ST Online Forum: Gays: Be careful of double standards (April 3)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Straits Times Online Forum, April 3, 2008

Gays: Be careful of double standards

I REFER to last Saturday's Science section article by
Ms Chang Ai-Lien, 'MM's reassuring comments seal
researcher's move here'. The article reports that
Professor Kerry Sieh, who is gay, has recently
accepted to work at the region's biggest earth
observatory because of the increased tolerance of gay
people in Singapore. Also cited are Minister Mentor
Lee Kuan Yew's views in an interview last year, which
state that while homosexuality is genetic, the lives
of gays should not be interfered.

While this is symbolic of tolerance of sexual
minorities in Singapore, we must exercise caution at
how egalitarianism is strategically practised in
Singapore. Tolerance and acceptance of diversity
should not be expressed primarily in terms of economic
progress and development. It should extend beyond the
mere inclusion of non-Singaporeans.

If the increased tolerance of sexual minorities is
purely symbolic and articulated for the economic
imperative, for example, the attraction of foreign
talent, I worry for the local sexual minority
community, for little will be actually done to improve
public education and the social integration of people
of other sexual orientation. I hope this does not
result in a double-standard treatment of local and
foreign sexual minorities.

As Singaporeans so ingrained with the values and
rhetoric of economic pragmatism, we should be aware of
how we accept diversity. People should not be accepted
based solely on what we perceive them to be worth.
They should be accepted fundamentally for who they

Ho Chi Sam