ST Online Forum: We cannot follow overseas trends on gay issues blindly (Sep 6)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

We cannot follow overseas trends on gay issues blindly

I refer to Dr Yap Kim Hao's letter 'We cannot afford to wait for conservative views to change before dropping laws against gays' in The Straits Times Online Forum (Sept 4).

Dr Yap makes some sweeping assumptions that warrant closer examination and reflection.

It is unfortunate that MM Lee continues to be cited as 'the definitive truth' where the gay issue is concerned.

While I agree that he has done much for the progress of our nation, it does not follow automatically that everything he postulates must always be right for Singapore.

As a nation of intelligent individuals, our responsibility must be to carefully evaluate every assertion, no matter what the source.

This avoids blindly following any, and every, novel trend.

Does it also follow that because others have done so, we must do the same?

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan may be the 'economic dragons' of the last and this century, but recent incidents of commercial and industrial malpractice point to problems in moral rectitude in the race for material growth.

Surely Singapore has not got to where we are through following all and sundry just because of what worked for them.

Singapore has long learnt from the actions of others, then chosen its own pathway.

Dr Yap claims that the 'conservative sector' of our society is a minority. The last ST Online poll on the 'gay issue' proves this belief to be wrong and the assertion misleading.

The statement that acceptance of gay is 'necessary and shows respect for the laws of the country' escapes all my attempts at rationalisation.

Finally, Dr Yap trots out the well-worn but obligatory 'gays are born not made' argument. The jury is still out on this.

The pluralistic Singapore we all aspire towards should be built upon mutual respect for all 'regardless of race, language or religion'.

I do not recall 'sexual orientation' being included.

If we are to have leaders of public opinion, let us choose wisely. If we are to be good followers, let us do so with intelligent and inquisitive attitudes.

Chia Boon Beng