Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12 days of Christmas in Singapore

On the first day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
A U-turned PDPC

On the second day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the third day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the fourth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the fifth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the sixth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the seventh day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Everything called hacking
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the eighth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Dirty hawker ceiling
Everything called hacking
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the ninth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Pineapple tart claiming
Dirty hawker ceiling
Everything called hacking
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the tenth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Peter Lim corrupting
Pineapple tart claiming
Dirty hawker ceiling
Everything called hacking
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Tey's sexy grading
Peter Lim corrupting
Pineapple tart claiming
Dirty hawker ceiling
Everything called hacking
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my gahmen sent to me:
Lots, lots of ponding
Tey's sexy grading
Peter Lim corrupting
Pineapple tart claiming
Dirty hawker ceiling
Everything called hacking
Little India rioting
A JAMMED M-C-E!
More censorship
Weekend ban
Some pinky shirts
And a U-turned PDPC

Monday, December 2, 2013

Reactions show need for education

(Published - ST, Nov 23, 2013)

Reactions show need for education

I support the Singapore Armed Forces' move to ban a verse of an army marching song, because misogyny, sexism and rape should not be tolerated ("Offensive verse of army song banned"; last Saturday).

Some online critics claim the lyrics are "no big deal" and sung in jest. Their argument trivialises and normalises sexism and rape, while justifying sexual assault as retaliation for infidelity.

Also, it indicates apathy and desensitisation towards the issues, resulting in some seeing nothing wrong with the behaviour.

Then there are those who argue that the verse is sung within the confines of the army. But locale is not an excuse.

Surely, there are many other ways for soldiers to cope with compulsory conscription and fatigue, as well as raise morale, without putting down women.

Some argue that the Association of Women for Action and Research is intrusive and prudish. This should not detract from the work it has been doing in raising awareness of prejudice, chauvinism and their normalisation.

There is no need to ascribe inferiority to women as a means to state one's masculinity.

National servicemen are obligated to bear arms as part of state-sanctioned violence in the name of national defence. Sexual violence and its rhetoric have no place in this.

We could perhaps reflect on how we have long taken for granted certain historical liberties taken by males with regard to attitudes and behaviours towards females.

The reactions to the ban show that we are in dire need of some education.


Ho Chi Sam

===

(Original version - sent 17 Nov 2013)

I refer to the recent ban on the verse of an army singalong song by MINDEF following a complaint by AWARE.

I support this because misogyny, sexism, rape and threats of rape should not be tolerated.

In the online criticism directed at AWARE and the ban, some claim the lyrics are "no big deal" and sung in jest. I disagree. This trivialises and normalises sexism and rape, while justifying sexual assault as retaliation for infidelity.

Furthermore, it indicates apathy and desensitisation towards the subject matter, resulting in few seeing no wrong in the behaviour. It is alarming and disappointing.

Some argue the verse is sung within the confines of the army, but locale is not an excuse. In addition, the responsibility of having done National Service does not give one the privilege to be sexist in any context.

It is also not an excuse to objectify women and joke about sexual assault - a tacit acknowledgement and imposition of gender superiority. Surely there are many other ways for soldiers to cope with compulsory conscription, fatigue, showing machismo, building caramaderie and morale etc. without the need to put down women.

Some argue AWARE is intrusive and even projected expectations on them to take up further causes with respect to conscription and traditional attitudes toward the expendability of male citizens' lives.

This should still not detract from the work AWARE has been doing in making Singaporeans more conscious of prejudice, chauvinism and their normalisation.

I feel there is no need to demean, trivialise abuse or ascribe inferiority to women as a means to stating one’s masculinity, building an army or engaging in war.

NSmen are obligated to bear arms as part of state-sanctioned violence in the name of national defence. Sexual violence and its rhetoric have no place in this.

Rather than focus on AWARE and label the organisation as prudish, we could perhaps take on a less convenient task in reflecting on how we have long taken for granted certain historical liberties taken by males with regard to attitudes and behaviours towards females.

For those who place great emphasis on masculinity or manliness, I kindly suggest these traits be constructed, embodied and impressed upon others without the need to be sexist, misogynist or partaking in activities that trivialise and normalise these attitudes.

The above-mentioned reactions to the ban only show that we are in dire need of some education.