16 September 2007

On Otto, part 1

Otto Fong, a science teacher at premier school Raffles Institution, writes an open letter on his blog saying he's gay. At once, the school and the Ministry of Education swing into damage control mode. But what damage? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

what damage? a simple issue of social control; religious fundamentalism is a negligible factor; family value has some part because of the need to increase births; but mostly, the issue is "why are you different from our template, and how dare you deliberately announce you are different?" "I am gay" may be a trival statement elsewhere; in tightly controlled singapore, it is confrontational to the "system"
(I notice "I am lesbian" does not appear to be as confrontational to the system, but have no concrete evidence to back up my observation.)


Anonymous said...

I think Otto can contribute further in his teaching profession - ie. he can become a good counsellor to the students. If any of students needs any counselling, I'm sure they can count on him to provide good guidance and at the same time the gay student can also open up to him, that is if the MOE is open about the issue at hand. RI, as the established leader at the forefront of college education should be forward-thinking and should consider this option as a win-win solution. At least some good can come out of the situation.

Otherwise it's just going to be one step forward and three steps backward.

hugewhaleshark said...

Raffles Institution as saying that it is "mindful of the views of the school's stakeholders, especially parents who would not be comfortable with placing their children under the change of a teacher who advocates homosexuality."

What?! If all schools thought this way, we'd still think the earth was flat! I am ashamed of my alma mater.

Terence said...

The Straits Times, 4 July 2003
"Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong has disclosed that the Government is now employing openly homosexual people, even in sensitive jobs."

Lee Hsien Loong, 6 October 2005
"I agree with Mr. Goh Chok Tong that homosexuals are people like you and me."

Based on these above statements alone, there seems to be no shift in the government's position.

Let me address this. PM Goh mentioned that the government now openly employs homosexuals. But we need to consider in which sector of civil service are these people employed? Perhaps the teaching profession is something that is marked as "out-of-bounds" by the government?

PM Lee's statement does not say much either. We can argue that criminals are people like you and I. It does not in anyway show that PM Lee is supportive of homosexuals.

Is there any link to the full articles as quoted above? Perhaps a better understanding could be gleaned from the complete articles.

No doubt, the government and certain "Christian Fundamentalist" organizations seem to be homophobic towards homosexuals. But the blame shouldn't be solely placed upon them, but also upon the general traditional mindsets of older Singaporeans.

Robert L said...

From thefreedictionary

ad·vo·cate (dv-kt)
tr.v. ad·vo·cat·ed, ad·vo·cat·ing, ad·vo·cates
To speak, plead, or argue in favor of. See Synonyms at support.

Clearly, that junky school is quite blind to the facts, or does not even understand the meaning of advocate. Otto advocates homosexuality? What utter rubbish.

Throughout Otto's blog entry, what he clearly did was advocate the tolerance and understanding of homosexuality. Nowhere in his article did he ever imply that homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality - to imagine so would be absurd!

Of course, RI would not dare to say that they are stopping Otto from advocating the tolerance of homosexuality - that would make the school look preposterous! So they hide and issue the blatant lie - that makes them cowards. Now it's RI who lies and hides in the closet.

Anonymous said...

RI has already said that their decision on this issue would depend on the school's "stakeholders" such as parents and staff; MOE/SG government is of course a major "stakeholder"


Yuri/Dee said...

Hmm... one would think that the teachings of fundamentalists would be more harmful than the teachings of someone who is gay and also tolerant.

Aren't the fundamentalists also kind of aligned with the right in the Bible Belt, btw?

If it came into light that many of the right in the Bible belt preach against many other ethnicities and also for limiting rights enjoyed by the female gender, would they enjoy their support received in Singapore? Then again, perhaps not because much of the Christian right crowd seems to be limited to just a few ethnicities.

Anyways, it's not surprising that the school would prefer to play it safe. After all, it's very renowned, so it'd probably encourage homogeneity in certain areas, to retain its' reputation and prestige. Besides, who wants to lock horns with an important authority?

Anonymous said...

Only a matter of time, when they get rid of Otto...Otto 'came out' and teaches at RI. Does anyone really believe that the establishment is going to let Otto stay on at his teaching post at RI?
The establishment has all the time in the world...to get rid of Otto.
RI is an all BOY'S SCHOOL, does anyone really think that the establishment will let Otto stay on? Sadly, that is how gays are perceived, espercially in Singapore. Get out Otto, before 'they' say you are not good as a teacher, or worse still, attempt to label you a sex predator.

Anonymous said...

sure, but it will be because of protest from "stakeholders"