Speaking at a dialogue with 300 students at the Polytechnic Forum 2016 held at Republic Polytechnic on Friday (Sept 23), Mr Chan tackled topics ranging from staying relevant amid changing times, unequal financial assistance given to the lower-income group, to LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) issues.
One quote in particular captured my attention:
Offering his personal views on LGBT issues, Mr Chan said: “I’m not going to discriminate … (You’re free to do) whatever you do behind your bedroom doors … It’s not my problem. I’m not a sex policeman … But if you tell everyone to champion pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT (causes), it (might) cause social divisions, so (I have to step in) to be the policeman in the middle.”
Allow me to break down CCS quote into three main parts:
I’m not going to discriminate …–Hey people! We (the government) don’t judge.. We policed the norms, of our society. Our rules are meant to protect and maintain the integrity of the common spaces
(You’re free to do) whatever you do behind your bedroom doors … It’s not my problem. –You happy, I also happy la. I understand, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Singapore lack many of the legal rights of non-LGBT residents. Same-sex relationships are not recognized under the law, and adoption of children by same-sex couples is illegal. Section 377A of the Penal Code criminalises sexual acts between men, including consensual and private activities, though the law is generally not enforced.
But if you tell everyone to champion pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT (causes), it (might) cause social divisions, so (I have to step in) to be the policeman in the middle.- You must respect the common space. Why do you feel the need to impose your lifestyle / religion onto others in the common space.
Essentially, CCS reminding everyone to RESPECT THE COMMON SPACE (including its norms).. or else.
I guess this is what it’s all about isn’t it – the recipe for harmony in a multi-racial and plural society; To allow and encourage the diversity of views but also being mindful of the norms in the common spaces
Just a niggling problem though – Who decide the norms in the common space?
Well, i think that its everyone. You, I, Them, We. Us.
More often then not, we think the norms has changed (e.g racism in Singapore) but government polls has shown that it is not true. We may have made so much progress that sometimes, we may be lulled into thinking that we have arrived.
(What was the IPS survey result on racism? – there is a significant portion of us that are still inherently disturusting of other races! I suspect this may be the same with the LBGT issue. That we are just not comfortable as we would like)
It is easy to blame the government for being too harsh in policing the common space but it is important to not forget that it is us who makes up that common space. Not the government.