Retiring Chief of Defence Force entering politics

From ‘Chief of Defence Force LG Ng Chee Meng to retire this August’, 31 July 2015, article by Neo Chai Chin, Today

In a move set to spark speculation on whether he will enter politics, the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Ng Chee Meng, will retire from the Singapore Armed Forces on Aug 18. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had announced LG Ng’s retirement on Facebook.

On his plans moving forward, LG Ng said: “While I do not rule out the option of returning to the Administrative Service or entering politics if the opportunity presents itself, my immediate focus is on handing over my duties to the incoming Chief of Defence Force.”

Dr Ng said on his Facebook post that there would inevitably be questions asked about LG Ng’s future plans. “Given his tested leadership and proven capabilities, I would not at all be surprised, if indeed he is (entering politics),” wrote Dr Ng, who is also the People’s Action Party’s organising secretary.

According to the book ‘Singapore Politics Under the PAP’, military scholars in the early seventies were second choice to ‘academic and professional’ talents when it came to recruiting new blood for the ruling party. What was once the domain of lawyers, architects, bankers and doctors has given way to Brigadier Generals and Rear Admirals. Our second PM Goh Chok Tong was reportedly ‘aware that having too many military men’ in government was BAD for Singapore’s image, and Cabinet should not have a majority of so-called ‘paper generals’ with the same military mindset. Goh, incidentally, was once a TROOP LEADER in the Boy Scouts.

Hmm, I wonder what kind of impression that a government dominated by ‘scholar-soldiers’, some of whom get promptly appointed Minister of States after elections, would give the rest of the world.

Nevermind that the captain of the Singapore ship is the shining example of the military-PAP-public service complex, the youngest ever Brigadier General at the tender age of 32. Our DPM Teo is another, so is the current Secretary General of NTUC and the Minister of Manpower, a man who knows more than a thing or two about cardboard exercise. They even got an army guy as Auditor-General. Maybe we should reserve our SAF scholars for something more befitting of their calibre than running ministries. Like saving our country from an alien invasion, a doomsday asteroid or Ebola.

But it’s not just Parliament loading up with SAF powerhouses, military men have been snagging top positions in public transport operators and statutory boards as well, the most prominent one hogging the limelight at the moment being the ever apologetic Desmond Kuek, former Chief of Army and now SMRT CEO. Incidentally, Minister of Transport Lui Tuck Yew also happens to be a former Chief of Navy. Their combined military prowess could not prevent salt water from causing one of the worst train breakdowns in history.

Your retirement money is also in the safe hands of a military man. Earlier this year, Ng Chee Peng, former navy chief was appointed chief executive of the CPF board. Rear Admiral Ronnie Tay was chief of NEA and then IDA. BG Tan Yih Shan spearheaded IPOS. Chew Men Leong, ex Navy Chief, helmed PUB and is currently the head of LTA. So, assuming that men drilled in the ways of the warrior have the skill-set and discipline to deliver with clockwork precision, it’s inevitable that your money, your drinking water, your internet, mobile phone, car, even groceries all somehow have links to the SAF hydra. If an SAF scholar ever takes the chair at MDA, you can kiss your porn goodbye.

I’m also not aware of any army or navy man taking charge of bureaus like the AVA or NPARKS. Given the wimpy manner in which we’re dealing with animal cruelty here, my vote is for THIS guy.

A godless society is problematic for Singapore

From ‘We welcome criticism within constraints, says Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong’, 23 Jul 2015, article in CNA

The governing authorities are open to criticism, but the ability to exercise of the freedom of expression comes with limits, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, referencing the cases of bloggers Amos Yee and Roy Ngerng. Yee received a four-week jail sentence for posting an obscene image online and posting content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians – a sentence and conviction he is appealing.

“In our society, which is multiracial and multi-religious, giving offence to another religious or ethnic group, race, language or religion, is always a very serious matter. In this case, he’s a 16-year-old, so you have to deal with it appropriately because he’s (of a) young age,” Mr Lee said in an interview with Time, published on Thursday (Jul 23).

The peaceful co-existence of religions is something that takes work, the Prime Minister said.

“Overall, we think religion is a good thing. I mean, if we were godless society, we would have many other problems, the communists found that out,” said Mr Lee.

“But religion is a good thing provided we are able to bridge the differences between our different faiths, provided there’s give-and-take, provided we are able to get along together and not offend each other by aggressive proselytisation, by denigrating other faiths, by being separate and, therefore, having suspicions of one another, which can easily happen,” he added.

Well, religion is awesome, as 50,000 Christians proved to PM Lee when he joined the godly masses for the Jubilee Day of Prayer. It’s also great to see different faiths coming together and praying to purge evil spirits from suicide reservoirs. I can’t imagine what Singapore would be like if we all didn’t believe in the Almighty; no heritage churches, Sultan Mosque, temples. No multimillionaire pastors. No Lawrence Khong magic shows. Gasp, no Sun Ho! We’ve got 99 problems but God ain’t one.

PM Lee’s reference to ‘godlessness’ echoes his father’s sentiments towards the Red Scourge back in 1964, which he calls ‘a godless philosophy that leads to trouble’.  Soviet communism has given atheism a bad name, and has been described as an ideology that started on a godless premise.  The same term was used to describe the Nazis, though both regimes had similar elements of worship and idolatry – the deification of Lenin and Hitler come to mind. Atheism has since been recognised as philosophy based on logic and science rather than violent heresy, and the word ‘godless’ itself was just another Dark Ages relic label like ‘infidel’, until its resurgence around 1958 as this Ngrams graph shows. This was around the time the USSR launched Sputnik, and Fidel Castro took control of Cuba.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 10.09.18 PM

Today, despite their inherent godlessness, we see branded Che Guevara images and ‘Hitler chic’, with its Nazi themed cafes, weddings and even cosplay. Mao propaganda posters have become hip marketing gimmicks. Godless commies have become trivialised in pop culture, though our Government refuses to let it go still. Look what happened to ‘To Singapore With Love’, banned like an exorcist casting away Satan. Even if we don’t worship a literal supernatural father figure, there’s one god that every successful, capitalist country, especially one among the richest nations in the world, looks up to in reverence: Money. Or at least a personification of money. Like Cai Shen Ye.

Unless there is anthropological evidence that any society without the pillar of monotheistic faith is doomed to fail, with or without the godless Red Star Armies, our PM’s assertion on the social advantages of religion as compared to no religion, remains up for debate. Religion has its share of problems, obviously, if you think of all the horrific tragedies in human history , from the Crusades to ISIS, done ‘in the name of God’. Wonder what PM Lee’s sister, a self proclaimed ‘atheist’ thinks about elder brother’s quip. As for life without God, we can only for now, well, Imagine.

Son of Punggol and Darryl David as AMK GRC contenders

From ‘Potential candidates seen on the ground’, 26 July 15, article by Wong Siew Ying and Lim Yi Han, Sunday Times

…Over at Cheng San Community Club, two potential PAP candidates mingled with residents from Ang Mo Kio GRC at a Hari Raya celebration. They were Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Design deputy director Darryl David and colorectal surgeon Koh Poh Koon.

…Dr Koh lost in the 2013 Punggol East by-election to the Workers’ Party’s (WP) Ms Lee Li Lian. The experience has given him a “psychological prep” and has minimised the “shell-shocked factor”, he said, adding that the ability to understand issues that are of concern to residents is also an advantage.

Dr Koh seems to be taking a different tack from his rags to riches sob story when he was running for Punggol East SMC 2 years ago, where he called himself a ‘Son of Punggol’ and told everyone how he had only $12 in his bank account at one stage of his life. This time round, he’s selling his medical profession as a ‘touchpoint’ for different strata of society, under the umbrella of the PM’s GRC. Pity he didn’t have another go at Punggol though, where he can strike out on his own, as he once proclaimed (I’m my own man!). His sense of toilet humour would have provided us all with some…campaign entertainment.

The colorectal surgeon was once caught on video single-handedly unclogging drains of dead leaves during a flash flood, which would have been great PR if he hadn’t mentioned the word ‘ponding’. Getting shit out of holes with bare hands is all in a day’s work for him really. Come on, how many MPs do you actually see sticking their fingers into longkangs?

Truth is, our Prime Minister seems to fancy this guy, and by swaddling the Son of Punggol in a 6-member GRC, he’s much less likely to get the crap kicked out of him, not to mention ‘shell-shocked’. Defeat is impossible in the AMK stronghold. You don’t just send in any Opposition A-team into this GRC. You send goddamn Spartans. For those who followed his 2013 campaign trail, we probably already know all there is to know about his kampung days, and giggled enough at the endless shit puns that he had to suffer with. Now, tell us all a good fart joke Dr Koh!

Darryl David, first making a name of himself as the host of the long defunct Pyramid Game, is an interesting choice. As a former celebrity, his life and career in the entertainment scene is likely to come under the spotlight. If he gets on board with the PAP ticket, he’ll probably be the only candidate to have ever acted on a Mediacorp sitcom (Happy Belly). He also joins the list of mixed-race, articulate, good-looking politicians, including former NMP Eunice Olsen (who once worked on Wheel of Fortune) and ex-Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer. This guy looks set to go on a charm offensive, which is what the PAP thinks the ground needs. Be afraid. Be Belly Afraid.

You’ve got served

Incidentally, Dr Koh is the medical director for Capstone Colorectal Surgery. According to the website intro, a capstone is defined as the topmost stone of a structure such as a PYRAMID. Coincidence?

EBRC not transparent about boundary changes

From ‘More detailed explanation needed to fend off gerrymandering claims’, 25 July 15, article by Siau Ming En, CNA.

Noting that the boundary changes announced on Friday (Jul 24) were not drastic, political analysts nevertheless felt the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee should explain in greater detail the rationale behind its decisions to fend off perennial accusations of gerrymandering from the Opposition.

Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan said the generic reasons given for the redrawing of boundaries, which include taking into consideration population shifts and housing developments, still leave many questioning how they were done.

“Because sometimes voters are unable to explain or even observers are unable to explain why the boundaries were redrawn the way that they are, that fact lends itself to possible criticisms of gerrymandering,” he said.

The committee said it “reviewed all the existing electoral divisions, taking into account their current configurations, population shifts and housing developments since the last boundary delineation exercise”. It also followed guidelines by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to reduce the average size of the GRC to fewer than five members, and have at least 12 single-seat wards.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong said: “Insofar as the committee does not provide clear and detailed reasons for its changes, it will trigger speculation and conspiracy theories — which may or may not be justifiable or grounded in truth — about the reasons behind its decisions, and that is not healthy and not conducive to a resilient political culture in Singapore.”

National University of Singapore (NUS) sociologist Tan Ern Ser said the changes were significant but “not exactly earth-shaking”, adding that he had expected some three-member Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs).

Gerrymandering is the carving up of electorial boundaries to benefit one political party, and is the kind of word you shouldn’t toss about willy-nilly in case you get ‘Roy Ngernged’.

In a 2009 dialogue session, the EBRC explained that they’re made up of senior civil servants such as the chief statistician and the heads of the HDB and SLA, and considers ‘population growth and movement’ when recommending changes. When quizzed whether such a committee was in fact non-partisan without being pressured by the PM himself, a member from AGC clarified that civil servants owe their allegiance not to the PAP, but the President, a ‘politically neutral institution’. Yes, we trust these people are ‘politically blind’ even if our current President was once a PAP-man himself, and all civil servants just got a SG50 $500 handout. And oh yes, even if the Chairman of the EBRC so happens to be Tan Kee Yong, Secretary to, erm, the Prime Minister.

Prior to independence, our Government set up the first ‘Electoral Boundaries Delineation Committee’. Despite being chaired by the Perm Sec of the PMO, all registered political parties were ‘invited to give their views by way of memoranda’. Today, nobody is consulted on whatever’s going on in those boardrooms, and then boom!, your Changi Village is now officially part of goddamn Siglap, though both places, for all practical purposes, are worlds apart. Which makes you wonder if the EBDC are using an actual Singapore map, or the one that Frodo uses to get to Mordor.

The population shift reasoning is shaky for certain enclaves such as Joo Chiat, which is made up almost entirely of private residences, and has a schizoid history of getting in and out of GRCs (from 1959 to 1988, then 2001-2015 according to NMP Yee Jenn Jong). The fact that PAP incumbent MP Charles Chong won over Joo Chiat with a slim 51% margin had nothing to do with it being swallowed up, I suppose. Similarly, back in 1997, PAP garnered 54.8% of votes in Cheng San GRC, and it was dissolved completely before the very next election cycle. In that same year, Braddell Heights SMC, which the PAP escaped by the skin of their teeth when SPP’s Sin Kek Tong contested in 1991 (48% votes), was engulfed by Marine Parade GRC. Chiam See Tong remarked that residents woke up one morning and realised that they were in Marine Parade, without the beaches.

To give the illusion of ‘fairness’, some sacrificial lambs from the PAP have been offered to the EBRC altar.  Lui Tuck Yew and Dr Yaacob see their beloved Moulmein-Kallang dissolved to their disappointment. One consolation is the rise of Jalan Besar GRC from the dead, which Yaacob is already staking a claim on. Only the EBRC knows why one is dropped while another is resurrected. I wonder if those guys take the MRT or are fans of social media. Opposition wards were left untouched for obvious reasons. Even the ghost of LKY can’t deal with the repercussions if the PAP were to stick their fingers into the WP Aljunied pudding.

Despite our PM’s call for smaller GRCs, the two SUPER GRCs AMK and Pasir-Ris-Punggol still remain as 6 member teams, each helmed by the PM himself and Deputy PM Teo respectively. Some of the ‘conspiracy’ theories about jumbo GRCs is that it makes it difficult for Opposition to summon the numbers to contest, that there is ‘safety in numbers’, especially if key ministers need to be ‘protected’. Another ‘benefit’ of XXL GRCs is that it allows nobodies to ride on ‘coattails’ of anchor ministers. After the last election these GRCs served as a training ground for newbies and 4 years on, we get to see the likes of Tin Peiling, formerly a latch-on to Marine Parade GRC and poster-child for everything wrong with PAP, grow up and take on Macpherson SMC. Today no one ever mentions racial diversity among MPs as a reason for humongous GRCs, which incidentally, was the original intention of setting up GRCs in the first place. Maybe the refrain ‘One People, One Nation’ is finally setting in. Or is it ‘The more the merrier’. For the ruling party that is.

If you look at our PM’s GRC, there’s still a majority of Chinese with 1 Malay and one Inderjit Singh (who decided to retire from politics altogether). Why the ERBC didn’t splinter one SMC out of each supergroup to make it a maximum of 5 across the board for all GRCs is shrouded in secrecy. They probably wouldn’t throw out Dr Intan Moktar out into the wild. Not after what happened with her and the Yang Yin saga. Pasir Ris Punggol GRC has a similar racial and gender profile, and if there’s someone who should break out and claim an SMC, my recommendation would be the guy who has a workout named after LKY, Teo Ser Luck.

Or maybe all this is an elaborate ploy to get Singaporeans passionate in politics, for what is politics without lies and deceit, rumour-mongering and hot-headed drama?

Society will lose out without a natural aristocracy

From ‘PM tackles questions on S’pore system, freedom of speech at IPS conference’, 4 July 2015, article by Joy Fang, Today

…On the dominance of countries such as the US, Sweden and Israel in innovation, science and technology, Dr Zakaria said these communities are common in that there is a culture of a lack of respect for or challenging authority.

“You spent six hours yesterday in a court trying to do this, to instil a culture of respect. And isn’t it exactly the opposite of what you need for your economic future?” the US journalist asked.

In response, Mr Lee said: “You want people to stand up, not scrape and bow. But if you don’t have a certain natural aristocracy in the system, people who are respected because they have earned that and we level everything down to the lowest common denominator, then I think society will lose out … If you end up with anarchy, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be delivered with brilliance.”

A BBC article in 2004 addressed our PM Lee as a ‘philosopher-prince‘ when he ascended ‘to the throne’, so to speak, following in the footsteps of his late father, who is also no stranger to being compared to royalty. In 1961, David Marshall lamented that workers were in the grip of fear under the rule of ‘Emperor’ Lee Kuan Yew, a title used again by ex Malaysia-PM Mahathir to describe LKY’s interventions into Malaysian politics.

When the founding PM passed away, the outpouring of tributes and grief was without doubt a grand farewell ‘fit for a king’. Granted, our leaders don’t go around asking people to kiss their feet or wear crowns, robes or wield sceptres, but if there’s one thing similar between our ‘socialist democracy/meritocracy‘ and any form of ‘aristocracy’, it’s that any dissent towards the elite, the ‘creme de la creme’, will not be tolerated, even if the target of the insult is dead. It’s like Thailand’s lese majeste, just with a lot more beating around the bush before you finally punish the bugger.

Which inevitably leads to, ironically, a paternalistic ‘bowing and scraping’ culture because people are afraid to throw eggs at their supreme leaders. This despite some members of this ‘aristocracy’ sending conflicting messages and assuring us that nobody will sue you if you call him a ‘stupid fool’. Nonetheless, our PM has no qualms about queuing up with everyday people for chicken wings, like a lord coming down to the village for a taste of hearty rat broth.

Ex president Devan Nair, in a 1983 speech at a President’s scholarship award ceremony, had this to say about ‘natural aristocracy':

..And as in sports, there is a NATURAL ARISTOCRACY of talent in all the departments, disciplines and professions of public life. To abolish the natural aristocracy of talent would be to acknowledge the right of butchers to take over surgical wards in hospitals, or to have your teeth pulled out by carpenters rather than by qualified dentists.

Meaning, as one Total Defence song goes, ‘there’s a part for everyone’, whether you’re a serf, a general, a scientist, or the guy chopping pork at a wet market, and the only way to move up the social ladder is to prove your worth through hard work, sometimes with a stroke of luck.

In PM Lee’s context, however, it’s about ‘respect’, showing who’s boss, that one shouldn’t ‘play games’ and mess around with DA AUTHORITY, otherwise we’d all fall into a state of hellish anarchy, a situation which I suppose includes people not queuing up in an orderly manner for chicken wings anymore. Back in the old days, any duke or baron who got his pride wounded would challenge the offender to a gentleman’s duel. Today, our natural ‘aristocrat of aristocrats’ uses not a sword, nor a pistol, against the likes of Roy Ngerng, but a Davinder Singh.

Grassroots workers getting tickets for 50 BBQs

From ‘Poor ticketing mars Aussie barbeque’, 1 July 2015, ST Forum

(Marc Lim Swee Keat): I applaud the Australian High Commission’s goodwill and generosity in organising 50 Aussie-style barbecues on Sunday evening (“It’s barbecue time for a taste of Singapore life”; Monday). Having been a beneficiary of the Australians’ big-hearted hospitality previously, my group of friends and I had looked forward to being part of the festivities.

To our dismay, however, we were turned away at Bishan Park, as the organisers’ personnel indicated that a ticket was required to enjoy the food provided. This was contrary to what we had understood in earlier reports of the event being freely open to the public (“Steak feast to mark 50 years of ties”; April 18).

Much as our group understood the need for crowd management, the means of ticket distribution left much to be desired. The People’s Association was engaged as the local community partner for the event. But only a select few community clubs had publicised the ticketing requirement prior to the event.

A sizeable majority of the ticket-holders were decked in grassroots attire, though we understood that it was not an exclusive event. Many visitors were left disappointed and confused.

However, many, including my group, were undeterred and had picnics along the river to enjoy the street performances, while soaking in the atmosphere. We had looked forward to an enjoyable evening of Australian hospitality, delectable food and entertainment.

But the poor public communications on the ticket allocation system had marred the true spirit and intent of our gracious Australian counterparts.

Sir there’s a cock on your head

This 50 BBQs event comes fresh after the two nations’ ‘koala diplomacy‘. Much has changed since PM Lee’s late father called Australia the ‘poor white trash of Asia‘. Today, his son, being the good sport that he is, is wearing silly balloon hats with Tony Abbott. We borrowed their marsupials and fired up the ‘barbies’. What next, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman starring in a Mediacorp drama series? Malaysian PM BFF Najib Razak must be jealous.

For anyone who’s been here long enough, free steaks for everyone is simply too good to be true, and Singaporeans would fight tooth and nail to get a taste of Down Under without paying a bloody cent. The organisers only catered for a max of 1200 people, but 4800 tickets were given out to people on a first-come-first-served basis, which means there are likely to be ticket-holders who went home with an empty stomach. Incidentally, STB once launched a tourism campaign aimed at Australians, telling people to ‘GET LOST’. This steak fiasco is our retribution. You can smell and hear the sizzle from afar but can only stare and drool, as all these VIPs, who probably know shit about Australian history, sink their fangs into a juicy, oozing ribeye hot off the grill. I wonder how much a BBQ ticket would be worth on Carousell. Not more than the $400 NDP ticket I hope.

Grassroots members getting perks like priority steaks is nothing surprising anyway. They get priority for Primary 1 registration and parking, among other goodies as reward for serving the community. Once they’ve got their kids’ placing and Aussie steak, some will simply quit the job and go back to being an afterthought ordinary Singaporean like the kiasu buggers that they are. Wouldn’t it be a better idea if the Australian High Commission and PM Lee had flipped burgers for underprivileged orphans and grilled steak for old folks who’ve never been to Jack’s Place in their lives instead of promoting an unrealistic free-for-all meat orgy, causing many Singaporeans to ‘go off like a frog in a sock‘? Otherwise, there should have been a selection process for this, really, like inviting only the top 100 finalists of a ‘Waltzing Matilda’ karaoke contest.

Bring AC/DC here and all will be forgiven.

Singapore not ready for gay marriage

From ‘S’pore not ready for same-sex marriage: PM Lee’, 5 June 2015, article in Today

The Republic is not ready for same-sex marriage as the society is still “basically a conservative one”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said. While he noted the developments in developed countries, he pointed out the “considerable resistance” from these places too.

“There is a trend in developed countries. In America, they have gay marriage. It is state by state. Not all states have agreed. In Europe, some countries have done it … but there was big considerable resistance,” said Mr Lee. “Even in America, there is a very strong pushback from conservative groups against the idea.”

… “No, I do not think Singapore is ready … In Singapore, there is a range of views. There are gay groups in Singapore, there are gay people in Singapore and they have a place to stay here and we let them live their own lives. And we do not harass them or discriminate against them.

He added: “But neither, I think, if you ask most Singaporeans, do we want the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community to set the tone for Singapore society. The society is basically a conservative one. It is changing, but it is changing gradually and there are different views, including views especially from the religious groups who push back … It is completely understandable.”

The Government’s view is that “where we are … is not a bad place to be”, Mr Lee said. “There is space for the gay community, but they should not push the agenda too hard because if they (do), there will be a very strong pushback,” he added.

“And this is not an issue where there is a possibility that the two sides can discuss and eventually come to a consensus. Now, these are very entrenched views and the more you discuss, the angrier people get.”

If two camps can’t argue over a hot button issue without getting into juvenile fistfights, it speaks volumes about the level of ‘maturity’ of our society and the quality of intellectual debate. It also effectively spells ‘end of discussion’ for marriage equality, as other developed nations prefer to call it, because our Government is afraid of how people would react, tiptoeing gingerly over the issue like someone avoiding a roadside offering to a random deity.

No such worries about the casinos, though. Despite the obvious ‘resistance’, our leaders decided to take a calculated risk and subject people to misery and broken families for the sake of glamour and profit, without caring about what the ‘conservative’ folks think. For a while, we didn’t think we were ‘ready’ to get into the vice industry either. Today we’re one of the world’s most popular gambling destinations. The existence of a Higher Power is also an ancient ‘entrenched view’, and religious people get angry all the time whenever someone denies proof of their God, but that doesn’t mean we need to punish people for being atheists. Unless they’re Amos Yee.

Maybe there is an ethical or philosophical way about arguing for or against gay marriage without bringing our despairingly polarised emotions into it, if only our view of it wasn’t clouded by pedantic doctrine, an aversion towards ‘Western influences’ and an irrational ‘yuck factor’ that critics try to disguise when they defend the sanctity and ‘naturalness’ of one man-one woman. I wonder what they have to say about human-animal marriages, though.

We haven’t been ‘ready’ since 2009, when our law minister brushed off calls to repeal 377A. 10 years from now, we’ll still be that same ‘conservative’ society that doesn’t accept same-sex unions, penalises men for having sex with men and bans Jolin Tsai music videos, while referring to everything else that changes as the ‘new normal’ and self-congratulating ourselves for being an ‘inclusive’ society. MPs who are gays will forever refrain from ‘coming out’, and people like Ivan Heng will still get married anyway, with or without the Government, or Pastor Lawrence Khong’s, blessings. No, not even powerful, Ikea- sponsored Christian magic can make the gay go away.

Today, the government is basically repeating the same mantra that they prefer to maintain its old-fogey status quo, that ‘if it ain’t ‘broke(back), don’t fix it’. That you can do whatever you wish without imposing your agenda on others, and everyone is on balance satisfied without following the rest of the world. But one oft-used assumption that deserves to be challenged is why our leaders constantly presume that the ‘majority’ of Singaporeans are not in favour of gay marriage, without conducting islandwide surveys, or, ideally, a referendum (which I doubt they’d want to spend money on). That is perhaps the only reasonable, though costly, way to settle the ‘majority’ assumption once and for all. The Irish did exactly that, approving gay marriage by popular vote. Whether married gays there are henceforth condemned to be haunted by creepy leprechauns summoned by God for this dastardly betrayal remains to be seen.

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