15 April 2007

Beware being caught out when the tide turns

Opposition parties risk being left behind as public opinion on Section 377A of the Penal Code (the part criminalising gay sex) changes, writes Charles Tan. Guest essay.


boon said...

If I were the WP, I would be more preoccupied with more pressing issues than gay rights. How about Minister's pay and the growing discontent of our population?

With limited resources, they have to pick their battles carefully and not get distracted from the big picture.

Robert L said...

My dear, dear YB. My own thinking has been doing a number of about-turns in my mind. I'm now of the view that it's actually a good thing that WP had not expressed support for gay rights.

Consider my reasoning - if the government invites submissions specifically from the Law Society, there is no loss of face to accept the recommendations from their submission; indeed it can be portrayed as the government being receptive of public views and would make good PR.

By contrast, if the WP had been submitting the recommendations, the government would feel a loss of face and will reveal their inability to draft the laws without help from the Opposition. In such a situation, the government would fight tooth-and-nails to demolish the Opposition's submission.

In the light of the above logic, albeit admittedly convoluted, I should advise against the LGBT community seeking active engagement with the opposition parties to openly advocate the repeal of 377A. My view is the exact opposite to your guest writer - it's better that the Opposition shut up and hands off from this issue.

In case what I've argued for is not clear, I'll put it in the simplest form. If the Opposition calls for more sugar in coffee, the government will say less sugar is better. But if the Opposition calls for less sugar in coffee, the government will say more sugar is better. There - I cannot put it simpler than that.

Anonymous said...

Is SDP going to do a Freedom Walk on the gay issue this May Day or any time soon. Or it is just making an empty support to hedge the risk of "being caught out when the tide turns?"

Anonymous said...

SDP is wrong to make political statement for the sake of hedging the risk of being caught out when the tide turns. Look at what it had done beyond the lip service policy statement of supporting gay rights, nothing.

Anonymous said...

If the opposition keeps talking about the traditional bread and butter issues only, we are never never going to be presented with a real democratic alternative to the PAP and the hierachy of bullying and privilege by the ethnic Chinese heterosexual middle class male on the rest will just be perpectuated even without the PAP.

If the opposition continues to be merely reactive, it would merely get huge turnouts in their rallies for the masses to vent their frustrations, and nothing beyond that

Liew kai khiun

concerned. said...

"the retention of s.377A in its present form cannot be justified."
This in no way means/implies that the law society thinks s.377a should be removed and gay relations decriminalised. All it says is that the law as it is now needs alteration/adjustment. Perhaps to give a clearer definition, perhaps with certain conditions, perhaps with a lighter penalty (or even a heavier one). Even with your passionate support for repealing s.377a, please be careful not to let passions overtake reason and logical thought processes. There have been many fires fanned and unfortunately, many invalid assumptions and simply not-thought-through arguments used to support both sides of the argument. Adding on to that would just be extremely irresponsible to say the least.