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S377A: Ex-ST tua kee thinks Christians won’t harm him?

In Media on 29/09/2018 at 10:09 am

But Muslims might attack him?

This ex-ST tua kee is picking on Christians and Christianity (despite his name), or is ignorant on the views of Muslims on being gay (it’s haram); or has no balls because he’s afraid of a Jihadist attack if he talks about Muslims opposing the repeal of S377A: most likely the last methinks given the way ST behaves towards the bullies. Remember what George Yeo once infamously said, “Christians are less likely to riot”?

Alan John

In 2009 I was a senior editor at The Straits Times when I asked one of the best reporters in the newsroom to find out what happened at Aware, because the respected women’s association had been taken over at its AGM by a mysterious group of new members. I remain proud of that story, because it uncovered how self-righteous people in our midst will take it upon themselves to force their beliefs and values on everyone else, and they will use all means possible.

The Straits Times broke the story that came to be dubbed The Aware Saga, and it was not easy. The paper was criticised for having “a homosexual agenda”. The writer who broke the story was attacked viciously for being gay. There were powerful people in and outside of Singapore Press Holdings who asked senior editors what the paper was up to in its unrelenting coverage and for exposing the Christians who took over Aware in that stealth operation. A senior government official called our coverage “breathless” and that seemed like a big hint that perhaps we had better pull back or stop.

Thankfully, I worked to a good editor, Han Fook Kwang, who was not Christian but was deeply offended that a group of people would use their religion to impose their values on a non-religious organisation operating in Singapore’s common secular space. He let me do my best with the story, and our reporters – straight, gay, Christian and non-Christian – pursued the story as best we could. Fook Kwang gave it the space and prominence it deserved and took some heat for that.

The original leadership of Aware eventually ousted the Christian usurpers in an extraordinary general meeting that was nothing short of historic for civil society in Singapore. And still, as the editor who assigned the story and for many of my colleagues, we did not know if we would end up being criticised for “going overboard”. Nobody came out to thump us on our backs or say Well Done. For some reason we remained a little fearful, and felt we had to keep our heads down. We had to be mindful that although we helped Aware return to its rightful leadership, we ought not risk offending the losing side because they were influential, well-organised, articulate and capable of giving even the powerful a fright.

For a long time afterwards, ST continued to be accused of having that “gay agenda”. If the paper ran stories about LGBT issues – or once, for saying in a story that Elton John had arrived with his husband and child – a letter would come, accusing ST of trying to “normalise” gay marriage and destroy the institution of marriage. Online there were people who tracked examples of the paper’s “gay agenda” to expose its motivations.

Nine years have passed since the Aware Saga. The current debate over 377A bears all the hallmarks of what happened in 2009. There is a loud and powerful call to keep this law. Because he spoke up for the wrong side, Tommy Koh has been called gay or “must have gay grandchildren”. Someone called me an asshole for criticising the Catholic Archbishop for the Church’s position on 377A. The Christians speak up most authoritatively, convinced of the need to safeguard family values and avoid “the slippery slope.” Some of the same people who figured in the stealthy takeover of Aware appear to be invested in current efforts to retain this bad law. They learnt nothing in 2009, they remain as steadfast, maybe even more so, in their desire to protect all of Singapore from sin and sinfulness as defined in their holy book.

I read ST’s editorial today and it appears to hope that Singapore’s courts will do the right thing in 2018 and remind us all, once again and clearly, that this is not a Christian country. This country provides religious people of all faiths so much freedom to promote their religions, explain their beliefs, woo new believers and speak up as strongly as they like against sin in their houses of worship. I am proud of that freedom in this country, which many of us take for granted. But today, as in 2009, this is not a Christian country and 377A is simply a wrong law to keep. Doing away with it will disappoint one side, but this gay sex debate will end. Keeping it means we remain on opposite sides and this “war” goes on.

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