Monday, May 5, 2008

Everyone deserves media representation

(Unpublished - May 3, 2008)

Everyone deserves media representation

Dear Editor,

I refer to Andrew Lim’s letter ‘Gay issue in the US far from settled’, which is the latest in a series of letters addressing the recent fine on Mediacorp for airing a gay couple with an adopted child.

I take no interest in looking beyond our shores and benchmarking our practices with that of other countries. Ultimately, we should not allow the trading of case studies obscure the issues that are immediately affecting us.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore may continue to work diligently “strike a good balance in light of the broader interests of our society” as Lim mentioned.

However, MDA should be obliged to specifically state what these “broader interests” are. Moreover, we should also be critical and ask what kind of people actually benefit more from the striking of such a “balance”.

Media content regulation should not be aimed at invisibilising realities.

If people are invisibilised by the media, it will only pave the way for stereotypes and misrepresentations to dictate how we view them.

Furthermore, with regards to homosexuality, there is a common belief that it is a practice, a lifestyle, and also a corruptive influence. These do little to address the stereotypes self-identified “normal people” have of gay people, but instead perpetuate them.

Stereotypes and misrepresentations of gay people will in turn make a social environment conducive for marginalisation, invisibilisation or even abuse.

Society’s preoccupation with the roots or causes of homosexuality has come to deflect attention away from the social and institutional discrimination of sexual minorities in Singapore.

Alternative families are still families and it can be rather audacious to believe that observing such families can directly influence us to start our own alternative families.

The depiction of happy alternative families does not equate to their glorification, normalisation or mainstreaming.

This is only characteristic of a siege mentality assumed by the people who see themselves as morally upright or conservative, and are highly suspicious of values and observations inconsistent with theirs.

We can be a plural society, because a 51 percent majority cannot possible vote to kill a 49 percent minority.

Singapore is about differences and celebrating them.

Ho Chi Sam


Kevin said...

I agree.

It is hypocritical when we often claim to celebrate our racial diversity and multi-ethnic, multi-religious makeup but fail to celebrate other forms of diversity.

There is a gap between broadcasted values and real-life actions that's currently existent, and people are not blind to it.

Sam Ho said...

the concept of diversity in singapore only leans towards the economic interests of the state. "diversity" becomes exclusive. you are right, people are not blind to it.