This topic has been debated many times over in the public sphere to the blogosphere and even on the NUS Confessions page. That’s right, it was just last week that I was embroiled in one such debate that I was even singled out (in the second confession) for being a liberal idealist.
If you don’t know what Section 377A is, this wiki article should give you a good summary.
Just take a quick glance at the series of confessions.
April 11 9.51pm: https://www.facebook.com/nusconfessions/posts/449341428475493
April 15 1.12pm: https://www.facebook.com/nusconfessions/posts/450759601667009
April 15 5.20pm: https://www.facebook.com/nusconfessions/posts/450800548329581
April 15 9.45pm: https://www.facebook.com/nusconfessions/posts/450909658318670
Originally started off as a call to get support to repeal 377A, the line shifted to against, to for, and finally to religion. There were probably more confessions but I believe the admin put a stop to this debate to prevent it from escalating further.
The purpose of this post is to personally document what I have written as I put some thought into crafting my replies. I am not adding more fuel to the fire. I may draw on what I have written here for a future consolidation of my stand. I shall state the context if necessary as well so you can understand why I replied in a certain manner. No context means in direct reply to the OP of the confession.
“I guess some people have already read the news about the court’s dismissal on the repeal of 377A. I wonder if NUS students are willing to stand up for the minority group and help promote the freedom to love.”
Read the court case closely. The reason it was dismissed is because adjustment of laws falls under the jurisdiction of parliament, not the courts. Courts just interpret the law.
(On a call to judges to practice judical activism)
If I’m not wrong, Singapore’s judges can only recommend changes, not proactively seek changes. As long as the PAP members want to keep the law in place, nothing the courts can do. Except maybe just interpret the laws in such a way that every prosecution case is dismissed. That sets a very dangerous precedent.
April 11 at 10:14pm
(On why bother repealing when this Act governs an act carried out behind closed doors)
The existence of such a law but not its proactive enforcement could make things difficult for the police and the judiciary. If someone made a report deliberately or otherwise, the police are compelled to act. No longer just a closed door matter.
(When a poster mistook judicial activism for citizen activism and quoted all the negative aspects of the latter.)
The original comment was for judicial activism, not citizen activism. Judicial activism generally means the courts will rule in a way that is not generally in the spirit of law maybe due to inherent ethical problems with the original law. (Someone trained in law please correct me if I am wrong).
Going to the point of civil disobedience as Tare suggested, there are indeed precedents for it as given by her. I cite the case of Rosa Parks where she refused to give up her seat on the bus when told to do so. It was in the climate where the US Congress/law enforcement/public services were dominated by many racists. There was no other alternative but to resort to civil disobedience to further their equality cause. These were justified causes and non-violent.
As for biasness, I admit I am. Only after reading from many sources of information and discussion with others did I come to this conclusion. Are you any different?
For my beliefs, I don’t believe in citizen activism for the sake of it. Alternative avenues should always be used first. Only if these avenues are exhausted should citizen activism be considered.
Give you an example, the recent strike by SMRT bus drivers and the crane incident last year. Why did they do what they did? It was because they felt all other avenues of complaints were exhausted and they had to do something to prevent further exploitation. Were they violent? Never. But if they hadn’t kicked up a fuss, no one would have done anything for their plight.
(On the slippery slope towards more rights)
I admit should 377A be repealed, calls for other rights will likely continue. But is there anything wrong with that? It just shows that we as a society are more pluralistic and accepting of people who seem to deviate from our current social norms.
There was once a time when women cannot vote in the US. If not for the people who pushed the limits, do you think equality of voting will happen in the US for it to set an example for other countries?
We take for granted now the privileges we enjoy from the limits pushed by others in the past.
“This is in response to the call to repeal Section 377A confession posted a few days back. http://www.facebook.com/nusconfessions/posts/449341428475493
I cannot believe the liberal vocal minority (in NUS) is adamant in repealing this law despite clear evidence that the majority of Singaporeans are uncomfortable with homosexuality in general. Repealing this law only sends a message that the minority in the country can get what they want simply by shouting loud enough, drowning the desires of the majority. This law is not proactively enforced so why worry?
The government and courts have taken the right step in keeping with the opinion of the conservative majority instead of pandering to the desires of this liberal idealistic group.
I know I will get flamed by the same group of people. I’m looking at you, those liberal idealistic commenters especially, bs, gt and ykm. However, somebody has to speak out for the more conservative less-vocal majority group that prefers to keep the law in place. I’m not against homosexuals, I’m against the message that is sent when this law is repealed and that homosexuality is a behavior that is not discouraged by the government. ”
I wonder why the OP has to single out people like me ( I’m pretty sure that “ykm” refers to me) for expressing my views while he/she chooses to comment anonymously. Read carefully what I commented in the previous confession, no proactive enforcement does not imply no reactive enforcement and prosecution.
Despite what our leaders have said about no proactive enforcement, it seems 2 men were charged in 2010 under section 377A. I cannot be sure about the accuracy of the Wikipedia article though.
You made an implication error too. Uncomfortable with homosexuality does not imply agreement to make it illegal. Just like I being uncomfortable with alcohol consumption does not mean I want alcohol banned for other people.
If you want to convince others, I suggest you should start by paragraphing your sentences. Work your reply in notepad or other text editors then paste it here.
I seem to be like your arch enemy now, having debated with you from the original 377A post. I try to summarise your words into 4 points.
1. Consider the future ramifications if we were to take the first step.
2. Quoting of history
3. Don’t comment unless you are willing to go out there and defend your views physically if necessary.
4. There are other more important issues to worry about then 377A.
1. As others have said, this is a very slippery slope type argument. Who ever mentioned quotas?
2. You have lambasted me for quoting historical lessons in the previous post but why can’t I do that? It is the same for quoting historical people. That is how we avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
3. This sounds very much like the PAP govt shooting down Catherine Lim’s 1994 article to the Straits Times, don’t comment about politics unless you are a politician. Why can’t we comment here? We have as much right to preach our views as you. Besides, I have pointed out that there are structural limitations in place to prevent us from doing such things.
4. Agree with your argument in principle that there are other issues. But the issue at hand here is the section 377A one. If you want to talk about bullying, start another thread to do so. You do know you can post on NUS Confessions with your real identity, don’t you?
(After second reply from OP)
Dear OP, you obviously missed my comment when I said majority (now largest minority) being uncomfortable with homosexuality as stated by the survey does NOT imply this group want 377A to remain and criminalise certain acts. Unless somebody does a survey which asks who wants to keep 377A, you cannot make this correlation. Since this is the entire premise of your stand and I have dismantled it, your argument falls flat.
I’m pretty sure if you want to name names, I will be near the top of your list again as you named me from the start. If you want to do so, have the guts to back your comments up with your real identity, not to hide behind the admins of NUS Confessions.
“I’ve gone through the comments made on the status regarding the repeal of Section 377A, and out of curiosity, I looked at who had ‘liked’ the status, and I hope this prompts some healthy, logical discussion. I hope the admin will post this; I think it’s only fair since you allowed the other homophobic one to be posted.
To those who ‘liked’ that status, thanks for signaling to everyone how backward you are. It’s okay not to believe in facts, but that does not make them any less true. Equality is coming; it’s just a question of when. I actually know some of you, and it’s quite surprising that you don’t consider the consequences of your liking that status.
To those who say homosexuality is a choice, the only logical assumption that can be made here is this – when did you yourself make the choice to be straight? You’re obviously not fabulous enough to love yourself. It’s okay to struggle with yourself sometimes, but have the courage, decency and self-respect to educate yourself on both sides of the debate before mouthing off. And the slippery-slope argument is, simply put, plain bs. DC, you’re a perv, just admit it.
To those who support equal rights, thank you, and good on you. Please keep on fighting the fair fight. It’s not easy, especially in the face of so much ignorance and self-hatred, but nothing worthy was ever easily gained.”
(In response to a guy that said his gay friends don’t seem to be prejudiced)
Have you read the all the comments posted on the 2 confessions so far if not let me give you a short summary?
1. Your friends only form a small sampling of the total population, you and your peers accepting of them does not imply government/society in general is.
2. The fact that this law exists is prejudicial itself since it targets a certain group of people only for the same act.
3. No proactive enforcement does not imply no enforcement. I don’t wish to repeat this again, go look at the comments.
4. Having this law forces this group of people to go underground. It prevents efforts like education and health checkups from taking place.
5. The majority may not always be ethically right. (tyranny of majority).
I’m not posting the fourth confession here as it involves the sensitive issue of religion. Feel free to read it at the actual link.
I didn’t comment on the fourth confession.