21 September 2006

Minister tries to explain censorship of gay expression

Balaji Sadasivan the MICA Minister of State was reported to have said recently that a concert was banned because the organisers would not accept an R21 rating. Was it so? Full essay.

15 comments:

Jordan said...

"No group is oppressed, suppressed or depressed. Instead we have a political culture that values integrity, meritocracy and fairness." - MM Lee Kuan Yew, PAP 50th Anniversary, Nov 2004

I guess it does not cover the gay group?
From what I have read, gays do not count for anything in Singapore. And yet, the Singapore Govt, for political correctness,showed the movie Brokeback Mountain in Singapore.
I think the Singapore Government is afraid of AIDs, and the association of it to gays...only.
That is a huge misconception as we know now.
So for the 'sexually-confused teen', what assistance does he get?

Sean said...

The Senior Minister of State for Information, Communication and the Arts, Balaji Sadasivan is the Singapore Government's 'mouthpiece eunuch'.
The bottom line is the Singapore Govt's major prejudice against gays.
We are 'throwing pearls' at swines, here.

Koh said...

Gay Life in Singapore is well and alive. It is the anti-gay rights that we don't have. We haven't reached the gay mardi gra limit of gay parades and recognition. other than that, I think we have come pretty darn far.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Govt need to have a gay MP
to represent the community as current MPs
in current thinking mode will be always be bias irregardless intentionally or unintentionally.Homophobia rules the day
till that happens, i guess.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion: Do a hyperlink from your article to the comment page. This will enable new readers to easily find the comment page.

E.g. Add in the word "Comments" and then hyperlink to the comment page.

Fr your consideration.

hugewhaleshark said...

The whole thing leaves such a bad taste. Its all lip service...

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on something. I used to work as an usher for an art center in Singapore. Some of the management who were about us were gays. I noticed something. When a gay starts fancying another guy, even if the guy is not gay or has indicated reciprocal feelings, the gay will overstep certain boundaries in terms of speech and action. When the heterosexual males display their discomfort and express their objections, they are labelled as homophobic. The thing is, why do these gays feel they have more leeway with regards to such inappropriate behaviour. As an example, if I as a male fancy a girl, there are boundaries that I cannot cross, and if I do, it is sexual harassment. I feel that there is a difference in not appreciating being sexually harassed and being homophobic. While I will not assume that all gays behave like that, I cannot help but have this perception that the gays in Singapore too quickly label the heterosexual males as being homophobic. As about the debate of nurture versus nature, while there might be proof that nature plays a part, it does not mean nurture plays no part. For either arguments, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I do believe that for something people, being gay is experimental and that is why there is a fear for the impressionable minds. If being gay is all about nature, then why do I know of girls who are lesbians in an all girls secondary school yet become heterosexual in jc. Maybe they are bi? But they never seem to display any lesbian tendencies from then on. Or maybe it is really society pressure that forces them to be straight. And if that is the case, would that not be a case of someone being nurtured from a gay to a straight person. And if that is possible, would the reverse not also be?

teck soon said...

There is interesting anecdotal evidence in the anonymous post above about secondary school girls. Many people in Singapore, including the government, prefer to use anecdotal evidence in place of hard, scientific evidence. They can't be bothered to read peer-reviewed, world-renowned scientific journals to form their opinions. They can't be bothered to read unbiased newspapers either. Most Singaporeans prefer to get their news and form their impressions from The New Paper. Perhaps Anonymous above would also advocate caning or life imprisonment for gay people to stop them from "harassing" shy, timid, hetersexual men. Actually, Singapore law already provides for that. Life imprisonment. Is that what the anecdotal-evidence commenter wants? Perhaps life imprisonment for heterosexual men trying to hit on shy lesbian women is also appropriate.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (21 September, 2006 13:52):

You have to understand just like just like heterosexuals, (as you might have seen in MRT, buses) there are straight couples/singles who are very "expressive" in their courtship. Given that do you label all heterosexuals as inappropriate? As much as you have seen how gay behave, I am sure you would have seen guys making inappropriate advances towards their female target.

For nature vs nuture, leaving the area of scientific discussions, if you have read some of the comments here, you might have come across a post about a guy who is trying desperately to lead a "normal" life. He even got married with kids, but try as he might he admit that he is miserable in his current situation. This might be a unique case (or fake) as you might argue, but considering that if I were to put you in an all male or gay environment, do you think you will turn gay? The other way applies for homosexual.

As for lesbians, I have read in studies that they are geared towards a different attitude. And females in general tends to fall into the realm of bisexual than homosexual.

I'm sure Alex can offer you a better perspective than I can. I think you can email him should you have more questions.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I have never rejected scientific evidence. In fact, I acknowledged in my comment that there is evidence supporting nature but I'm also wondering to what extent nurture does. From teck soon's post, I feel and I apologise if I am being presumptuous, that there is an outright tendency on one side to reject nurture why the other side rejects nature. Can't both these forces play a part? The point is if nurture does play a part, and if someone is not homosexual but because of influences do become gay, and similarly if someone who is homosexual is 'nurtured' into being straight, won't both parties suffer because of the conflict within themselves? Secondly, I do not advocate life imprisonment for a gay man hitting on a straight man, and neither do I advocate that for a man hitting on a girl. I just believe that each should have their own space, and while you want me to respect your right to being gay, shouldn't you respect our right to our personal space no matter how funny you think it is that we are all being uptight and shy. Likewise, I would respect a woman if she says no the first time after I might have stepped over any boundaries she is not comfortable with and not try to keep testing water. This is not about homophobia but respect of personal space. And again, I am not saying all gays are like that. But I would like to say there is a difference between homophobia and one's desire for personal space. About couples and singles being expressive, be it gay or straight, by all means do it, if both sides are consensual. In my early comment, I did not express any objection to that, only making a comment that personally I feel gays do feel they have more leeway even when the other person is expressing discomfort or objection. I must make a disclaimer that beyond the gays in that workplace, I know of only 2 other guys and 1 girl who is gay that I would consider as friends and so my perception is most probably skewed. Actually definitely, and I do hope to be proven wrong. Finally, what is wrong with my earlier post using anecdotal 'evidence'. My use of it did not indicate outright rejection of your hard evidence. In fact, aren't you being presumptous that because me (as part of the many people in Singapore) in the use of anecdotal evidence is rejecting hard evidence. I sense an irony here. And the thing is, most of us rely on our experiences to reconcile what we observe in the world with what we learn, hear and read to try to understand the world. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. And the anecdote I shared was because I am trying to reconcile what I have experienced to what I am learning. Personally, tecksoon, your comment did not help me understand any better. But I would like to thank the other person for sharing. And I hope Alex can comment too.

Anonymous said...

To Teck Soon: if most young Singaporeans read the local news, then the new generation is living in a "PAP box". So many events are happening globally, and these young kids will not be aware of anything. It is the 'Her World' life of Singapore kids.

kritias said...

Anonymous, I think your question wasn't out of bounds.

Heterosexuality and Homosexuality are only labels for orientation, not how the orientation is expressed. As pointed out above there are hetero men who express their affection improperly towards women, and homo men who express their affection improperly towards men. Even women who express their affection improperly, lots of those actually.

The difference might be that the homo men who express their affection properly, you would not know because they aren't purposely making you conscious of their affection!

As for nature/nuture, it does seem to me that many people fall on the bisexual spectrum than realised, but it is less of a taboo against female-female sexual interaction. So it is more ok for young girls to "experiment" as long as they decide become "normal women" eventually. This is nice for them in a way, but also kind of a paternalistic attitude.

What about men? There is theory that many male homophobes are in fact suppressed bisexuals who express their subconscious arousal and self-hatred as other-hatred. Researchers measured the blood flow into their penises while showing them homosexual pornography. If my memory is correct something like 3/4 of the self-proclaimed homophobic men showed arousal, and just about none of the "whatever, don't care" men did.

Then there are the end of the spectrum hardcore heteros and homos, who can't change even if you torture them, like asking Don Juan to stop loving women.

teck soon said...

I'm glad to hear that the anonymous commenter of Sept. 21 does not advocate life imprisonment for gays. I would like to suggest that he/she express this opinion to his/her MP so that these discriminatory, barbaric laws currently on the books can be repealed in Singapore. Part of living in a first-world, cosmopolitan society is finding a place in your heart to tolerate those who are different from you (regardless of the cause). There is nothing wrong complaints about "personal space" issues, but I feel that Singapore society as a whole is allowing severe legal discrimination and harassment of gays and lesbians for similar reasons.

sam said...

rationally speaking, homophobia harms society more than homosexuality and this affects not only GLBT but the community at large.

it's not surprising we're being taught by the state on how to be intolerant.

Anonymous said...

Can PLU do a survey to empirically refute the Minister's claim that most people in Singapore are conservative and homophobic?

I felt quite amused that the minister used the story of his two young officers who left the movie after watching it half-way as an illustration of conservativeness among young people. Perhaps they felt embarrassed watching the movie with the minister who was snoring too loudly...perhaps the movie is really biased against gay that they felt disgusted...perhaps they were too aroused and they went off to book a hotel to release their emotions for each other.....well who knows why they left. The minister assumed they were embarrassed but are they?