TNP: Students of outed gay teacher: Most of us already knew (Sept 15)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Students of outed gay teacher: Most of us already knew
by Ng Tze Yong

Some cried foul.

But those who knew the gay teacher at the centre of the brouhaha were barely fazed.

Students who spoke on condition of anonymity told TheNew Paper there was hardly any flap at the all-boys school yesterday, other than the initial surprise and a little embarrassed silence.

'People asked one another if they heard about it, and that was about all,' Roy, a Secondary 3 student, said.

Blogger muquan, a student from the school, wrote: 'Good teachers are hard to come by these days. Better know how to hold on to one when u find one. Who cares about his sexual preferences?'

Michael, a Secondary 3 student, said: 'He is a nice person; we had other things to gossip about.'

Yesterday morning, five days after his blog entry, the teacher stepped into a class to conduct a lesson on the physics of atomic bombs, looking 'totally normal'.

John, a Sec 2 student from the class, said: 'Most of the class already knew but people were embarrassed to ask.

'Besides, some people already knew about it because he had told them before.'

Sexuality, influencing the young, non-traditional lifestyles - Michael shrugged them all off.

'Having a gay teacher in a boy's school is just like having a male teacher in a girls' school, isn't it?' he asked.

'I would actually describe myself as homophobic,' he added, 'but in a general way.'

It doesn't seem to make sense. Like saying you're racist, but only some of the time.

But Michael explained: 'It depends on whether you get to know a person first and then find out he is gay or the other way round.

'To the outside world, the teacher is a gay person. To us, he is and always will be our teacher.'

Yesterday, Michael said he heard a friend muse: 'I think that today, I became less homophobic (after learning that our teacher is gay).'

It's something else to convince the parents, though.

John said his mother was 'very worried'. She frowned and asked many questions when he showed her the teacher's blog.

'But I told her it's not a big deal because my job as a student is just to learn as much as I can,' he said.

Blogger muquan thanked Mr Fong for 'removing more superficiality from this world'.

'He doesn't have to be straight to be a good role model,' muquan wrote. 'So u mean all straight teachers are good role models? Don't make me LAUGH.'

In a statement yesterday, the teacher said his blog was meant for his colleagues, not students who he feels 'are too young to deal with these issues'.

He wrote: 'My main concern is to help my students do well in their studies.

'I'm happy that the school has not asked me to leave. I will not discuss the issue with my students because the blog was not intended for them.'