revolution 302

September 30, 2005

My life is so interesting now that my friends have left for university. I am starting to expand my circle of gay friends in the absence of the foresaid friends (don’t ask what we do and I won’t tell), and the experience is, to say the least, most disheartening. I walk away from most conversations feeling rather demoralised at the entire sad affair of their sad lives, and sometimes feel like I need a lobotomy. Just so I can be as braindead as these are.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a thirty-three year-old gay man about homosexual rights in Singapore. We concluded that gays and lesbians are really treated quite badly here. However, his conclusion was: it could be worse, I could have been born in Iran, where gay people are hanged. This struck me as particularly disingenuous. I mean, yes, thank heavens I’m not a North Korean. Whoopee! Bring out the, er, champagne.

But just because shittier things have happened doesn’t excuse the fact that shit is happening. And if gay men and women keep telling themselves that, then they are seriously deluding themselves into a false security. Push comes to shove, the government will sacrifice us to safeguard their power. Look at the recent (mis)handling of the burgeoning AIDS threat in Singapore. It’s difficult to institute the proper reforms, like safe-sex-education, or distributing condoms, or encouraging the open discussion of sexual topics. It’s very easy to demonise gay men. No prizes for guessing which method was used to solve the problem (read: reassure the general public).

For at the heart of the matter is an insidious, cancerous attitude: ‘Gays and lesbians are economically viable.’ Studies have shown that cities with many gays/lesbians tend to be vibrant, creative, cutting-edge, fashionable, attractive, in short, economically viable. But to tolerate these ‘alternative lifestyles’ for this fact is extremely shitty: does that mean we do not tolerate poor people, because they don’t make enough money? Shall we deprive them of basic rights, like reproductive rights? Hasn’t the Singaporean government suggested this before? Isn’t this really shitty?

No. Homosexuals should be tolerated because they are human beings and have a legitimate right to self assertion and fulfilment. And the numerous gay men and women who pay taxes to the government and who live peacefully and peaceably within the Singaporean community should realise that Singapore treats them like shit. And they should do something about this: namely, vote with their feet and move to somewhere more tolerant. Let’s conduct a thought-experiment: if someone were not to hire a gay man/woman solely on basis of sexuality, this would clearly be against the law in Britain and America. In Singapore it would really be business as usual. And don’t say ‘oh but it could be worse, I could be living in Tehran or Bahrain or Pyongyang.’ Because there’s still SF, NY and London to move to.

To accept people based on their contribution to GDP is a foolish concept which is dangerous and ultimately misleading. Singaporean homosexuals should realise how precarious their position really is, and start reconsidering the basis of their entire lives. Can one truly be happy in Happy, when there is Heaven to be discovered?


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