Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The rule of law - Section 377A

Here I am back in Singapore after a short weekend back in KL. It was quite a memorable one as I get to spend some time with Nyk.

We visited the KLCC Aquaria. I felt it was a bit small as compared to the Singapore one. One could go through the whole place in less than 40 minutes, including time to read the information of the various fishes and reptiles.

On the plus side, the animals look healthier and better taken care of, than those that are in the Singapore's Underwater World.

Anyway, my colleague in Singapore was pretty excited about an article on 377A (the one that criminalises gay sex). That article was written by chairman of Singapore Management University, executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and chairman of MediaCorp.

So, it's not just anyone who wrote it, but someone quite important and credible. I am actually surprised that it got published.

The full article, titled Stop Making a Mockery of Rule of Law: Let's Accept Gays can be found here (thanks to TNT).

Basically, the article says that it is pointless to have something in spirit but not in practise. The Singapore government has publicly said that the law would not be enforced, but still be maintained in the Penal Code.

As the writer says, it's schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder categorised by hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thoughts/speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, and apathy.

In other words, the rule of law is not being followed. The government is in a bind; they have no idea what to do. The government wants to appease the Christian right but at the same time wants to ensure that the gay community does not feel marginalised or leave the country.

Of course, the writer made a very good and coherent argument for the repeal of 377A. It is very true that "most Singaporeans (except, perhaps, the most fervently fundamentalist Christians or Muslims) don’t care that much about one way or the other; which the police, courts, and legal community would welcome simply to remove an archaic, Victorian-era statute; and finally, which the gay community would embrace as an important signal that their right to privacy — a fundamental human right — is considered to be more important than the right of anti-gay groups to proselytise about morality".

And of course, the fundamentalists would reply, which I would write on the next time.

No comments: