Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Singapore Perspective 2016 - First reactions

Could also be called, "How we met our future Prime Minister".

Ho Kwon Ping said it was a "Beauty Parade of Potential Prime Minister". My friend wanted to skip to the Swim Trunks portion of the pageant.

Kudos to Chan Heng Chee who when asked to give her final summary, simply said "Amen."

Bilahari took the cue when it was his turn and said, "thank you."

Ho Kwon Ping went with the zeitgeist (it was past 5 by then).

Earlier, when the moderator toss a question to the panel and asked if they wanted to comment on a question or the answer given by Minster Heng Swee Keat, Bilahari leaned forward quickly and answered, "no".

One issue that was raised in various form was the acceptance of LGBT.

One lady from the audience tried to ask Minister Heng to step away from the rehearsed answer of "Singapore society needs to evolve and decide on the issue of LGBT" and to say what was the real pressure for the govt not to decide on the LGBT.

Which is a very good illustration of the other issue that had been raised also at various points - transparency in decision-making.

The lady wanted a candid answer from the Minister instead of the party line. I guess she basically wanted Minister to say, for example, that Religious Right has the PAP by the balls and won't allow the PAP to, for example, repeal 377A.

Possibly, the real answer (this is speculation) is that there is no real urgency (or pressure) for the govt to decide on the LGBT issue, now.

The "Anti-LGBT" camp already supports the govt. The "pro-LGBT" camp is somewhat unhappy, but...  not unhappy enough to leave. Because really, it's not good, but few other places in the world is better, and even places that "protect" LGBT rights, may still be socially oppressive for LGBT. Or generally dangerous, or otherwise undesirable.

What would make the govt act? If LGBTs suddenly leave SG in droves because of 377A.

But the ministers cannot say that candidly. That would give the LGBT community leverage.

Neither can the Ministers (or any of the ruling party members, really) identify the group that is applying pressure on the govt (if such a group exists). It would simply polarise society, and then there would be no way to negotiate our way out of the impasse.

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