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.

My Gay Lifestyle (the Debunking of)


It is perhaps a shame that my reaction to anger, to provocation, is to turn away.

To tell myself to ignore it, to tell myself that I shouldn’t waste my energy getting worked up over other people’s ridiculous ideas.

It is also perhaps a shame that my reaction to scandals and things blown out of proportion is to shut up. Because I always feel that adding my own two cents to the already saturated pile of self-important opinions can’t possibly add any value to the discussion. Besides, anything I wanted to say has surely been put across more succinctly and in a more powerful manner by someone else with better writing skills, someone else who has lived though more reality than I have.

Yet there are some thing worth getting angry about.
There are some things worth shouting about.
There are some things worth repeating.

I “came out” on facebook today. Well, no, not exactly. I’d define coming out on facebook as posting a status or notes essentially saying just this, “Hi guys, I’m gay. kthanxbai.” While I’ve considered that before, the thought (after it’s initial flippancy) usually fills me with enough fear and apprehension for me to change my mind.

Perhaps a better description would be that I was “dragged out”, in the course of a ‘discussion’ with a friend.

I posted something, and she and another friend made some comments which I didn’t get involved with.

Then, she made this comment, “In any case, I’ve heard a lot about the LGBT lifestyle, and I don’t like what I’m hearing. They claim they are a peaceful group, but I don’t see that…”

That really got me mad. I couldn’t let it go. What the fuck is a LGBT lifestyle?

Last time I checked, I am a part of the LGBT community because I am female and I’m attracted to females. By definition, then I must lead this mysterious gay lifestyle. Well, this is my “lifestyle”, on average:

Wake up. wash up. go to work. Survive work. Head for home. Perhaps meet with friends for dinner. Surf the net/facebook. Read news articles, read science articles, read human rights articles, read funny articles. Watch some videos. Write some blog entries. Read a book. Pack my room. Time to sleep, good night.

Call it a monotonous lifestyle, call it boring, call it sedentary, call it antisocial, but please, highlight for me exactly which part of that can be considered as an “LGBT lifestyle”??

If you have a problem with, say, a clubbing lifestyle, then please fucking say so.
If you have a problem with, say, a promiscuous lifestyle, then please fucking say so.
If you have a problem with, say, a drugs and booze lifestyle, then please fucking say so.
If you have a problem with, say, a sex-obsessed lifestyle, then please fucking say so.

But none of those are synonymous, exclusive or inherently linked to LGBT. All of these can be found in any and all kinds of people across time, cultures, genders and sexualities.

This friend is an incredibly nice person. Yet, even having known her general stand on the matter, her reply to my question shocked me– things about promiscuity, pedophilia; it being a choice and proven as unnatural; proven that it can be walked away from; violence, death threats, militant-like behaviour and arrogance from the LGBT camp…

You can honestly say those things about promiscuously and pedophilia to my face? And the rest– do we even live in the same reality? Another friend commented, wow, the amount of propaganda they receive…

The other friend who was also commenting started going on a comment posting rampage on Lawrence Khong’s facebook page— a Pastor of a mega church in Singapore (in)famous for his vocally anti-gay stands (2:36 -onwards). The most recent incident has to do with the Singapore’s Health Promotion Board’s surprisingly pro-gay FAQs on sexuality. LK started a petition for the FAQs to be removes– albeit anonymously under the name ‘Aaron’. Then, he evidently circulated a guide amongst his flock on how to make their voices heard without revealing their Christian identity.

I try to read his page but I can’t quite do it, and I can’t find any motivation to want to reply comments there. It’s not merely about being offended of depressed about comments which flat out contradict my beliefs and reality, it’s also all the typically ugly internet comments– why do people always stoop to personal insults and sarcasm? Why do adults sound like immature kids?

More than that, it’s that I can’t shake my own fatalistic feelings about such discussions– while I rationally acknowledge that they can help or that it’s better than nothing, I can’t stop feeling that it’s just pointless. No one is going to change their minds. The people I’m ‘arguing’ with are faceless and can walk away or ignore what I’m saying anytime. They’re not going to listen to me.

Replying my friend was different though– she’s real. She might not change her mind, but hopefully what I say, because I am more real to her too, will give her pause and thought.

I consider writing a piece of my own– just putting my opinion out there. But I don’t know where to start. There can be so much to say. What do I focus on, what should I assume of my readers? Opinions and backgrounds are too varied.

Replying to accusations thus makes it easier to focus your argument– there’s to much to say otherwise. Although at the same time, because I’m focussing on convincing this one person, what I say doesn’t necessarily reflect my personal views exactly. I’m trying to look at things from her perspective and using what I think will be the most comprehensible to her. I mean, no point in differentiating the nuances between gender expression, sexual orientation and physical sex or sexual orientations besides gay and bi or even the gay and trans and so on when I’m just trying to convince her that none of these are inherently immoral. And of course I wouldn’t mention that I think polygamous relationships could be permissible and healthy in certain situations– that would just cause her to stop listening to me entirely.

Throughout the discussion I have to wonder– is there a point?

It there a point in me writing all this stuff to her?
Is there a point in my friend’s commenting on LK’s facebook page?
Is there a point if I write a blog entry about my beliefs and send it out into the net?

Does it change anything?