NUS Malay Studies Prof calling lesbianism cancerous

From ‘NUS looking into complaints over prof’s views on homosexuality’, 28 Feb 2014, CNA

The National University of Singapore said it is looking into a complaint from two alumni and a student on a professor’s views on homosexuality. In their letter to university authorities, the three took issue with two Facebook posts by Professor Khairudin Aljunied from the school’s Malay Studies Department.

They claimed that Professor Khairudin had described “alternative modes of sexual orientation” as “wayward”, and as “cancers” and “social diseases” to be “cleansed”. One of the posts has been removed while the other has since been edited.

The FB post from Prof Khairudin ended with the fiery, call-to-arms salvo: ‘Make the pure message of Islam VIRAL to cleanse the IMPURITIES of liberal Islam and lesbianism. Together we will stop these CANCERS in their tracks!’ Ironically, there’s nothing more ‘viral’ than monotheistic faiths, which in the course of history have done its fair share of genocidal infidel ‘cleansing’ of its own. PERGAS (Singapore Islamic Scholars & Religious Teachers Association) were more subdued in their disapproval, calling the HPB FAQ’s merely ‘insensitive’. Fellow NUS staffer and Law Prof Thio Li-Ann thankfully has nothing further to add on the gay issue. YET.

Incidentally another zealot Lawrence Khong had this to say today in response to Minister Gan Kim Yong defending the same FAQs, in particular about the common level of ‘commitment’ required between two lovers regardless of their sexual orientation:

That is like telling our young they can pump themselves up with illegal and harmful drugs as long as they self protect by not sharing needles. (Pastor hits out at Health Minister’s reply on homosexuality FAQ, 28 Feb 13, ST)

So one Christian pastor compares homosexuality to crack, while a Muslim professor and scholar brands it, rather flippantly, as a debilitating disease that affects millions of people all over the world, including Christians, Muslims, atheists and yes even homosexuals. It appears that in religious texts ‘cancer’ is still synonymous with a vile scourge, but we’ve long left that medieval stigma of cancer as a biblical plague behind us. As someone who’ve seen good, perfectly kind people fight a losing battle against the dreaded disease, I find the Prof’s use of metaphor, given his position in academia,  unfortunate and dehumanising.

An inclusive society has no room for the Prof’s ultra-conservative ‘school of Islamic thought’. In Indonesia, we’re already seeing moderate Muslim scholars adopt a more compassionate stance towards homosexuals, that all beings are equal in the eyes of God. At the other extreme, a ‘Teachers Foundation’ in Malaysia has organised seminars and published handouts on how to spot a gay child so you can nip the homosexual ‘problem’ in the bud early. A gay boy would be wearing ‘tight, light coloured clothing’ while a lesbian has ‘no affection for men and like to hang out and sleep in the company of women’. You also can’t make a movie about gay people in Malaysia unless the gay protagonist converts into a ‘normal’ heterosexual. Meanwhile, in smack-in-the-middle Singapore, films about gay love among Muslims like ‘A Jihad for Love’ remain completely banned. You can, however, download the entire film off Youtube, and no you won’t get cancer after viewing it.

In a 2012 interview with kita.sg, Prof Khairudin divulged that he ‘always wanted to be a celebrity of some sort’. If his FB anti-gay post goes ‘viral’, he may very well become one. For all the wrong reasons.

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Lim Biow Chuan utterly disappointed in HPB Sexuality FAQ

From ‘Disappointed MP criticises HPB for its FAQ on sexuality’, 7 Feb 2014, article by Siau Ming En, Today

Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan yesterday hit out at one of the responses, which said homosexual and heterosexual relationships are not too different. Writing on his Facebook page, he said: “I cannot agree that ‘A same-sex relationship is not too different from a heterosexual relationship’. The two relationships are different and they go against the Government’s policy of promoting heterosexual married couples to have healthy relationships and to build stable nuclear and extended family units.

“I am utterly disappointed at the HPB’s stand in issuing such a statement,” said Mr Lim, who has also filed a question asking the Health Minister to clarify his ministry’s stand on the board’s online resource when Parliament next sits on Feb 17.

…Noting that the bulk of the FAQ seemed to suggest that a homosexual relationship “is quite normal”, he added: “If we say a homosexual relationship is quite normal, then people get confused because that’s not the state’s pro-family position”.

It would be nice for once to hear from someone expressing disapproval about homosexuality who isn’t also an active church member. According to Mr Lim’s Facebook intro, he serves as a church leader at Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church and occasionally preaches in it. Looks like he’s bringing the pulpit into the sphere of politics, and no less preachy either. In 2007, the same MP objected to PM Lee’s acknowledgement that there might be some evidence to show that the gay tendency is inborn. If Lee Hsien Loong’s father had been the one instead to suggest in Parliament that homosexuality is a genetic variation, not an ‘aberration’, I doubt Lim would have stood up to protest against the very idea of homosexuality being as normal as one having double eyelids.

Some readers have noted that the gay issue is no longer a private matter, but has been ‘politicised’ into a emotionally- charged national one, with MPs unleashing their personal views while shielding themselves behind the Government’s ‘pro-family’ position. The ‘nuclear family’ argument doesn’t account for heterosexual couples who, by choice or biology, do not have children themselves, compared to say same-sex couples who adopt children and take better care of them than broken, estranged families do. Lim Biow Chuan’s tirade against the sin of homosexuality is tame, however, compared to how one ex-NMP refers to it as a ‘gender identity disorder’, ‘immoral’ and that anal sex is like  ‘drinking a straw through one’s nose’. She’s none other than Law Professor Thio Li-Ann, and unlike our disapproving, silently cringing MPs today, she had no qualms about letting everyone know how she REALLY felt about homosexuality. None of this ‘family unit’ nonsense, and yes, she’s a Christian too.

We can’t help but ‘politicise’ homosexuality, because we have a law that specifically targets men who engage in it, and somewhere along the way when our fertility dipped, the government adopted a pro-family ‘position’ that opponents to homosexuality love to trumpet to their advantage because they don’t want to be accused of hate-crime and homophobia.  To individuals like Lim, it is really discomfort, aversion and the niggling, irrational feeling that ‘something’s not right’ with gayness and it shouldn’t be championed, and the more they try to express their views ‘scientifically’ or how gayness goes against a national ‘call of duty’, the more it sounds like a cow telling a tiger that eating other animals is wrong and that a life of abstinence from meat makes the world a better place.

Other politicians like to speak for the ‘majority’ of Singaporeans that we’re not ‘ready’ for open homosexuality, that Singapore is still a ‘conservative’ nation at heart, conveniently forgetting about the many sex corruption scandals that put perpetrators in our highest public office to shame, wild heterosexual behaviour which has done more harm to the reputation of government agencies than, in the vein of Thio Li-Ann’s vivid analogy, sucking things up your nose behind closed doors.

In 2012, Lim was whacked in the back of his head by a stray skipping rope thanks to Tin Pei Lin in a community event. He later went on to mention that the skipping campaign was ‘part of building an inclusive society’. Wonder if the knock on the head had anything to do with the blatant irony of that sentence.

HPB sexuality FAQs smacks of liberationist propaganda

From ‘HPB’s sexuality FAQs undermine family’, 6 Feb 2014, contribution by Lawrence Khong, Opinion, MyPaper

The FAQs On Sexuality page on the Health Promotion Board (HPB) website is shocking and deeply upsetting. The tone of the entire article gives the impression that HPB condones same-sex relationships and promotes homosexual practice as something normal. The author appears to have taken sides on a highly contentious and politicised subject. Here, I address five issues covered in the FAQs.

ISSUE 1

The FAQs draw a false equation between heterosexual and homosexual relationships in a manner that smacks of liberationist propaganda intended to mainstream homosexuality.

ISSUE 2

HPB adopted a biased and selective approach by naming only a pro-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) group to help those who are looking for support. We are disappointed that HPB’s original article referenced only one option for help, namely Oogachaga. Its hotline is run by specially trained LGBTs or LGBT-affirming counsellors.

To exclude other available avenues of care, such as Liberty League and Focus on the Family, is to discriminate in favour of LGBT-affirming organisations. This is both unjust and harmful.

Lawrence Khong is an avid supporter of the arcane 377A law that criminalises gay sex and believes that repealing it is a ‘looming threat’ to the family unit. His idea of ‘avenue of care’ is undoubtedly seeking a ‘cure’ for homosexuality. One of the support groups cited, Liberty League, aims to help people who want to ‘overcome same-sex attractions’. It is also partly financed by the Government. The ‘Focus on the Family‘ website is largely silent on LGBT issues, and pretty useless if you want to know more about sexual identity. What is ‘unjust and harmful’ is misdirecting gays who need counselling to what is secretly ‘sexual rehab’, the risks and consequences of which remain unknown.

Oogachaga, on the other hand, embraces LGBTQ individuals and ‘diversity’. The site itself has a wealth of resources for those interested, though it can be challenging telling your LGBTs from your GLBTI (gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, intersex). Then there are the bears, cubs and G-men from the ‘Bear Project’, which celebrates big gay men though it also sounds like a special interest group for ‘furries’.  HPB somehow deleted links to Oogachaga among other support groups after FAQ launch, and it remains to be seen if the conservative tyranny of Lawrence Khong, among other religious types, had anything to do with it.

ISSUE 3

…We disagree with the claim that moral objection to homosexual behaviour is based on “irrational fear, disgust, or hatred” of homosexuals or bisexuals because they “do not conform to traditional sexual roles and stereotypes”. Far from it. Moral objection is based on the intrinsic physiological nature of the male and female bodies.

I think what Khong meant is ‘human male and female bodies’. Anyone who reads beyond the Holy Bible would have heard about same-sex shenanigans going on even among our primate, God-created, cousins.  A pastor and magician, Khong is even claiming to be an expert in not just human biology, but ALL biology.

ISSUE 4

The FAQs fail to give an accurate picture and clear warnings of the health risks posed by alternative sex. According to medical research and mental-health studies, the threat is real and severe. Homosexuals have a shorter lifespan, more sexually transmitted infections and more health problems than the general population.

General population meaning compared to heterosexuals? What does Khong mean by ‘health problems’? If they do experience greater problems such as depression, could it be because of the rest of us – the ‘conservative majority’? A ridiculous, sweeping statement made with all fire and brimstone emotion and not an ounce of rational thinking or data to back it up, using annoyingly vague categories to disguise the fact that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

ISSUE 5

The FAQs make an unproven assertion that homosexuals can have long-lasting relationships and, in this way, the FAQs clearly promote a “mainstreaming homosexuality as normal” bias. We disagree because this claim is only theoretical. Some research findings show a different trend. Homosexuals register a higher incidence of short-lived relationships and sexual violence.

Looking at the rate of cheating, divorces and domestic violence among ‘normal’ couples, I find this assertion rather hard to swallow. We can, however, study the rates of divorce among same-sex couples eventually, since SEVENTEEN other countries in world have already legalised gay marriage. Lawrence would have none of that, obviously, and even if someone could convince him that gay marriages can work long term, he’ll pull some ‘research findings’ out of his magician’s hat to support his point that homosexuals are worse off than heterosexuals.

What I would like to see, however, is a live debate on national TV between pastor Khong and gay champions like Alex Au, though the entertainment of such a confrontation may be ruined by the likelihood of Khong making himself vanish into thin air when he’s on the verge of losing a critical argument.

St Margaret’s girls shaving bald for charity

From ’3 girls who shaved head bald for charity told to wear wigs in school by principal’, 2 Aug 2013, article by Grace Chua, ST

When 15-year-old Leia Lai and two of her classmates went back to school on Monday, they sported a new look – bald. The three St Margaret’s Secondary School students had cut their hair to raise funds for a cancer charity.

But this drew the ire of their principal, as they had not donned wigs, as they had promised earlier.

The school’s rules do not allow “punk, unfeminine or sloppy hairstyles“. Said principal Marion Tan: “It’s very clear in our mission: it’s about their turnout as a young lady.”

And if the girls were allowed to go bald, others might take advantage.

“Can you imagine if I were to say yes, I’d have everybody coming to school with a bald head. Sometimes it’s a fad, so they would take advantage of the situation.”

…As for Leia and Cherry, they have been allowed to go to school bald. But only because of doctors’ notes certifying they had rashes on their heads from wearing wigs.

If there are convent schools that SUSPEND girls for a week for having hair that’s ‘too short’, what more to be said for those who choose to shave their heads bald, for whatever reason? In 1993, two schoolgirls were forced to wear swimming caps because their hair was too short (School punishes girls whose hair was too short, 9 April 1993, ST). As silly as that would look, it is less patronising to the cancer cause than making the girls cover their head with wigs. Incidentally, St Margaret’s was founded on the basis of a missionary’s charity, with the aim of helping homeless ‘slave’ girls and turning them into ‘good homemakers’. It is also active in raising funds for the Singapore Anglican Community Services. Plenty of such activities involve singing, dancing and hosting gala dinners, but clearly none involve turning ‘young ladies’ into GI Janes.

It’s ironic that the ‘shavees’ retracted their promise to principal Marion Tan to don wigs after going bald for charity because a woman shaving ‘botak’ is often portrayed in pop culture as an act of defiance. Local actress Cynthia Koh’s character in a Mediacorp drama went bald because she was forced to marry an abusive husband. Natalie Portman and Demi Moore had their locks shorn to play a freedom fighter and a Navy Seal respectively. A bald Robin Tunney exudes rock-star chic in Empire Records. Some, like Britney Spears, do it during a mental breakdown. 

So how DOES Marion Tan wear her hair then, as an example to her students? This is her in 2008, from the school newsletter. You can’t go wrong if you follow your principal’s hairdo. It’s also 100% protective against wolf whistles from naughty boys.

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 11.01.09 PM

Calling a bald head a potential ‘fad’ that may go viral among schoolgirls is like worrying about shaved armpits for the boys – It will never catch on. Going bald is the exact opposite of ‘sloppy’, nor is skinhead recognised as ‘punk fashion’ in today’s context. So according to St Marg’s hair rules and by the process of elimination, one can only conclude that a girl with excessively short hair is considered ‘unfeminine’ by St Marg’s standards, an image that goes against what founder Maria Dyer wanted to achieve for her slave girls in the first place way back in 1842. My Fair Lady, not My Bare Lady. But this is 2013. We don’t groom girls into obedient wives anymore.

Some have even accused such rules for being discriminating against lesbians. If the girls had gone botak to raise funds for a Pink Dot event instead of a children’s charity, would critics be as quick to pounce on Marion Tan for, well, splitting hairs when it comes to school rules? I have done Hair For Hope myself recently as a corporate publicity stunt and got a ‘head cold’ because I was so intent on looking like Vin Diesel or the Rock that I ignored the hazards of exposing my vulnerable scalp to extreme temperatures. Like the St Marg’s girls I too had to see a doctor after shaving my head. Alas, he didn’t waive consultation fees after I told him about my noble deed.

Postscript: Upon public pressure and intervention by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, Marion Tan relented and waived the rule for all 5 bald girls, otherwise she would have faced months of angry people calling for her head to be put on the chopping board, though I think subjecting her head to a clean shave should probably shut everyone up for good.

Adam Lambert concert promoting gay lifestyle at StarPAC

From ‘Church feels the heat over gay singer’s gig’, 2 March 2013, article by Tessa Wong, ST

THE National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) is looking into a complaint about a church-owned venue hosting an upcoming concert by openly gay singer Adam Lambert. Lambert is due to perform next Friday at The Star Performing Arts Centre, a commercial entity fully owned by Rock Productions, the business arm of New Creation Church.

New Creation is a member of the NCCS, which represents about 200 churches in Singapore. NCCS general secretary Lim K. Tham said the council had received a complaint from a Christian that “the gay lifestyle may be promoted at the concert, and that the concert venue is owned by a church,” he said.

“The NCCS has conveyed this concern to New Creation so that it can make a response.”

The Media Development Authority (MDA) said it has also received feedback from some members of the public “expressing concern” about the concert. It declined to reveal what their concerns were. Even though it is not the first time that Lambert has performed here, the NCCS said it did not receive complaints about his previous gigs. The MDA declined to say whether it received any complaints about him previously.

He performed at Resorts World Sentosa in 2010 and sang at the Formula One Grand Prix at the Padang in 2011. (He ‘came out’ in 2009)

…This is not the first time that Christians have raised concerns about a pop concert in recent months. The MDA previously met with the NCCS and LoveSingapore, a network of 100 churches, about Lady Gaga’s concert in May last year. It is understood that they had raised concerns over how she may have insulted Christians and promoted homosexuality at her concert.

The Star PERFORMING ARTS centre at Buona Vista sounds like a venue for an evening of ballet and other classy types of refined entertainment, like an uglier Esplanade of the West. Yet it showcases a diverse range of celebrities from golden oldies to K-pop, saccharine David Foster to Bollywood, sleepy Norah Jones jazz to the flamboyant razzle-dazzle of American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert. Earlier this year, the church-owned theatre wowed male audiences with  an all-girl group from Japan known as the Ebisu Muscats. Unbeknownst to many, the Muscats are in fact a spin-off novelty act consisting of nude models and PORNSTARS.  The NCCS said nothing then. Oh I forgot, those guys don’t watch porn. They were also seemingly fine with singing pastor Sun Ho’s China Wine video.

NCC insists that its Star stage operates independently from the workings of the Church, like a secular debauched fantasy realm of its own, though the theatre is just an escalator away from a Christian book and music shop. Lambert’s music is not known to promote any agenda for ‘free love’ or cast a cursory eye on religion unlike Lady Gaga’s overt references to biblical characters (Black Jesus, anyone?). Last year, 300 Protestant South Koreans gathered for group prayer cum protest against Gaga’s Born this Way Ball. I wonder if anyone has already booked Hong Lim Park for a similar vigil to save humanity from Adam Lambert. A commenter from the NCC Facebook page refers to Lambert’s gig as an ‘appearance of evil’ (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The actual quote from the Bible is ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil’, or ‘If you see a gay dude with eyeliner, run far, far away’.

You can pray and Air guitar at the same time, it seems

As the singer proudly proclaims, he’s just here ‘for your entertainment’, though that entertainment may include him kissing his band guitarist amid the gothic ‘glitter and leather’ extravaganza. Up yours S377A!

The people complaining to NCCS and Malaysia’s hardline opposition party PAS have something in common then, both terrified of a gay epidemic, with the latter forbidding Lambert from even showing fans his nipples. In response to allegations of promoting homosexuality in Malaysia, he said:

Does my show ‘promote the gay lifestyle’? It promotes living ANY lifestyle that includes the freedom to seek love and intimacy

Lambert’s ‘We Are Glamily‘ tour was also recently cancelled in Manila due to ‘unforseen circumstances’. This is the same country where Christian and Muslim brotherhoods unite to banish demonic singers. Interestingly, the ‘Glamily’ title was left out for the Singapore promo. Sistic calls it ‘Adam Lambert Live in Singapore’. Imagine how outraged the church elders must feel if it had been left intact. Some gay singer coming here to break up the family unit! Dear Lord!

I wonder what the wholesome folks at NCCS think of Elton John (who has a male spouse, surrogate child and an orchid named after him) performing Candle in the Wind for charity here. Elton John is the last person Singaporean teens would look up to on sexuality matters of course, nevermind that he implores you to ‘Feel the Love Tonight’ on a Disney cartoon. Lambert is gay AND cool, which in the conservative Christian’s mind is an equation that adds up to ’666′.

A question every openly gay singer will have to ask when seeking to meet their fans in this part of the world is: Whaddaya want from me? Whaddaya want indeed. All together now…

Yeah, it’s plain to see (plain to see)
that baby you’re beautiful
And it’s nothing wrong with you
(nothing wrong with you)
It’s me, I’m a freak (yeah)
but thanks for lovin’ me
Cause you’re doing it perfectly

Repealing 377A a looming threat to the family unit

From ‘Pastor’s plea to retain S377A sparks online furore’, 18 Jan 2013, article in Today online.

A plea by a church pastor — made during morning service last Sunday — to Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong against the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men, has drawn strong reactions from the online community. Mr Goh happened to pass by the Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) during his regular walkabout in his Marine Parade constituency and was invited by the church leaders to meet the congregation.

While Mr Goh was on the stage in the church’s auditorium, FCBC senior pastor Lawrence Khong read from a prepared statement. Among other things, he called the effort to repeal Section 377A “a looming threat” to the family unit, which he defined as “a man as father, a woman as mother, and children”.

“We see a looming threat to this basic building block by homosexual activists seeking to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code,” said Mr Khong, who also urged the Government to “provide moral leadership in preserving this basic building block and foundation of our society”. In response, Mr Goh made a general remark that people are free to stand by their beliefs: “You stand by your belief, and you’ll be fine.

There are many other educated voices out there in a better position than myself to argue for the repeal of 377A, but what concerns me here is whether someone of Khong’s calibre should be endorsed by Goh Chok Tong to ‘stand by’ such divisive beliefs and if taking this moral high ground would be detrimental not just to the livelihood of gays of the faith, but gays of society in general. In his statement, Khong talks of the repeal ‘attacking religious freedom’ and changing the way sex is taught in schools. If a religious leader expresses an irrational fear of a certain group of individuals and crudely labels it a destructive force, is it all ‘fine’ and dandy? Two gays having consensual sex in private doesn’t hurt anyone. One influential man telling every Christian or Catholic that homosexuality is a form of spiritual defilement is not someone simply expressing a ‘belief’. In some civilised societies, such condemning of an alternative lifestyle choice is considered a hate crime. Here, the ex Prime Minister of Singapore gives you an encouraging pat on the shoulder for ranting about the impending ‘gaypocalypse’. If I ‘believe’ the PAP is running the nation to the ground, will I get the same assurance?

I’m not sure that we, for the benefit for fellow humans with feelings, should tolerate such attitudes disguised as old biblical axiom. What Khong is implying is that homosexuality needs to be ‘controlled’ before it becomes a ‘norm’ and wrecks everything we hold dear. If you replace ‘homosexual’ with groups like the elderly, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally impaired, atheists, rapists, liars, gamblers, cheaters etc you have someone essentially advocating mass sterilisation of ‘undesirables’ from the pulpit. On the other hand, if one speaks up against the Church while ‘standing firm’ to a belief that monotheistic faiths are the viral scourge of humanity, you’ll be FINED rather than ‘fine’, if not jailed for sedition and ‘disrupting religious harmony’. Meanwhile, men of the cloth spew discriminatory hokum and get away with it because they have scripture to back them up, the same scripture that justifies genocide of the ‘deviants’. If a pastor is allowed to take a sweeping crack at homosexuality, so should I be able to exercise my ‘right’ to critique his sermons as being arcane, merciless and downright nonsensical. Jesus, just look what one of your heterosexual clergy have done to a 15 year old follower this past month. And you want to talk about 377A when you can’t even control your guys from the ‘proper’ family units.

The argument for the preservation of the ‘family unit’ and its role in nation building is as stale as unwashed foreskin. In 2009, Senior Pastor Derek Hong from the Anglican Church of our Savior said:

Accepting homosexual practices and endorsing any education programme that teaches our children that such practices are neutral or normal would lead to the erosion of the sound family values on which Singapore society has been built.

The infamous Rony Tan from Lighthouse Evangelism compared homosexuality to a plague of barrenness, that if left alone, ‘half the world’ would become homosexual, like the spread of some zombie pandemic. John Chew, head of the Anglican Church, told the ST in 2006 that:

 …‘It may be a cultured way of depicting a certain lifestyle, but two generations later, it will be an accepted lifestyle…If Elton John can do it, imagine the impact on his fans…It is just too dangerous, we have no fallback…It’s not like in the West, where these things take time to trickle down.”

Yang Tuck Loong, pastor of Cornerstone Community Church and LoveSingapore member, had this to say in his ‘Firing the First Salvo’ statement (Church network to speak up for S377A, 22 Jan 2013, ST), a terrifying metaphor which is hard to differentiate from a call to arms by the Knights Templar.

We must not be oblivious to our responsibilities as an army to push back the powers of darkness

PM Lee seems to think we are still at heart a ‘conservative’ society, and are not ready for change. Look at the sex scandals in your own cabinet : A heterosexual Speaker of Parliament running wild. Right under your nose.

So from the right-wing religious point of view, homosexuality is ‘contagious’ and is ‘unacceptable’ based on what appears to be it breaching a sacred union, though any link between this perfect union of penis and vagina and the success and happiness of a kingdom or nation has yet to be reliably shown. It doesn’t say if a polygamous marriage has run afoul of the Bible’s teachings (in fact it was probably rampant at the time the Bible was written). It also says nothing about the millions of men and women who made a difference to society as orphans or products of single parents and broken families, nor does it acknowledge that perfect families are as likely to produce a saint or President as a Hitler or serial killer.

Lawrence Khong and like-minded leaders need to be put in their place before such remarks are taken as a war-cry against the ‘fallen’ and a stamp of government approval for something akin to militant eugenics. The Archbishop was once told to stay the hell out of politics for commenting on the ISA, so shouldn’t a pastor be censured for interfering in our legislation as well? Likewise, politicians should know better and stay clear of mixing policy with religious affairs. Did Khong pull a Houdini here as he does on a regular basis as a trained MAGICIAN? Maybe that explains the hocus-pocus reasoning coming out of his mouth.

He should make himself disappear

Orchard streetwalkers soliciting expats

From ‘Streetwalkers: Stores vigilant’, 16 Sept 2012, article by Nathaniel Fetalvero and Nicholas Yeam, and ‘Streetwalkers getting more blatant at Orchard Road’, 10 Sept 2012, TNP

Foreign women touting sex services are no longer just operating around Orchard Towers. They are now covering areas as far as Far East Shopping Mall. The minute they spot a potential customer, usually a male tourist, they would approach them with offers of ‘massage’. Said one expat: “It’s like running a gauntlet. If you make the mistake of looking at them, they’ll be all over you in seconds.”

…ON WEDNESDAY, two days after The New Paper reported on foreign women soliciting expatriates on Orchard Road, it appears that not much has changed. At the stretch between Orchard Parade Hotel and Orchard Towers, we spotted one or two women standing around, but after an hour, more emerged, loitering on the sidewalks.

Businesses, like Modesto’s Singapore, said the women do not pose a problem. A spokesman for Modesto’s Singapore told TNP that “if some ladies enter and ask for a table, they will be seated and served because we cannot judge who they are. “However, if they are seen to be then going to single men and hassling them, they will be immediately asked to leave our restaurant.”

Orchard Towers, also known to foreigners as the ‘Four Floors of Whores’, wasn’t always the dark seedy underbelly of our country’s premier shopping district. In 1974, it was hyped as a ‘new-idea in office home development’, boasting a state-of-the-art theatrette on the 3rd floor, as well as ‘medical, scientific or technical’ offices on the 4th and 5th floors of the front block facing Orchard Road. It was also home to ‘fine art’ exhibitions, and its Premier Theatre screened selections of the ASEAN film festival in 1980. From Gallery of Fine Arts to Bongo Bar and Top Ten Disco; what the hell happened that turned a centre for art appreciation into the girly-bar hotbed of sleaze and sex that we know today?

In April 1980, Johnny Teo (a name as pimp as it can get) was fined $3000 for managing a brothel from his Orchard Towers apartment, housing mostly Thai prostitutes. Things started to heat up once Premier cinema shut down operations in 1983, with Top Ten Disco taking over after a brief conversion of the auditorium to a ‘live show theatre’.  By 1988, Orchard Towers was an entertainment hub and yuppie den with bars, pubs and ‘social escort agencies’ making their foray into the premises. Some recognisable names in the entertainment business also cut their teeth in Orchard Towers, including singers Wendi Koh (Celebrities bar), Cantopop sensation William Scorpion (Utopia) and DJ Brian Richmond (Peyton Place). Before there were ‘streetwalkers’, pubs like Utopia had ‘public relations officers’ to provide ‘companionship’ and ‘conversation’. By then it would also have its fair share of transvestites and transsexuals, who found acceptance and metaphorical ‘beginnings’ within the building’s four walls, only to be rounded up by the police, who were also on a rampage against homosexuals.

By 1991, Orchard Towers began to be ‘plagued’ by fly-by-night foreign hookers, with the police cracking down on the trade in Dec the same year (Orchard Towers cleared of fly-by-night prostitutes, 28 Dec 1991, ST). In 1992, Singapore’s ‘largest KTV’ opened at the basement of the building (Orchard KTV). In 2002, Orchard Towers was the scene of a high-profile murder, after bodies were found in an abandoned vehicle in the car park. 4 years later, Top 10 rebranded itself as Top 5, its evolution over the years in sync with the gradual moral decline of the entire complex. Today the disco houses private rooms named ‘Desire, Passion, Seduction, Temptation, Obsession’, named after ‘ladies’ emotions, which also describes perfectly the naughty shebang happening on the streets outside. Cross-dresser comedian Kumar also performs there at 3 Monkeys bar these days, and being risque in Orchard Towers is like baring it all in a nude colony.

Sex, rock n roll, transgender performers, has-been celebrities, even murder. This building has seen it all, and should be curated for being a seething well of all imaginable contradictions, an antithesis to the safe, sterile Singapore brand. If the National Stadium is the Grand Dame, this place is the Wretched Slut. Orchard Towers remains the ‘original’ sex destination for rich foreigners on exotic dirty pilgrimages, despite the vice and sleaze leapfrogging over to the other end of Orchard Road at Orchard Plaza and Concorde Hotel shopping centre. Unlike the sleek, squeaky clean, ultramodern behemoths like Ion and 313, the one and only ‘Four Floors’ remains unabashed about its sordid associations and services, one of the last buildings in town with a hint of CHARACTER and history. A stubborn stain on the gleaming tourist showcase that is Orchard Road, it still has many stories to tell, even if they’re not ones you really want your children to hear.

Girl-on-girl kissing at Star Awards

From ‘Girl on girl kiss to be censored in re-run of awards show’, 4 May 2012, article in asiaone.com

A kiss between female actresses Vivian Lai and Kate Pang has sparked a furore among Singaporeans. Actress-host Lai, 36, kissed actress Kate Pang, 29, on the lips for one second when she was announced as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes during Sunday’s live telecast of the Star Awards Show 2.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported that many viewers called its hotline to say they were offended by the kiss. They said that while some women may find kissing each other to be “trendy”, they were not used to it.

Some also said that it was strange to see female artistes dressed sexily and kissing each other. The Media Development Authority (MDA) said it will probe the incident to ascertain whether it has breached content guidelines of the free-to-air TV programme code.

A spokesperson for broadcaster MediaCorp told The New Paper that the “kiss” will be censored for this Sunday’s repeat telecast as some viewers may not be comfortable.

They should have won Most Favourite Couple

This will probably be the most useless snip in the history of television, regardless of what people think of two women kissing. Even if there were erotic undertones here beyond a ‘sisterly’ peck, it would have went unnoticed if the people obsessed with ‘lesbianism’ hadn’t cried foul over it. Perhaps cleavage just fails to shock anymore,  that there’s only a few ways to display one’s assets,  to the point that even the underboob has been milked dry. This Western glam concept of celebrity lip smooching has taken the attention away from boring speculations of boob jobs or waiting for wardrobe malfunctions to occur. The awards  have become secondary and our Mediacorp artistes are being ravaged on the red carpet for tasteless frocks, if not accused of aping the decadent West and turning viewers gay with their antics. People who’ve never seen a single Mediacorp drama the entire year would have at least heard of this event, but only for the wrong reasons. Soon no one will even remember or care about who won the Best Drama or Actress, nor male artistes who dress like hobos, and the Star Awards will be known just for two things: Ann Kok’s ample bosom and a hot girly kiss. Pity the former wasn’t involved in the latter, or you would have the prudes getting cardiac arrests before even writing in to complain about too much sex on TV.

This spontaneous couple seem to have taken a cue off Britney and Madonna, who locked lips on stage at the 2003 MTV awards, with a hint of tongue too. Nobody’s calling either a lesbian.

Our authorities have also banned the first hit single from Katy Perry titled ‘I Kissed a Girl’, which anyone can download off Youtube below, although no girls were actually kissing in the video. Katy went on to marry comedian Russell Brand in a rather short-lived romance, proof that she too wasn’t a lesbian.

Our censors also deleted scenes off critically acclaimed films like The Hours, and banned films like Shame altogether because of threesome scenes which I presume, would have some girly action as well. Kissing used to be a fun thing; experimental, playful and affectionate, and celebrities have the privilege of playing fast and loose with their PDA as they deem fit. Because they ARE celebrities.  Better that they engage in same-sex kissing than snort cocaine. These complainants are treating the act as if someone dropped a box full of forceps in the middle of a life-saving surgery.

Football players smooch each other all the time after scoring goals, yet no one talks about censoring matches because these contain ‘harmful’ scenes of sweaty men kissing, that boys who watch them may end up spending more time in the locker room than necessary. If two men kiss, it’s awkward or a prank, especially when presidents do it. If two ‘sexily dressed’ ladies kiss, however,  a ‘guideline’ has been breached and the innocent need to be protected.

One thing’s certain though; the kissing video would garner more hits than the  combined viewership of both live and rerun shows, even among people who have no idea who Joanne Peh is. Kate Pang may even score the Top 10 favourite artist list every year from now on, even if nobody has seen her act. Going near topless to boost a lacklustre career doesn’t work anymore, and it’s no longer peek-a-boo but ‘peck-a-(chio)bu’ that makes the Star Awards worth saving.

LKY’s Haram Truths

From ‘M’sia religious body still studying Hard Truths’, 10 Dec 2011, article in Today

Malaysia’s government has said that a book on Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew is “still being studied” despite federal Islamic authorities earlier confirming that it has been placed on a list of books declared “haram”, or forbidden to Muslims.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mr Jamil Khir Baharom, said the book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going (picture), was being “examined”. “It is under the Home Ministry … it is not haram,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

When told that the book was one of 15 listed by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) as haram, the senator replied that “this just means it is being examined by the censorship committee”.

In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a ‘fatwa’, technically a death sentence and manhunt, against Salman Rushdie for ‘The Satanic Verses’, declaring it ‘against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran’.  LKY’s Hard Truths, as its title suggests,  isn’t a work of fiction (though probably no less entertaining) like Rushdie’s Verses. If it weren’t written by a powerful politician, Hard Truths might have been regarded as more blasphemous than it really is and incite Muslim extremists to call for the old man’s head as well.

Our own authorities have a habit of putting authors in prison for exposing the criminal justice system (Alan Shadrake’s Once a Jolly Hangman, for example), so it would be indeed ironic if certain religious councils in our neighbouring countries call for more than just a ban on Hard Truths the book, but issue ‘fatwas’ on its prolific and outspoken author as well. Incidentally, Hard Truths speaks of Muslims marginalising themselves from society by being too ‘strict’ with their beliefs.

Memoirs aside, here’s a terrifying list of non-food things classified as ‘haram’ by Islamic authorities around the world.

  • Yoga: A fatwa was issued against yoga in 2008 by Sarawak authorities, and Muslims were advised to do other forms of physical activity to keep healthy, because yoga originated from ‘Hindu spiritual teachings’.
  • Aerobics: According to the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), aerobic moves ‘tended to spark sexual desire and therefore were contrary to Islamic mores’. Practitioners of this erotic exercise should also refrain from wearing ‘transparent clothing’.
  • Valentine’s Day: The JB state Religious Department issued a fatwa for V-Day in 2005, stating that such celebrations ‘involved elements of vice’.
  • Poco-poco: Though not eventually banned, this dance routine was frowned upon by the Perak Fatwa Committee, not because it was overtly erotic, but because the steps involved making a cross with your feet. Heck, some states even ban public SINGING and dancing altogether (No public singing and dancing, decrees Kelantan government, 7 Oct 1995, ST). Yet there’s a Malaysian Idol?
  • Sperm banks: The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI)  declared that the presence of sperm bank in the country was haram or prohibited. “Sperm donor is haram, so is sperm bank”, so says a spokesman. One can only speculate why the generous life-giving  act of donating sperm is forbidden.
  • Taking part in SMS contests: Jakim says this tantamounts to betting, and betting is a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam. I guess carnival ‘games of chance’ should be banned as well.
  • Tomboys, or ‘pengkid’: The fatwa reads ‘Pengkid, that is, women who have the appearance, mannerisms and sexual orientation similar to men, is haram in Islam’. It was supposed to ‘save these women from lesbianism’.
  • Marrying a transgender: In 1982, the national Fatwa committee in Malaysia ruled that it is haram for a man to marry another man who has undergone a sex change to be a woman (Sex change marriage is haram, 17 April 1982, ST)
  • Buying a cucumber: Not surprisingly this comes from Al Qaeda in Iraq. What about bananas then?
  • Elton John:   Josephine Teo would surely approve.
  • Wearing wigs: Especially those made of human hair
  • Body building contests: Banned by the Sarawak Religious Affairs Dept (Jais) for over-exposing bodies (Sarawak bans bodybuilding contests for Muslims, 24 Aug 1997, ST). I suppose Abercrombie and Fitch is haram too.
  • Delivering a buffalo head to appease a sea demon: Don’t ask why.

Orchid named after Elton John

From ‘Why orchid for Elton’? 26 Nov 2011, ST Mailbag

(Josephine Tay): I read with great disappointment that Elton John has been given the honour of having an orchid named after him (Orchid Named After Elton John, Prime, Nov 19). I am dismayed that his partner David Furnish and their adopted son Zachary (both right with John) were also publicised to ‘share his honour’.

There are other celebrities and dignitaries more deserving than this pair. Singapore would be seen in a much better light on the world stage if, for example, recent F1 champion Sebastian Vettel had been accorded this privilege instead.

Is homosexuality to be openly encouraged and endorsed by the Government?

Can you feel the love tonight?

That is SIR ELTON JOHN to you, Ms Tay. Not exactly a fan of his music myself, but what could be more appropriately named after a gay, knighted, man than a flower? I think the writer’s main beef is not so much that Sir Elton is homosexual, but that homosexuals are settling down and bringing up children and the media is treating such families as if they were normal.  The ST report also used euphemisms like ‘partner’, as if it were applied in the context of how the Rocket Man himself had a songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin ( a collaboration that produced some of the most endearing Elton John hits), to subtly conceal the fact that these are two MEN IN LOVE, MARRIED and are bringing up a CHILD together. Incidentally, Zachary was born to a surrogate mom with Elton as biological father, and not ‘adopted’ like what the writer presumptuously states (The original ST text says ‘baby’ son).

There’s also a sense of sweet nobility in this, that Elton’s husband David was willing to forsake any contribution to Zachary’s genetic make-up, and that the spotlight will always be on the celebrity and his son but never himself. In some circles, that would be called love. To people like the writer, this will always be about two gay men picking up a kid from an orphanage, or buying it off parents who can’t afford to raise one.  And naming a racecar driver like Vettel after an orchid is like giving a boy a doll instead of a firetruck for his birthday.

But talk about double standards; Earlier this year, there was much furore over how critically acclaimed film ‘The Kids are Alright’, which celebrates the fostering of children by a lesbian couple, was granted only a limited one-print release. Which makes this orchid honorific something of a hypocritical publicity stunt, not only to showcase our national flower and attract big names here, but to subtly tell the world how ‘progressive’ and open we are to gay relationships (when in fact we severely restrict any media promotion of gay marriages internally).  Orchids were traditionally named after visiting royalty, heads of state including  Prime ministers like Indira Gandhi,  and First Ladies ( Aranda Barbara Bush AND Mokara Laura Bush). Most recipients are also female, with  exceptions such as Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner, Jackie Chan, Nelson Mandela and Bollywood stars Shah Ruhk Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. In 2009, Dendrobium Thien Sein was named after a visiting ‘leader of the despotic military junta of Burma’, which means if Kim Jong Il ever came for a visit, he would be probably be given a similar honour as well, an orchid-Venus fly-trap hybrid perhaps. So it’s OK to dignify politicians with blood on their hands (Mandela and Thatcher included) but not gay singers who wouldn’t harm a fly?

It was only in 2006 that a local celebrity had an orchid named after her (Stefanie Sun). Which leads me to wonder why local music legend Dick Lee hasn’t gotten his. If anything, the man deserves a hybrid as flamboyant as Sir Elton’s. Doritaenopsis Sir Elton John isn’t the first flower to be named after an entertainer with a ‘complicated’ sexual history either. Renaglottis Ricky Martin (2003) was named after the Latino superstar of  ‘She Bangs’ and ‘Shake Your Bon-Bon’ fame. Ricky’s also gay, based on a 2010 confession (Does that mean we should call the Renaglottis something else? Didn’t everybody already KNOW beforehand?) Dendrobium Bae Yong Jun (2004) was named after the  star of ‘Untold Scandal’ and ‘April Snow’, Korean movies straddling the line between arthouse and flesh-flick, while no such recognition was given to our most successful local actor to make it to Hollywood mainstream to date, Ng Chin Han. What about drag queen  diva Kumar? Hell, even  dedicating an orchid to Singaporean porn star Annabelle Chong would be something, though a pink creation with spotty, flappy petals comes to mind.

In a recent Forum letter (‘In Search of Vanda Miss Joaquim’, Sep 2011), someone was wondering if our national flower Vanda Miss Joaquim was ‘going extinct’, and that she should be cultivated in all schools before it’s too late. Looking at the booming business of creating celebrity goodwill hybrids for foreigners , whether they are singers, actors, princesses or dictators, and displaying them in VIP sections of the National Orchid garden instead of lining our streets, it’s really not hard to see why people  would think our Vanda has disappeared altogether.

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