27 October 2007

The limits of civility

Who was the mystery guy who wanted to desecrate Thio Li-Ann's grave? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

>My understanding from my conversation with Alfian was that the investigating officer too thought the whole thing was an abuse of process by the complainant.

that's wishful thinking; no paid civil servant, and not many people in the private sector either, would take his side, at least not openly

Thio may have waged a "vicious campaign" against gays (I am personally neutral on the whole issue), but she used academically respectable words; your friend did not; while he did not threaten violence to her, the use of swear words and the mention of death (and remember, to a woman) just ask for trouble

I thought Janadas's article quite poor; if he thinks she is wrong, he should openly say so; instead, he wanted to have it both ways, maybe because he did not wish to japodize his relation with SPH

Alan Wong said...

Firstly, I salute Alfian for the well-intended e-mail. I must say that she definitely deserves it as she practically asks for it!

By now, Thio must be the latest greatest laughing stock of Singapore, especially with her crude and disgusted manner of describing anal sex. I do not know whether she is unmarried but what I do know is that she must have tried it before to be able to describe it in such a graphic manner!

In fact the more she argues about the gay issue in the similar unlogical manner as Vvonne Lee, Ho Peng Kee, etc, it will only serves to reveal how shallow their intellectual mentality is, especially with their nonsensical arguments bordering on misinformation, lies and half-truths.

Given that their lacklustre performance in presenting their arguments in public arena, I am beginning to wonder whether their appointments and academic credentials are equally suspect.

yuen said...

to add to my comment just now, a minority that suffered some discrimination (in my view, quite little here but I understand gays might consider the matter quite big) could take some amount of liberty with the limits of civility, but what Alfian did exceed them; in the west, the message might be considered innocuous but not here; you should discourage your friends from falling into this kind of holes

(I am usually too lazy to log in and just use the website name as ID; today I make an exception

Janey said...

The best way to change minds is not through logical argumentation (been there, done that, doesn't work) or inflammatory attacks on the anti-gay position, but being a living example of a homosexual who is kind, caring, tolerant, generous, who has needs, loves, aspirations and fears like everyone else.

As Siew Kum Hong noted in his Insight article, people tend to becoming more accepting of homosexuals after seeing that gays are normal people just like them, not mutant aliens or flamboyant queens out to spread STDs or enslave society under their heel of gayness.

Charles said...

Didn't know it was Alfian who had written an email to Thio which has caused the latter to lodge a police complaint.

Frankly, I'm surprised she hasn't received more hate mail. Her Parliamentary speech against the repeal of 377A is not only baseless, vindictive and done in bad taste.

I think any logical thinking/ educated Singaporeans who puts time and effort into thinking and reading about 377A will be able to see through the fallacy of her arguments.

maytaglady said...

Thio's parliamentary speech reverse-redacted:

Anonymous said...

I believe that she would receive a lot of 'hate mail' that contain more 'stronger terms' but I believe that most (if not, all) of the senders may have used temporary email accounts that do not give any hint of identity.

But, Alfian did not.

There is a cost here. Now, we wait and see if they are willing to pay the higher cost. And I am not talking about Mr Sa'at.

Anonymous said...

Thio Li-Ann is another one of those pedigreed idiots -- Singapore is full of people like these. Just because you have degrees from fancy universities doesn't mean that others can't tell that you are stupid.

What really annoys me is that it is the taxpayers who foot the bill to send halfwits like Thio Li-Ann to those fancy universities.

Anonymous said...

>any logical thinking/educated Singaporeans who puts time and effort into thinking and reading about 377A will be able to see through the fallacy of her arguments.

really? if Janadas Devan, who works in Austin Texas, the son of Devan Nair, writes a long article in ST without coming out to say she was wrong, who is going to be the whistle blower?

do remember that even with major problems like NKF, it took SPH itself to be the whistle blower - ordinary people's voices dont have impact and only got them into lawsuits they dared not defend


Christian Mother with gay friends said...

What have you to say about these news articles :

about gay foster parents who abused young boys and

about a Christian couple who had to "promote" homosexual lifestyles to foster children

As a Christian mother of teenagers in politically correct and liberal New Zealand , I have to admit that I am uncomfortable with homosexuals pushing their agenda to the extent that we see in the above news articles.

Also I find it strange that people are hammering Thio for her description of homosexual practices but find it ok to display photographs of same sex fondling and kissing on their websites. The decision has been made to keep S377a. Move on and stop making personal attacks on Thio. The gay activists are equally guilty of pushing their agenda on the silent majority with name calling as seen in recent posts/comments. Let's all agree to disagree. I respect Goh Kim Soon,
who wrote to the Straits Times Forum page on Oct 27


for not trying to impose his lifestyle on the conservative majority. Let us have mutual respect for one another and not impose our views on the other camp. It is merely alienating the gays and christians from each other. Stop the hate blogs and move on..I have gay friends and just as I respect their lifestyles , I hope they respect mine as well...

Anders said...

christian mother:

"Let us have mutual respect for one another and not impose our views on the other camp."

Exactly. But that is just what 377A is doing, imposing the conservative view (by law) onto the gay community. While, on the other hand, removing the law does not affect non gays at all and can't by any means be seen as imposing their view on ours (I am straight myself).

Regarding those articles that you link to, yes there are bad gay people as well as there are straight people who abuse children. Would you outlaw straight sex because there are heterosexual abusers?

Anonymous said...

To Christian mother - I too would hate to see the Gay agenda being pushed to such an extent as per your article attached - where Christian families have to accept homosexual leanings in order to be a care giver.
However I think the 2nd article about abusive paedophile is a bit extreme and unduly alarmist - it exists, whether one evil person is a homosexual or heterosexual paedophile. It is an extreme form of violence which occurs even between father and daughter - so I think you need to be less alarmist about homosexuals.

sharn said...

outrage is important, but the rudeness of peeing on a grave is just a turn-off.

effective to rattle Thio, but counterproductive i think: it can turn away some of our allies.

doesn't peeing on a hard surface cause splashing on unintended places?

solvent_d said...

@ christian mother with gay friends (28 October, 2007 19:21)

RE: treat-gay-as-equal-to-straight adoption requirement

this really depends on how you view race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. obviously you (and a large part of these protestors in said article) don't see all those identity markers as deserving of equal treatment. and if you don't, which clearly is the case, then it's really hard for us to begin to really discuss anything meaningful without having to return to basic arguments laid out all over the web by now.

what i will say is this: it seems to me purely a complete lack of imagination and application of reason for any parent to not be able to teach their children about equality amongst religions, sexual orientations, et al without at the same time expressing one's personal opinion (i.e. religious, political, etc) on the matter.

buddhist son sans-kids-due-to-other-commitments with straight friends

Anonymous said...

That outburst contained in the obnoxious email really put me off. As several commentators have said, he literally shot himself and the gay cause in the foot by sending that juvenile shit. Two wrongs does not make a right. And having been brought to task, he is not even man(sorry, did I get this right, I am not sure how to address a gay) enough to admit his intentions but instead try to squirm himself out of the situation.If I had been fence sitting, now I know that the gay brigade is not made up of the likes of Gandhi or a Mandela but ruffians using uncouth language to further their cause.Reading between the lines of your article, I daresay that perhaps you and your like may not even be adverse to using violence to achieve your aims.

Anonymous said...

>perhaps you and your like may not even be adverse to using violence to achieve your aims.

I dont think this is supported by evidence; we need to make allowance for frustration after an extended futile struggle

still, given the strict laws about misuse of telecommuncation system and computers, defamation, public disorder, etc, immoderate words and actions would bring damage without advancing your cause; not everyone wants to be sent to jail like Chee Soon Juan

another thing to remember that the anti-gay activists may themselves have grievances against the "system" and feel frustrated about their own causes; taking out their bottled up feelings on the gays would be convenient, and gays would be well advised not to give them the excuse


Anonymous said...

I think we need to know that there are Alfians and there are other gays who prefer to take a less bitching way of doing things. As Thio li an may be a prick, there are a vast majority who says, live and let live and repeal both 377 and 377 A. I thank Yawning bread for his insightful articles and I wonder what happens if a gay person is scorned by his policeman boyfriend and decides to invoke 377A to get at his ex-lover. This would be funny, given how the 377 is repealed but not 377A. And that is where I find the whole law and parliament thing ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

I think more like Thio shot herself in the foot by exaggerating and playing up the "imaginary harassment". Now that we see the actual email and its content, there is no mistake that petty Thio couldn't take the taste of her own medicine. If she crosses the line of civility, does she expect others to treat her with civility? Why should she, the perpetrator of hate, be allowed to hide from her own shit?

Mumu said...

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns. These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is — I repeat it — a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them. (C Bronte)

For all bible wielders, good to pay attention to what is said above some 150 years ago. After 150 years, people are worse off, unfortunately, to hijack the creed of acceptance and turn it into a creed of exlusion.

If there is a heaven, we should all be thankful it is not a human who decides who goes there.

As for the MPs, I think it would be great if every gay constituent go for the next meet-the-people-session and demand all those MPs who thumped their chairs at that bigot's speech - and ask for a sincere explanation as to how he/she would now face his/her gay constituents. We do not vote for people to villify us in parliament.

I did not expect the law to be repealed; but I was not prepared to have my elected representatives mock my fellow and equal citizens by cheering a speech which made fun of their sexual preferences and activities.

Come on, MPs, you ought to be ashame of yourselves. You very well start being ashame of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

This Alfian character is just incredibly dumber than dumb. What does he really expect from all this?

Darkness 2007

Anonymous said...


Looked like a certain kind of picture is painted here. From the reading, Alfian is somehow presented in some negative light.

He has been made use of.

Jerome Kugan said...

Alfian Sa'at is a friend of mine. I wouldn't say a close friend. But a friend for whom I have utmost respect because he is a very talented writer/poet/playwright and also because he's someone who can see beyond the barrier of idiocy that clouds the minds and souls of his fellow countrymen (and similar idiots elsewhere). Idiots such as Dr Thio, whom I don't know in person, but judging from her homophobic actions and comments, should not be mistaken for any other thing.

I have read the email Alfian wrote to Dr Thio. It's not a pleasant email for anyone to receive. It certainly challenges acceptable etiquette on the net (which is a rather conservative space if you think about it). And if I had a chance to be there beside Alfian as he typed it out in what I imagine to be an impulsive moment, I would probably tell him to drink a glass of water and calm down and chant some Buddhist crap. But then again, who am I stop Alfian or any other person, especially in such a codified and repressed society such as Singaporean society, when they feel the need to do it? Coming from a similarly oppressive society (i.e. Malaysia), I applaud Alfian for not holding it in. It's gross, uncivilised and even malicious to fart loudly in the presence of a stranger, or even in the company of friends. But not even the most uptight person can deny how good it feels.

I can imagine what it's like for Alfian, who I consider to be a free spirit, to vent his frustration in that email, to fart it out. The anger is valid. It's a gut reaction. It's the snarl of someone who is still alive, who hasn't yet learned to numb himself to the pain of being kicked back down again and again. It's Dylan Thomas's railing against "that good night". It's Allen Ginsberg's unruly "Howl". It's the black arm band of black history month. It's the kerosene fire flaming from the body of Thich Quang Duc seated in the lotus position. All gestures which do not give a flying fuck, a rat's arse, a friggin' ninny about the delicate sensibilities of those who have oystered themselves. It's meant to be rude and awful and defying. It's a protest. An act of rebellion. Why should it be civil?

Of course you can argue it's more effective to use gentler means of persuasion, especially in a society like Singapore's, where the smallest gesture is overly politicised, where humour has become so sanitised. Certainly, in hindsight, a more tactful approach would probably be less traumatic for both Alfian and Dr Thio.

And this is not to say that Alfian should be any less responsible for the email he wrote. As I said before, it would not have been a very pleasant email to receive. So Alfian will have to face the consequences of his actions. Personally I think it's all a bit excessive. I can imagine Dr Thio pissing in her pants. (Hurray for Alfian! But we all must take responsibility for our actions.) We can only hope Dr Thio will one day realise the full extent of her actions.

On the question of homophobia in Singapore and some of the condescending comments by hetero-identifying individuals such as Christian Mother (who has the cheek to conflate gay individuals with sex offenders; perhaps it's all that Christian dogma bullshit that fucks people up and turn them into sexual predators) and even Janey (who writes that the gay community should assume a more passive stance as a strategy for mainstream acceptance; fuck that shit! Why should I conform and become as boring as the rest of you dumbasses?) I've read here, fuck you! You don't know what it's like to live as an outcast, whose existence must be tolerated, who has to explain to stupid straight people why we're so perverted, whose social outings are being reported in the media as political gatherings, who live in constant fear of being imprisoned for reveling in the pleasure of anal sex! And all of that on top of the pressure to look so dashing and well-groomed all the time, not to mention being able to dish it out regardless of context. You can only oppress a people long enough before they strike back.

Dr Thio should be honoured to have Alfian piss on her grave.

Alan Wong said...

Reading from Mr. Wang's recent blog that under the US and Europe's laws, Thio may have seemed to have committed an offence thro' her infamous parliamentary hate speech against gays in Singapore.

Does it mean that she does not have any more moral authority to teach our tertiary students ?

So similarly, does it implies that the Ministers and MPs who have cheered along with her and joined in the thumping of their chairs could be interpreted as having abetted her in committing a criminal offence of hate speech if we do have a law against hate speech in Singapore or if they are not protected by Parliament.

But even if there is no law against hate speech in Singapore, do those guilty MPs and Ministers have any more moral authority to lead us ?

I thought all these specially selected few were thoroughly screened by the PAP leaders.

What a shame!

Anonymous said...

>He has been made use of.

ah.. but by whom for what end? the government is happy to have another example of a ill prepared opponent, and the reporter is happy to have material for a pro government story; but then, we know they are always there ready to do this; why fall into the hole?

maybe the gays want to consider another aspect of "being used"; was "new attitude to homosexuality" being used to demonstrate Singapore's "opening up"? the effectiveness of social activism? the influence of foreign journalists by focusing on a selected issue? there are many ways for people/issues to be "used"


Alfian said...

Can some one out there post the last name of this 'Alfian' character whom you (the forum contributors) are constantly referring to? Because I have nothing to do with this fella, (albeit am sitting on the side of the pro-repeal camp) and I feel that my name is being dragged through the mud here.

- Alfian A. Teo

Anonymous said...

Hey Ales sorry to clutter you with a ST article but this is breaking news, hits the nail on the head! Its not about gay, its about the principle, EXACTLY! This is some sort of very positive fallout of this fierce debate.

NUS don warns of 377A fallout

By K. C. Vijayan, Law Correspondent

IF THE police, on a tip-off, raid a flat for suspected drug offenders and discover no drugs but gay sex instead, would they prosecute?

NUS law don Michael Hor says this scenario could arise from the government's stand that it would not be proactive in enforcing S377A.

'Does the non-enforcement policy cover this, for it might be argued that the police were not 'pro-active'?' he wrote in a new book of essays launched on Tuesday.

He cites a similar example in Texas, the United States, where the US Supreme Court had struck down a sodomy statute.

The book, titled ' Lives in the Law ', honours three luminaries in Singapore's legal academia - Mr Peter Ellinger, Ms Koh Kheng Lian and Mrs Tan Sook Yee -who recently retired from full-time appointments at the National University of Singapore's Law Faculty.

Jointly published by Academy Publishing and the NUS, the trio are described as 'Singapore's foremost experts in their specialised fields of study and teaching,'' by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong in his foreword to the book.

In his essay on the recent changes to the Penal Code, Professor Hor further argues there is also no indication that the policy of not prosecuting under the 377A will not change overnight and without prior notice.

After heated debate in and out of Parliament over changes to the Penal Code last week, Parliament retained 377A which outlaws homosexuality.

The government also indicated then it will not proactively enforce the section.

But Professor Hor notes that it is 'impossible to tell' if the courts are willing to hold the government from prosecuting against this declared policy.

Separately, another NUS law don has called for the courts to review aspects of entrapment in an essay on the issue of consent as interpreted under the Penal Code.

Professor Stanley Yeo plumbed for a practical approach to the issue of consent in cases involving entrapment, citing Professor Koh Kheng Lian, one of the three honorees of the book.

Prof Koh had said the law should be guided by 'what is fair or unfair conduct on the part of the entrapper in his efforts to entrap the defendant.'

Prof Yeo said it would be unfair to prosecute a homosexual, for example, if he was enticed by a police officer posing as a gay, since it was the latter who freely gave his consent to the former's advances.

'Instead of imposing a blanket rule that consent is irrelevant whenever it is secured by entrapment, fairness to the accused requires the courts' to study the facts of a particular case to see if consent had been freely given, he said.

married man with kids said...

I am proud that Alfian recognised his fault. I now wait to see if Thio will also recognise her faults. Every Singaporean counts -says PM Lee and NO ONE will be left behind. But she has called them names - "Mundur' singapore, straws up their nose, Human wrongs.

If Thio is a child of God, she would know she has hurt the feelings of some parent, sister, brother and uncle in her speech. If she is a spawn of the devil then I guess there is no need for her to apologise, cos she is probably beyond reproach in the eys of fellow fundementals. This really is a reflection of her mom's and dad's upbringing. Are they proud of her performance? That thought is scary.

Anonymous said...

Using the "light touch" here, but setting the stage from more cyber controls in the future. Many things are implied here.


If the other person is a normal MP, this would have moved to a higher gear. Remember beating a MP can be jailed for 25 years to life.

Why cling on this issue for so long? They know that the good doctor has done some damages and this is just to soften the damages by re-focusing on something else.

But people knows better. The gist of her message is still the main concern.

Anonymous said...

To Jerome Kugan,

If you were trying to help Alfian , you have just done what Thio is accusing the gays of - inability to debate rationally and unemotionally. Taking an analogy from Malaysia , would the non Bumi policy be stopped because it discriminates against a minority? It's been in place too long and no amount of Negara kuku raps will stop the practice of a racist/discriminatory policy. Similarly S377a will not be repealed just because the gay camp play victims , while accusing anyone who dares question their sexual practices as dumbasses/f..kers etc. There are other bigger problems out there - means testing for hospitals, special needs children in an elitist society etc. BTW,I was shocked by her description of gay sex. I guess that was her intent , to jolt people into knowing what goes on behind "harmless" consensual gay sex. If her descriptions are untrue, let the world know. If they are , why get offended just because she's exposing what homosexual sex is. The Muslims are also against the repeal of S377a , but Thio is a convenient punching bag cos she had the guts to speak her views. Check this link and read the comment from one that Muslim leaders were not sufficiently vocal agst repealing S377a.


If even Janey gets sworn at by you for her constructive comment / support of gays, it shows that you are so blinded by your need to impose your views on others that you are unable to have a rational debate , proving Thio right in her comment abt the inability of some to have rational debates.

Robert L said...

I have never been so disappointed in the posts responding to YB's articles. I feel like the little boy in Emperor's new Clothes. Everybody else has been brainwashed by the media assault and dare not state the obvious.

There is nothing wrong with Alfian's email !

Am I the only one who see it?

Okay, let's look at the word "fuck". Used on it's own, it could be damning. Next, used as "fuck you", it is indeed vile. For someone who's bigoted, it could also be twisted beyond vile to imply a threat of violent sexual assault. Not really, of course, but it could be twisted according to the wishes of those who are holding the power in the land.

But "fucked up" is nothing of the sort. There's no threat of violence from one person to another. There's not even any sexual act involved. "Fucked up" no longer has any meaning related to the penis, the virgina, or to sexual rape.

So, let's not blindly swallow the line thrown out by our wonderful media, and call it like it really is. There's nothing wrong with Alfian's email.

Will Waterman said...

Greetings from the UK.
Alfian's email may not be the most eloquent, but eloquence in Singapore is wasted when the PAP pulls all the media strings. Gay liberation takes balls - the balls of the few, like Alfian, who are prepared to put their head above the parapet and not back down.
Protest, and the courage to take risks is what makes progress.

It is 40 years this year since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK. It depended on a liberal Home Secretary, which you're not going to get any time soon in Singapore, but also on the courage of a few individuals who refused to be ashamed of who they were. Every gay man or woman in Singapore can do their bit by coming out to their parents, for a start. How can we expect the straight world to treat us as equals when we're too ashamed to even admit our sexuality to the people who love us most?

Anonymous said...

In today's ST, Prof Thio indicated that we all should not be prudes, and take it like it is ie, a straw up the nose is a fine analogy.

I wonder how she would feel if we tell her that she cannot even get a straw into her mouth (she is unmarried). I think that would be a hurtful comment for many who chose to remain single. But I am not surprised she is still sticking to her guns - that what she said is not hurtful to the parents, family members etc.

Anonymous said...

Alfian has apologised to Thio. Thio says the matter is closed. And all because he thought she made a complaint to the police about the pink party or pink run. Moral of the story - check your facts before f...ing a person. Or blogging abt it as if it were a fact. Poor Alfian having to apologise - all becos he was told Thio made a police report abt the pink run/party