23 December 2008

The liberal case for: rejecting the campaign to boycott DBS

Because I'm an equal opportunity insulter of stupid ideas, whether they originate from the left or right.

It was easy to heckle at FOTF Singapore's delicate dance with its chapterhouse in the US. If you thought the doubleminded doubletalk from FOTF Singapore was bad enough, the gay activists are treading an equally fine line on the issue of casus belli. Self-serving is the only word that is appropriate to describe their current actions.

Consider: What on earth did FOTF Singapore do to enrage the activists into a boycott of DBS?

As far as we know, DBS has set aside a percentage of its Christmas promotion to send money to FOTF Singapore. That may have been sufficient for gay overlord Alex Au and his group of Young Turks on facebook, but for any liberal, this cuts no ice.

Consider what would be an iron-clad justification for a boycott. Perhaps FOTF Singapore has waged open war on homosexuals, liberals, and women seeking abortion for as long as it existed?

But then, the open, eternal war was that of the chapterhouse in America. The last time FOTF Singapore made public statement on homosexuality was in 2003. Its stupidity justifiably attracted criticism, derision, and jokes. As a proud reality-based liberal, I challenge gay activists to show evidence that the organisation has not ceased in its war against them in public since then.

Perhaps FOTF Singapore, in paying daily columns in Today newspaper written by its chapterhouse in the US, is guilty of spreading virulent hatred against liberals, gays and women seeking abortion? Well, I challenge gay activists to furnish actual instances and quotes where Today printed a hate article by James Dobson and chapterhouse FOTF. They will come up with nothing.

Everywhere you look, there is no reality-based, evidence-rooted just cause for the boycott. And having a just cause is that important, because presumably you're fighting for the moral higher ground - and not engaging in an intimidation contest to see who can marshal the loudest proxies to sink the opponents' share of public opinion.

Was this the right project to scuttle?

So, what did FOTF Singapore do to drive our beloved gay activists into shrill unholy madness?

It turns out that DBS, the Far East Organisation, and even the paleo-Christian (i.e. the only protestants here who have a death-feud with the evangelicals, non-denominations, and political Christians) Tangs (who used to open after noon on Sundays because it wanted to give its Christian staff time for church) made the decision to support FOTF Singapore for the building of a learning centre for children with learning disabilities.

Alex Au and his trigger-happy radicalised young turks on facebook should consider themselves very, very lucky to have gotten away with their stupidity. Only because FOTF Singapore is even more stupid than them, and missed out on a huge publicity coup to plaster photographs of the beneficiaries of the learning-disabled children, and cry out Alex Au and the gay activists hate Christmas, hate the family, and hate the learning centre for learning-disabled children.

So here's an educational lesson for Alex Au and his gay facebook movement: In the reality based world, banks and rich organisations work vet the charities by vetting the charity projects they sponsor. In other words, DBS, Far East Organisation, and Tangs are not idiots - of course they did specify what type of projects they would allow FOTF to use their money for.

Alex Au and his gay facebook movement, on the other hand, are the real idiots in this saga, for failing to do their homework on how charity funding works, or even to ask very nicely where the money would be spent.

I hope that liberals in Singapore have not been so silly as to get recruited as convenient proxies for the gay agenda in what is clearly an animalistic, to the death fight with FOTF Singapore and its FOTF chapterhouse. Liberalism would have died an ugly death here, if Au and his ill-informed minions led a larger group of even less informed liberal sympathisers to wage war on DBS.

Just causes and just desserts

No matter how much or little we buy into FOTF Singapore's plausible deniability, there was no just cause for the boycott action - if the funding for a school for the learning-disabled isn't clear or embarrassing enough to Alex Au's horde.

As questionable as FOTF Singapore fundamentally is, this special school would be the least tainted of its social projects to date. It has been rewarded with such a reaction from the gay movement.

As liberals, we are not interested in an eternal war with conservatives. On the contrary, we would applaud whatever progressive projects they come up with, and support these projects in the hope that it encourages conservatives to focus MORE on progressive issues in the future instead of culture war issues.

The boycott campaign by the gay activists only serves to make such change and moderation impossible. Moreover, their actions can only encourage their opponents to stage reprisals in the same vein: namely, scuttling any positive social projects (HIV awareness, testing, drug subsidies, anyone?) by objecting to the mere presence of the gay activists and gay organisations involved in these projects.

Once again, as before, I call for the seppuku of Alex Au and his gay activist allies, and their exile from activism of ANY KIND. They're a bunch of clowns who endanger the gay movement and discredit liberalism in Singapore.

13 December 2008

The conservative case for: Rejecting Focus on the Family Singapore

Elsewhere in blogland: a campaign to rail against the DBS sponsorship of the Singapore branch of Focus on the Family, spearheaded by Singapore's favourite gay overlord Alex Au and other more media-savvy activists. There is little to comment on the tired and self-serving propaganda battles between the gay activists and the family activists, except to note thus:

No religion please, we're Singaporeans

FOTF Singapore is a non-religious affiliate of the American evangelical FOTF founded by James Dobson.

The FOTF mother organisation in America has muscled its way into American politics and public policy. It is unashamed of what it sees as its religious mission to fight the cultural wars on the gays, liberals and their degenerate sexual mores, to protect its vision of a traditional family.

Yet the overseas branches of FOTF tend to display some reticence and even coy near-disavowal of the religious underpinnings of their pro-family activities and public policy positions.

As an exercise, you can search for full details of FOTF Singapore's charter here. You should find this:

1. To meet the heartfelt needs of families and to provide them with a legacy of solid marriages, stable homes, reverence for human life and sound moral principles that undergird the foundations of Family Life.

2. To publish, translate, produce, sell and distribute books, magazines, audio-cassettes, CDs, videos, films, radio and TV programmes, educational toys and other related resource materials relating to the promotion of Family Life.

3. To organize and promote talks, seminars, workshops, conferences, meetings, camps and special events and to train and provide counseling and mediation services on all matters affecting Family Life.

4. To conduct research, facilitate education and training on Family Life issues and to work with local and international institutions, organizations and government agencies to promote and propagate positive family values by whatever means and in whatever manner as may now or hereafter be available.

Compare with mothership FOTF's mission statement:

To cooperate with the Holy Spirit in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible by nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide.

Redeemed families, communities, and societies worldwide through Christ.

The conservative case against FOTF

There is something to be said about the variance between the charters of the local FOTF and its chapterhouse in the US. For anyone who expects consistency if not truth, it is intolerable that the branch organisation be seen to hide its true ideological allegiance and ties to its mother organisation.

At best, this variance may be seen as a cynical attempt to gently skirt the religious and ideological issue in a society where the US evangelical culture-political wars hold very little traction. At worst, this is the sort of deceit practised by peaceful charities linked to nefarious terrorist organisations. And somewhere in between, whoever drew up the charter for the Singapore branch clearly understood that the religious angle of FOTF would have automatically prevented a successful registration with the Registry of Societies - proselytism being a no-no in Singapore's charity landscape. What follows is a cynical exercise in bad faith...

"No, don't look at us with those eyes. We're not really the same conservative Christian organisation as the one that bears our name in the United States. Even though theoretically we're a branch of that same organisation... we're really independent of them. Don't even think about Focus on the Family when you think of Focus on the Family Singapore."

By its very existence, Focus on the Family Singapore has already succeeded in making fools out of the Registry of Charities. Because of what they've done, any questionable, dangerous, or undesirable foreign organisation may now set up a proxy branch in Singapore that bears the same name, admit to being a branch, and yet pretend it has shares nothing of the ideology and principles of the mother organisation.

As a conservative, I expect honesty and consistency from any activist group. As a conservative, I'm shocked and appalled at the level of obfuscation and bad faith mirror-dressing of Focus on the Family Singapore. In its disowning of the religious commission behind its charter, the Singapore chapter has turned its face against God in a misguided attempt to appeal to the authorities and religiously-apathetic locals here.

Know your organisation! Call to Action

I urge all Christian conservatives to contact the office holders of Focus on the Family Singapore, to question them about the sincerity of their efforts and to demand they make a clear stand on whether religion guides their hearts when they run this organisation, and to rectify their misleading, Christ-denying charter.

From the same MCYS search page, contact these publicly known officers and office holders of FOTF Singapore:

President: Joanna Koh-Hoe Su Yin. We know that however much she wants to come across as a president of a non-religious organisation, she has given a sermon at the non-denominational River of Life Community Church. We hope she has more pride in her religion and fess up unashamedly of how it should guide her organisation.

Office holders:
Lee Wee Min. A Malaysian by birth, Lee is the president of FOTF Malaysia and has been more above board in that group's operations, openly organising seminars at Subang Methodist Church and giving a lecture on "Covenant Marriage" in his FOTF Malaysia capacity at Indonesia's Lippo-group linked Harvest International Theological Seminary.

Soh Gim Teik. CFO of Sincere Watch Company. Also Director of WWF-World Wide Fund for Nature (Singapore) Ltd.

Ho Sun Yee. Former CEO of Singapore Heart Foundation.

Wong Siu Hong Alfred. Founder, Managing Director and Executive Director of Noel Gifts International Ltd.

Tan Thuan Seng. Former President of FOTF Singapore.