Most of you would have heard by now, NLB, Singapore’s very own National Library has removed and will be burning 2 books based off 1 complaint letter from a member of the public.
Read background story here: National Library Board apparently banned two children’s books as they are deemed not pro-family
This is my library story
My mother used to drop my sister and I off at the old National Library located at the foot of Fort Canning hill once a week, on weekends. We were in primary school. English was not my first language, and I was struggling to learn the language in school. I didn’t like to read then, I hated it, like how you hate something you’re bad at. Slowly, I began to really enjoy our library trips. I would select a couple of children books, and a few non-fiction books. I even succumbed to peer pressure and started reading fiction books like Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and the likes. But what I really enjoyed were the non-fiction books. I loved reading about Egyptian Mummies, ferns, mathematics, history, countries.
Fast forward 10 years >>>>
Pre-university days. I love going to the library. I found books there that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise, nor would I buy them from book stores (costing over $50-$100+ each academia books). By the time, I started my love for reading. I realized, although my command of the language isn’t very good, I love gaining knowledge. I borrowed Psychology and Philosophy books and even started to reading about obscure history, quantum physics and different cultural texts. That’s how I got acquainted with these subjects, and subsequently I took up Philosophy as a minor and Psychology as my major in University.
I was always a non-fiction kind of girl. If you asked most people what are some of their favorite books, they would list mostly fiction stories ranging from Harry Potter, LOTR, Hunger Games etc. At the time, no one I know had any non-fiction titles to recommend me, the library provided me a wide variety of non-fiction books that I could borrow, and I am forever thankful for that.
—- end of my fond memories of the library —-
Face it, children don’t only go to the “Children Books” section (or is it only me?). Even then, there are a whole range of books available in the library, including many violent and “immoral” children books in the children section. If the library are allowed to remove books based on a single complaint, without any proper SOP (standard operating procedure), wouldn’t we be restricted what kind of books we are allowed to read? Aside from Roald Dahl books, I hated most children books when I was a child. If I wasn’t given the variety of choice then, perhaps I might never have enjoyed reading. Btw, I never read any books with homosexual themes as a child and I grew up forming my own opinion on the subject matter.
To the detractors: there are many ways the library could have handled this situation
1) Submit to MDA for rating / banning / whatever it is that they do – the censorship body of Singapore.
2) Put the books in the ADULT section, since the library claims they have books of homosexual agenda in the Adult section, why not just leave And Tango makes Three there?
3) Put Parental Advisory stickers on the books (which might only entice curious children to pick them up)
4) Leave the books where they are and acknowledge that there are many children books with themes that we as adults might not condone but they are CHILDREN FICTION BOOKS
As I posted on my Facebook:
Fairy tales – where there can be genies, thieves can marry princess and live happily ever after, green ugly ogre can get princess to love him, big bad wolf eating grannies are ok too… But gay penguins? Woah let’s draw the line at gay penguins.
The Pink Dot event is coming again this year on the 28th June, 2014 5pm to 8pm at Hong Lim Park. I am most likely attending the event (unless something else crops up) and it’s going to be my first time attending the event! You don’t have to be homosexual or LGBT to join in the event in supporting freedom to love – freedom to love should be the basic right of any civilized society. This really isn’t about your religion or your sexual orientation, but the believe that we can and are allowed to love someone even if they are of the same sex.
From Pink Dot to “pink whale”
Last year’s Pink Dot drew 21,000 attendees, and organisers expect even more this year. The first Pink Dot in 2009 saw 2,500 pink-clad supporters forming the eponymous dot at Hong Lim Park. Over the years, that dot has expanded to cover the entire park, which takes up nearly a hectare in Singapore’s city centre. Organisers now jokingly call it a “pink whale”. Pink Dot has moved carefully, eschewing traditional protest activism for a soft-pedal approach. It touts a fuzzy slogan “Supporting the freedom to love” and its main event is a family picnic. This may have made it easier for the authorities to let Pink Dot carry on, although they have set limits on how far it can grow. For the second time in a row, the authorities have turned down their application to shift the event to a larger space at Marina Bay, calling the proposed venue not “suitable”. Organisers were “disappointed”, but understood that officials had “a duty to balance and manage the sensitivities of different segments of society”, Pink Dot spokesman Paerin Choa said.
Five Star Tours was reported to be shut down today, including all 7 of their branches. According to WanBao, all their branches were closed and gates shut.
Taken from wanbao.omy.sg
That comes as quite a shock as Five Star Tours has been around for a few years and have been providing many coach and tour packages in Singapore. I wonder when companies closes down like this, what happens to the consumers that already paid for their tour packages?! Unfortunately, I have experienced similar incidents like this where I paid up for services but when the private limited companies closes down, you can’t claim a single cent back. You can try filing it with small claims tribunal – but seriously good luck with getting any money back.
When I heard about the Samurai on the MRT, my first thought was it must be a cosplayer. After all, there were a whole bunch of them on Sunday for the End Of Year Cosplay Festival at the Marina Barrage, probably someone didn’t want to remove their costume.
“A man decked in Japanese martial arts garb while wielding a sword boarded a train on Monday afternoon after jumping the fare gate at Paya Lebar MRT station.” taken from http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/samurai-man-jumped-gate-boarded-train-paya-lebar-mrt-20131216
Turns out, you can own a katana in Singapore, but only to keep in your own house
“You can import a Samurai sword through a forwarding agent, who should declare it through the Tradenet system. For more details, please log on to https://www.tradexchange.gov.sg. You may be required to bring the sword to a police station for inspection before an import licence can be issued. If it is hand carried, you should declare it to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority at the point of entry. The sword may be impounded for inspection and you can claim it from the Police Station which has jurisdiction over the entry point. Please note that if you are allowed to possess the sword, it must be kept in a dwelling house and not to be carried in any public place without any lawful purpose.” taken from http://www.spf.gov.sg/licence/AE/FAQ/AE.html
Angelina Jolie just undergone a surgery to remove both her breasts. Wow. That was shocking. Initially I thought “what was she thinking?!??!”, then as I read the news articiles, I really admire her courage and beauty.
“The 37-year-old American actress wrote in an opinion piece entitled “My Medical Choice” in The New York Times that she had chosen the procedure because she carries a faulty gene that increases her risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie, one of Hollywood’s best-known faces and the partner of actor Brad Pitt, said that because of this gene, known as BRCA1, her doctors estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Jolie said her chances of developing breast cancer are now down to five percent. Jolie and Pitt have three adopted and three biological children. “I can tell my children they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” Jolie said.”
taken from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/05/201351493044776503.html
I really admire her courage to undergo an operation that could potentially be live changing. The boobs, to many, are the most visible human anatomy that one can discern between a man and a woman. I think many women would be really scared and go through some femininty identity crisis with their breasts removed. Not to mention breast cancer patients and how devastating it must be for them. Angelina Jolie is known for her unique facial features and a really hot body, for such a high profile celebrity to make such a decision – where how much you earn is how good you look (socially acceptably beautiful) – I think it takes a lot more courage.
It is a pity that there aren’t a better cure for her genetic disorder, and of course breast cancer.
Category: Current Affairs,Psychology,Singapore Affairs,Social Issues,Stupidity
The next time you’re making your way around a public vehicle or bus stop seat, be sure to examine the seats carefully before planting your butt on it, it might be a pain in the ass, quite literally.
There have been a couple of reported cases where unknowing commuters get their ass burnt by acid in the trains and bus stop seats. The first of such cases started March 24 last year (2012), a 27-year-old Malaysian woman suffered a burn wound on her buttocks in a similar incident involving a wet seat. On April 17 2013, a teenage boy suffered second-degree burns on his right thigh after sitting on a pool of oily liquid on a bus stop seat in Bukit Batok East Avenue 3. The latest incident happened to a nurse who suffered 3 per cent burns after sitting on an unknown corrosive substance on the train.
I suspect that the authorities aren’t releasing the names of chemicals used in these attacks for fear of copy cats. This Butt Burner reminds me of the massive acid attack in Hong Kong a few years back. It’s massive relative to this Butt Burner, there were 20-50 injured each time the attacker strike. This Butt Burner have some kind of perverse public transport sadistic fetish, I wouldn’t be surprised if the culprit lurks around the carriage and watches his victims get their ass burnt. I decided to dub him the “Butt Burner” cause it matches the lameness level of the act.
You can read the news article from AsiaOne.
Category: Current Affairs,Deep Thoughts,Singapore Affairs,Social Issues
You can also read about it at Channelnewsasia. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1250894/1/.html
Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said: “Hong Kong in terms of density is much higher, and we must never try to reach that area — whether in terms of household size, or in terms of crowdedness, or in terms of lacking in greenery and of course the other aspects of population, etc. I think we are far away from that and I think we have to keep it that way. I think whatever we do we are quite clear, keep quality of living high.”
However, if you take a look at this Wikipedia page, Singapore is listed 3rd highest population density in the world, above Hong Kong, which is currently at 4th. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_population_density
If you haven’t been to Hong Kong or you know nothing about Hong Kong, well I can tell you that its crowded EVERYWHERE. Take a look at the public housing conditions in Hong Kong (100 sq ft flats!)
Singapore is my home. I’m a first generation Singaporean from Hong Kong, my family migrated here when I was very young. My parents believed that Singapore was an ideal place for a family, with beautiful greenery and nature, world class education, stable government etc. I used to believe that too.
I’d like to be clear that I love Singapore. We want to blog and discuss about these topics because it means so much to us. We want Singapore to be a happy place for Singaporeans, a place we can be proud of which we call Home. It is definitely not because I’m anti-PAP or that I enjoy complaining about Singapore. I just hope that our country will not follow the path of many dysfunctional first world countries.
You can see more of such flats here: http://www.coolhunting.com/culture/michael-wolf-10.php
For once, Singapore should not aim to be Number 1, please don’t let us become the world’s most dense country.
Category: Current Affairs,Deep Thoughts,Singapore Affairs,Social Issues
I feel that the church should not attempt to influence government policies unless such policies removes their rights to be Christians. Just as I wouldn’t stand for any government controlling the religious freedom of people, so as long as those religious practices does not affect the rest of the population. Doesn’t that sound fair? Isn’t that how a democracy suppose to work?
A couple of years back, a group of Christian ladies decided to take over a not for profit organization for women support – the AWARE scandal. It was disgusting how they used underhanded methods to over take a social service agency for their own agenda. Yucks. Then a couple of weeks back, Pastor Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church posted a Facebook comment on his support for the criminalization of homosexuals.
Background on Pastor Khong and 377a:
It really troubles me when other Christians replied to his call to “battle” homosexuality, and they chorus after him “Yes, we need to keep 377a”.
As some have pointed out, the Bible lists many other sins besides homosexuality, why aren’t they championing for the government to ban abortions or divorce or adultery? After all, the bible says that these are sins too.
Picture take from The Examiner
I came across this post on Facebook by a 24 year old gay Christian, Joel Joshua Gunawan, on his stand on religion and his sexuality. I find his views interesting, touching, and logical. I wish more people can be more tolerant and love those that they find difficult to. After all, it is easy to love the people close, but to love your “enemies” or people that disagree with you…. Well, that is something we have to strive to do.
On Being Gay and Christian
Plato often chides me in a soft voice, saying, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle”. But it so hard, sir. Perhaps to be kind is the hardest battle that I fight.
And often who is it hardest to be kind to, but oneself? Being both gay and Christian – often portrayed as the two opposing sides of an epic war – tears me apart. I wish I could choose one or the other, but the unkindness I do to myself is to choose the honesty that I cannot renounce either.
Being Gay and Christian
Growing up in an ordinary, loving, Christian family, there was hardly anything wrong with my childhood. It was a normal and blissful upbringing. My parents were always present, always loving towards each other and to me (and still are), I was brought up according to good Christian morals, and there was little want in the house. There was absolutely no gay figure in my childhood to influence me. Still, somehow, I turned out gay.
I noticed my sexual preference for boys even from kindergarten, an astonishingly young age, I know. When I was 9 or 10, a school teacher mentioned the word “gay” after watching me and a classmate horsing around, as boys do. I quickly connected the dots, and still remember praying for God to take such inclinations away from me. I am 24 now, and have never stopped praying for that. I remember praying so hard, so earnestly in that childlike faith. Every birthday, as I was asked to make a wish/prayer at the birthday cake, I would ask for only one thing – that God would take this away from me. I would sit alone in my bed on so many nights and cry to myself, thinking about the kind of life I have ahead of me, begging not to be sent to hell. I felt so filthy, so debauched, simply because I had those feelings. I was only a child. No 10 year old should have had to feel that way – so lost, so afraid, so confused, so alone. But such things happen in a fallen world.
I eventually came out to my parents at the age of 15. They were shocked and thought I was too young to be sure, but by then I had already thought so hard about it for years. I’d tried so hard to change – if I could have, I would have. I figured I should tell them while I was still young and (relatively) lovable, rather than wait until I was an adult man. Before coming out to them, I spent days on the internet reading stories of people who came out to their parents, many of whom were thrown out of their homes. I still remember the fear I had in my heart when I finally told them in tears. Thankfully, they responded in love and, even though they understandably still hold on to their Christian beliefs against homosexuality, they have never made me feel less for it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many other people who have faced rejection from the one place they needed acceptance most.
And I tried to change – heck, of course I did. And this is something which really irks me – I often hear Christians flippantly say that gays can change their sexuality, and that it is just a matter of choice. I do not claim to know for sure whether people are born gay, and whether they can change. What I know for sure is that for as far as I can remember, I have tried as hard as I can to not be gay.
Who on earth would choose to be gay (and how do you do that anyway)? Gays are taunted, bullied, condemned, and rejected. Often, they have rejected themselves, hating themselves, many to the point of death. We have been rejected by society, by friends, by family, even by fellow homosexuals in such a very cruel circle. We have had to suppress everything within us, we have learnt to be ashamed of how we are so naturally inclined, we have been taught that we are less. We have spent countless nights unable to sleep, lying in bed, thinking about what a lonesome life we have predestined ahead of us. We have stared at straight couples, envied their freedom to love, devastated at the realization that we will never enjoy the blessing of simply being “normal”, to found a “normal” family, to eventually have grandchildren of our own in our old age.
And that is what we have always wanted – just to be normal. We have tried our best to be normal according to the standards of this world, but we just cannot. Heck, why can’t you understand that? And since we cannot be normal in that way, I think it only understandable that we strive to be accepted as normal just the way we are. We simply want to be like that boy and girl in the street, accepted, assimilated, loved and loving another. We simply want to be human.
And how much worse being gay and Christian, to know that you will never be able to love someone without being plagued by a deep sense of guilt for your entire life, knowing that the only reciprocal love you are capable of is one that God disapproves of. How I wish it were only a problem I could debate about and then wave away, as so many people do. There is absolutely nothing to gain from choosing to be gay. Why on earth would anyone say, hey, maybe I’ll try to be sexually attracted to men for a bit and see how exciting that may be. That’s ridiculous. I and millions of others would have made such a switch by now. Perhaps there might be a way to change – I do not know. But what I do know is that I have tried all my life, and if it is THAT difficult to change, then there certainly is something to be said about that sort of “choice”.
Theology and homosexuality
I have no issue with Christians maintaining a doctrine condemning homosexuality – the Bible seems to propose that. What I have a problem with is ignorance – both with regards to homosexuality, and with theology.
Firstly, on homosexuality. Christians display an astonishing lack of understanding concerning homosexuality – even while condemning it passionately. As described earlier, the fact that so many Christians flippantly insist that being gay is a mere choice angers me. It trivializes this massive wrestle I have had all my life with this thorn in the flesh – and not just mine, but the struggle of millions of other homosexuals who have tried, and tried, and tried, and tried, and tried to change.
It further angers me that Christians often speak of homosexuals as some sort of tiny deviant group who have chosen to be morally corrupt, like people who choose to dabble in witchcraft, for example. These Christians are completely oblivious to the fact that there are far more homosexuals in the world than they care to admit or realise. Estimates have ranged from 10%-20% of any general population, and that means there could be as many as half to one million gay people in Singapore. Or, closer to home, around 1000 homosexuals in a megachurch with a congregation of 10,000.
We are your sons and your daughters, your brothers and your sisters – often, we choose not to speak about our sexuality precisely because of this conscientious ignorance in the Church. For many of us, being gay is one of the biggest struggles of our lives, but we would rather not talk about it because of such an appalling lack of understanding towards homosexuality, and worse, a lack of interest to actually understand.
We have already experienced rejection in so many forms throughout our lives, so most of us would rather choose to pretend that the problem does not exist than to expose ourselves to the potential barrage of ignorant condemnation, whether well-meaning or not. We happen to have sexual attraction towards the “wrong” gender, and try as we might, we can’t seem to get rid of that. Whether that is right or wrong is one matter – the fact is, your choice to ignorantly treat homosexuals as a tiny minority who have chosen on volition to adopt some sort of niche abomination is an error that you need to correct. When people passionately fight against something they display such an immense lack of understanding towards, that fight is flawed from the start. When people claim to love someone, yet choose to be spectacularly ignorant and flippant about his struggles, it is difficult to trust the value of that sort of “love”.
Secondly, you also display a glaring lack of understanding towards Christian theology itself. Sure, many non-Christians have been misquoting the Bible without understanding it, for instance citing Old Testament dietary laws and symbolic prohibitions to mock the Law without understanding that the Doctrine of Supercession has rendered those laws dead. But that ought not be a mistake for you to make, you who purport to be lovers of the Word. For example, how many “religious” Christians I have met insist that mere homosexualtemptations are sin. I only wish they would understand what they are saying before speaking with such certainty about things they know so little about. The fact that so many of you continue to speak in an authoratative voice on a matter you evidently know too little about puts even Christian homosexuals off, much less homosexuals who (understandably) have an aversion towards Christianity to begin with. If you have a solution, tell us because most of us want to know. But if all that you have to say is “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” or “I support the traditional family model!” (so do I) or “gay rights will destroy the family!” (how?), then you are continuing to mumble to yourself.
I will not claim to have an conclusive answer concerning the correctness/wrongness of homosexuality. However, I put it to you that although I once thought the matter was fixed, I’m now persuaded otherwise. I used to strongly believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality, never once condoning it, even in spite of my own personal struggles, since Truth does not change according to my personal preferences. Difficult as it is, I was, and still am, prepared to accept that.
However, the more I read the Bible and ask the difficult but critical questions, the more I come to see that the matter may be far from settled. The debate is out there in public, done to death, and I shall not attempt to replicate it, but suffice to summarize my current thoughts thus:
1. The Old Testament with its old laws have been superceded by the New Testament, Jesus being the High Priest of the New Covenant (see particularly, Hebrews 7-8).
2. The New Covenant is NOT synonymous with the New Testament (as I used to believe so myself). In the New Testament, we see the development of the New Covenant, and that is evident in the changing rules ranging from the Gospels (where Jesus said that “not one yod or tittle will disappear from the Law” and “whoever breaks the smallest of the Law and teaches others to do the same will be better off drowning himself” (Matthew 5:18-19)), to the Acts of the Apostles (where the apostles slowly adapted the dietary/customary rules of the Church to this New Covenant), to the epistles of Paul and the book of Hebrews which expound on the New Covenant.
3. So the exact parameters of this “New Covenant” is quite an uncertain matter. The Bible does not say “and these are the contents of the New Covenant: …”. The Church all through history and around the world has been debating it. Is it ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols? (see Acts 15:29, but see 1 Corinthians 10:28 which says that it is not, in itself, morally wrong) Is it ok for women to speak in church? (1 Corinthians 14:34 – which is not merely symbolic or cultural, but is crucially theological, the basis being that “it was woman who first sinned”: see 1 Timothy 2:12-15) Is it ok for women to wear jewellery? (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 3:3) If the 10 Commandment is the core of the law we should observe, then why do we not observe the Sabbath which is, by definition, Saturday?
4. Thus I think it is possible to see that the question of homosexuality is far from unanimously settled. I put it to you that the rules of the New Covenant are not “laws” to be followed to the letter, but analogies for our conscience. Paul wrote: “All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial; all things are permissible for me, but not all things are constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Just as dietary laws and laws prohibiting one from wearing certain materials have been understood to be merely analogous to deeper theological matters, so too the laws on gender. After all, gender really is but a temporary construct, and in Christ there is ultimately no male or female (Galatians 3:28). I am not saying that we should therefore descend into lawlessness – no, my point is that the law should serve a practical purpose, and symbolic laws should be understood that way, and ultimately it is our conscience which matters most. Just as we observe the Sabbath not strictly from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, but understand in it the principle of Rest, so too we can observe the law on marriage as one of love, commitment, and monogamy, rather than that of strict gender.
5. Of course that is all rather debatable, and I do not claim monopoly on understanding. All I wish to show here is that “the Bible says so!” is not necessarily a conclusive statement in the debate, and a Christian who truly reads the Bible will fear to say such a thing. I don’t know for sure what the Biblereally means, and perhaps I might be accused of trying to fit it to my interpretation. I don’t know. But what I do know is that unlike most of you, this is my life and not a mere point of argument. And to reconcile everything is a need for me, not a mere interest or passion.
Legislating against homosexuality
But let us ASSUME that the Bible does unequivocally condemn homosexuality. I would want to work to change my own lifestyle. In fact, I have been trying to do that all my life because despite my sexuality, 24 years of growing up in church have shown me the reality of God in ways I cannot explain away. I have seen friends healed miraculously, lives changed, and the work of God in my life and family in ways I cannot explain apart from the power of Christ. I wish I could explain them all away as mere coincidence or conspiracy as many do – I want to! – but I cannot lie to myself. In my heart of heart, I know that the Christian God is real, and I am willing to try to give up my lifestyle, even if I doubt my own strength to.
However, most of the gay community do not subscribe to Christianity. While I defend the Church’s right to proselytise and maintain its stand on homosexuality, I cannot defend its attempt to legislate against it. Do not get me wrong – as citizens of this nation, I completely support your right to do so. I reject the silly notion that “Separation of Church and State” means that politics must necessarily be informed by ONLY secular voices. After all, all opinions are informed by worldviews and philosophies, whether involving a deity or not. To insist that only those views involving none should be allowed to be aired in public discourse is contrary to the notion of secular. Indeed, as a secular multi-religious nation, secularism and religion are not incompatible – it simply means that people are not judged according to their religion or lack thereof. Just because a person’s opinion is founded in a particular religion does not disqualify it from being used to influence public policy.
However, while I defend your right to influence legislation against homosexuality, I disagree with it. After all, what benefit does it do, apart from creating even more animosity than already exists between the Church and homosexuals? Generally, gay people HATE Christianity. Section 377A of the Penal Code criminalizes consensual private sexual activity – what does that do for your cause? People are going to be gay regardless, and they are going to continue being so, even if they try their best not to be. What is criminalization going to change? Calling me a criminal is not going to make me love and marry a woman. Heck, I WANT to do it, even without 377A, but what prevents me from doing so is not something that can be changed by the law. And if your reason for criminalising homosexuality is that it is a moral wrong which harms the “traditional family unit”, then what is your excuse for not advocating the criminalisation of adultery and divorce too?
If the reason you call for 377A to be retained is your fear that gay rights may someday progress to the point where you might be prosecuted for condemning homosexuality, then shame on you! To protect YOURSELF from a possible future injustice, you are calling for injustices on others as a preventive measure. How selfish can that be? If you fear the eventual injustice that your freedom of expression may someday be infringed, then fight THAT injustice when it comes instead of placing a separate injustice on your fellow man. Moreover, if you are Christians as you so claim, “imitators of Christ”, then remember that Christ was willing to bear the Cross and every injustice He suffered in His ministry, like a sheep silent before its shearers (Isaiah 53:7). More than that, He has called you to do the same (Matthew 5:11). It does not mean that you become fools and let the world take advantage of you, but it does mean that your “righteous” causes should not be used to justify and disguise your desire for self-preservation.
Furthermore, homosexuality is but a small sin in Christianity. All such sins are ultimately forgivable, but there is one unpardonable sin – that of idolatry. In other words, the sin of idol-worship and beliefs in other gods (or none) is the biggest sin in Christianity. Yet Christians do not insist that all non-Christians be legally prohibited from doing so. We do not pray for Islam or Buddhism to be made illegal. While we profess and stand by the fact that idolatry is wrong and will lead to eternal damnation, we respect the God-given freedom that each man and woman has to make choices for themselves. While we assume the responsibility to “be the salt and light of the world” (Matthew 5:13) and to “teach the nations to obey” (Matthew 28:18) God, we recognise that teaching does not consist of, or involve, forcing. That is why Christians support religious freedom which, historically, had its origins in the Protestant Reformation itself. Why, then, must it be different for homosexuality?
Jesus never condoned sin. He never compromised on His beliefs on morality which were clear to all who knew Him as a Jewish teacher – and He frequently taught on those topics. The difference between Jesus and (many) Christians lies in their approach.
This is how Jesus treated the prostitute: He looked at her, and without condemnation, said “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7.48-50). This is how Jesus treated the adulteress caught in the very act of adultery (imagine that): He defended her from her prosecutors by saying to them “let he without sin cast the first stone”, then turned to her and said, “I don’t condemn you. Just leave your life of sin.” (John 1.8-11). This is how Jesus treated those who chose not to believe in Him: to the young rich man who could not bring himself to change his lifestyle, Jesus spoke with and tried to persuade him, but ultimately respected his choice and his freewill, and let him go his way (Matthew 19.16-22). Compare that to how Christians treat homosexuals and those who make un-Christian choices today. Would Jesus have advocated for a law to criminalise homosexuality? I highly doubt it.
Jesus said He did not come to condemn sinners but to save them (John 3.17). And this is what He had to say to the chief priest of His day and the religious people who were so conformed to what they have been taught by men, who were so stuck in their personal prejudices and self-righteousness that they missed the whole point: “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you (Matthew 21.32)”.
So what am I writing all of this for? First, I just hope that Christians will seek to understand homosexuality before passing judgement of whatever kind on gay people. If we need anything, it is understanding, support, and love – not rejection, which we have faced all of our lives from every side. Second, I hope that Christians will seek to understand the Bible and what it says (and does not say) about homosexuality (and everything else) before using Bible quotes out of context and without qualification. Thirdly, I hope that non-Christians will be more understanding towards Christians as well. We all have a worldview (whether religious or secular), and Christians have every right to express their genuine beliefs, AND to use them to inform their stand on public policy, just as you have the right to use your non-religious beliefs to inform how the law should change. Debate, then, not mock. And think before you click that “like” button.
At the end of the day we are all human, wrestling with our own struggles daily, whether gay or Christian, both or neither. Most of us just want to be human without malice, and can do with as much support and love as we can get, not condemnation – whether of our persons, our religious beliefs, or our lifestyles.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a battle called “life” to fight today.
Category: Current Affairs,Singapore Affairs,Social Issues,Stupidity
I was somewhat amused when I heard on radio, a snippet of what Punggol residents think of the recent Michael Palmer sex scandal which led to his resignation. This lady commented “Michael Palmer cannot look after his family, I don’t think he can do his job well”.
Amidst the saga, there are a lot of views and opinions being thrown around circling around the identity of Laura Ong and her boyfriend Andy Lim, as well as the private lives of Michael Palmer and Diane Palmer. There are even ridiculous people blaming Laura Ong for destroying Michael Palmer’s career. Let me say it once and for all, she did not destroy his career, Michael Palmer made the choice to end his career the moment he decided to have an extramarital affair.
That being said, is it necessarily true that:
1) Michael Palmer cannot look after his family?
2) Michael Palmer cannot do his job well if he cannot look after his family?
3) People that do their jobs well, have well looked after family?
4) People that can look after their family can run a country?
I think it’s ridiculous that politicians are made to step down of their duties because of their personal lives. I do not feel that having an affair, who he loves and who he have sexual intercourse with, is indicative of his job performance.
Politicians and Ministers that have committed worst work-related mistakes were not sacked or asked to leave. I would rather a cheating, lying bastard that does his job well to be my MP than someone that is incapable at his or her job.
However, that being said, Michael Palmer has to go. The PAP cannot be hypocrites calling for blood when an opposition party minister WP’s Yaw Shin Leong committed adultery, and be any less lenient on their ministers.
Someone accurately pointed out that although in Yaw’s case he left without saying a word, but because of that, no other parties were really put in the limelight. In Michael Palmer’s case, it would seem that poor Laura Ong is taking the fall for PAP and Palmer, receiving the most heat from public gossips.
Taken from The Alternate View
Category: Current Affairs,Lifestyle,Singapore Affairs,Social Issues
I really like the latest Singapore Kindness Movement flashmob video I came across on YouTube. Initially I thought the “freeze in public” flashmob have been quite over done – but I really like the message behind the “freezing poses” of the volunteers that took part in the flashmob. It is THAT easy to pause and spot someone that needs your kindness, kindness only takes a moment.
Infact, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more aware of my surrounding now or if there’s actually a trend of rising UNkindness in Singapore. It is so much easier to spot exchanges of unkind words and actions than kind ones. Especially on the roads, there are so many drivers that act as though they will lose a limb if they were to give way to a car signaling to their lane. They will also speed up on purpose when you are trying to change lanes. Trust me, I personally know a few road-ragers and I have no idea why are they so petty (sorry but you are!). I’m not sure why they feel that they are being disadvantaged if someone else needs to change lane, but perhaps it is the kiasu mentality at play.
I really do hope to see Singapore becoming a kinder city, even with the influx of foreigners, and not turning less graceful. We Singaporeans like to point our fingers at foreign workers flooding our country, and corroding our culture and lifestyle. But I wonder if Singaporeans are becoming worse off in areas of courtesy and politeness, and using foreigners as an excuse to justify their actions.
Singa The Courtesy Lion