Time To Be Aware

Singaporeans are pragmatic. People are losing jobs, so who can be bothered if the liberals are feuding with the conservatives?

According to a recent poll conducted by The Sunday Times, 55 out of the 100 poll respondents did not follow the saga at Aware, and 70 said they didn’t care.

No matter how small the sample size, the findings, while not very surprising, remain quite disturbing.

Considering that the same newspaper had devoted many pages to this issue since it broke the story days ago, some people would be tempted to say that it has been a bad “investment” with lousy returns.

In fact, several friends from the media had told me privately that whatever happened at Aware is a domestic dispute with no national bearing. They don’t understand why it deserves such prime space.

I disagree with that view but at the same time, find it very difficult to reason with them.

Personally, I am really glad that The Straits Times has continued with the reporting of this matter. I know for a fact that they have taken a lot of flak from conservatives for appearing to have championed the old guard of Aware.

You believe ST has a biased agenda? I don’t.

What I do believe is that the facts are out there for all to judge.

Just as I have questioned the allegations that Aware had been propagating the wrong values to school kids, I also have this rhetorical question to ask: How could ST, a news organization that everyone believes is government-controlled have such a twisted agenda?

And if ST, the government mouthpiece has such a progressive view, then should we assume that our government is also trying to appear inclusive because an election is coming?

The survey results, in many ways, were not different from those gathered from Americans before the US Presidential elections. Asked what concerned them the most, the answers were the economy, the economy and issues related to the economy, like when was the Iraq war going to end.

Singaporeans are pragmatic. People are losing jobs, so who can be bothered if the liberals are feuding with the conservatives?

My gut feel is that as long as we have rice on the table, most Singaporeans will not care if the ruling class is made up of people with a lifestyle that is not so “conventional”, as long as there is a high degree of transparency.

In my opinion, nothing is worse than a bigot pretending to be otherwise.

Singaporeans, therefore, must learn to care.

Please, I have heard enough excuses along the line of “Aiyah, we have no chance to exercise our vote, what politics you talking about?”.

Caring about our society can take many forms.

People should care about the Aware saga because it can have bigger implications.

Everyone must care as long as you have a sister, a mother, a wife, a daughter.

Every man should care because as long as you have to deal with a woman, whatever happened at Aware can affect you.

I agree that the new Aware exco members must be given a chance. However, we must also be guarded against a group of people who just came out from nowhere and is suddenly running an organization that they don’t even understand.

How can the new exco members confidently tell me that Aware’s sexuality program needs to be altered when they didn’t even get things right?

In the best case scenario, the new committee gets its way to rule and deliver what it promises – continue to fight for women at all levels.

In the worst case scenario, will we end up with an organization that imposes its extreme values on the rest of us?

I hope that nobody here will ever use the line – “If you are not with us, you are against us” – a phrase that is representative of the bullying Bush Regime, to scare us.

We have come a long way, this is not a time to stand with your arms folded and pretend that issues like these don’t concern us.

The original blog appeared on my Facebook in 2009.