15 February 2006

Crackpots, Damn Crackpots, and PLU Activists

Kelvin Wong is the secretary of PLU, the local gay rights lobby group. Even though he's based in Japan, the gentleman continues to take a firm interest in happenings in Singapore - he has chimed in at the 11th hour on Singabloodypore to lay the smackdown on me for casting aspersions on the sanity, incompetence of the policies and PR of the lobby group. He plans to send some letters to the ST forums to keep the Christian fundie school sex ed issue in public consciousness.

I definitely agree that the public should be further informed about how Christian fundamentalist groups are somehow getting invited to give fairly misleading and unfactual sex ed talks in Singapore's state-funded schools. I also believe that the public should be further informed about how PLU's leadership has a equally non-reality-based hangup on Christianity.

Kelvin Wong says so himself:
The japanese are quite unabashed about their bodies or being naked, unlike the hangups that Singpaoreans have, most of which comes from conservative Christian values. Whatever hangups the japanese have about being naked probably comes from the American christian and other Jesuits Priest when they landed in Japan.
I believe in freedom of speech. And I also believe the forthcoming Christian crackpot vs PLU crackpot ST forum deathmatch will be very, very entertaining.


semiophile said...

FINALLY... someone who questions PLU's (misguided) approach...

pantalaimon said...

I don't see that the statement is obviously wrong. It may be wrong, but not having sufficient knowledge of what Japan is like, I'm not prepared to look at it and go 'CRACKPOT!' Could you tell us what you know about Japan that makes his claim obviously ridiculous to you?

Agagooga said...

Shame is indeed not a very Japanese thing, but I believe the contention lies with the assertions that:

1) Singaporeans feel shame because of conservative Christian values - what about all the non-Christians? What about shame in Chinese tradition (dating from the Ming era and later, which saw a crackdown on acupuncture since it involved disrobing) (Major point)

2) The Japanese having hangups which comes from Christians. What about all the other groups influencing them? (Minor point)

akikonomu said...

This is quite simple.

You don't see Japanese nudist colonies. Neither do you see those people walking around naked in their homes as a normal thing. Neither would you expect a host to unrobe for dinner with their guests.

Nudity has very restricted socially-approved venues of expression in Japan, namely onsen and fertility festivals. That doesn't mean that they have no shame about nudity per se.

Historically, the samurai bakufus had attempted in Japan, way before the Meiji era, to regulate behaviour and social/sexual mores, especially within the samurai classes. In case you're ignorant, that's way before Christianity and what Kelvin Wong lisps as "Jesuits Priest" arrived in Japan.

And that's why Kelvin Wong is a crackpot, and an ignorant CRACKPOT at that. One must forgive Pantalaimon for being a PLU supporter. It's very hard to stand loyally by your incompetent, mendacious, and malevolent leaders.

pantalaimon said...

Leaders? What talking you? It must be even harder assuming everyone other than you and people who agree with you are stampeding lemmings. So I don't know a whole lot about Japan, and I made a simple request for an explanation: there's no need to be a twat about it. Unless you know everything about everything there is to know anything about, which one quite reasonably presumes you don't, there's no need to call me ignorant just because I don't know some things that you don't know. Jesus, you're a real fucker.

pantalaimon said...

Ok. To be fair, you didn't call me ignorant. I apologise for that charge. You were still unnecessarily rude, so you're still a twat, though.

akikonomu said...

Pantalaimon, you don't know much about Japan. I won't make fun of you for that since it's clearly unreasonable to expect anyone to know everything.

It is, however, fair game to make fun of PLU's leaders when they speak so authoritative about the history of Japan, Christianity, and the anthropology of shame.

akikonomu said...

It have disappointed you greatly that I do know suffiently about the history and religious anthropology of Japan to comment on this matter, yes?

Here's yet another piece of information that the crackpot leaders of PLU might want to digest: the moralising samurai bakufus all resorted to Confucianism to justify their attempts to tighten the social and sexual mores of Japan.

pantalaimon said...

Well, that's cool then. What I didn't like was your (continuing) suggestion that just because I happen to disagree with you about certain criticisms you've made about PLU, that automatically means I mindlessly agree with everything they do and that moreover I am necessarily "disappointed" when you might turn out to be correct. Hello? Can we let me look at the substance of what you are saying and let me agree or disagree with what you are saying, and not assume I am necessarily a "supporter" or otherwise somehow feel the need to be "loyal" to anyone? It's your condescension - your inability to conceive I might have independent and conscientious grounds for disagreement for SOME of the things you say, without just charging behind PLU off a cliff - that really, really rankles. Why couldn't I conceivably be PLEASED that you've explained a point to me that I didn't understand before? For God's sake, grow up out of this nee-na-nee-na-your-great-leaders-have-been-proven-wrong nonsense.

akikonomu said...

"conscientious grounds for disagreement" being?

I'm going out on a limb here, but I hope they don't involve PLU mollycoddling. That organisation is not irreplaceable. It is not so precious that it can be torn down, razed, and the ground salted and time given for some less crackpotish, less incompetent activists to fight for gay rights in Singapore.

pantalaimon said...

Like that IN THIS CASE I didn't know about Japan and was therefore perfectly entitled to ask you for information?

Or that the last time we disagreed, on the NLB issue, I just didn't agree with your ANALYSIS that they have behaved particularly imprudently? Or that I didn't agree with your overall claim that private lobbying organisations, and this private lobbying organisation, owed the public particular duties that were there breached? I actually raised reasons for this but you seemed to think any grounds I might mention (e.g. not being a public body, not exercising actual power over the population at large or even really the people they claim to speak for) had to be entirely spurious. I can see why you might DISAGREE with my grounds but the conclusion that the grounds are just a sham for pigheaded rallying behind a particular group appears to me to be entirely unwarranted.

Is it so hard to believe that anyone might disagree with you for reasons other than festishistic support of a group of people? Maybe my entire view of what private lobbying organisations are and should do is different from yours, have you considered that? (e.g. I find your stakeholder analysis unconvincing.)

I'm aware that you appeared not to discern this from any of my posts regarding the NLB issue but I have no relationship with PLU, I don't even know what they do for the most part, I just wasn't convinced by the particular things you said. Or is this completely inconceivable to you?

You'd think someone who claimed to care about civil society wouldn't find diversity of opinion such an absurd phenomenon.

pantalaimon said...

Incidentally, one illustration of the grounds of disagreement that have nothing to do with what you call "PLU mollycoddling" can be found in your very last comment. "The time given"? What time given? On one level, I don't feel like PLU has to justify its existence to me any more than a Jane Austen book club has to justify its existence to me. Whether or not they represent gay interests as a whole in the best way possible is, on this count, to me rather irrelevant. An organisation that wants to support gay interests but doesn't do it as well as humanly possible isn't one that I would actively attack, just because then I would be up to my ears attacking every organisation in existence. It is sufficient, for me not to attack it particularly, that it has an aim that I generally sympathise with and that it doesn't appear to me to actually do harm to people. (In this, we apparently disagree, but that is surely not the same as "mollycoddling.") That's the first level: do I think organisations with no legal power over me need to be overwhelmingly great for me to have no beefs with them. The answer is no.

On the second level, whether PLU is an organisation that I would actively LAUD, the only honest answer can be I DON'T KNOW because I don't know enough about what it does. On that level, the question of "time given" to it, so to speak, is relevant, but since I apparently don't "give time" to it in that sense since I don't laud it, this is really not relevant to me.

In sum: I have mild sympathies with PLU on the basis of their general aims and on the basis that they don't appear to me to be causing harm in the way that they appear to do so to you (and we can surely disagree on this analytical claim without you accusing me of being a lemming), but I don't have any especial rah rah chest-beating support for them which would appear to me to be justified only if I particularly approved of their actions.

Does this make no sense whatsoever? Could you please have a little more faith in other human beings? geez.

akikonomu said...

"I have mild sympathies with PLU on the basis of their general aims and on the basis that they don't appear to me to be causing harm"

Good, we're getting some progress here. I'll make my point and reasoning rather clear now:

Every time PLU or its officials make crackpot statements, every time they make a PR gaffe, every time they shoot themselves in the foot while dealing with the bureaucracy... No one is hurt except those whose interests they purport to fight for, those who they purport to speak for.

Being unelected and hence their actions unaccountable to the people they claim to represent, I hold that there is a conscientious obligation to those officials each time PLU stumbles.

pantalaimon said...

This disagreement is not sufficiently important or even, frankly, interesting for me to want to discuss this. Suffice to say I hope you see how I or anyone else might conceivably disagree with you without being a mindless lackey. It's your insulting manner rather than the disagreement that made me continue this conversation to begin with. I hope you now see it was unnecessary. That's all I have to say.

akikonomu said...

Frankly the more you deny being a lackey, the more obvious it is. Why else does Pantalaimon actually register on blogspot, yet write no blogs, and only post when anyone criticises PLU on Singabloodypore and here?

Salt * Wet * Fish said...

Ladies, ladies... me no more secretary of PLU (although this has not changed in the website... sigh), me no based in Japan, me on project in Tokyo, but will be back after that, like this year (duh!).

The quote was taken entirely out of context. I was just give a casual observation at the pools and initial observation during my 1st few weeks there and conversations with some of my Japanese friends. Yeah, probably I have Christian-value phobia, but I never asserted that I was scientifically or factually correct in my blog.

Yes, I agree to some of the point agagooga made. Singaporeans are not screwed up by conservative-christian values per se, but the so-called victorian values covered up as Asian values as admitted by PM Lee himself, and incidentally Victorian values as we know it has a strong correlatioin to English-Christian/Catholic values which has strong "moral" views. The case of the Ming dynasty is far-fetched becausse it so far back, if we say Qing or Commie China values, maybe we are a bit closer. But then again, China also have bath houses and everyone's naked and their toilets (not all but still has) don't have any doors.

Btw, one don't have to be a christian to be affected by their value. Its their pervasiveness of ideas via mass media and language. My last point was just a postulation. Didn't I say "probably comes from"?

Lastly, thanks for thinking about me. Next time, do let me know when you are writing about me, I feel so honoured, that I have so much influence.

pantalaimon said...

Yeah, I never wrote those posts on Singabloodypore about criminal sentencing and elitism in education. I couldn't possibly have signed up and then found I had no time to update more frequently. Nor did I ever have a blog under this username which I then deleted. Nor do I have any other usernames which I use to comment elsewhere other than on SBP, because nobody could possibly think adopting a specific username for a particularly charged blog with which he doesn't want to be personally associated.

I don't understand why it's so important for you to think that other people are dumbnuts, but perhaps it satisfies some important psychological need in you to regard everyone else around you as insipid and mediocre and I should just leave you alone to get on with it. I think I will do that. Bye!

akikonomu said...

Oh Kelvin Wong, I'm going to write more about you until PLU gets its act together and updates its website!

Now since you suggest that you didn't mean to make anti-Christian remarks, and that you're not an anti-christian crackpot, you should be able to explain to my readers how, barely a day after you comment here, you posted this on Signel, on the legal status of homosexuality in the world:

"2) How many of these countries are catholics majority and have strong
catholic links and ties. Do we not for once think that if the Vatican
could still hang/burn people, they would still do it to homosexuals?"

That's the type of question I'd expect from a rabidly anti-Christian PLU crackpot.