TODAY: MM: No S'poreans want to ask a question? (Oct 5)

Friday, October 5, 2007

By Loh Chee Kong
TODAY, Oct 5, 2007

The issue of homosexuality cropped up again during a question-and-answer session with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at the Nanyang Technological University's Ministerial Forum last night.

An English language undergraduate asked Mr Lee this question: Whether there was a "mutual contradiction" between Singapore's censorship laws and artistic expression, specifically on homosexuality and politics.

Mr Lee replied: "I cannot answer you on that. I just find it unbelievable that your artistic expression, or the desire and impulse in you, is suppressed because of the censorship laws. It cannot be.

"We are in a stage of transition ... I see no profits in having gay parades. If you are born homosexual, so be it. But must you parade it, or go out of your way to antagonise, embarrass or defy the more conventional view?"

During the one-hour session, he addressed issues such as press freedom and censorship. But when the session came close to an end, Mr Lee was concerned that only two out of the nine questions were asked by Singaporeans. He said: "Are there no Singaporeans who want to ask a question?"

Two Singaporean undergraduates then stood up to ask whether he was concerned with the high turnover rate of the teaching profession and what Singapore can do in the fight against global warming.

Mr Lee replied that the teaching profession is "unglamorous" but the Government's efforts to attract talents has paid off. He also revealed that the Cabinet is studying a paper on climate change.