09 May 2009

The 8th Germinal of Thio Su Mien

Much of the revelations in the "On Aware's changing slant towards homosexuality and comprehensive sexual education in recent years" (now pulled off Aware's website after Feminist Mentor's G9 were deposed) centres on Aware's activities from 2005 to 2008.

For the first time, the Aware Mother's Day celebration included presentations of mothers with lesbian daughters, alongside normal and single-parent units.

For the first time, Aware chose a movie with a lesbian theme as its charity fundraiser.

For the first time, Aware invited a gay activist, Alex Au, to give talks to women on HIV.

And for the first time, Constance Singam herself participated in Indignation, Singapore's gay pride month, in a dialogue session with the lesbian community.

In the hardened hearts and blinded eyes of Thio Su Mien and COOS Pastor Derek Hong, this constituted a capitulation to the homosexual agenda.

Yet Constance Singam herself refused to bow to the demands of the gay and lesbian community. At Indignation's "Queer women within feminist Singapore", Singam refused to concede to the popular demand that Aware explicitly support the lesbian community, refused to have lesbian-specific programmes. Singam refused to acknowledge that lesbian rights were special and needed emphasis beyond Aware's general pro-women, irrespective of race, age, class stance.

If Singam were intent on allowing the gay conspiracy to hijack Aware, subvert it against family values, she ended up burning bridges with a large part of the lesbian community last August.

This alone tells us how much reality-based the concerns of Thio Su Mien and Pastor Derek Hong are.

It is difficult to believe that these two members of a mainstream Christian denomination looked at Aware's list of firsts without considering Constance Singam intended for 2008 to be Aware's outreach year for the lesbian community.

It is a community that has traditionally distanced itself from mainstream feminism and fallen outside its purview, despite the fact that all its members are women who ought to be accounted and administered to by feminist projects and help.

Christ-centred churches do outreach programmes as a matter of principle and religious calling. Yet I have never heard of churches being hijacked or having their purposes subverted by their outreach communities. Just as Constance Singam refused to compromise on her vision of feminism in the face of the lesbian community it outreched to last August, no church would compromise on its Christian values because of its outreach community.

This alone tells us the lack of Christ in the hearts of Thio Su Mien and Derek Hong, for them not to see what the list of firsts was really about.

This also tell us Constance Singam failed to communicate her outreach programme openly in Aware's literature and newsletters and to the public at large. Aware's record low membership and even lower number of active members in 2007-8 had simplified the organisation to the extent where Singam's decisions did not really need to be put forward for open discussion and explanation; in any case, Aware's undeclared outreach programme does not constitute good organisational governance and has now even engendered distrust in parts of society outside of COOS.

The road forward for Aware is very simple. All Constance Singam and Dana Lim need to do is to reaffirm their vision of a neutral feminism that cannot be held hostage to the gay and lesbian lobby while continuing their outreach to the lesbian community, to start an outreach to the Christian community without being held hostage to the Christian lobby. Eyes on all sides of the debate will be watching closely.

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