Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Section 377A

Normally, I'm not a supporter of causes. I'm an apathetic bum, choosing to watch the goggle box from the comfort of the sofa, blindly flipping channels oblivious of the news coverage on how the monks are trying to overthrow the government in Myanmar (that's that Aung San Suu Kyi country I think?).

The media is a microcosm by itself.

Wars between national newspapers - we just love how Singapore's Straits Times and Malaysia's newspapers seem to be talking about two different Malaysias. Singapore's idea of Malaysia is a racist hellhole where Bumiputras marginalise non-indigenous races, where ministers engage in anal sex and where you're probably gonna lose a few fingers, your car and even your life should you even attempt to cross Johor Bahru.

Malaysia's press politely accepts that Malaysia isn't perfect, and kindly points out that Singapore marginalises Malaysia and uses reclamation as a form of expansionism, Singapore ministers are a greedy selfish bunch and that Singapore uses underhanded tactics in order to secure their water supply from Malaysia.

It'd take an extremely blind patriot to believe that Singapore is all white and Malaysia is all black. Do we really need to jeer at Malaysia that much? Do we really need to reclaim land (purportedly for military use) all the way to Johor's doorstep? Do we actually have the right to insist they sell water to us at historical prices set decades ago?

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But the civil wars, they're the ones that make me seethe in anger. It's generally accepted that the media should be unbiased and report facts - not opinions. It should also report the issues that matter to our society itself, not a bunch of wooly propaganda that doesn't make the readers any bit wiser.

It's a bit suspicious when hotly-debated issues suddenly burn out in the Straits Times, even before the public can have their say or accept the news. Take for example the GST increase. Government proposal. Public outroar. Half-hearted attempts to placate the public by giving weak arguments. Greater public outroar - this time with angry questions. More half-hearted pacification, without really answering the questions of the public.

Then, uncomfortable silence. It almost sounds as if the nation has come to terms with it. But take a walk in the streets of Singapore, and you'd hear people still seething in anger at how they never got a real explanation where their extra tax dollars are going to go to.

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This time, there's Section 377A.

The Singapore Penal Code, Chapter XVI (Offences Affecting the Human Body), Section 377 (Cap. 224) Section 377A (Outrages on decency) states that:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

Many Singaporeans were hopeful that it would be repealed in a review of the Penal Code (haha, pun) along with Section 377 (the one about illegal oral sex between consenting partners in a male-female couple). After all, many countries in the region do not have such a law any more, and it'd only be fair to homosexuals.

It was not repealed.

Outroar. Government's sudden and abrupt claim that it wasn't time yet until there is a "broader consensus on the matter".

Oh, but was there a "broad consensus" before they raised the GST to 7%?

Outroar. Then uncomfortable silence.

Then we get obviously lame (for the want of a better word that describes the sheer ignorance of the whole thing) letters in the forum like this:

Removing Section 377A threatens family unit
I SUPPORT the retention of Section 377A of the Penal Code - a law criminalising gay sex - to uphold our moral and family values.

The petition by Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong does not serve the interests of Singapore as a whole but only of one small sector.

In fact, the removal of this law will lead to the disintegration of our social fabric, the family unit, which the Government has been establishing pro-actively.

I believe that strong families will lead to a strong nation.

I fully support the Government in keeping Section 377A. Gross indecencies must be penalised.

For the survival of our nation and the welfare of the future generation, the petition by NMP Siew should be ignored.

Lim Poh Suan (Ms)


How exactly does the legalisation of same-gender sex break the family unit? Oh, if we legalise homosexual sex, surely every man, straight or gay would suddenly decide to turn gay! Gee, c'mon.

It's not like homosexuals are going to marry girls and start a family - 377A or not. In fact, it's the discrimination and hate stemming from public disapproval that rips families apart and sends them into sexual promiscuity.

Oh, and 'gross indecencies'? There are obviously laws to protect society from these, straight or gay. You don't see male-female couples committing gross indecencies in public, right? Legalised gay sex doesn't mean that you're forced to watch it, duh!

It's quite pathetic, really.

It's this kind of gross outrage of logic and sensibility that lights the spark of activism in me.

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But what's sadder is that the Straits Times decided to publish this letter, which is about as pathetic as forum letters go. There's logical fallacies abound - failure to recognise the cause vs effect, inability to justify her opinions, insistence that her personal opinion should be made public law.

The decision to publish this - rather than the tens of better-worded, more logical and balanced letters they most likely receive - must stem from prejudices within the editing staff. Why else would a national paper wish to sacrifice its credibility and sales like that?

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Looks like the army of truth and logic needs to beef itself against the ever-growing junta of hate and ignorance.

You're enlisted.

4 comments:

Pkchukiss said...

We should criminalise illogical arguments! They demonise our children and deface our houses! Our nation fabric will break down and everything our fore-fathers have built will be ruined!

May I propose a punishment of up till life imprisonment for perpetrators?

gonococcus said...

burn their houses beat their mothers!

Anonymous said...

dman thats gay

Anonymous said...

The conspiracy theorist in me tell me that its a planted letter ;-)