they had left for good - as quietly as they had arrived.

In a night of high drama, this was the pivotal scene few saw.

They saw the taunts, the cheers, the shouting matches played out over microphones and giant speakers.

Some had queued for four hours to get in.

The women came - in matronly frocks and sultry black numbers, in tattoos and permed hair.

Inside the sprawling hall, the women took the nice green seats down the middle. The men, who had no voting rights, were relegated to one side on white plastic chairs.

'Wah, this is like a Muslim event man... girls one side and boys one side!' one usher quipped.

As soothing lounge music played, the audience sat awkwardly in their chairs, not sure if the one they're brushing elbows with was a friend or enemy.

Amid the sea of women, a shiny bald head stood out.

'Mr Siew Kum Hong (the Nominated Member of Parliament), can we request that you move to the men's section,' said president Josie Lau, as she opened the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).

Her request was immediately greeted by loud boos and taunts.

A grim-faced aunty clapped her hands furiously, trying to drown out the nubile young lass beside her waving a stalk of sunflower like a flag.

Ms Lau tried to control the commotion, shouting into the microphone repeatedly: 'Quiet, please!'.

The audience broke into boisterous chants instead.

The old guard explained that Mr Siew was there as a legal advisor to them, but the new exco wouldn't budge.

'There is nothing in the constitution that designates seats,' protested a member of the old guard.

Mr Siew was finally allowed to stay. The crowd almost brought the house down.

It was Old Guard 1, New Guard 0.

The opening salvo set the tone for the EGM, with one side booing when the other side cheered.

There was hooting, screaming and taunts bordering on racial slurs and religious insults.

The first half hour went past like this, with angry shrill voices blasting from the speakers.

'Escort them out!' shouted Ms Lau, referring to the hecklers.

In front of the angry crowd, the Aetos auxiliary policemen moved half-heartedly, unsure of who to obey.

Amid the impasse, an elderly usher, already bored, made a shadow of a dog on one of the projector screens and giggled to himself.

When a relative calm finally settled, Ms Lau proceeded with her speech.

But its content, mostly a rehash of what she has already publicly said, got the impatient crowd riled up again.

War of words

'Can you please listen? Can I say something? Can we move on? You are missing the point!'

These were the most often-heard phrases amid the war of words. For the men in the hall, it must have seemed familiar.

They took a back seat, making the occasional boo or cheer when it was safe to do so. But a few good men waded right in.

'I paid $40 to come here...' one man began, calling for calm. 'At an EGM, you follow the agenda strictly. We can debate until 10pm if you want. There are 3,000 of you here.'

But his voice was lost in the chorus of women's fury.

Another man put himself in the line of fire, pleading: 'Let's be sensible!'

A woman jumped to her feet, crying out: 'Emotional is not irrational!'

The liberals made their voice heard. It was harder to pick out the supporters of the new exco, who sat mostly silent, waiting for opportune times to clap furiously in support.

As the hours went by, the EGM descended into an open mike night, with long lines forming at the microphones, each spouting their displeasure, at times rousing, at times poetic.

Through it all, Ms Lau sat slouched on stage, her face radiating a zen peace.

At the front rows, the old guard sat smugly with equally serene smiles.

Through the war, a baby lay sound asleep in his mother's arms at the back of the hall, somehow oblivious to it all.

A woman fished out a novel, Marley And Me, from her handbag, and was soon engrossed in it.

In a less happy position was Mr Gregory Vijayendran, a partner of Rajah and Tann, legal advisor to Ms Lau's team.

He sat at a table below the stage - just 2m from the angry women taking turns at the microphone - stoically, unblinkingly, his hands clasped in front of him, still as a statue.

Nearly seven hours later, it all came to an end. And when it did, it was thankfully civil.

You have been wonderful people, the old guard told the new exco.

'But you have five minutes (to step down).'

Thank you, Ms Lau replied sweetly.

And after a time-out with their mentor in the dump, they returned - and bowed out.

# REPORTS:

NG TZE YONG, SHREE ANN MATHAVAN, BENSON ANG

and PEARLY TAN

Anonymous said...

The way Josie and gang kept reverting to legal stuff and the use of security to enforce their will on the crowd - or Mdm Thio's demand for respect - is most pathetic and symptomatic of SG's understanding and perception of the law and rules.

For the Law is subservient and subordinate to the purpose for which it exists. If the Law fails to serve, it is invalid. The Law on its own is a Monster, even as fundamentalist Christians make the bible law, without knowing the God in it.

That Josie and gang got in legally does not mean anything if the gang's intent was not to represent AWARE, in all its diversity and even flaws, but more to impose their own agenda.

Their agenda's rightness - or righteousness - or lack thereof, is totally moot.

It merely means the AWARE's constitution have been subverted and corrupted, and that certainly is a sin: a sin certainly as bad as the homosexuality COOS condemns, if not more, for it was done under the cloak of righteousness and in the name of God.

The best liars always tell the truth: an unbelievable lie is a poor lie. And thus the most evil can be nothing but the most righteous.

And of course respect has to be earned, not demanded and enforced.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your point about 'ego'. There are those out there (including religious organisations) who hold office for reasons of power and control over others. It's all part of their ego trip. They misinterpret well-meaning religious teachings for their own agenda and
mislead innocent flock. They are condescending ,patronising and still practice 'rule by fear'. For many followers it seems acceptable, perhaps due to our overarching punitive environment of ' do or else','show up or else'.

Vox Populi said...

Never knew Christians could be so underhanded, scheming, dishonest and non-transparent! Away with them! Silence them and deny them any public space or voice until they earn our respect. Secularists unite!

Mr Wang Says So said...

I think that was waaaay too much of a generalisation, Vox Populi.

Anonymous said...

the extreme views of TSm & Gang were exposed and rejected. But it remains to be seen what will happen to AWARE. Will the 1700++ who voted for them actually stay on and CONTRIBUTE to the organization or were just there to put on a show, and now that it's over, they'll take their leave. Remember, the Old Foggies let the AWARE organization fall into a pathetic dismal state, which was re-energized only because they got their asses kicked. Maybe some good did come out of this after all.

Furthermore, I really hope that AWARE does not turn into some gay/lesbian front, pretending to further the cause of women in Singapore, while actually furthering the gay/lesbian cause. Don't get me wrong, that cause ought to be furthered, just not in AWARE, since it represents so much more. Otherwise, what's the difference between an overt takeover (of TSM) and a covert takeover (by gays and dykes)? Either way, the majority who need representation get screwed.

I wonder why they want men to be given the right to vote in AWARE. Heard that there are lots of gay male associate members. Perhaps this way, it'll secure the leadership and help in furthering the gay agenda. Again, right thing to do, but WRONG association. Form another one. Get good 'ol Alex Au to start it.

Finally, I understand that you're proud of the fact that the women did not display indifference to what happened. But their behaviour was disgraceful. That Singham and her lot were sitting there "smugly" whilst her supporters behaved in a most boorish manner, doesn't reflect well on them either. All said and done, during the EGM, Josie conducted herself well, in a manner fitting of an AWARE president. Can't say the same for the old guard.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, that title is not fair at all...you're really into stirring shit up aren't you Wang...remember Article 149 Wang, I'm sure TSM would have gone over it with you during your Consti Law days...

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. Not fair to who?

2. I think that TSM is at far greater risk of violating Article 149 than myself. I am certainly no religious extremist.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder why they want men to be given the right to vote in AWARE."

As I understand it from what the Old Guard explained at the EGM (yes, I was there), there are men who also believe in the feminist cause (or perhaps more accurately gender equality) and who have done and are continuing to do good work for the cause.

Also, a new thinking in feminism is that men are the "other half of the equation", which I take to mean that there can be no true solution to gender inequality without support from both sides of the gender divide. Instead of a one-sided "war" by Women against Men, therefore, this new thinking is that we should co-opt Men to work with Women for gender equality too (aka make love not war). From that perspective, giving men voting powers in AWARE isn't so far-fetched, although I can understand why it will raise eyebrows. It's a perspective thing.

To me at least, this is far more sensible and appealing "feminism" than images of radical bra-burners who seize every opportunity to do battle. (Especially since, as a straight woman, I actually really like men.)

geriatric_eunuch said...

@ Anon May 5, 2009 12:20 AM:Aiyah, how I know you need short sentences and words of one syllable? Anyway, thanks for your (very wise) advice on how to write 'proper English'. I'll pass it along to the Booker Prize panel. Then they'll realise how wrong they've been for so long time.

Your networking example very low level one lah. Come back and tell us how well you got on when you're much older and fighting up the corporate ladder.

Btw, why even mention rewards for being nice to everyone? Shouldn't being nice come effortlessly without studied motive?

There, brief and no ostentatious language. Do I pass?

Anonymous said...

Why stop at homosexuality in school? Why isnt COOS campaigning to stop the teaching of evolution too?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only who thinks that the meeting did not show civil society is the best light? So, the "invaders" were "repelled". Did it have to take 7 hours? Did both sides respect each other? Was there real, meaty debate and discussion, conducted in a cordial fashion, or was it more characterised by emotional noises made by a mob? Reading the report, it sounded like it was a mob and the mob won.

Vox Populi said...

Ok, I shall not generalise. Not all Christians are underhanded, scheming, dishonest and non-transparent. But when's the next invasion? If I have to live in fear, what does that say about the Christian threat? Why waste words? It's time to be more aggressive and forceful against them.

Anonymous said...

@ May 5, 2009 4:59 PM:

I quote: "To me at least, this is far more sensible and appealing "feminism" than images of radical bra-burners who seize every opportunity to do battle. (Especially since, as a straight woman, I actually really like men.)"

As a gay woman, I actually do really like men too. And yes, of course men would have to be included in the cause of gender equality - they too deserve that.

Donaldson Tan said...

The Christian Right is a big problem - they have not only exported their ideology, but also disguised their ideology with the Christian theology, giving Christians a bad name. We are fortunate that the steeplejacking of AWARE has failed, but we do not know if any other organisations in Singapore were steeplejacked silently. More must be done. As Singaporeans, it is our patriotic duty to protect the secular foundation of our nation. The Christian Right are anti-patriotic, backwards and evil. Yes, absolutely evil.

Anonymous said...

#Donaldson Tan asked if any other organisations in Singapore have been steeplejacked.....consider the certain church involved in this saga? They're the S'pore HQ of FOTF, a Christian Right from USA and Australia. Think Joel's Army. Google to find out more.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr Wang,

This was clearly a coup and conspiracy. Joise & Gang, TSM - FM as well as COOS & their pastor Derek Hong had a planned agenda to take over AWARE. How it played out over the one month period did not go according to their plan because the AWARE old guards and members were caught off guard and also gave the benefit of the doubt during the AGM with regards to new members joining then.

TSM and COOS- Derek Hong knew about CEDAW and CSE programs. They are well versed in understanding and applying about what AWARE stood for in Singapore society. Their main attention was not to grab or take over AWARE. The focus was to seize CEDAW for their own agenda.

If many of you think
1) Why did they have to sack the centre's staff manager?
2) Why did they have to remove or sack the sub committee chair or persons involved especially in CEDAW?
3) Keep demanding for the shadow report from Braema Mathi about CEDAW project.

Many of us also do not understand about CEDAW and its role in society it plays.

QUOTE: http://cedaw-seasia.org/faq.html
"CEDAW legally binds all States Parties to fulfill, protect and respect women’s human rights – this means that States are responsible not just for their own actions, but also for eliminating discrimination that is being perpetrated by private individuals and organizations. Gender inequalities must be addressed at all levels and in all spheres, including the family, community, market and state."

Now the former new exco knew this very very well and clearly. To this extent with the sacking of sub com heads and members in CEDAW they wanted to abolish or remove CEDAW altogether."

Why Singapore Goverment could not get involved in AWARE saga was because they were their other binding party to CEDAW and had a obligation as being a signatory to it. Hence, they had to stay out and keep quiet or just referee to some extent by showing their unbias stand.


QUOTE: http://cedaw-seasia.org/faq.html
What are State Parties’ Obligations to CEDAW?

"By becoming a party to CEDAW, a State is legally obliged to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women and advance gender equality. The content of these obligations, set out in Articles 2 to 5 of the Convention, is not open to alteration by individual governments or organizations.

Importantly, Article 2 makes clear that the State not only has the obligation not to discriminate through its own actions, but also to prevent and eliminate discrimination that is perpetrated by private individuals and organizations.

The State’s obligations extend to private life as well as public life. Article 16 provides that States must eliminate discrimination against women in marriage and family life, areas considered by many countries to fall within the private sphere. Historically, one of the biggest obstacles to realizing women’s rights in many countries has been the perception that the State should not interfere in the private realm of family relations. CEDAW recognizes that unequal power relations within the private sphere contribute very significantly to gender inequality in all aspects of women’s lives, and it directs States to take measures to correct this power imbalance."



COOS played a huge role to work behind the scenes as much as possible. Derek and TSM were evidently critical players outside the scope - like a coach to their players Josie and Gang. Their approach in this steeplejacking of AWARE was very technically planned. They were prepared since 2007 for that matter. One can read and understand from COOS website carefully and resourcefully.

Many of you singaporean have built too much walls around you in society. Its a good wake up call to understand issues pertaining to views. There are many types of sectarian fundamentalists in Christianity today in Singapore. Admitting to it is another thing but we have to beware of their intentions and beliefs when they step out of that line to civil society.

From: Seaquest1

Anonymous said...

On the previous comment that 'That Singham and her lot were sitting there "smugly" whilst her supporters behaved in a most boorish manner, doesn't reflect well on them either. All said and done, during the EGM, Josie conducted herself well, in a manner fitting of an AWARE president. Can't say the same for the old guard.
'
--what is being boorish?? U r too schooled in thinking that opinions must be voiced at a certain sound decibel to be moral ..and that Josie Lau used words at a certain decibel does not mean that she is moral..

Anonymous said...

A Buddhist's Guide to Evangelical ChristianityThe Buddhist Times ( Vol. 2 No. 8 Unduvap 2546 - December 2003 issue ) has published an extract from the forthcoming book Who's That Knocking on the Door? A Buddhist's Guide to Evangelical Christianity.

We reproduce this extract below via courtesy of Buddhist Times:

" About six months ago there was a knock on my door and I opened it to find two evangelicals Christians there. I knew they were evangelicals because they had that fake friendly smile on their faces, which all evangelicals have when they are trying to convert someone. This was the third time that month that evangelists had come knocking on my door and disturbing me so I decided to teach them a lesson. 'Good morning' they said. 'Good morning' I replied.'Have you heard about the Lord Jesus Christ'? they asked. 'I know something about him but I am a Buddhist and I'm not really interested in knowing more' I said. But like all evangelists, they took no notice of my wishes and proceeded to talk about their beliefs. So I said, 'I don't think you are qualified to speak to me about Jesus'. They looked very astonished and asked, 'Why not'? 'Because', I said, 'you have no faith'. 'Our faith in Jesus is as strong as a rock' they insisted. 'I don't think it is' I said with a smile. 'Please open your Bible and read the Gospel of Mark, chapter 16, verse 16, 17 and 18' I said and while they flicked through their Bibles I went quickly inside and came out again.

One of them found the passage and I asked him to read it out loud. It said, 'He who believes and is baptized will be saved but he who does not believe shall be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe in my name. They shall cast out devils, they shall speak in tongues, they will handle snakes and if they drink poison it will not hurt them and they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover'. When he finished I said, 'In that passage Jesus says that if you have real faith you will be able to drink poison and not die'. I took a bottle of Lankem from behind my back, held it up and said, 'Here is some poison. Demonstrate to me the strength of your faith and I will listen to anything you have to say about Jesus'.

You should have seen the looks on their faces! They didn't know what to say. 'What's the problem'? I asked. 'Is your faith not strong enough'? They hesitated for a few moments and then one of them replied, 'The Bible also says that we must not test God'. 'I'm not testing God', I said, 'I'm testing you. You love to witness for Jesus and now is your big opportunity'. Finally one of then said, 'We will go and speak to our pastor about this matter and come back and see you. 'Ill is waiting for you' I said as they scurried away. Of course they never came back again. Here is a bit of advice. Keep a copy of this Bible reference and a bottle of Lankem ready and every time the evangelists come to your door to harass you give them this test. You might like to have a polanga ready as well.

Evangelical Christians are often predicting that the world is going to end very soon and Jesus is going to come again. When I was 18 I remember very distinctly that the Jehovah's Witnesses came to our house and told me that the world was going to end in 1975. If you find any old Watch Tower or Awake magazines from that period you will see many articles about the world ending in 1975. Of course they were wrong, just as they were wrong when they predicted that the world was going to end in 1895 and again in 1914. In the 1990's many churches were claiming that the world was going to end in 2000. Some naive and impressionable people were frightened enough to believe this nonsense and converted to Christianity.

In 1991 I was working in a particular place and every lunchtime I would go to the restaurant on the ground floor. One day I met three young men who told me that they were doing part time work for a man on the 5th floor. One day as we sat having lunch together the subject got on to religion and they told me that their boss believed that the world was going to end in 2000. One of them was obviously a little frightened by this possibility and asked me what I thought about it. 'It is complete nonsense' I said. 'I don't believe it and I guarantee that your boss doesn't really believe it either.' 'Oh but he does' the three boys said. They told me that he had books on the subject and he had showed them passages in the Bible proving that the world was going to end in nine years. 'I tell you, your boss doesn't really believe that', I said. 'Do you mind if we tell him that' they said and I told them that I didn't mind. The next day the man together with the three boys came to see me. We had a friendly chat about Christianity and then we got onto the subject of the end of the world. The man insisted that the Bible clearly predicted that the world was going to end and that he had utter faith in the Bible. I laughed at him. 'You Christians are so confused and lacking in awareness that you don't know what you believe' I said. 'You have no right to doubt the depth of my faith' the man said, now a little annoyed. I said, 'I can prove that you don't really believe the end of the world and Jesus' return. 'Prove it then'! he challenged.

The three boys were now listening to our discussion very intently. 'Alright'! I said. 'Do you believe that the world is going to come to a complete end in the year 2000'? 'Absolutely'! said the man. 'The Bible predicts it and I believe it will happen'. 'Okay' I said. 'I have a friend who is a lawyer. I will ask him to come here tomorrow and you and I will draw up a proper legally binding contract in which you will agree to give me all your property - your house, your business and all your assets - in the year 2001. Do you agree to do that'? The man was flabbergasted. He didn't know what to say. 'Come on', I said. 'If you are right, and you insist you are, in 2001 I will be in hell and you will be in heaven with Jesus where you wont need all your worldly goods'. 'This is just silly' said the man now very flustered.

Now one of the boys joined in. 'Its does not seem silly to me. It seems like a good chance for you to prove you beliefs'. 'I agree' I said. 'Now is your big chance to demonstrate how genuine you and strong your faith is. These boys might be so impressed that they might become Christians. Put your faith where your mouth is'. The man became very angry, got up and walked away. The three boys were smiling and the one who had been a little frightened about the end of the world was smiling the most.

Anonymous said...

Look at these two video clips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eLibIZQ2X8http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eLibIZQ2X8They make Freddy Krugae looks like Snow White!!

Anonymous said...

Mahatma Gandhi on The Christian Missionary MenaceAping of Europeans and Americans
As I wander about through the length and breath of India I see many Christian Indians almost ashamed of their birth, certainly of their ancestral religion, and of their ancestral dress. The aping of Europeans by Anglo-Indians is bad enough, but the aping of them by Indian converts is a violence done to their country and, shall I say, even to their new religion. (Young India: August 8, 1925)

Why Should I Change My Religion
I hold that proselytisation under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy to say the least. It is most resented by people here. Religion after all is a deeply personal thing. It touches the heart. Why should I change my religion because the doctor who professes Christianity as his religion has cured me of some disease, or why should the doctor expect me to change whilst I am under his influence? (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Alan said...

The issue with AWARE’s CSE goes beyond their stand on homosexuality to premarital sex. Like MOE said, some suggested responses in the guide “convey messages which could promote homosexuality or suggest approval of pre-marital sex”.

You can read my critique of their Instructor Guide at http://www.vtaide.com/blessing/AWARE-cse.htm where I quote verbatim from relevant modules of the Guide.