28 September 2006

Volleyball team does Singapore proud

At the Gay Games in Chicago earlier this year, a volleyball team fought their to 4th place out of 26 teams from various countries. They also had a great time while there, in the spirit of the Games. Full essay.


Wolfgang said...

Congratulations guys! We are proud of you even if Singapore isn't.

I'm looking forward to the day when all diversity will be celebrated.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Firstly, that event sounds really interesting and I'm happy that Singapore got represented and the guys trashed that white team who looked down on them just cos of size. I'm not sure, but I tend to think its not the size that really matters, but how you use it.

When I read the post, I cannot help but sense that there is unabashed praise for the organisers of the event. But I would like to ask a few questions.

Firstly, why are we so critical of our own Singapore's government's efforts in organising the IMF/WB meeting and wooing the IMF/World bank delegates and the campaigns that were initiated to do it. I am being presumptuous here but I feel from some of the posts that we are. I apologise if I have understood wrongly.

I know that our government is not really an inclusive one and the GLBTs are not really welcomed and they restrict our freedom of speech and assembly but that should not make us blind to their other efforts to do something for Singapore.

I understand that the spirit of this post is to show how other cities/countries welcome the GLBTs, but maybe they are wooing this group just as how the government tried to woo the IMF/World Bank delegates? Maybe they realise that the GLBTs have great economic potential as a tourism force? I am of course speculating.

Do not mistake me. I am sure there were genuine people who really welcomed the GLBTs. And that is good. But while we are always so suspicous of our own government, shouldn't we also sometimes stop to think and ponder about other people's motives such as the companies that did not back down on their sponsorships?

On a final note, three cheers for the guys who did well at the games!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, just 1 thought... this is definitely not news that one can get from MSM (main stream media) in Singapore. Thank goodness for alternative media :P

Anonymous said...

My heart flutters when i see them with the flag, but at the same time sinks when i realised that this moment of pride will not be permitted to be shared in the "responsible" newspapers in Singapore.

This news should be forwarded to the PM to show him that there are Singaporeans who in spite of the legal stigma against them, are still proud to fly the red and white.

Liew Kai Khiun

Teck Soon said...

Congratulations guys! I'm sure all the teams did well. What a great idea for an event, and kudos to Chicago for hosting it!

My comment is for Anonymous of 28 September, 11:30 --

It's interesting how Alex pointed out that the team poking fun at our guys was an "American team, made up of bigger, taller guys", but Anonymous of 28 Sept, 2006 11:30 preferred to call them a "white" team. The U.S. is in fact only 69.1% white by population (according to the 2000 census), so it is incorrect to conclude that it was a white team from what Alex has said so far, even though most Singaporeans would feel more pride if it was indeed a "white" team that was "trashed".

I think Alex has a great talent in writing in a way that carefully protects people's sensitivities, and I have a feeling that his choice of "bigger, taller guys" was carefully chosen. Outrage would rightly ensue if someone said in Singapore, "We trashed a Malay team," yet Anonymous above has accidentally said the equivalent in "the guys trashed that white team".

Teck Soon's comments are sometimes chided for being "snide" and disrespectful to monarchs, royalty, politicians, and leaders. But I am deeply respectful to racial groups, gays and lesbians - the places where respect is deeply needed in our society. Kings and LKY have enough respect already.

Here is a link to the U.S. census data. I found it interesting that they are really as diverse as Singapore, with 13% Hispanic, 69% white, 12% black, 4% Asian, 1% native American, and 1% other. They manage to get along with complete freedom of speech (even hate speech is ok!), freedom of assembly and protest. And they don't even have a Racial Harmony Day.


Jordan said...

Congratulations on the Singapore volleyball team!!! The competition was tough!!!


Check on this link- as there are more photos of the Singapore volleyball guys!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree Alex writes with great sensitivity. Teck soon has tried to read my mind. I did not conclude that it was a white team because of that line which Alex wrote but because of an earlier line in the story.

That line was "Even so, I felt acutely aware that we Asians were badly outnumbered," added YK. "They were mostly White Americans."

I do suppose then it might have been wrong that because somone who was there said that most people there were white americans and that Alex wrote that our country's team beat an American team to assume that team would have consisted of white americans. I apologise for making that conclusion and did not 'prefer' to use the line I did.

In fact, I would be most happy to say, I glad that our guys trashed the American guys... whatever the race. Hmm..tongue in cheek..am I now not being sensitive to nationalities? Am I being too nationalistic?

Anyway, can I say something about how we always praise America like how Teck Soon did. Firstly, America is a big place. Not everywhere is like the cities of San Franciso, New York, LA and Chicago. These cities may not be the norm when you talk about tolerance of GLBTs in America.

I say that with no hard proof on hand, but I have read in articles which I cannot now cite because I can't remember where I got them that the states in Central America are vastly different from the ones at the Coast.

Actually, in America's history at the beginning, they considered themselves getting more American the more West they got (i.e. away from New York). That was because New York was then the gateway for immigrants from everywhere, but the West was mainly the White Anglo-Saxons and their descendants who did the pioneering and venturing out to the West.

The reason why I am saying this is America didn't become a tolerant nation overnight. They didn't start seeing all races as part of the American nation overnight. They had segregation well into this century. They had no woman rights until the ladies fought for it.

Part of what America has now is of course something Singapore should aspire to. But not everything. America isn't the perfect model that just happened to be and to continually heap what I feel as unabashed praise is undeserved.

Likewise, Singapore is a young nation. Seriously. We are young. We need time. So while we be critical of some aspects of our own nation, please do not blindly trumpet other nations. They took time. And so we too shall take time. And in our own way, I'm sure Singapore will change for the better. People like Alex, and others are sowing the seeds now.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the last comment then realised I was super late for work. Rushed all the way down to Tampines on a cab.... Anyway, on the cab, I thought of something. Freedom of speech and tolerance of diversity (i.e. GLBTs, minority races, other religion) are two things that does not always come together.

Then the question is, which one is more important? I would say both is equally important, but what if the existence of one somehow affects the other? Then which one will we give up.

For example, say Singapore has freedom of speech. That means someone who does not like the malays, or GLBTs in Singapore are free to say anything they would want to about these groups. Will we still defend their right for free speech if they are talking bad about us?

Of course preventing freedom of speech does not make such people tolerance of the people they already do not like, but it helps keep that intolerance out of pubilc space.

And while we bash our government for preventing freedom of speech because that is something is policeable, maybe they are doing it to keep intolerance out of the public space and that is their only means of doing so since you cannot make someone tolerant as it is an internal decision but you can control what comes out of the person's mouth.

Of course there is always the suspicion that their intolerance for freedom of speech is only to prevent criticism against the government.

But say they allow us to criticise them, and control us on the aspect of making seditious statements with regards to minority races and GLBTs. Would we be happy? Would that be really freedom of speech or merely a form of freedom where we have finally got the room to say only what we want to say which is to be critical of the government openly but suppressing other things that other people might want to say no matter how wrong we might think they are?

Doesnt that go against the true essence of freedom of speech?

I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said " I disagree with what you say but will defend with my life your right to do so."

Would the people who are asking for freedom of speech (although not all who want it wants to use it to speak up against the government) defend it for everyone even if it is used against them in the public space?

recruit ong said...

I like the way you guys emblazon the singapore flag and stamps all over. Nice photos and pictures that for once make me feel proud as a sporean. Not gay pride hor, becoz i straight lah. -_-"
Anyway this is the kind of spore flags I want to be associated with. Seeing them there makes me dream of the kind of society that is possible for us all, gay or straight or whatever. It represents an inclusive and open society one, and not the rah rah NDP bullshit lip service kind that we are flooded with all year round.

I am sure the PAP will disapprove and such pictures will never see the light of day on our MSM, and that is only because they have hijacked Singapore and all that it represents for their own political agenda and benefits.

Jordan said...

Our Singapore volleyball team came in 4th in a fierce competition, and they were very proud to paint the Singapore Flag on their faces.
I wish the Singapore Govt would acknowledge this fact. The very group that the Govt dissed is proud of Singapore.
What irony.

Anonymous said...

Heartiest Congratulations to Team Singapore! I'm very proud of you guys, way to go!

Echoing Wolfgang, I'm also looking forward to the day when all diversity and abilities of each and every SINGAPOREANS are celebrated and included in our society.