03 June 2008

A family's invisibles

Guest writer Zeal's grandmother passed away. Who mourned her passing? Who's she who sobbed so uncontrollably? Guest essay.


yuen said...

>Singapore's future was quite prominently personified by means of a heterosexual Chinese family of husband and wife, boy and girl, signifying the crucial importance to our society of what most people would consider the “normal” heterosexual Asian family

male homosexuality has a long, and quite respectable, history in China; seeing it as a Western vice is a deliberate (or sometimes, misinformed) tactic with other social objectives, such as political comformity (you have to fit in), image making (we are anti-gay, we are good), blame passing (aids is a gay problem), etc

Ned Stark said...


Interesting comment; where did you come by such information?

Anonymous said...

With Walter Woon on the helm of Singapore legal system, things here will remain grim and archaic!

yuen said...

>where did you come by such information?

I assume you meant the historical situation regarding male homesexuality? just two anecdotes should do

(a) story from Spring-Autumn: Duke Ling had a favorite; they were under a peach tree in the garden, and the favorite picked a peach, took a bite and gave the rest to the Duke, who said "he loves me so much; wants to share nice fruit with me"; one day the favorite's mother was sick and he took the Duke's carriage to visit her - using the carriage without permission was punishable by death, but the Duke said "he is so filial - risked death to visit his mother urgently". Late the courtier lost the favour of the Duke, who thought differently "what an outrageous fellow - he gave me a leftover peach, and used my carriage without permission"

(b) Emperor Ai woke up and wanted to get out of bed, but found his sleeve caught under his favorite who was still asleep; instead of waking up his partner, he cut his sleeve off

"Sharing peach" "cutting sleeve" were familiar euphamisms for male homosexuality, as are the stories among people who are familiar with ancient chinese history; if anyone finds the stories surprising, it is only because they were told cliches about chinese morality without actually looking behind them

yuen said...

>Walter Woon ... grim and archaic!

you are blaming the wrong guy/wrong aspect; he does not drive the system; the system, and more august figures in the system, drive him

KiWeTO said...

Condolences on the family's loss.

When our government prefers to deal with the measurable, and only deal with the measurables, then, we may never see a situation where all is family.

Not wanting to hijack your grief, but does our own government see us as family, or as that maid that can be jettisoned once the purpose for which she was hired for (grandmother's carer) is no longer valid?