Preserve “Asian Values”, please.


My friend started a blog focussing on LGBT issues especially in the context of Singapore. Cross-posting this there and here.

Preserve “Asian Values”, please..

From a letter to the Straits Times :

It is also a country known for its safety and conservative Asian values, which make it a good place to raise children to be upright and responsible citizens.

In our bid to be a top global city, we must be careful not to emulate wholesale the values and cultures of other global cities like London or New York. They have very different cultural and historical make-ups and societal identities.

It took our founding fathers years to craft our modern Asian identity, and this should not be lost.

Our traditional values of filial piety, humility and a focus on the family should be promoted, instead of Western values like absolute freedom of speech, sexual permissiveness or gender ambiguity.

For once, the comments are faith-restoring rather than faith-dashing.

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The (implied) argument that traditional values = good values, or Asian values = good values, or conservative values = good values is a pretty poor one. As the comments have pointed out, do you even know what you’re actually saying when you say ‘traditional values’ or ‘asian values’? Probably not. People just like to throw catch phrases about.

Traditional just means its the way it’s always been done, no implications on whether it’s something that’s always been done and should be continued, or should be changed. Asian just means… well, from huge and varied Asian and I’m sure you don’t need to think far to know some Asian values or traditions really should (and/or have) been done away with. And conservative… that’s just a comparative term, is it not? What is considered conservative today is different from what was conservative in the past, and the future.

And while it’s true that different countries and regions have different social cultures and histories, I’d like to hope that respect and good-will towards all people, without discrimination, should be universal values that everyone everywhere is striving towards.

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