Friday, 15 May 2009

TODAY article tomorrow (well, Friday)

There will be an article in tomorrow's (Friday's) TODAY. This article will be about what is essentially a complaint to the Attorney-General's Chambers, the Law Society, the Singapore Academy of Law, and the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association, insinuating that my actions in relation to the AWARE EGM had breached the Legal Profession Act.

I gave some comments to TODAY, and I only want to reproduce the following in point form:

  • I hope that this complaint is not part of the ongoing organised campaign targeting me.

  • I am confident that my actions did not breach the relevant provision of the LPA. My conscience is clear and I sincerely believe the law is on my side.

  • I am currently considering whether to write to these 4 groups, to clarify my position.


It's been a long day and it's late. So I'm going to sleep on this tonight, before deciding what/whether I will do anything else. Much as I want to move on with life, it seems that some folks simply cannot put what happened with AWARE behind them.

44 comments:

Chee Wai Lee said...

Take care and have a good rest.

Should be interesting what they say about you in that article. I am currently inclined to believe this to be an organized smear campaign.

Frankly, I do not care if you violated any legal provisions. As far as I'm concerned, you did right by me and you have my 100% support.

Davester said...

Those people complaining against you are utterly sick in the head. May truth and justice prevail against them.

Glass Castle said...

This is appalling, I'm very sorry. It is completely perverse that you should be targeted for helping others in their time of need. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, if there is anything I can do to help please let me know.

Jolene

bastard said...

Good luck, unreasonable people tend be unreasonably tenacious.

I can't convey how much I hope things work out, and looking beyond this, that you get another term as an NMP.

All the best!

Joshua said...

All the best, know that many people are behind you. :)

Jeanne said...

These people are really vindictive. Anyway, you did the right thing, and your conscience is clear, so don't worry. Take care.

miaksiew said...

for what it's worth, we are here behind you. just let us know what we can do. i am ashamed that there is a campaign out to target at you.

this is clearly attempt to silence any voice of reason. they cannot win the debate, so they resort to using such tactics.

me said...

Hi Mr Siew,

sorry that you had to bear the brunt of this anti-gay movement, when you're not even gay.

I trust that our Government has good sense to see the situation in its entirely. The sad thing is, governments being governments, they have service standards to adhere to, so when there's a complaint letter, they have to perform their due diligence in checking out the facts & look for potential breaches. Which government ever put in equal efforts to compliments received?

Sad to say, you'll be under scrutiny. But I believe facts would prevail.

I also want to point out a recent article at Yawning Bread "Parliament now faces "gay test"(http://www.yawningbread.org/) which detailed Mr Siew's active involvements in Parliament thus far.

Good luck, Mr Siew, in this climate, we must all be resilient! :)

Laremy said...

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

ji said...

Dear Mr Siew,

I hope you do not feel demoralised in the light of the numerous (baseless and myopic) negative comments about you. For being such a prolific speaker, and for not shying away from disagreeing with the government when you see fit, you have my gratitude and awe.

In particular, I recall you explicitly asking the speaker of the house to put you NO vote on record, for the ammendments to the films act.

I am heartened that there is a person like you in parliment, a person who is not high up in his ivory tower as the men in white are, and a person who truly has made a concerted effort to present an alternative voice in parliment.

If there really is a smear campaign against you, as there appears to be, all the more you have to fight these attempts to silence you. Just remember that for every negative, narrowminded comment, there are 2 other positive comments somewhere on the internet.

I hope you are successful in getting a second term, and continue to ask difficult questions and encourage constructive debate in parliment; it will be singapore's good fortune.

thank you!

grognard said...

Siew Kum Hong,
Know that many Singaporeans are behind you. We support what you did, and we support your reappointment as NMP.

As to the complaints,
- Have them make a formal complaint to Law Society or whatever authority responsible.

- Wait for the relevant authorities clear you of wrongdoing.

- Sue for defamation.

Jeanette said...

Dear Mr Siew,

If this is an organized campaign (which is what it appears to be) - then It's sad that such tactics have been resorted to. It does however prove that you are doing something right.

For all it's worth, you have my support. I sincerely hope that you succeed in getting a 2nd term as NMP. I would our nation's loss otherwise.

Keep brave, take care - and THANK YOU!

ahblabla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ahblabla said...

Hi Mr Siew, I am a supporter of your ideals and actions, but I have a query.

In Today's article, you were quoted as saying [Mr Siew said: “It was the members of the Old Guard of Aware who described me as their legal adviser. I did not hold myself up as such.”]

However, in your own blog post of 6 May, you then stated [Jenica Chua had already been informed earlier that I was a legal advisor for the original members]

Unless, you were stating something other people said, but it was something you did not acknowledge?

Ben Etc said...

Power to you. You a real Hero.
I am proud to know you as a friend too.

Siew Kum Hong said...

To all: Thanks for the kind words of support! Greatly appreciated.

To ahblabla: Thanks for allowing me to clarify. :) The communication to Jenica Chua was also made by the Old Guard members.

Donaldson Tan said...

The only good Christian Right is a Martyr. I like Martyrs because they are dead.

humph said...

Formal complaints - good! Then they'll have to show their real selves and we can see who these people are. Much better than the sneaky backstabbing all over cyberspace.

This is getting annoying though.

Loop [0 to infinity]
1) Ultra-Right wingers get restless
2) Pick a new battlefield for their war
3) Rampage, destroying everything in their path
4) Liberals form first line of defence
5) Lazy moderates eventually forced to rise up in support and beat URWers back with Big Fat Sticks

What's next? Who's next? Can give more breather time? Sigh.

Off tangent: Chee Wai Lee are you the Wai Lee from ODAC?

Collin Chan said...

Honestly I dun know why you have any business with AWARE?Why is a man meddling himself in the midst of skirts?Secondly, do you realise that homosexual is illegal in Singapore?Of cos, you do since you are a lawyer but then why are you championing the agenda of the old guards?Are you a homosexual yourself?I am really curious.Thirdly, when you assume the position of an NMP, you are no longer an individual?Do you know the social responsibility of an NMP?You cannot behave like a private individual.Failing which I don't think the government should renew your term as an NMP.It is unwise for you to take side and display such an outburst of emotion during the meeting.Very unprofessional indeed.

Collin Chan said...

Honestly I dun know why you have any business with AWARE?Why is a man meddling himself in the midst of skirts?Secondly, do you realise that homosexual is illegal in Singapore?Of cos, you do since you are a lawyer but then why are you championing the agenda of the old guards?Are you a homosexual yourself?I am really curious.Thirdly, when you assume the position of an NMP, you are no longer an individual?Do you know the social responsibility of an NMP?You cannot behave like a private individual.Failing which I don't think the government should renew your term as an NMP.It is unwise for you to take side and display such an outburst of emotion during the meeting.Very unprofessional indeed.

Chee Ken said...

NMPs are non-partisan, which gives them the flexibility to put forward their stand without fear or favour. Do you expect NMPs to sit on the fence for every social debate?

The very purpose of parliament is to pass laws for the whole of Singapore. NMPs have a voice in that arena, meaning that they have influence to decide what is written in law.

For example, if parliament decided that pants were illegal, you might have to wear a skirt to work the next day. :)

me said...

I just found it disturbing that Collin doesn't leave a space after his punctuations. It makes me feel very claustrophobic.

Err..sorry for the digress.

But you did got me thinking, are NMPs not supposed to be so vocal about their personal opinions? IMHO, if Thio Li Ann could be (very much so), why fault Mr Siew? I think NMPs are all entitled to argue, justify & rationalise the opinions they hold. That's the point of NMPs, to offer alternative voices, right?

Rush said...

in my humble opinion, our handling of this situation has fallen short. this is precisely the trap most western democracies have fallen into; that one side decides to polarise the issue and forces both sides to take immediately conflicting stances. Honestly, even as a gay man I feel its better to live and let live; but unfortunately when the battle lines become hard-drawn the only possible trajectory is escalation. 2 thoughts:

1) we could have done without such a AWARE big blow up. Having it on the front-pages only forces people to make an opinion immediately, out of reflex and perhaps without adequate thought because emotions run so high. if AWARE wasn't taken over from the shadows forcing the moderate majority to choose sides and the apathetic gays to fear for their safety... then we wouldn't be in this big mess (and seem to be simply on the way into a long-drawn gay-anti-gay-argument-violence cycle). The way this fiasco played out made it very difficult to remain neutral and easy to choose a side as a citizen. You learn to choose: gay, or anti-gay? Gray seemed to have no supporters.

2) I feel retention of 377A has helped to foster divisiveness. In my opinion, attitudes of citizens in global cities have on average, moved too far towards repeal for this law to remain in the books here. The fact that it does remain in the books is not cognizant of reality; rather, it is used as a lightning-rod issue for both sides. If 377A didn't remain, well then people would find other things to argue about (like the economy, duh.) and maybe the issue of homosexuality would hopefully de-escalate or fall of the radar.

[if we are eventually going to get rid of it, it really should be sooner rather than later. Why do we need to have this law in place to force more and more people to take sides?]

It's quite insidious actually. when you force an individual to choose to either keep or repeal such a drastic law, it is simply far to analogous too choosing between "gay" and "anti-gay". If you're for repeal, you're labeled as gay; if you're for retention, you're labeled as anti-gay. You simply only become mired in shouting arguments and never get anywhere. Again, there is no middle ground.

And as time goes by, more and more people take sides and find the support to take an increasingly extremist stance -- and become emboldened, perhaps enough to orchestrate coups of secular groups.

To me, the only solution is to move the discussion into the arena of logical debate; and here it is circular: you cannot move because people are just screaming gay/anti-gay everywhere, using the repeal/keep 377A issue as a lightning rod.

Thus, having the law on the books simply is counter-productive if what we really want is a moderate society. We need to teach people to see both sides of the issue, not provide them with fodder to choose sides so easily.

Dave said...

Mr Siew,
I wish you a good rest to recover.
To regain your strength for tomorrow.
It's a windy road, and i really appreciate you taking the road less travelled.
Take Care.

Chee Wai Lee said...

Humph - apologies, my name is actually Lee Chee Wai. The displayed name is simply the reversal of our traditional reading of names due to "First Name" (Given Name) and "Last Name" (Surname) orders.

Rush - I do not think it is a "trap". "Wedge Issues" (issues known to divide people and commonly used as a political weapon) are something people must learn to deal with ... human psychology is an important aspect of politics, whatever the form. Like you said, people have to try to understand both sides of an issue and then come to a decision without getting too emotionally riled up.

Donaldson Tan said...

I found the TodayOnline news article. The person in question who sent the complaint letter is Yeo Tongel, a corporate counsel who sits on the board of the Methodist Welfare Services.

Meanwhile, I have been looking online and found a couple of Christian blogs who claimed that they not only felt Josie's Committee were persecuted as criminals, they also claim it was the first time in their life they felt it was criminal to be Christian.

What a preposterous thought, if not vindictive because it will spur other Christians with persecution complex to fight for a war that doesn't exist, a persecution that never took place. Josie's Committee was rejected not because they are Christian but because their actions and their disproportional focus on the homosexual agenda were disgusting people. There were Christians who also rejected Josie's Committee.

family man said...

Thank you Mr Siew. I hope you will rest well and continue to do what you have done - speak up Sibngaporeans.

I am a heterosexual Male and I support your stand.

I am also glad Ms Dana Lim came out in the straits Times to clarify that AWARE does not have a homosexual agenda (mentioned by DPM Wong) and clarified that the homosexual angle was initiated and laid out by SELF STYLED Feminist Mentor Thio.

David said...

Their jealousy had in fact made you think/plan big! Though i still wish you will nominated as NMP but i feel it is the secondary important at this stage of you journey. of course you will still continue to take the challenge! I wish you will become a good writer for Singapore too! Please remember you are not alone on the journey! You can be a man with many roles in Singapore today, hahaha & cheers!

Collin Chan said...

I find Mr Siew a controversial figure.A divisive one.Trying to push for abolishment of 377A and supporting AWARE old guards.Can he categorically state which part of the current AWARE agendas he support and which parts he don't?Is he an attention seeker himself?

runmondeo said...

So much for transparency you love so much Mr Siew. Up till now you have not clarified exactly why you were at the AWARE meeting and what you were seeking to demonstrate. As a true blue Singaporean with 3 school-going children, a stakeholder in the past and future of this nation, I have a interest in what you stand for as an NMP, Mr Siew, as do many others. You deliberately lent your publicity to the Old AWARE cause and now you are squealing because you have been targeted? What do you expect? You have no accountability to any constituents, for surely if you were my elected MP, I would vote against you.

Jamie Woof said...

Hi Mr Siew,

As an advocate and solicitor WITH a practising certificate, I am quite confident that you have no need to worry about the absurd allegations levied against you and I hope the press and media will give this matter the proper coverage once the 4 organisations confirm that they are dismissing the complaint.

You have not performed for AWARE any of the services spelt out in Section 33(1) or 33(2) and, more importantly, any advice you gave to the AWARE Old Guard was "not done for or in expectation of any fee, gain or reward" which takes you completely out of the ambit of the Section.

Sleep easy, Mr Siew. You have not contravened the Legal Profession Act and you have done the right thing. And the sore losers who can't let the matter rest will get their comeuppance sooner or later.

originbear said...

I expect a Rafflesian to earn my respect.

A Rafflesian to me, is always someone who has had the laws and rules with them; a rafflesian is someone like a certain Elwin Chai; a Rafflesian is someone who doesn't know anything except to follow the rules without much striving nor philosophising as to what they all are to mean.

So tell me, how is a Chinese High boy to respect one as unworthy of any striving?

Donaldson Tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
humph said...

originbear:

Your entire comment just flew over my head. What the?

Chee Wai Lee said...

humph - don't worry about it. Trolls will be trolls will be trolls. It's just flamebait.

Donaldson Tan said...

hi Originbear,

Don't drag down the good names of Hwachong and Raffles in this discourse. I am sure their alumnus do not welcome your actions or your line of thoughts.


Cheers
donald

Ben Etc said...

Posted today at http://kentridgecommon.com/?p=3314: a perfectly reasonable mail from a Kelvin Teo to Methodist Welfare Services: "to seek an understanding of (their) position in the issue involving Mr (Tongel) Yeo’s engagement with Mr Siew...

Teo makes the point: "The timing of Mr Yeo’s email somehow coincided with the current period in which the government is considering the line-up of potential candidates for Nominated Members of Parliament. It is known that Mr Siew has applied for a second term. I have noted that according to the article by TODAY, Mr Yeo currently sits on your board. The implications of this piece of knowledge is obvious, and this could lead to speculations on the Methodist Welfare Services’ involvement or non-involvement in the current process with regards to Mr Siew’s application for a second term..."

Siew Kum Hong said...

To Collin Chan and runmondeo: The matters that you have raised are not the direct subject-matter of my police report, however they touch on matters that could be relevant. Since this is now a police matter, I am not able to comment further on it. I do intend to post about this incident, and my thoughts on the right to free speech, at an opportune moment after the police process is completed.

To originbear: I'm sorry, I am not sure what you are trying to say.

To all else: Thanks for the encouragement and words of support. All of you are too kind.

lowtide said...

People who try to invoke social change will always get ridiculed by conservatives, and that is a common thing in history.

Didn't the first Black-White couple in the US 'divided' the country as well?

It's just part of any major social change. In the short run, many will be divided. As time passes by, like race, it does not matter THAT much anymore today.

Keep fighting for what is right sir! As you can see, you have many people's support. Jiayou!

redcargorice said...

it's pretty evident that it's not even about 'conservatives' versus 'liberals' anymore. This whole affair has turned into a free-for-all to smear Mr Siew's name in any way, even if it doesn't make sense. The recent 'originbear' comment is good example.

originbear said...

It was a stray comment meant to test a hypothesis.

I apologise for the alarm caused.

originbear said...

I generally don't like to apologise, though.

Donaldson Tan said...

So when will NMP selection result be out?

So when will the deliberation of the AGC, SLA, SCCA and Law Society on the complaint be out?

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