ST Forum: Rights debate: Whose interest is right? (June 25)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rights debate: Whose interest is right?
I FEEL unnerved after reading Ms Ng Eew Hwong's views last Saturday in
her letter, 'Rights Debate: Question is 'what are good values'?". She
seems to echo only cliches and official comments in her letter.

If she wishes to ask 'what are good values', I would ask what are
'public interests' or, for that matter, what is the 'public' in the
first place? As I understand it, the 'special consideration' claimed
by Ms Ng is nothing more than a financial incentive, a carrot to
entice people to start families. The policy purpose is to increase the
national birthrate, not to provide for a family's needs. The latter is
meant to be achieved by the Baby Bonus policy. I am not being
insensitive; just realistic.

Ms Ng's belief that homosexuality will be mainstreamed is indicative
of homophobia. While I personally am not so inclined towards the LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) 'cause', nonetheless I
believe that banning too many shows on homosexuality would lead to the
prohibition of essential educational material. At the same time, just
because 'many may find it undesirable' like Ms Ng doesn't mean that
they are necessarily right. Only the future will lead us to a
definitive conclusion on whether they are harmful or not.

At any rate, Ms Ng did not qualify specifically why she finds the
Government's statement encouraging. If she is offering blind faith to
the Government, then her level of intellectual maturity is not
particularly encouraging. If the vague nationalism in the comment
appeals to her, then she should reconsider why she thinks we are
superior to the West?

What is 'public morality' anyway? Is it moral standards of the public,
including the 'vocal people' Ms Ng dislikes, or the moral standard of
some senior members of society, who wish to force it on everyone else?

Lastly, I would comment that Ms Ng and other like-minded people should
consider whether their version of the 'common good' is applicable in
today's society where extremely diverse personalities and lifestyles

Not every agenda deserves special treatment, but to merely dismiss any
agenda as false and their proposers as 'some (vocal) people" is
tantamount to adopting a supremacist attitude and a closed mindset.

For at the end of the day, values are merely interests that a minority
projects onto the majority or vice versa. The real question is: Whose
interest carries the largest element of truth?

Clement Wee