by Ho Kwon Ping
The words “some day” resonate with many people of my generation. They were the final words of the refrain from the song “We Shall Overcome” which marked the civil rights movement of America in the 1960’s and ‘70s. As a wide-eyed freshman in the US I attended student rallies and demonstrations, and I still recall the poignant, hopeful idealism of many young people, black and white, as they sang, arms linked and waiting for that “some day”.
For my parents’ generation, “some day” was a longing for a future when they would control their own destinies free from colonial masters; for freedom from poverty, hunger, illiteracy. The PAP when it came to power delivered on all its promises – and more – and “some day” became today. Basic civil rights – equality of gender, race, and religion … Read More »
by Alan Tan
Truth be told, I used to join in the safety of the crowd and scoff at the gay community in high school. Indeed, I was homophobic.
Looking back, it is not difficult to explain my fears. My phobia probably came from the worry of being ostracised by others. I did not want to be associated with gay people as they are constantly insulted, bullied, and are segregated in literally any society. As I was approaching senior year in high school, I was balloted to work with a gay man for a project. I was furious, dismayed, and felt like the most unfortunate heterosexual human being in the world who had just lost his honour and pride. My body language mirrored my feelings, and he got the message clearly. I hated him and his way of life.
Yet, as … Read More »
by Liew Kai Khiun
At the dawn of the millennium, Church of the Saviour in Singapore ran a banner outside their Queenstown premises that read “Homosexuals can Change”. Highly visible to the public, the statement underpinned the change from the traditionally quiet disapproval of what is construed as unnatural sexual identities and relationships towards a more active drive to “rehabilitate” those belonging to the LGBT community back to what is considered as the heterosexual mainstream.
While generally agnostic, I used to share the general prejudices against sexual minorities in Singapore, and had probably agreed with the underlying messages of the banner of Church of the Saviour on homosexuality a decade ago. Growing up in a typically heterosexual mainstream family, I was probably internalized to the aversion of any other types of alternative social relationships or ways of life.
Brought up with … Read More »
It is not “someday”, but today.
My best friend and her husband, both devout Christians, are happy now that their lesbian daughter (in her late thirties) has found a loving, supportive partner for life. Their daughter and her partner live with the partner’s family, and the couple visit and dine regularly with my friend and her husband, like any good, married daughter and her spouse.
A few months back, my former student took me out for lunch, and told me about his long-term partner, who is English. The two men, who work in the medical field, have been together for more than 12 years, and his good news is that their families have accepted their relationship. My former student’s family is Singaporean and Catholic, and his partner’s parents are English and Anglican. Since we were having a Japanese lunch, we toasted his … Read More »