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Friday, April 01, 2005

The News

(Until further notice, all references here shall be made to the print edition of the newspapers.)

On this April Fool's Day, here are the more interesting things gleaned

Pg. 33: Chua Mui Hoong argues for "No double standards please, we're S'poreans". Thinks that the government gives leeway to foreigners to express themselves, while denying the same to Singaporeans. I quote:
"It's obvious that the permitting of double standards is Singapore's way of having its cake and eating it too. It wants a morally conservative society, yet aspires to be tolerant diverse and open enough to be a global talent capital"
"While some locals may be offended by 'odd things', the truth is that other locals want to be the ones doing 'odd things' too...I value the option for myself and fellow citizens to be able to do so."

I would go on to add that it is clear that, from the government's attitudes towards many issues, including the casino project, homosexual community, the film making industry, Myanmar's human rights abuses; indeed, from its ambiguous position on allowing foreign NGOs to stage protests against the IMF and the World Bank meetings next year, its primary interest is financial.

The government's policy seems to be to extract the maximum ounce of profit out of each and every one of the situations mentioned above, while appeasing the homophobic and/or anti-democratic prejudices of a powerful and/or vocal section of the population. How very ethical.

We have already noted, in the course of the discussions on this mailing list, the government's treatment of the homosexual community as nothing less than a cash cow to make sure that gay foreigners do not lack entertainment on this little island. Indeed, it could even be cynically postulated that the latest flurry of concern over HIV infections in the gay community would be primarily because they would cost the government more in terms of medicine and administration, and might even deter economically valuable foreigners who happen to be gay from coming here.

What about Myanmar? All that the Prime Minister has managed to convery in Myanmar is a soft hint that 'while Singapore does not wish to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, in an interconnected world events in one country can have repercussions on Singapore and ASEAN'. Duh. But what else can we say? We already have our fingers deep in the tasty pie that is Myanmar; Singapore is one of the biggest investors in a country that America and the EU judiciously avoid associating with. Stronger diplomatic sanctions are likely to do harm to our economic interests in that country- the same people responsible for human rights abuses are also the same people who can approve or disapprove of our financial stakes in the country.

By the way, it has also been reported in the Straits Times today that Safehaven's appeal to the minister in charge of MICA, Mr Lee Boon Yang, to hold a fundraising concert for Aids programmes has been rejected. Primarily because one of the performers who they wanted to engage promotes a gay lifestyle, which would be oh-so detrimental to our conservative Asian values.

Well, having vice and whores on the doorstep of a residential area evidently never really crossed the minds of bureaucrats when they approved all the pub licences along Joo Chiat road. It was only after residents complained to their Member of Parliament, Mr Chan Soo Sen, that substantial police action came in to control this problem. But who made the approvals in the first place?

Were the government serious about removing sleaze from the public eye, it could always make a stronger stance in the case of Joo Chiat. But in their order of priorities, heterosexual vice is not as great a crime as the fact of being homosexual itself. So.

Finaly, it has also been reported in Today that JB Jeyaretnam's application to hold a demonstration against the casino has also been quashed by the police. As usual.


Blogger Beach-yi said...

Hahahaha, sure makes an interesting article.

Either this particular subset of the Chua sisters have been waiting for an opportune time to release all her angst or else she have already tak boleh tahan but fearing reprisals chose this particular date to publish it. Sure helps to leave some room for retraction.

To paraphrase chinese martial art movies, this is sure a "high move".

April 01, 2005 11:22 pm  
Blogger woodhind said...

Hi, i'm new to the site. Great gig u have here.

Well, Americans and EU also had been bitching about China's abysmal human rights record, it doesnt quite stop them from trading with PROC. Barring some really gross transgressions in Myanmar (say another genocide), it is highly unlikely that any Western economies would really penalize SG from wishing to trade with the military-governed republic of Myanmar.

On the other matters, i do agree that there are certain contradictions in state ideology/identity and the range of actions which they are taking. A pretty clear cut case of political ideological correctness vs economic expediency; doubt if the two can really gain the sort of coherence over the issues mentioned in the paper, resulting in compromises that would probably appear to be contradictory (as today's).

Over the issue of gays, I believe the government adopts the position of tolerance rather than outright acceptance of their existence. In this regard, the SG govt probably acted in a consistent manner...you don't go out of ur way to hang them, but u do not give them disportionate representation in the social discourse. It seems like a pretty fair position to adopt, though it may sound somewhat conservatice and homophobic to others.

okie, once again nice site, ill be hanging around

April 03, 2005 2:54 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I really like your website. I have one on martial art comic image here is the link to it. Come visit it and let me know what you think.

October 25, 2005 2:08 pm  

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