14 December 2006

The Singapore Government Plays The Religion Card Again

And basically it is a false, deceptive play. Yesterday's Straits Times carried the following article about the sex laws of Singapore. Note the part highlighted by me in orange:

    ST Dec 13, 2006
    Feedback focuses on sex laws
    Marital rape law reforms inadequate, say some; continued outlawing of gay sex also questioned

    By Ben Nadarajan

    THE private lives of Singaporeans appear to be the main concern among those who responded to the Government's call for feedback to last month's proposed changes to the Penal Code.

    After a month-long feedback period which ended on Saturday, the Home Affairs Ministry received 252 responses from individuals, groups and some lawyers.

    Most of the comments touched on the country's controversial sex laws, especially marital rape and gay sex.


    Another hot topic was the continued outlawing of gay sex, with at least four groups raising the matter.

    The Free Community Church, which supports homosexuality, said this was 'not reflective of the moral values of today's Singapore'.

    Aware also weighed in with its support to scrap section 377 (A) - the part of the Penal Code which bans acts of 'gross indecency' between men.

    Calling this law an 'unwarranted intrusion' into private lives, Aware said the police should be spending time on more pressing matters than enforcing anti-gay sex laws.

    The Free Community Church - which has under 100 members - also argued that singling out a certain group in society was unconstitutional as everyone should be equal before the law.

    The ministry explained last month that society, especially religious groups, was not ready to tolerate gay sex.

Of course, that is not a valid reason.

The government often likes to say that things must be just so in Singapore, because we are a multi-racial, multi-religious society, and we shouldn't offend each other's sensitivities. However, as I've pointed out on many occasions, Singapore is not any more multi-racial or multi-religious than your average big modern city - for example, London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Jakarta or Bangkok.

Yet in none of these cities (or their respective countries) is homosexual intercourse between two consenting adults punishable with life imprisonment.

Unlike in Singapore.

The Singapore government is making religious believers in Singapore look like obsessive extremist fanatics. This is not true. Therefore what the Singapore government is doing is just not right.

Technorati: ; ; .


Anonymous said...

This is called 借刀杀人

darrnot said...

If Mr Wang is correct in saying that religious believers in Singapore are not obsessive extremist fanatics, what is the real reason for the Singapore government's policy stand on gay sex?

Whispers from the heart said...


It's a shame that our global city is seemingly still so hung up about gays.

A check with my family of over 10, none shares the government's stand despite having christians and buddhists amongst us.

In fact, I am proud Yawning Bread is one of us and there will be many equally worthy.

The government can accept all kinds of trash from foreign lands but close their minds to these group. How sad.

Anonymous said...

Your perspective seems to suggest that they are playing one group against another. While that may be the simplest explanation, what remains to be explained is why was the Free Community Church qouted.

Unless it only serves to buttress their contention that gay Christians are a fringe group.

Well, just a thought...

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

It's obvious that certain religions have negative attitudes towards homosexuality. For example, some Christian groups in the US oppose gay marriages.

Opposing gay marriages however is a total different kettle of fish from saying that religious groups in Singapore insist on having the kinds of laws that currently exist in Singapore on homosexuality -

up to life imprisonment for consensual sex between adult men.

In contrast, I could stab you a few times in the chest with a knife and rob all your money, and if you don't die, I'd probably get something like 9 years imprisonment + caning. And the 9 years would be reducible to 6 years, if I behaved properly in prison.

Anonymous said...

YCK made the good point that the article was careful to highlight the somewhat meagre membership numbers of the Free Community Church (<100), which attempts to discredit the idea of widespread support for gay sex among Christians. As many have pointed out, the government does not outlaw pre/extra marital sex, alcohol abuse or gambling, all of which are hot button topics among the major religious groups - so hiding behind the religious excuse is very weak. Rather than representing the view of the "religious masses", law-making is instead heavily influenced by hypocritical religious views that originate from within the highest echelons of govt itself.

quatscherei said...

It's sad right?

The Government thinks that we have conveniently forgotten about the casinos issue (which was a huge sin in religious history) and now telling us that gay sex is outlawed because it's intolerated by many religions.

So who's religion are we following now? PAP-ism?

But then again, Lees said that no one will barge in to arrest 2 homosexuals having sex...just that if they happen to be a bit careless and leave a bit of the curtains open they can kena 1 x life imprisonment.

If this is not bigotry i donno what it is. After all, accepting that there are people who are homosexual doesn't mean that the whole country will turn homosexual what...for all we know, the way we are thought, we love money more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Although personally I am rather conservative and not someone who is comfortable with homosexual. But I always felt that this is only my personal sexual preference and homosexual should not be made a crime or think of it as something evil.

Thus I definitely find that implementing life imprisonment for homosexual intercourse between two consenting adults is rather ridiculous, oppressive and extreme.

And I agree too that this is more like just a politically motivated move to please a small group of powerful and affluence extremists than to really represent the feeling of majority of Sinkaporeans. In fact, I think majority of us are just simply bo chap and worried more about the rising cost of living than homosexual sex.

The Human Battery said...

Religion is clearly not the true reason, because:

a. The vast majority of Singaporeans are either free-thinker or followers of Chinese traditional beliefs or Buddhist - a fact easily verifiable via our Census statistics. To the best of my knowledge, the latter two faith do NOT discriminate against gays since it is attachment to sensual pleasures - be it heterosexual or homosexual - that is a hindrance to enlightment, and not the gender of the attachment.

b. The govt was prepared to offend the Christians/Muslims minority when it come to building casinos. And in fact, in the case of gambling (and the vices that comes with it), ALL religions - not just these two - are against it.

The reason clearly lies elsewhere and my 2 cents worth is this: Some ultra Christian fundamentalist right in the core of PAP/Govt Cabinet personally are against gays. In fact, is it not true that more than half of those in the cabinets are staunch Christians?

I am of course not the only one with such a view. Yawning Bread said something similar before, that he "long suspected" that there wanst much of a diff between the govt and christian fundamentalists. I am in no mood to go search out the quote, but I do rem reading him saying so....

Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is foolish for Lee to pander to his fellow comrades because:
a. the worldwide trend is towards gay equality. Sooner or later, we will have to accord equality or risk losing talents due to our poor global image.

b. But as the years go by, there will be more Christian fundamentalists both within and without the government: Among Uni grads, Christianity currently comprises 50% of the cohort, and census data indicates that this is an increasing trend.

Therefore it would be easier, politically speaking, for the govt to do something now than later! And that's what puzzling me: why isn't it doing anything now, while Old Lee is still around to "protect" his son against his rebellious christian fundamentalist comrades?

The Human Battery said...

Bamboo, the first commentator above, 借刀杀人 is still not as bad as 捧卵脬. Read this. I nearly puked!

nonameclown said...

Hallelujah! Our leaders follows the path of the straight and narrow. No to Gay Sex! Or we will be Sodom Reloaded!

For the Lord says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24 .. I think)

The Human Battery said...

Do you need to be reminded that Singapore is multiracial, multi-religion, and that each race/religion/class, including free-thinkers and gays have as much rights as Christians do?

In fact, such rights are *theorectically* protected by the constitution. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

To the human battery:

The Singapore constitution is a pathetic joke, especially the articles regarding civil liberties. Read it up yourself. It is like a blank cheque for tyrants. Even Thailand's constitution is much more democratic.

And regarding gays... I have no problems with them so long as they don't solicit for sex in public toilets or pool/gym shower rooms. It's disgusting and indecent. It's a shared public space, so have some basic courtesy. Socialise with other homos in the numerous dedicated gay clubs and spas found all over the island.

Loong on homosexuality:


Oceanna said...

"The ministry explained last month that society, especially religious groups, was not ready to tolerate gay sex."

How did they know that society was not ready? Who did they survey? They sure left me out!!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"Hallelujah! Our leaders follows the path of the straight and narrow. No to Gay Sex! Or we will be Sodom Reloaded"


Actually if I recall correctly, the government plans to legalise sodomy for heterosexuals.

Anonymous said...

Hi hobbes,

Thanks for seeing sense in my entry. However, I would be wary to reach the conclusion you have as I assume that none of us are privy to the policy-making. But at times it takes effort not to lapse into pessimism or cynicism.

Hi The Human Battery,

It would be interesting to examine your suggestion that the vast majority of Singaporeans are accepting of homosexuals.

I am of that view too but I followed the trail to the 2001 Social Attitudes of Singaporeans by MCDS at Yawning Bread. As this could be what the government used to back its claim that we are a conservative society, I was disappointed by the broken link.

I wonder if we should leave Christianity out of this. Afterall, some websites, such as this one by ReligiousTolerance.org, suggest one could not find any unequivocal condemnation of consensual homosexual acts in the Bible, and I understand that the closest one could get are the Epistles of Paul.

I must clarify that I am a free-thinker and would loathe to start a bible-qouting war. But I have no doubt on whom the burden of the proof should lay.


Nicholas & Ian said...

I can't help but wonder how much is the govt influenced by religion when it comes to making decisions like this and that could it be that the govt is trying to pacify the Conservatives since they already have lost the first round on the issue of gambling?

wah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nonameclown said...

Sorry, I left out the subtitles:
Jesus wasn't interested in politics 2000 years ago and he is not going to start now.

In any case, I dun think the average Singaporean gives a damn about gays. Or anything not directly affecting their personal material well-being. Ditto our leaders.

PS: does Pyramid Club sounds Christian?

p-case-tales of a coward said...

actually the main reason is that they are comfortable with what they have now. Why do they want to create something that MIGHT jeopadize their position?

Anonymous said...

Are you gay Mr Wang? If so, just come on out and SAY IT. Get out of the closet.

Unknown said...

I am interested at this as I plan to settle down in Singapore. What is considered as "gross indecency" between men? And what does the Penal Code provide as penalties for such acts? Does that include private sex?

Admin said...

A check with my family of over 10, none shares the government's stand despite having christians and buddhists amongst us.

In fact, I am proud Yawning Bread is one of us and there will be many equally worthy.
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The government can accept all kinds of trash from foreign lands but close their minds to these group. How sad.

Admin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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