Wednesday, September 16, 2009


A friend of mine and I had a couple of email exchanges about how "mainstream media's reporting can sometimes be questionable" -- to borrow her description. She referred to her personal experience of it through the AWARE saga. My reply to her pretty much summarize my thoughts on that matter.


Hi [edited],

If you are referring to the AWARE saga, I will only agree that the mainstream media had sensationalized the news. Otherwise, I stand by my decision to join AWARE to vote out the Christian dominated EXCO (call it the new EXCO) of which you were a part of. My decision is not personally directed at you, but based on the behaviours of the group and the self-declared feminist mentor.

I was there at the entire event. It was obvious that the previous EXCO had more experience. Josie and her team's defensive and high-handed behaviour (while understandable from a psychological viewpoint of cornered persons) certainly does not win the crowd. Thio Su Mien practically destroyed any credibility the new team had left. I have seen the likes of Breama Mathi at other NGO activities prior to the AWARE saga. I believe in her sincerity.

As I have sms'ed you after the end of the saga, that the best way to contribute to an existing social activist group is to join at the rank-and-file to understand its workings and values before jumping into the top. My point is that a new comer has to assess if his/her individual mission aligns with the group's. Otherwise, one might as well start one's own group. In addition, if one has not been in NGOs before, one would not appreciate the different work cultures of NGOs. Ordering subordinates and firing while being the norm for corporate practices would hardly work in an NGO environment.

Finally, I do not buy the argument that the new AWARE EXCO joined because they were concerned about the content of AWARE's sex education and that they are speaking up for the conservative majority. There are alternative ways to lobby against the sex education syllabus, as illustrated by the successful Christian orchestrated lobby to MOE. No need to stage a coup of the existing NGO for it. As for speaking up for the conservative majority, I consider it the "Christian hypocrisy" which strangely I noted mainly only in "born-again" Christians in Singapore. This is because they don't seem to speak up when the bias favours Christianity. The conservative majority in Singapore is not all Christians. If Christians are really so concerned about issues affecting the conservative majority, why no lobbying to MOE to remove the Christian's Creationism from the secular schools' science book or advocating equality by including the theories of creation from other religions.

I will state upfront. I have LBGT friends, and I believe in supporting their right to happiness and equality. They are human too. I will support LBGT marriages if it ever come to pass in Singapore. Thus, this is another issue that we may never see eye-to-eye. I was at the Pink Dot event. Perhaps knowing them personally has opened my eyes to distinguish the sensational (e.g. Thio Li-Ann's infamous quotes) from the reality of LBGT.

As we have discussed before, we may never see eye-to-eye on your interpretation of Christianity. Thankfully there is much more to life and living upon which friendships can be built, other than religion or specifically Christianity alone.

Best Regards


[Postscript on 17 September 2009]
A guest writer of The Online Citizen exposed another example of the mainstream media's poor journalistic standard today.

Atheist Comedian on Prayer and Teaching Creationism In School

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