TODAYOnline: Banks and the pool of pink talent (Jan 30)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Banks and the pool of pink talent

by Neo Chai Chin
TODAY, Jan 30, 2008

American investment bank Lehman Brothers is planning an unusual initiative in Singapore, Financial Times reported recently. It is specifically targeting gay and lesbians who aspire to be bankers. This follows the success of a presentation and buffet dinner for 50 gay students in Hong Kong.

Today has learnt that the banking giant is not alone. Global banks around Asia are breaking new ground to attract and retain the best and brightest. Increasingly, their hiring and diversity policies are taking into account the homosexual community, which makes up as a significant part of the talent pool.

At UBS Singapore, for example, benefits including health insurance are extended to a staff's "significant other", defined as "a person who has cohabited with an employee for a continuous period of 12 months". The couple does not need to be married, and sexual orientation is not an issue.

Money is a factor in the competition for talent, but keeping up with social changes is also important.

"This is why our benefits policy is designed to be as flexible and inclusive as possible," said Ms Leona Tan, UBS Singapore's diversity advisor.

Merrill Lynch, on its part, has four professional networks in the Asia-Pacific region for its staff, one of which is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender network, set up last April. The other networks are for women, young professionals and parents. The firm even has an annual diversity week, when it hosts speakers, events and conferences
for the various networks.

"Our efforts in the area of diversity are about how we can create the most effective and inclusive environment, one in which we value diversity rather than simply tolerate it," said Mr Roman Matla, spokesperson for the bank's diversity and inclusion team.

Besides Merrill Lynch and UBS, however, other banks Today contacted were less willing to provide details of exactly how they are catering or wooing gay employees. Gay bank staff whom this newspaper spoke to were not surprised by the taciturnity of their employers.

"We are not fully aware of the firm's diversity policy, as it is not widely publicised," said a 34-year-old employee of a European bank here.

"I've heard that Lehman and Goldman Sachs are the more progressive firms, in that they are more explicit in talking about their policies, normally through email or employees' handbooks."

But are more events organised specifically for gay employees the way to

Perhaps not, the employee said. "To be honest, I feel it's not an agenda that needs to be singled out - for example, a skincare workshop for gay employees. I would just like for the policies to be more explicitly stated."

It does seem, however, that when it comes to diversity initiatives, offshore banks are ahead of their local counterparts. Three major local banks told Today that they did not have staff specifically handling the issue of diversity. OCBC, however, added that its human resource policies "do not discriminate against employees' personal backgrounds including gender, race or religion".

When contacted, Dr Stuart Koe, chief executive of, a gay lifestyle portal, said: "Having a diversity programme is going one step beyond an anti-discrimination policy. It shows that employers value the merits and contributions of their gay and lesbian employees."

FCC Service on 27 Jan, 1030am

Sunday, January 27, 2008

27 Jan 2008 (Sun) - 10.30am

FCC Main Hall
56 Geylang Lor 23
Level 3, Century Technology Building
All are welcome!

Transformation Series
- From Solitude to Community
____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _____

Worship Leader - GARY CHAN
Keyboards - VICTOR LEE
Guitars - NATHAN GUO
Prayer - JAMIE LOW
Communion - KENG HOCK
Service Pastor - SUSAN TANG

Women Who Love Women: Conversations in Singapore to be shown at TocaMe

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Women who love Women: Conversations in Singapore will be shown at TocaMe on Saturday 26 January at 9pm. For more information, please visit

Pelangi Pride Centre Presents... Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World and 101 Rent Boys (Jan 26)

Pelangi Pride Centre presents
"Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World" and "101 Rent Boys"

Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, is a feature-length documentary that explores the immense changes that occurred for gays, lesbians and transgender people living in the Global South. In the last decade of the
20th Century, a new heightened visibility began spreading throughout the developing world and the battles between families, fundamentalist religions, and governments around sexual and gender identity had begun. But in the West,
few people knew about this historic social upheaval, until 52 men on Cairo's Queen Boat discothèque were arrested for crimes of debauchery. That explosive story focused attention to the lives and trials of gay people coming out in the developing world and the film chronicles those events.

Dangerous Living opens with one of the Cairo 52 defendant's, Ashraf Zanati, who was tortured, humiliated, beaten and forced to spend 13 months in prison. His simple, but powerful statement sets out the basic theme for the
film: "My sexuality is my own sexuality. It doesn't belong to anybody. Not to my government, not to my brother, my sister, my family. No."

Directed by John Scagliotti and Produced by Janet Baus and Dan Hunt. Executive Producer is Reid Williams.
Major sponsor includes The H. van Ameringen Foundation.

101 Rent Boys is a 2000 documentary film that explores the West Hollywood hustler scene. The producers recruited 101 hustlers from on and around Santa Monica Boulevard and paid each of them $50 for their time. The boys, who
were from diverse ethnic, racial, regional and economic backgrounds, were interviewed in motel rooms on such topics as how they entered into prostitution, their sexual orientation, drugs and their first johns. The film focuses on a few of the boys more extensively while much smaller clips of other subjects are used. Each rent boy was assigned a number but not each one is so identified in the film. While some of the subjects are interviewed in various states of undress and the talk sometimes becomes sexually explicit, the film itself contains no sexual activity.


RSVP - As the event is by invitation only, prior registration is required.
To sign up, please email [pelangipridecentre at yahoo dot com] to RSVP with your name, contact number, the name/s of your guests.

Details at a Glance
Event: "Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World" and "101 Rent Boys"
Date: Saturday, 26th January 2008 (260108)
Time: 4pm
Venue: Pelangi Pride Centre @ Bianco
Cost per person: $6 (cost of 2 soft drinks and finger food)

LUSH: Lesbians United for Self Help starting again

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hi all,

Given the recent debate on the issue of homosexuality that has been taking place, some of us may have a better understanding of the issue, while some of us still remain conflicted. For women who are struggling to reconcile our faith and sexuality, Safehaven, a ministry for lgbt christians under the Free Community Church, is starting the Fourth run of LUSH in March 2008. We started LUSH I in 2006, and LUSH II and III were both completed in 2007. So for those who may have missed the previous runs, we invite those who want to find out more to join us in LUSH IV, and information is as follows:

LUSH: Lesbians United for Self Help

What: Support Group for Gay Christian Women
We are now opening up for more women interested to be part of our fourth run.

Why: Very often, we women are told by our churches and the people around us that being gay or lesbian is a sin, and that Christianity doesn't condone same-sex partnerships.

As a result, many of us struggle to reconcile our sexuality with our faith. There seems to be a contradiction between "What We Have Been Taught" vs "What Feels Right To Us", and it seems impossible to resolve.

Who: Facilitated by Cephas and Julia of FCC, LUSH is a platform for women who struggle with this conflict. The group will be based on the format of a support group, providing a safe space to exchange ideas, explore other points of view, and encourage each other along our shared journey. (To aid the effectiveness of such a format for sharing, the size of the group will be limited, and members will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis.)

How: The format will be based on discussions and sharing on a range of issues from the topics: Loving Ourselves; Sexuality and what the Bible says; Our Relationships; and Our Community.

When: Once a week, running for approximately 6 months with breaks in between.

If you are interested or have any enquiries, please contact Cephas at < > or Julia at <>. Please reply by 24th of Febuary 2008.

RSVP closed for Women's Nite 26th Jan 2008: So... it's a date?

Thank you all for your enthusiastic responses!

Due to space constraints, RSVP for January's Women's Nite is now closed.

We look forward to seeing you in February!

Reuters: Gay couples as committed as straight couples: study (Jan 22)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jan 22, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Gay and lesbian couples are just as committed in their relationships as heterosexuals and the legal status of their union doesn't impact their happiness, according to new research.

In two new studies that compared same-sex and heterosexual couples using different factors and methods to assess their happiness, scientists found few differences.

"Among the committed couples, there were very few differences that we were able to identify either in terms of how satisfied these couples were, how effectively they interacted with one another or how their bodies responded physiologically while they were interacting with one another," Glenn I. Roisman, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, said in an interview.

He and his colleagues compared 30 gay male and 30 lesbian couples with 50 engaged heterosexual couples, 40 older, married heterosexual couples and dating heterosexual couples.

They found that regardless of sexual orientation, as the level of commitment increased, so did the ability to resolve conflict -- debunking the myth that
same-sex relationships are not built on the same level of commitment as heterosexual ones.

In the second study researchers, who focused on how legal status affected relationship quality, followed 65 male and 138 female same-sex couples in civil
unions, 23 male and 61 female same-sex couples not in civil unions and 55 heterosexual married couples over a three-year period.

The researchers from the University of Washington, San Diego State University and the University of Vermont found that same-sex couples, regardless of their legal
status, were more satisfied with their relationships and reported more positive feelings toward their partners and less conflict than heterosexual married

But gay and lesbian couples not in civil unions were more likely than same-sex couples in civil unions or heterosexuals who were married to end their relationships, according to the study.

Both studies were published in the journal Developmental Psychology.

"My personal view is that I think it's very hard to make the case as has been made that these same-sex relationships are fundamentally different from opposite-sex relationships in the presence of data like these and other data in the developmental
literature," said Roisman.

Reporting by Stefanie Kranjec; Editing by Patricia Reaney

The Advocate: Gay Unions Healthier than Straight (Jan 17)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SUMMARY: Same-sex couples are more flexible about gender roles,
parenting and household responsibilities, a University of San Diego
study finds.

A recent University of San Diego study revealed some discoveries
that demonstrate how same-sex relationships may be healthier than
straight ones, according to an article by United Press

The study found that couples in same-sex relationships were more
flexible in terms of gender roles, parenting and household

It also found that lesbian couples are emotionally closer than gay
male couples, who, in turn, are emotionally closer than heterosexual
married couples.

"It all comes down to greater equality in the relationship, " Robert-
Jay Green of Alliant International University's Rockway Institute
said to UPI. "Research shows that lesbian and gay couples have a
head start in escaping the traditional gender role divisions that
make for power imbalances and dissatisfaction in many heterosexual
relationships. "

According to the article, the researches concluded, "heterosexual
couples could learn from gay couples about sharing housework and
child care, using softer communication in conflict, and having more
nurturing behaviors toward one another and their children." (The

ST Online Forum: Show depicting married gay couple with adopted child inappropriate for screening on telly (Jan 17)

Jan 17 2008

Show depicting married gay couple with adopted child inappropriate for screening on telly

I TUNED in to MediaCorp Channel 5 on Sunday morning at 8am to a programme that featured the show's host and a family sourcing for items in a garage sale.

The were looking for second-hand goods to spruce up their son's room.

I was concerned because the show depicted a gay married couple with their young adopted son.

The absence of the opposite gender in the family nucleus will, no doubt, leave young viewers bewildered.

Allowing a show that depicts a gay married couple as a family nucleus on national television may be acceptable in Western society, but it may not be appropriate in the context of our Eastern culture.

MediaCorp could be more selective when airing such programmes.

Bennie Cheok

Love and Pride Film Festival at GV Grand & VivoCity (25-27 Jan)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Love and Pride Film Festival will run from 25 to 27 January at GV Grand and Gold Class at GV VivoCity.

For the screening at GV Grand, purchase 3 movie tickets for the price of only $18!
The usual price for one ticket is $7.

For the screening at Gold Class, GV VivoCity, purchase a pair of LOVE & PRIDE FESTIVAL GOLD CLASS ticket at only $98 which includes 2 glasses Moet & Chandon Champagne & Strawberries Fondue!

For more information visit:

Financial Times: Cool repception for Asia's gay workers (Jan 14)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cool reception for Asia’s gay workers

By Raphael Minder

Published: January 14 2008 22:06 | Last updated: January 14 2008 22:06

Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank, recently held an unusual recruitment event at Hong Kong university. Lehman’s invitation was specifically aimed at gay and lesbian students who aspire to be bankers.

Encouraged by the success of the presentation and buffet dinner for 50 students, Lehman is planning to extend its initiatives targeting the gay community this year. It will include the bank’s first pro-gay activities in Singapore, the city-state that has become one of Asia’s leading financial centres but where sex between men is illegal.

Lehman Brothers is not the only bank seeking to recruit from Asia’s gay community. Such is the enthusiasm among investment banks that some have banded together to give their Asian events a higher profile, taking it in turn to organise lectures, dinners and other events around a gay or lesbian theme. In November, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Lehman, Merrill Lynch and UBS co-sponsored a cinema evening in Hong Kong which featured The Bubble, a 2006 film about the gay relationship between a Palestinian and an Israeli soldier.

Investment banks’ efforts to recruit more gays and lesbians is partly an attempt to attract the most talented employees. At a time when Asia has become the world’s biggest region for deals such as initial public offerings, investment banks are struggling to fill the new positions on offer. And the intense hiring competition makes it crucial to ensure talented gay people are not deterred from applying because of a combination of Asian intolerance and western macho behaviour on trading floors.

Cheryl de Souza, Lehman’s Asia director of diversity and inclusion, says: “Walking across some of the floors in Hong Kong, you will find that we now have people who feel comfortable about having a picture of their [same-sex] partner on their desk and that’s huge in terms of progress.”

Furthermore, banks are increasingly committed to corporate social responsibility and best practice, which also helps explain why some US executives argue that they are ahead of their peers in pushing for sexual diversity. Christopher Jackson, a senior vice-president for Lehman in Tokyo, says: “The way we’re tackling this in Asia certainly emanates to some extent from the fact that we’re a US firm based in New York.”

What Lehman and some other investment banks are trying to achieve in Singapore and other parts in Asia runs counter to the region’s cultural and legal environment. Homosexual people are broadly accepted in some countries, notably Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong, where gay sex was only decriminalised in 1991. But in most of Asia, gay people still face discrimination and censure – both in and out of the workplace – amid a blend of religious intolerance, family conservatism and legal bans, often inherited directly from British colonial rule. For instance gay sex is a criminal offence across the Indian subcontinent.

In Malaysia, a Muslim country where sodomy is a crime, police in November broke up a gay sex party in a fitness club on Penang and arrested 37 men aged between 20 and 45. The evidence gathered against them included used condoms found on the floor as well as six boxes of new condoms – which in many countries would probably be construed as a sign of responsible sexual behaviour.

Richard Welford, a director of CSR Asia, a consultancy focused on corporate social responsibility, says: “In the vast majority of cases in Asia, gays and lesbians have to stay hidden. Sometimes they will even make up boyfriends or girlfriends . . . But it does seem that in some sectors such as investment banking, businesses are taking the lead [in improving the situation for gay people]. You could say that they are ahead of Asian society there.”

This has not been the case in Asian retail banking. Unlike retail banks that have countrywide branch networks, investment banks are also in a better position to push for change because they generally operate only in a country’s biggest city, where the population is usually most diverse and conservative attitudes are less entrenched than in second-tier cities and more remote Asian manufacturing centres.

The international dimension of investment banking is also forcing employers to confront the issue of homosexual discrimination more regularly than their counterparts in retail banking and other more local institutions. A recurring problem is the difficulty of getting investment bankers to relocate to countries that do not offer dependent visas for same-sex partners.

Still, the jurisprudence governing homosexuality is not necessarily the best guide as to where gay people will find it easiest to work in the Asia-Pacific region, according to some executives who gathered at a recent evening party of Fruits in Suits, an association that holds monthly events in Hong Kong.

Some even contrast life in Sydney, where the Mardi Gras celebration is one of the world’s biggest annual gay events, with the macho working environment within parts of the Australian financial services industry, which one banker says is “a lot behind the curve”.

India offers another intriguing situation, according to Stephen Golden, a vice-president at Goldman Sachs, who helps co-ordinate the bank’s global leadership and diversity programme. He says: “India is one of those places where the laws relating to homosexuality haven’t changed but society has. We have had employees who are openly gay and have been asked to transfer to India and have gone there without any issues. They understand the cultural environment and have had very good experiences.”

On the flip side stands South Korea, where there is no legislation banning gay sex but where gay people say they cannot be open about their sexuality for fear of being treated as social pariahs. Kay McArdle, who heads Goldman’s diversity programme in Asia excluding Japan, describes Seoul as “the least diverse office we have in Asia”.

Still, she finds reason for optimism in the current staffing problems that Korean firms are confronting. Recognition that there is a dearth of women in the workplace should eventually translate into broader improvements for gay people and others who struggle to gain acceptance in the Korean workplace, she argues. “The Korean government has recently been doing a huge push on getting women back into the workforce as many employers face acute staff shortages.” Ms McArdle says. “They are getting up the curve, slowly but surely. And that is good news for diversity in general.”

Exclusion zone: how Asia gives short shrift to same-sex partners

In November, the Thai subsidiary of AIG, the American insurer, found itself under attack for allegedly refusing to sell life assurance to a leading gay activist.

Natee Teerarojjanapong, president of the Gay Political Group of Thailand, threatened legal action against American International Assurance, which is owned by AIG and is Thailand’s biggest insurance company. AIA denied Mr Natee’s claim, saying he had never formally applied for a life assurance policy. While the company vets each applicanton individual risk, it denied any discrimination on grounds of sexual preference.

Although AIA now says “there is no dispute any more”, Mr Natee promises to “continue to fight” and proceed with some legal action. He told the Financial Times: “This is just the beginning. If we make enough noise, insurers will start to accept that it’s a real problem . . . The situation is very bad for gays but for transgender [people], it’s even worse.”

Independent of the row involving AIA, possible discrimination in the insurance sector is a recurring theme in discussions relating to homosexual employment in Asia’s financial services industry.

Goldman Sachs, for example, had to deal in Tokyo with a complaint from an employee over access to the firm’s healthcare benefits for a domestic partner. The Japanese company providing Goldman’s healthcare scheme would not extend the coverage to a same-sex partner. The problem is “close to being addressed”, according to the US bank. Another executive familiar with the Asian insurance industry says: “When you put together insurance and Asia, you’re essentially talking about a marriage between caution and conservatism. That’s not exactly great for gays.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

Herstory @ZOUK VR challenge Finals (Jan 10)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Herstory @ZOUK
VR challenge Finals
Who will emerge champion for this first ever VR challenge?

Watch the 10 contestants come on stage at ZOUK on 10 Jan 2008 to vie for
the title - Herstory Online Ambassador.

Help us decide the best candidate for Herstory FIRST Online Ambassador.
Your vote will determine the FIRST icon to represent Singapore lesbian
cyber scene. Your vote is important, please cast your vote @ZOUK on 10
Jan 2008. First 100 to vote will each receive $100 worth of NewUrbanMale
product vouchers and one 42below vodka housepour!

It is the butches vs the femmes in this first ever Herstory Virtual
Reality (VR) Challenge. The winner will be crown Herstory Online
Ambassador and will represent Herstory online brand for one year and
walk home with 3 years of FREE Herstory BLACK Membership, 1 bottle of
42below vodka and 1 NewUrbanMale Fashion Bag.
Catch them LIVE in action at ZOUK on 10 Jan for the FINALS!
It's a show not to be miss!!

Sign up for 1 Year of Herstory BLACK to receive:
Privilege online surfing
Herstory Black Membership Card valid for 1 year
$100 worth of NewUrbanMale product voucher
42below vodka
1 FREE Party Entry Pass
Roxy beach bag
LePride's Car Decal

Don't miss Herstory Quarterly Grrls Only Party happening once every
three months at ZOUK.
Whether you want to sit and chat or dance and cruise, you're guaranteed
to find something you'll like at Herstory Party. See ya..

VR Challenge Finals starts at 11pm

Party Theme
Usher in the new year with elegant BLACK. If you are spotted by us at
the door looking cool in your BLACK outfit, you get complimentary entry
to the party plus a FREE housepour on us.

Programme Highlights
Chillout 9pm-10pm
Showtime VR Challenge Finals 11pm
Chart Topping Hip Hop and Sexy R&B Dance Music 11.45pm-2.30am (by Zouk
resident DJ)
Pop Hits Dance Music till 3am (by Zouk resident DJ)

Drinks Promotion
One for One on all standard housepour 9pm-10pm

No Cover Charge
Applies to all members/non members
Herstory Members - $4
Non Herstory Members - $8
Entry for men - Subject to Approval at Door ($12)
POLICY : Mainly womyn with men as guests

17 Jiak Kim Street Singapore 169420

Bus 16

9pm - 3am
Every 2nd Thursday of the Quarter Year.

Got a flat to rent? Looking for housemates? Searching for like minded
travel buddies? Or even looking for someone special? Herstory C.A.T.S is
your solution to lesbian classified. Sign up now. It's completely FREE!!

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See you.


Women's Nite: January 2008 topic: So... it's a date? (Jan 26)

Dear Aunt Agony,

There's this woman I really like. I can't tell if she likes women (but I hope she does!!). We've gone out for coffee many times together. We really enjoy each other's company. Now she's asked me out for a movie. What do you think?? Is it a date? Is she attracted to me? Or is it just a 'friends' thing? Please help, because I need to know what to wear!



P/s: The movie we're watching is "I Am Legend". Do you think it's a date movie or what??

When does hanging out together turn into a date? This Women's Nite, join us as we muse on the thrills and spills of girl-on-girl dating!

Women's Nite January 2008
Saturday 26th Jan, 7pm
Venue (in Singapore) will be disclosed upon registration.
Limited to 30 invites, so please register with your full name, contact number, the full name/s of your guests, if any, and the type of halal food or drink you would be contributing to the potluck.

Although Women's Nite is open to women of all orientations, please let us know if you are straight, or are bringing along straight guests, so that we can be sensitive to the needs of all women present.

Please send your details to [women dot snite at gmail dot com]

Registration closes at midnight 25th Jan 2008.

Free Community Church - Living Water Cell Group for Gay Men (Jan 9)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

living water started on 15 Jul 2005 as a support group for gay men who
want to find out more about what the Bible says about homosexuality.
since then living water has gone through 6 cycles and the members from
the first “trilogy” has gone on to form a cell group.

we are starting on living water vii (yes 7!), and we are inviting guys
who are interested join us.

many of us are still struggling to reconcile our sexuality with our
faith. many seek to escape from this struggle by not confronting it,
and burying it deep within. some of us stop attending church. some of
us lead double lives.

it is not an easy journey, and there are no simple answers. i know, i
am still journeying too. but being a Christian is not a destination;
it is a journey, a pilgrimage.

If you are a gay Christian and keep wandering in a wilderness
wondering whether God can ever accept you, we welcome you to join us.
Please also extend this invitation to struggling gay Christians you
may know. They need a safe space to work through their questioning.

We have named the group Living Water in honor of the warm and honest
encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

Session Info: For the first six sessions, we welcome new members to
join in. As the topics from Session 7 onwards are more private, we
will not take new members into the support group. If you want to go
through the fundamentals - the six Biblical passages and the various
areas we are going to touch on, we welcome you.

we meet every friday at zion road, near great world city at 7:30pm.

please contact me at miak@pacific. for details

ST: Local blogs being added to S'pore's historical archives (Jan 7)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Local blogs being added to S'pore's historical archives
by Keith Lin, Straits Times, Jan 7, 2008

HOME-GROWN blogs are making history, literally.

The National Library Board (NLB) is adding blogs to Singapore's historical archives as part of its efforts to retain a comprehensive record of online content.

In all, the library aims to archive some 100 blogs by the end of the year.

Eleven have been selected so far, ranging from offerings such as Air-Conditioned Nation (http:// cherian.blogspot. com) by media academic Cherian George, to the satirical Mr Brown (

Mr Raju Buddharaju, the library's director of digital resources and services, described blogs as an 'invaluable' source of news and social commentary for
the present and future generations of Singaporeans.

'Content from blogs often offers views which would otherwise not be accessible from mainstream media,' he said.

Even so, the library is selective when it comes to deciding which blogs to archive.

Only those produced by individuals who are recognised experts in their respective fields of knowledge, famous personalities or award-winning blogs will be considered, Mr Raju said.

The library will take digital snapshots of the selected blogs at least once a year and post their contents on its web archive - available at sg. Access is open and free to the public.

Assistant Professor Lim Sun Sun, who teaches new media studies at the National University of Singapore, described the NLB's efforts as 'far-sighted' .

'This affirms the importance of blogs in adding to the public sphere and contributing to the growth of public discussion,' she said.

The move towards an official repository of blogs marks the second phase of the NLB's efforts to document online media.

Its web archiving project, which began in October 2006, targeted websites initially. So far, around 25,000 local websites of social and historical value have been recorded.

The NLB's eventual goal is to archive most, if not all, websites in the .sg domain - which are those registered here - by 2010.

Archiving of online material is not unique to Singapore. China and Japan have similar archives, and popular search engines Google and Yahoo also archive selected free online news articles.

Yawningbread. org, a prominent blog championing gay rights, is also being archived by the NLB. The blog's founder Alex Au said he is 'honoured' to be included.

'It shows that the Government considers even blogs known for their dissenting articles as valuable material for our future generations, ' he said.

Said Dr George, who has three blogs looking at various aspects of Singapore media and politics in the archives: 'This is not about the authorities giving legitimacy to individual blogs.

'It is part of a welcome movement in Singapore to recognise the value of multiple perspectives in telling the Singapore story.'

DPA: Blogs added to Singapore's historical archives (Jan 7)

Singapore - Blogs are being added to Singapore's historical archives as part of the National Library Board's move to retain a record of online content, news reports said Monday.

The library is aiming to archive 100 weblogs, so-called blogs, produced by individuals who are recognized experts in their fields of knowledge, famous personalities or award-winning blogs, by the end of this year.

'Content from blogs often offers views which would otherwise not be accessible from (mainstream) media,' The Straits Times quoted Raju Buddharaju, director of digital resources and services, as saying.

He described blogs as an invaluable source of social commentary for present and future generations.

The NLB's eventual goal is to archive all websites in the .sg domain, which are those registered in Singapore, by 2010, the report said.

Eleven have been selected so far. Among them is, a prominent blog championing gay rights by Alex Au, the blog's founder. Another is Air-Conditioned Nation by media academic Cherian George.

China and Japan have similar archives of online material.

The NLB's archiving project started in October 2006. It has recorded 25,000 Singapore websites of social and historical value.

FCC Service - Speaker: Susan Tang (Jan 6)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

6 Jan 2008 (Sun) - 10.30am

FCC Main Hall
56 Geylang Lor 23
Level 3, Century Technology Building
All are welcome!

Vision Sunday

Special Guest Vocalist - MELVIN TAN

Worship Leader - VICTOR LEE
Keyboards - TBC
Guitars - NATHAN GUO
Drums - JIMMY
Prayer - MIAK SIEW
Communion - CYRUS HO
Service Pastor - JORG DIETZEL

AP: Tens of Thousands Rally in Spain in Defense of Traditional Family (Jan 2)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tens of Thousands Rally in Spain in Defense of Traditional Family

Tens of thousands of people in predominantly Roman Catholic Spain rallied Sunday in Madrid to defend the traditional family in a country where the government has legalized same-sex marriage and facilitated divorce.

The crowd roared when Pope Benedict XVI appeared on giant TV screens in a live hookup from St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, praising the crowd.

The pope, speaking during the traditional noon Sunday Angelus prayer, said the family is ''based on the unbreakable union of man and woman and represents the privileged environment where human life is welcomed and protected from the beginning to its natural end.''

''It is worthwhile to work for the family and marriage because it is worthwhile to work for the human being, the most precious being created by God,'' the pope said, speaking in Spanish. He urged parents to bring up their children with respect for the moral values that give dignity to human life.

It was Benedict's latest appeal for the traditional family, a central theme of his papacy. The Vatican has campaigned against proposals to legalize same-sex marriage and denounced Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government for passing a law recognizing such unions.

The rally filled a central intersection, Plaza de Colon, and spilled over into neighboring streets. No crowd estimates were available.

The president of the Spanish Bishops Conference, Ricardo Blazquez, said the term ''traditional family'' often is interpreted as an anachronism.

But, he said, the traditional family ''is rooted in human nature itself.''

''Its validity is a thing of yesterday, today, and tomorrow,'' he said. (Daniel Woolls, AP) Australia to get second lesbian parliamentarian (Jan 2)

australia to get second lesbian parliamentarian
News Editor

Senator-elect for Western Australia Louise Pratt has become the second openly lesbian woman - after Climate Change Minister Penny Wong - to serve in newly-elected prime minister Kevin Rudd's administration.

Louise Pratt, a former Western Australia Legislative Council member, will take up her Senate seat in July this year. She had notably become the youngest woman ever elected to the Western Australia Legislative Council at the time of her election in 2001.

Having served as a regular spokesperson for prominent advocacy group Gay and Lesbian Equality in WA before her appointment to the Legislative Council, the 35-year-old Labor Party member has been credited for playing a significant role in a gay and lesbian law reform committee that pushed for the passage of the Acts Amendment (Lesbian and Gay Law Reform) Act 2002. It is considered to be some of the most progressive laws in the country. The reforms included a complete ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the granting of the right for same-sex couples to adopt children, a lowering of the age of consent from 21 to 16, the right for same-sex couples to inherit from a deceased partner, and the repeal of legislation which had made it an offence to promote homosexuality in schools.

Pratt was quoted as saying in the gay Sydney Star Observer that law reform for same-sex couples and GLBT individuals would be high on her agenda and has vowed to ensure that her party makes good on its promise to implement all 58 federal laws which discriminate against gays and lesbians.

“It is very exciting to be coming in with the change in government,” Pratt said.

“I think we can already begin to see how different the political landscape is going to be. With (former PM) John Howard gone, we have a much less conservative Opposition leader as well as a Labor government.”

Defending her party’s resolve to reform gay and lesbian laws nationally, she said, “I can only go from my experience. At a State level, we promised we would reform the law and we did.”

“We have committed to changing the laws at a national level, and Kevin Rudd is already asking his Cabinet colleagues to pursue election promises.

“The proof will be in the pudding, and I look forward to having that dialogue with the lesbian and gay community as we undertake the reform agenda.”

Her other key policy interests as stated on her web site include environmental issues; refugees, minority and gender equity issues; social, economic and environmental sustainability; and family policy, including child welfare, adoption, childcare and life work family balance.