Thursday, October 18, 2007

Repeal 377A and Lim Poh Suan's Oct 16 letter

(Unpublished - Oct 16, 2007)

Repealing 377A has nothing to do with family unit, but everything to do with the moral crusaders masquerading as advocates of strong family units

Dear Editor,

I refer to Lim Poh Suan's letter 'Removing Section 377A threatens family unit' (ST, Oct 16).

There are many other things that threaten to break up a family, which involves a father, a mother and I presume one child or more. Uncontrolled gambling addiction, drug crimes, adultery, adulterous prostitution and broken down interpersonal relations between spouses are just some of the reasons.

Section 377A, which criminalises gay sex, has nothing to do with such a family unit. A well-adjusted person in a family will not use gay sex as a reason for its disintegration, unless this family wants to go out of its way to controlling sexual minorities, namely gay men, in Singapore. Even the failure in a family's attempts in moral crusading and policing of homosexual people will not signify its breakdown.

Strong families do not solely lead to a strong nation. You need active, participative and representative citizenry to make a strong nation. You need the removal of institutional and societal discrimination to build the foundations for a strong nation. You need Singaporeans like Siew Kum Hong standing up for fellow marginalised Singaporeans.

Why do we want to control private and consensual acts outside our family?We should be examining the pride and fear straight people have when it comes to homosexuality. The retention of Section 377A is a symbol of the retention of homophobia, stereotypes, stigmatism and the lack of compassion, empathy, graciousness and civil consciousness, values with which families are supposed to empower their own children.

Moreover, the retention of Section 377A will represent the situation in which the straight majority has takenits privileged position for granted. We end up protecting our interests, part of which are built up by irrational fears, lack of information and stereotypes, at the expense of protecting the rights of minority people.

The government has purposefully invested in education and enrichment of our children. At the same time, as much as we have gained such empowerment, we also have to obligation to ensure society does not merely serve the interests of a majority.

I stand by Siew.

Ho Chi Sam

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