Thursday, July 17, 2014

LGBT & NLB: Public attitude hardening

In an earlier post I stated that I have no problems with the three children books NLB had removed from our libraries shelves. Now if I were a decision maker in NLB it would be my duty to remove them because many parents simply aren't equipped to show their children the way on such matters. That the kids could help themselves to such books and then see such family types among us is just to frightening to them.

Lawrence Khong must been feeling that God is answering his prayer. Actually he didn't even need to do anything and caused unnecessary unhappiness all around. The LGBT community were digging their own hole to fall into. They were too much in a hurry to gain space and promote themselves. The right strategy was patience and focus on explaining who and what they are to a public which is still largely informed by prejudice against them than knowledge. Fortunately or unfortunately for LGBTs, we are also a very tolerant people which is kind enough to hear out and understand their community. But your mustn't be presumptuous or hurry us. Worse, LGBTs thinking they are on the right side of history took the wrong cue from America and became arrogant.

Events have overtaken us so quickly. I imagined when NLB had these books (including this Archie Married Life series) on its shelves, the public's attitude toward LGBTs was more accommodating. It has now changed for LGBTs because of three children's books at our libraries.

My friend's daughter made a disingenuous remark to her father asking him what's wrong with those books? She pointed out even Simba in the Lion King wasn't brought up in a proper family. So what was the big deal that the books had to be removed? She might have a first class honours degree, but like many well schooled people she had missed the point totally. Fairy tales are fiction and they are escapism and entertainment. The material that had created so much commotion have immediate real life implications at a time when the public is not yet sufficiently educated about LGBT.  Likewise the Da Vinci code by Dan Brown was a complete work of fiction but had such a frightening non-fiction character to it.

The LGBT community had LKY to thank but themselves to blame for the situation they are in today. LKY recognized the unusual number of talented people among them and convinced that people were born homosexual rather than choice decided to accommodate them by not enforcing 377A. I think he was convinced by Prof Richard Florida research and arguments supporting their case in fostering creative cities and he wanted a lot of that for us.

In 2006 BBC and others were surprised that this government permitted Brokeback Mountain to be screened in our cinemas. That was a wonderful opportunity to explain homosexuality issues to the public but it is only a very noticeable step of many missing steps the LGBT community failed to take. Today the community is only good at asserting and almost demanding their rights to equal treatment. This is putting the cart before the horse failing to recognize that the government will cease its supportive attitude because most voters would not come along. When Chan Chun Sing publicly expressed his unhappiness over Goldman Sachs organizing a recruitment event for LGBT, the community failed to understand the writing on the wall.

The LGBT community should never pressure the government. In fact nobody should be so stupid to pressure them unless you have sufficient leverage. It is smarter even if much harder to successfully sell your case to the public first. In the end it is the LGBT community pride and impatience that will lead them to their downfall. Lawrence Khong really didn't need to do a thing. Not even prayer was necessary as his enemies were sowing the seeds for their own disaster. Well given time, it will be recognized as just a severe setback. They can try again later, much later.


  1. Let them lose whatever respect they have so far from the bigger community. It is sad people can become so self-righteous

  2. Well, consider for a moment that maybe you are over-reacting. Maybe not-a-few people are thinking the same as your daughter's friend. Or like MP Hri Kumar. Of course, there're probably not-a-few who share your sentiment too. Either case, its fine. The problem I have is you wagging the fingers at the LGBT community for over-reach in this case. The most vociferous voices actually come from the literary community, writers in TOC. Somehow, they seem blue in their face over the fact that the books were "made into pulp" - it seemed to have cross a line with them. Have they over-reacted? Probably. But then, you put the entire blame back to the LGBT community.

    Anyway, I have faith in Singaporeans, that we are all level headed people. With time, things will settle down. There's a silent majority watching in bewilderment at the overreaction from all sides - NLB, MCI, literary community .. and yes, in my case, your recent posts too. The cynics have pointed out that maybe the G is willing to let the fire stoke on this, since it helps draw attention away from the CPF issue.

  3. I go with the comment - "maybe the G is willing to let the fire stoke on this, since it ...." It is wise to have a cool head and not get polarised . Both sides will lose and someone else will be having a good time