28 May 2009

Switching from this site to Sampler Two

I am ceasing this site (Yawning Bread Sampler One), though it will be kept alive. All future abstracts will be put onto Yawning Bread Sampler Two, a wordpress site.

Wordpress has a few more functionalities than blogspot.

Otherwise, readers will hardly notice any difference; the rather strange style and structure of Yawning Bread continues.

27 May 2009

An ill-judged and irresponsible scoop

Sometimes, the mainstream media can do a better job in getting the government's attention than the online media. When there is a social problem wherein one group of people are suffering, website owners should think twice before they snatch the story out of consideration for the best interest of the victims. Full essay.

25 May 2009

Winning over conservatives

What do conservatives want to conserve and why? Why are they impervious to reasoned arguments? If they can't be convinced by facts and logic, what will move them? Full essay.

23 May 2009

Shoes take me places

I bought a pair of cheap shoes today. Adapting to a rapidly industrialising China. Do people even realise we have to adapt, and what has halal food got to do with it? Full essay.

22 May 2009

What 'secular state' should mean

Beyond saying "Keep religion out of politics", few Singaporeans can flesh out what the concept of a secular state should be. Without being true to secular humanism, the Singapore state will always be lurching between religious pressure groups. Full essay.

20 May 2009

Detainees' poetry launched in Kuala Lumpur

A book of poetry and prose by Singaporeans detained without trial or in exile had its Malaysian launch last weekend. Unfortunately, they didn't make much political capital of it. Someone also forgot to update them about Singapore's national flower. Full essay.

19 May 2009

Libel is an enemy of free speech and civilised society

Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong has made a police report about the injurious allegations made against him in various online comments. He is right to do so. Full essay.

13 May 2009

Parliament now faces "gay test"

A new set of Nominated Members of Parliament are to be selected. Will Siew Kum Hong get a second term after submitting the "Repeal 377A" petition in 2007? Will there be gay NMPs? Full essay.

12 May 2009

AWARE, steeplejackers and pink durians

There's a long history of church groups seizing other organisations, and the anti-gay rhetoric we hear today is merely a tool for these people in their quest for power, argues guest writer MS05L. Guest essay.

11 May 2009

Archiving J B Jeyaretnam's papers for posterity

JBJ was an important figure in Singapore's political history. Now that he's gone, what will become of his papers? Should they be in our National Archives? Full essay.

10 May 2009

A great city? Making it, failing it

Has Singapore what it takes to be one of the world's great cities? From what I heard and saw on a Friday night out on the town, the answer was mixed. Full essay.

08 May 2009

Pink dot, 16 May 2009, 4:30 pm

Hong Lim Park has seen election rallies, angry investors and a stand-off between opposition leaders and the police. Time for something different: love and fun! Join in to help make a human pink dot. Advertorial.

07 May 2009

Education Ministry suspends AWARE's sexuality education program

Now alleging that AWARE's Comprehensive Sexuality Education program violates the ministry's guidelines in "promoting homosexuality", the government suspends AWARE's CSE is suspended. This is just wallowing in ignorance and muddled thinking. Full essay.

04 May 2009

Lessons for the PAP from the Aware EOGM

Three observations I made of the Aware EOGM were: what kind of electorate; appeal to legalistic authority; and the choice of measures of success. All are issues relevant to a broader political canvas. Full essay.

The rosary woman and other head-shaking tales

Movie star Jackie Chan said Singaporeans have no self-respect, that's why social graces, courtesy and consideration are so lacking in Singapore. Full essay.

03 May 2009

Fundie exco booted out of AWARE

A marathon extraordinary general meeting held on 2 May 2009 saw progressive and secular-minded women take back the Association of Women for Action and Research from a clutch of conservative Christians, who had wanted to turn the feminist group into an anti-gay vehicle.

1414 members voted for the motion expressing no confidence in the executive committee that seized power only a month before on 28 March 2009. 761 members supported the exco.

Proceedings were heated with many members wanting to speak, expressing their suspicions of the 28 March exco's motives and outrage at their stormtrooper behaviour since coming into power.

At various points in the meeting, society president Josie Lau and one other exco member said "Shut up" to the audience of about 3,000, and asked security guards to evict members from the room.

Here is Thio Su Mien, the one who orchestrated the take-over, trying to convince the crowd that she was a hero - "I'm on page 73"; "Respect your elders".

It was also revealed that the 28 March exco spent S$90,000 when the constitution required them to seek members' approval before spending above S$20,000.

After the no confidence vote, the 28 March exco disappeared from the hall. Members voted in a new exco headed by Dana Lam as president.

Flyers and flying laws

Ignored by the media, the trial of Chee Soon Juan and other Singapore Democratic Party leaders continued in the third week of April. They are accused of doing something which hundreds of people do openly every day. Full essay.

John Dorhauer on the steeplejacking of AWARE

Guest writer MS05L contacted Rev John Dorhauer on his views about the takeover of AWARE by a fundamentalist Christian group. Dorhauer is the co-author of the book "Steeplejacking", which details the war between mainstream religion and the right-wingnuts. Guest essay.

01 May 2009

Feminism is important for men too

Many men think that the issues surrounding the Christian fundies' take-over of AWARE, the women's group, have nothing to do with them. In this guest piece, Bryan Choong recalls how the progressive feminism of AWARE made a huge difference to him and his mother. Guest essay.

Church of Our Savior supports gay marriage

In a statement released to the media on 30 April 2009, the Church of Our Saviour (COOS) said "No homosexual should ever be deprived of any right enjoyed by every other Singaporean." It is splendid news indeed that this church believes that since heterosexuals have a right to marry someone they love, so should homosexual Singaporeans. As far as Yawning Bread can recall, no other local church has so publicly supported full equality for gay people across all rights.

COOS has been linked to the controversy surrounding the takeover of the women's organisation AWARE by its members. The self-declared "feminist mentor" behind the new executive committee (exco), Thio Su Mien - the one who told the media that homosexuality is a man's issue - is also a member of the church.

In the statement published on www.asiaone.com, COOS denied that they were behind the takeover: "Church of Our Saviour did not initiate or instigate any campaign to take over the leadership of AWARE."

To press home the point, it also said that it hoped people would not hold the "wrong assumption that the exco is a pawn of the church or that it has intentions to turn it into a religious organization as that is totally untrue." It is interesting how the church is so certain that the new exco, who are not its pawns, do not have such intentions. If the new exco is independent of the church, how does the church control its intentions? I guess I don't understand the nature of divine insight.

COOS loves homosexual people. "Church of Our Saviour does not have an agenda against homosexuals. We are not antihomosexual ... We believe homosexuals should be extended understanding, kindness and love like every other human being."

It doesn't love gay activists, however, for it "does have a stand against the agenda of activists promoting homosexuality as a normal alternative lifestyle. Just as much as the Bible commands us to love the homosexual person, it also states categorically that homosexual practice is wrong."

It sounds like a rather complicated position, but we shouldn't nitpick. So long as the church supports full equal rights for gay people, we should give them some leeway. It would have been better though if COOS explained how happily married gay couples could consummate their marriages which the church so bravely supports as an equal right.