Thursday, November 10, 2005

Nope, we are not homophobic

I just received this today on the signel mailing list. Needless to say, I am utterly and totally convinced that I should leave this country at the first opportunity.

The National Arts Council (NAC) has changed its mind and has flatly told PLU3 that the open meeting scheduled for Thursday 11 Nov at the National Library cannot be permitted.

Over the last week or so, they had been expressing "concerns", which were never clearly specified, but which left us absolutely no doubt that they simply centred around the fact that we are gay.

A mid level officer who had originally told us our meeting was OK, after we gave her a few assurances as to the nature of the meeting, later told me that she expected to be overruled by "senior management". Other sources indicated that the instruction to scuttle the event came from the MICA Minister himself.

What happened was that after I made the first posting on SiGNeL, a copy of it was sent to NAC or MICA. Immediately the midlevel officer was told of the management's "grave concern". She read that as a hint that she was expected to withdraw her decision. I spoke to her on the phone, clarified a few more things, and the conversation ended with her saying she'd re-consult her higher management.

For that reason, I did not wish to reply to Roy's email on the subject; the matter being in flux.

A few days later, I heard that NAC had definitely reversed its decision.

This indicates to me two possible explanations.

First, that the mid-level officers had a different outlook from the "senior management" (which could be just one top honcho). One level was prepared to approve, the other not, but didn't become aware of the mid level's decision until later. Clearly, the mid-level, embarrassed and censured over this incident, will no longer want to exercise any initative in the future, and thus our civil service has died a little bit more.

Second possibility: the senior management were/was aware from the start, but preferred the hypocrisy of silence and shadows. The moment it became public, they had to cover their asses. This tells us something about our senior civil service or political levels that boast of honesty and integrity in speech and action.

I don't have to mention how absurd this is considering PM Lee's "the government is not homophobic" claim.

If anyone had posted the original message to other lists/boards, please do likewise with this one, otherwise, people may go to the National Library for nothing.

I've nothing to say for this news. We take a tentative step forward, and then someone pushes us two steps backwards. Someone speculated that there is a "spy" inside Signel who rang the alarm bells when the details of the meeting were made public. But you know what, I don't care. I am tired of fighting against this. I am tired, of being gay, just like Popagandhi. I have no girlfriend whose hand I am afraid to hold. But it is tiring, to play peek-a-boo with everyone around you. It is tiring to keep your chin up when all that the ones in power want to do is beat you down.

Think about this: how would we react, if this was a meeting for some racial group? SINDA, perhaps? MENDAKI? I pity those who can't see the link between racial discrimination and homophobia, how they can accept those of a different colour, but can't accept those who love differently.

Again and again, I hear the phrase "Singaporeans are conservative". Who determined that? Did someone go around asking every Singaporean how they felt? Was any effort made to educate people about homosexuality? And yet, our PM has the cheek to say that the gahmen is not homophobic. And you know something? Almost the exact same words were repeated during the suffrage movement and during the civil rights movement. In the 1950s, people in America thought that inter-racial marriage was IMMORAL. Somehow, I am hearing those words again, but this time, with the three-letter word instead.

History repeats itself, but who cares?

Singabloodypore - PLU banned from NLB

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