ST Online Forum: Don't over-estimate the influence of gay themes in the media (Sept 4)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sep 4, 2007
Don't over-estimate the influence of gay themes in the media

I refer to Joseph Chia Yoong Leong's letter, 'Gay musical should have
come with rating' (ST, Sep 1, 2007).

While it may seem prudent to provide a rating for performances that
feature sub-plots involving homosexuality, I feel this is only a
temporary measure, casting a thicker haze over some issues we should
have considered long ago.

There exists a mentality in society all the way through to the
administration that over-estimates the influence of media. It
discounts the role of parenting, culture and increasing media
savviness of Singaporeans.

Second, Mr Chia's letter exposes a very common misunderstanding. Most
see homosexuality as merely a behaviour that can be rectified through
discipline, be it through counselling, stigmatisation or, many years
ago, shock treatment.

What most of us fail to understand is that homosexuality is a sexual
identity, manifesting itself as a specific sexual preference. Mr Lee
Kuan Yew himself believes it is a biological trait.

As such, a straight person encountering a homosexual person will not
become homosexual.

There are social and religious institutional impediments to
understanding the notion of sexual identity.

These create a selective reading of the issue, putting to waste
reasoning and larger relevant information, both of which could have
empowered us with a wider view of our society and lives.

There are a lot media programmes accessible to children that feature
violence, retaliation, martyrdom, suicide and death. What puzzles me
is the obsession over morality and values, which are subjective and
varied across communities and families, rather than focusing on issues
related to life, death and violence.

There is a serious over-estimation of the role of the media, as well
as the perceived harmful influence of homosexual people.

Are we making decisions based on the love for our children or for the
maintenance of our predispositions and ignorance?

Ho Chi Sam