ST Online Forum: Don't let prejudice get in the way (Jul 26)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26, 2007
Don't let prejudice get in the way

I REFER to the letter, 'Homosexuality: Legalising something that is not right does not make it right' by Dr Ang Su Yin (Online forum, July 19). I have a colleague who goes to church. She has a daughter who is just starting her university years in Australia. She, too, attends church.

Recently her daughter went with a group of girlfriends to a bar where 'there is really good music'. After they ordered their drinks, they realised that they were the only girls there. It was a gay bar. However they let 'their hair down' and had a jolly good time. Later she reported to her mum in
Singapore that she 'has never felt so safe in the company of so many men'.

Like Dr Ang who is a paediatrician, I too am a medical doctor. However, I am involved in the care of people at the other end of the spectrum - the older people in the community and the people dying at home. I have learnt that good 'doctoring' comes with letting go of our personal judgmental attitude and learning to see our fellow beings in our care, as no different from ourselves in mental and physical sufferings as well as in happiness.

I used to be an avid reader of science fiction and my all-time favourite is the classic called The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. The novel, in a post-apocalypse era, describes the lives of the inhabitants of a rural place called Labrador. They practise a form of fundamental Christianity.
Individuals not conforming to a strict physical norm are either killed or sterilised and banished to the Fringes, a forbidden area still rife with animal and plant mutations. I will leave it to you to read this exciting fiction and find out the conclusion. I have always wondered why this novel did not make it to the big screen.

Perhaps if Dr Ang would put her prejudice away and get to know gay people, it will help to remove the 'monstrosity of fear' that obstructs the development of compassion that is essential in the practice of 'good medicine'.

Dr Tan Chek Wee