TODAY: Stars lend name to plea for change

Monday, October 15, 2007

TODAY, Oct 15, 2007

Online rap video seeks support for change of current gay laws

Local celebrities have rallied together in a rap video to garner support for petitions to urge the government to change its mind about the current gay laws.

The rap video — which runs for just under two minutes and which has a line up of well-known names, such as Pamela Oei, Selena Tan and Emma Yong of the Dim Sum Dollies — is in support of a public online campaign urging people to sign on two documents to amend Section 377A of the Penal Code.

The video begins with a rap, but ends with a plea by the named celebrities, urging the public to support the campaigns.

The two documents include an Open Letter to the Prime Minister and a formal petition to be submitted to Parliament on Oct 22 by Nominated Member of Parliament Siew Kum Hong — which will require actual signatures.

Last week, Mr Siew said the idea for the petition was suggested to him by its two lead signatories, lawyer George Hwang and Mr Stuart Koe, chief executive of gay media company Mr Siew said he agreed to submit the petition as he believes Section 377A should be repealed.

On Oct 22, Parliament will hear the debate on a number of issues, including wide-ranging amendments to the Penal Code, which governs most criminal offences here.

The proposed changes do not include Section 377A, under which it is a crime for men to have sex with other men, whether in public or in private.

Following its latest review of the Penal Code, the Government said it had decided to maintain the status quo since Singapore is a generally conservative society. The authorities also said it will not actively prosecute people under Section 377A.

A survey by Today this year showed that people here are still conservative.

Asked if homosexuality should be made legal, 62.3 per cent of 300 respondents disagreed — 25.3 per cent strongly so.

Only 11.6 per cent thought it should be legalised while interestingly, 26 per cent had no views either way.

As of yesterday, the organisers of the two campaigns said they had collected 4, 618 signatures for its online campaign.

They could not provide figures for the parliamentary petition by press time.

The online campaign to gather signatures for the Open Letter closes on Friday, while yesterday was the last day for people to show their support for the parliamentary petition.

Other celebrities in the video include 881 star Yeo Yann Yann, actors Irene Ang, Tan Kheng Hua, Neo Swee Lin and Lim Kay Siu, 987FM programme director Mark Richmond, television host and stage actress Beatrice Chia, creative director Glen Goei and comedian Kumar.