21 April 2009

Pirates ahoy! Gay netizens and the AWARE hijacking

Why are lesbian and gay netizens crying foul over the hijacking of AWARE? Was AWARE a pro-gay organisation? In their first TV interview, all the new guard could offer was more contradiction and evasion. Full essay.

17 comments:

Paul said...

It was certainly an unimpressive showing by Josie Lau and her sycophantic 'new friend'; and the imbalance in the line-up (ie: no members of the old guard) was screamingly obvious.

However, while it would be nice to think this bodes suitably ill for a group who claim to be running on their corporate credentials and leadership nous, something struck me when reading an ST Forum letter from one George Lim on Saturday that implies otherwise. He wrote: "The previous leaders had tarnished Aware's fine reputation and its worthy cause when they intentionally promoted the screening of the perverted movie Spider Lilies, which had an overtly lesbian content."

This sentiment points to the fact that, whether or not the new gang at Aware go on to pursue a conservative agenda informed by their 'Christian' beliefs, they have already succeeded in neutralising the organisation as an outlet for promoting practices they disagree with. That is why they wouldn't bother setting up an organisation of their own.

By that token, Josie Lau's inept performance on CNA only further serves to discredit Aware. Ultimately, wreaking such havoc on the organisation's record and reputation may prove to be the more lasting legacy of the coup. If they try some ham-fisted attempt at introducing homophobic or anti-abortion policies, it'll be the ham-fistedness that wins out, even if their hateful and deluded ideology gets kicked into touch.

Sam Ho said...

there was no interview actually. a lot of sidestepping and evasion. you can see it on the faces of interviewers debra soon (a bored-into-halves look) and balji (who looks as if he was wondering why he was there in the first place)

it'll be great if the new folks at Aware can define and explain what they mean by "pro-family", "pro-women" and "gender equality", if they are unable to properly, clearly and honestly address the speculation (of their connected to one another).

Anonymous said...

My suspicion is that the new Christian Taliban exco are targetting the sex ed program in AWARE because it is premised on non-discrimination.

They will replicate the FOTF's sex ed program, rife with non-factual information on gay sexuality.

This is another reaso that gays should sit up and take notice. Or better still, speak up.

Anonymous said...

Claire Nazar tried to wash her hands over the matter in the Sunday Times interview on 19 April that she was not involved in any covert activities with the new Aware church members.

If Claire Nazar has any conscience that she is part of this covert takeover scheme by a church group intent on propagating its ideals, she should write to the Registrar of Societies detailing what exactly happened between her & those new Aware committee members detail by detail.

Sure, the public will be angry with her but being honest is a trait that the public will forgive & forget soon if Claire Nazar comes clean. Only she is the missing clue to what exactly happened.

Yuri said...

So, what now? Will the old members of Aware form a new organisation to fight back? Or if not, what do they intend to do next?

Anonymous said...

Yuri, if the new members want to impose an agenda different from the established one, the onus is on them to have gone and formed their own organization.

Anonymous said...

Here's something to add to Josie Lau's disproportionate need for secrecy, or is it paranoia of being found out... the new AWARE exco changed the building's locks and fired the old manager. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

That she tripped over this told us everything we needed to know about the direction of AWARE under the new leadership.That. And contrary to her statement "Aware is a secular organisation. We're not there to push our personal beliefs or personal religious affiliations.", just replace AWARE with DBS and recall the DBS FOTF fiasco as VP of the dept-in-charge.

Anonymous said...

Josie asserted during the interview that the justification for the EXCO take-over was that AWARE has become too diversified, and needs to go "back to the basics".

In the same way that people demand political opposition to have a clear manifesto for governance in criticising existing PAP policies, one would expect the new EXCO to have a clear manifesto since they are pretty much forming the new "government". That Josie excused her new EXCO on the basis that they had only 4 days prior to the interview is a poor excuse. If each of the new EXCO members had independently felt strongly about the need for change at AWARE -- drastic enough to be an EXCO member and boot-out all the existing sub-committee heads -- then each individual should have clear ideas on which policy/programmed they disagreed with and what would be her proposed remedy. This should have been in each individual's minds (assuming that it is not a staged coup) way before they join AWARE or latest when they accepted the new EXCO nomination.

At the bottom-line, Josie could have chosen to speak of her personal vision (as typical of true leaders with conviction) and qualify it that is her personal vision. By being evasive and secretive, Josie has failed miserably on the interview.

Anonymous said...

The gay-phobic Christians are so insecure of their heterosexuality as to feel threatened by a minority of non-heteros? Perhaps with exploding human population, no thanks to un-reined hetero copulation,perhaps homosexuality is a "God-given" natural contraception to allow his/her/its creation to breathe!
I pity the gay children of these bigoted Christians, who would be heavily laden with guilt!

Yuri said...

To anonymous at 23 April, 2009 22:46

So we'll just have to wait and see. I feel bad saying this but politics are always way above my head.

Gentle Lamb said...

The conservative highly sensitive mentality is that those who are not for us is against us. Hence, based on this definition AWARE could be deemed as "Pro-Gay".

Nicholas said...

Hi all

First time posting here.

May I just respectfully ask if it is true that alternative sexual lifestyles are being promoted in schools to our school children?

Kind Regards,
Nicholas

Yuri said...

Btw, there's no reason to take over an organisation just to state your opinions/concerns, no?

One could always:

a) approach the other party and find a middle ground.
b) form another organisation and launch a series of counter-arguments
c) use the internet to launch their claims and arguments.

The behaviour of the new Aware seems very unhealthy and rather extreme. No, to be exact, they seem unable to accept other opinions and prefer to purge than to discuss.

And to be frank, though I've only attended a few of any sessions involving people from Aware/Aware itself, the older members didn't seem that extreme or unforgiving to me. Who knows, though.

Anonymous said...

Nicholas - Of course alternative lifestyles are not being "promoted" in schools or anywhere else. The fact that they exist cannot be denied though. It looks like some conservative Singaporeans want to pretend like everyone in the world is straight.

Sam Ho said...

approving or accepting of something doesn't mean it is being promoted.

if there is anything they are guilt of, it is the promotion of choice.

the problem with the term "alternative sexual lifestyles" is that it already carries a moral judgement that is unfair and condescending to those who identify as non-heterosexual.

"alternative" in this case implies something different, or deviant.

"lifestyle" dehumanises sexual identity and sexual orientation, implying that "lifestyle" can be unlearned and discarded.

the use of "alternative sexual lifestyles" as a term is effective in stirring up fears even amongst apathetic singaporeans, as something evil.

all these rhetoric belong to a larger moral discourse (it's zero-sum and it's divisive) one small faction in singapore wants to propagate.

jemauvais said...

Alex, another statement Josie made which I felt was dodgey was this:

"I was the last woman standing, and I felt that I had to pick up the baton to run and continue to lead this organisation."

If this coup was not pre-meditated, prior to that ex-co meeting Josie was merely an ordinary committee member, so what did she mean by "continue to lead"?