In particular, it appears that I am now being singled out for targeting. I will only make these 3 points:
- As I said at the EGM, I have been an AWARE member since last year, pre-dating most or all of the Josie Lau exco. I got involved because I wanted to restore the society to the values that I supported when I joined, and I was involved in my personal capacity, as an associate member of AWARE, and not as an NMP. At no time did I mention or seek to rely on my position as an NMP.
- The sheer hyperbole used to describe the day's events are astonishing. "Disorder and mayhem"? I've never seen a queue forming, in the scenes of "disorder and mayhem" that I've seen (on TV). Repeating an exaggeration does not make it true.
- The rules at a meeting of a society are open for determination by the members in a general meeting. The exco has no right to dictate the rules for the EGM, in the face of expressed disagreement from the majority of members present. I think many members did express their disagreement with the house rules that Josie Lau and Lois Ng tried to impose, at least with respect to whether I was allowed to sit with the original members. It does seem that some people, who keep harping on this point, simply do not wish to accept the reality of the law and practice of meetings.
Apart from the above points, I have no further comment on this email, and will leave readers to form their own opinions. This also means that I will not respond to any comments made (and to pre-empt any trolls, my non-response does not mean any admission or agreement to any comments that may be made).
I was at the AWARE EGM and it was rude shock to me that such bully and hooliganism behavior from the old guard and their supporters could be allowed in such a civilised society like Singapore. Below I attach a letter from Ms XX written to the prime minister on the incident. Many of you who were there witnessed it with your own eyes also. I heard this was the biggest gathering of lesbians and gays at the EGM of a civic society in Spore.
We want to complain to the govt that an NMP Siew Kum Hong was not only openly taking sides in this internal affair of a secular organisation, but was part of the orchestrated disorder and mayhem on that day. He showed no regard for protocols until challenged by a member from the floor.
We also want the govt to know that Straits Times has been blatantly stroking the religious flame and deceiving all their readers when the real issue was about homosexualism and not about a religious `takeover' of a secular association. For the record, I have since cancelled my subscription to the newspaper. Why should I pay to be told half-truths and be insidously `persuaded' to their point of views?
I urge all those who were there that day to write to our PM, to MHA, REACH and ISD to tell them what you witnessed on that day. Let your voice be heard before it is taken away one day right before your eyes!
PS: The PM's email address is: email@example.com
It is indeed time for concerned individuals to play their part in shaping the future of our nation.
Below, I attach a letter I have sent to the PMO.
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing as a concerned Singaporean and a mother to request official scrutiny into press reporting of the AWARE saga.
I'll share my first-person observations at the AWARE EGM in relation to Straits Times coverage of the event.
1) My 18-year-old daughter and I went to the AWARE EGM on Saturday, 2 May 2009, to observe the proceedings of a civil organisation but the progression of events left us with much disquiet.
a) We noticed a large contingent of men upon entering the meeting hall as we were directed to the 'overflow area' in Hall 403 where we sat in the front portion (we were among the last 200 to enter at 2.50pm after queuing from 1.30pm). The men formed about a quarter of the meeting, occupying seats in the back half of the 'overflow'. My daughter observed that this was a meeting for a women's association and was surprised at the substantial male turn-out. I reserved my comments.
b) We were accosted by ear-deafening 'boos' and jeers as we passed the section, but realised that they were not directed at us as much as at the speaker onstage. We were quite unable to hear the opening speech being given by Ms Josie Lau, then President of AWARE, as the heckling went on unabated in tenor and base. In fact, the aggression was so vehement that my daughter was in tears from the sense of intimidation and oppression, even though the hooliganism was not directed at us.
c) It could be clearly observed that a number of men in the front of the section were attired in white 'We are AWARE' t-shirts or pink tops.
d) There were also more than 20 foreign men and women in their midst.
e) Then as the meeting progressed, more than half of them moved to stand with and around the 'old guard' of AWARE, and at the floor speakers' area, continuing to disrupt the proceedings despite calls for order.
e) What really flabbergasted us was that soon some of these associate members with no voting rights took the stand to proudly declare their homosexual status to loud applause from the 'old guard' camp as they spoke in support of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education programme. In fact, it was impossible for ordinary members like me to try to ask any questions on the floor (as I tried to queue up to do so) as the 'old guard' with half of them men effectively 'barricading' the area and monopolising the microphones in a raucous commotion.
We came away from the whole event rather disillusioned by AWARE and what it professed to stand for. They may still be helping women, marginalised or needy, but they are also involved in the political agenda of some minority groups, even with covert foreign interference.
2) I'm also surprised and deeply troubled that the reporting in The Straits Times has not been honest in presenting the full picture to the public, especially concerned parents following the AWARE saga. There was a concerted effort by both the press and TV coverage not to mention the significant presence of the homosexual community. If I had not been there, I would never have known the truth.
a) In fact, I witnessed the main reporter responsible for blowing up the whole AWARE story (Wong Kim Hoh) hobnobbing with the homosexual fraternity at the EGM.
b) Some members of the press and TV were candidly jubilant as they celebrated the passing of the 'no confidence' vote by punching their fists in the air and hugging the 'old guard' they were standing with.
c) In the sweep of fervent support, the constitutional amendments were also made to allow men and foreign women full voting rights (in a local women's association that makes the CEDAW report on the state of women in Singapore). In the perspective that such an amendment was thrown out in the previous AGM, the motives may be called into question. The press made no mention of this important development.
I question the cover-up in the press.
In review of newspaper coverage of AWARE developments, I'm also beginning to think that press focus on the sensitive issue of religious involvement was but a calculated red herring thrown out to manipulate public sentiments.
Sir, I am pleading for the authorities to look into this matter as I am becoming increasingly alarmed that minority groups with a political agenda may not have just reached its grasp into a vulnerable women's group, and through it attempt to distort our children's views on sexuality, but has actually infiltrated the press to block out news and prevent the public from accessing the truth. I actually feel frightened that the press in Singapore can attempt to shape my views as it wishes by misinformation or partial information.