Indignation Calendar of Events 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Welcome reception
Friday, 1 August 2008, 7 pm, at 72-13

Ancestors on the beach - an art exhibition by Jimmy Ong
Friday 1 August 2008 to Wednesday 20 August 2008. Time: 6-10pm
(Tue-Fri), 12-10pm (Sat+Sun), closed on Mon and public holidays, at
Post Museum

From fag to friend, a forum by the Queer-straight alliance
Saturday, 2 August 2008, 3:00 pm, at 72-13

From classoom to comics, by Otto Fong
Saturday, 2 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at 72-13

Adlus night hike
Saturday, 2 August 2008, 11:30 pm to dawn, start location to be
advised. REGISTER

Cruising through history
Sunday, 3 August 2008, 3 pm, at the Post Museum

Silence and aching hearts
Private event. REGISTER
Tuesday, 5 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at 72-13

Tong bu tong 2 - Another tribe
Rated M18
Wednesday, 6 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at 72-13

ContraDiction IV
Rated M18
Thursday, 7 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at 72-13

The Unofficial Pink Picnic
Saturday, 9 August 2008, 4:30 pm, Botanic Gardens Symphony Lake

Brain surgery - what's inside the heads of homophobes?
Tuesday, 12 August 2008, 7:30, at 72-13

Too often ignored: The science of sexual orientation
Wednesday, 13 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at 72-13

My wife, my kids…
Friday, 15 August, 7:30 pm, at Post Museum

Heartbreak heroes: Four Malaysians on surviving love, loss and a
hostel in Singapore
Private event. REGISTER
Saturday, 16 August 2008, 3 pm, at 72-13

TheBearProject Charity Art Show
Saturday, 16 August 2008, 7 pm, at Play

Queer women within feminist Singapore
Saturday, 16 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at 72-13

Is HIV becoming an Asian disease?
Tuesday, 19 August 2008, 7:30 pm, at Post Museum

Daily Telegraph: Lloyd's saviour was gay lover (Jul 27)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lloyd's saviour was gay lover

By Lisa Davies
July 27, 2008 12:00am

WHEN he was called to give evidence in a packed Singapore court last week, Mohamed Mazlee bin abdul Malik knew his cover was blown.

Until then, the Malay-Singaporean had led a relatively unexceptional life.

But since he was revealed as the lover of Australian newsman Peter Lloyd, his life has been torn apart.

Mazlee, 37, is the man supporting the respected foreign correspondent in his darkest hour.

Lloyd is facing not only a minimum of five years' jail on drug charges, but also disgrace in the eyes of his boyfriend's country.

In the face of such potential local condemnation, however, Mazlee has stood up to be counted.

Not only has he stumped up 60,000 Singaporean dollars ($45,000) to ensure his friend's freedom until the charges are finalised, he will have Lloyd under his charge and care until he most likely goes to jail.

Mazlee has also had to promise the court he will make a citizen's arrest of his lover if he tries to flee the country or breach his bail in any other way.

To the court, he was just a good friend of Lloyd, as homosexuality is still technically illegal in Singapore.

But sources have told The Sunday Telegraph the couple were extremely close and were enjoying all the trappings of a new union.

"I know his family, I know his wife, I know his kids. I know his sister, I know his brother-in-law,'' Mazlee told the Subordinates Court last week.

"In any case, he will be staying in my place.''

As a Singapore Airlines steward, Mazlee has travelled the world and had dozens of friends in all corners of the globe.

He met Lloyd about a year ago, just before the journalist formally came out as a gay man and embraced his new lifestyle.

But as Mazlee stood to reveal himself publicly as his saviour, an orange jumpsuit-clad Lloyd hung his head, barely able to look at his boyfriend.

He had originally asked his Singaporean lawyer to post bail, but in the eyes of the court that is not an acceptable arrangement.

Although the money must be provided by a local person, that person must be known to the accused.

It also must be their own money, which Mazlee swore was his. As one local source put it, the Singaporean has done "the most noble act possible''.

But for Lloyd, it was heart-wrenching. Those close to him know he never wanted to put his lover in this position.

Before the drama began, Mazlee seems to have been a carefree man highly respected by his friends.

His page on an Asian social networking site carries a string of photographs of him with friends in Shanghai, Zurich, New York, Germany, the Canary Islands and Italy.

He lists his hobbies as music, swimming, gym and movies, and says he is a Duran Duran aficionado.

A former lover, identified as Joachim, describes Mazlee as "the most valuable person I have ever met in my life''.

LAMBETH: American Bishops Furious Over Robinson Exclusion from Lambeth Conference (Jul 23)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LAMBETH: American Bishops Furious Over Robinson Exclusion from Lambeth Conference
Central Florida Bishop Blasts Indaba Groups as "asinine"

By David W. Virtue

There is a growing concerted effort by American bishops to find a way to bring Gene Robinson, the homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire, into the Big Tent. America's liberal bishops are furious at the exclusion of Robinson from the Lambeth Conference. On the first full day of the Lambeth Conference, they spent most of their time trying to figure out how to get Robinson in the door.

An Arizona bishop wrote at his blog, "We had a meeting of the American Bishops in the Big Tent this afternoon and one of the topics was the status of Gene Robinson, who you know has not been invited. There is some misinformation I want to clear up: Gene was NOT excluded from the HOB meeting! He was invited to join us and accepted. The problem was that we are in conference facilities and since he has not been invited to the Conference, he was not given security clearance. Know that the American HOB is concerned about this and it is working on a way that Gene can be included. Stay tuned."

Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe noted that there was talk of possibly organizing another meeting of the American Bishops offsite somewhere so Robinson can be part of it.

The exclusion of Robinson weighs heavily on the American bishops, several of whom are now beginning to question if the cost of Lambeth (nearly $12 million) is worth it when one of their duly elected own is excluded.

Robinson, who is on the Kent University campus, is walking around with a body guard and a press officer to sign him up to speak wherever he can. Robinson is the darling of the liberal media who report his every word and move.

On his blog, Howe was especially critical of the Indaba process calling it "asinine."

"Why combine five Bible Study groups, if you are then going to sub-divide them into four groups? Secondly, what is the point of this discussion of a document we are seeing for the first time? It seemed more appropriate to a junior high Confirmation Class than to a world-wide gathering of Anglican Bishops. And thirdly, why in the world where we having these conversations in the same room at the same time? (At a cost of approximately $8 million just for the Bishops' part of the Conference!)"

Howe described the first days as "less than auspicious".

"We went to the first Indaba meeting, in which the members of five Bible Study groups came together in a large room. Our group had 43 or 44 members. During the first session, about fifteen people introduced themselves and their Dioceses: the non-English speaking Bishops (through interpreters), and the Ecumenical guests, as well as three or four other Bishops. The only American included in that introduction was Jon Bruno from Los Angeles, who spoke glowingly of his being a "totally inclusive" Diocese that has approximately a 20% membership of gay and lesbian people, and in a state that has opened the door to same-sex marriages, "that we are trying to come to grips with."

Howe said they were then asked to answer three questions: 1) what major thought or insight did you come away with from the retreat ? 2) How does your Diocese see itself? 3) What does being an Anglican Bishop mean to you? (They were looking for "convergences" here. What we came up with was: "The Bishop is a leader in mission." Pretty profound, huh?)

"In the afternoon session we were given a two page paper entitled "The Anglican Way: Signposts on a common Journey" (produced by the Anglican Way Consultation meeting in Singapore in 2007), that suggests the Anglican Way is: "Formed by Scripture; Shaped through Worship; Ordered for Communion; and Directed by God's Mission."

"During the break, a picture of each of these signposts had been taped up, one on each of the four walls. We were asked to gather around each of the four pictures in succession, while someone read that section of the paper to us. Then we were asked to "self select" and divide into four groups, each to discuss one of the four sections/Signposts.

"My group had thirteen in it, seven of whom spoke. It was difficult to hear because there were three other conversations going on in the same room simultaneously. The statement itself wasn't bad. If you care to read it you will find it at: "

Howe said he was hopeful that things might improve. "I remind myself of the Archbishop's comments that, 'A failure in leadership is a failure to hope in Christ'."

Howe described an hour long gathering of the American Bishops in mid-afternoon as "disappointing".

"Presiding Bishop Schori called us together to just to check in with each other and share any concerns. Fully two-thirds of our time was spent discussing Gene Robinson's sadness - and the injustice! - over his not being allowed to be part even of this meeting of "his own House."

The Rt. Rev Stephen Lane Bishop, Coadjutor of Rhode Island said, on a video at his blog, the Indaba process was experiencing "normal growing pains", adding that "we (the HoB) are concerned about the process and some of us won't get to say what we want to say, and some of us are worried that the leadership is trying to manipulate us."

Springfield Bishop Peter Beckwith told VOL that the Episcopal Church by its actions is undermining the Archbishop of Canterbury's authority. "The American Church has no integrity. The meeting yesterday was a disaster."

Beckwith asked, "Why do TEC's public affirmations treat so badly those whom we are supposed to get along with? We are arrogant. We pursue our agenda at the expense of everyone else including unity in the communion."

Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman said the arrogance of the Episcopal Church is so self-evident that they are saying, "We are the Anglican Communion. We are a Communion in our own right. They don't want what we stand for, anyway."

Ackerman described his experience in the Indaba group as good. "We were led by a Sudanese Bishop who was very fair and made sure the orthodox voice got heard. The Global South, the CAPA bishops are united in their stand for the gospel."

Ackerman said that his ecclesiology demands that he stay with the See of Canterbury, but described those relations as "impaired." Conference organizers have responded to objectors by making it clear that this is NOT a meeting of the House of Bishops; it is a gathering of American Bishops at a meeting of the Lambeth Conference, and only those invited to the Conference can be part of the gathering.

There is "a palpable sense of uncertainty about where it is all going" and "a lack of trust under the surface", the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Dromore Right Rev. Harold Miller said about the Lambeth Conference. He also warned that "if there is not a proper place for debate, then that will be exceptionally dangerous for the Anglican Communion".

The Archbishop of Canterbury has the right to include or exclude whom he wishes. However, the exclusion of Robinson might, at the end of the day, prove too much for Mrs. Jefferts Schori and TEC's mostly liberal House of Bishops. The deepening divide might, in the end, prove fatal to the Anglican Communion and Dr. Williams' hopes for unity washed down the Thames.


Daily Telegraph: $45,000 bail for jailed ABC reporter (Jul 21)

Monday, July 21, 2008

$45,000 bail for jailed ABC reporter
By Marcus Casey and Steve Gee
July 21, 2008 08:55am

THE family of jailed ABC journalist Peter Lloyd were last night trying to raise $45,000 bail to free him from Singapore's Changi prison, where he is on remand facing drug charges.

ABC management also threw more resources towards Lloyd's plight with news chief John Cameron yesterday preparing to fly to Singapore to speak with the foreign correspondent in person.

Mr Cameron will join the ABC's head of legal services Rob Simpson, sent to Singapore on Saturday to co-ordinate the 41-year-old's legal defence.

Prominent local lawyer Sashi Nathan has already been hired to represent Lloyd, arrested last week on charges of trafficking and possessing almost 1g of the methamphetamine ice.

Lloyd was moved to the notorious Changi prison yesterday, and faces five to 15 strokes of the cane plus five to 20 years jail if found guilty.

The ABC would not comment on the taxpayer-funded body spending money in helping Lloyd, who was on leave at the time of the alleged offence.

But it is understood there are no official ABC guidelines to deal with such a case, and that management was acting out of an urgent "duty of care" for its employee.

The ABC is expected to review the matter later.

Australians charged overseas are visited by the local consulate or high commission, but funding for legal help is not automatic.

Lloyd, on holidays in Singapore for treatment for an infected eye, was charged after a 31-year-old Singaporean man was found in possession of the drug.

Lloyd last night spent his first evening in custody inside Singapore's notorious Changi prison while awaiting any bail application - which must be posted by a local.

Mr Nathan could not be contacted yesterday.

Lloyd's estranged wife, UNICEF Indonesia spokeswoman Kirstyn McIvor again declined to comment. A friend said the pair had marital difficulties stretching back 18 months. Their partnership ended when he came out as gay.

Lloyd's case is due to return to court for mention on Friday.

Cruising, Sex and Relationships - workshop by Action for AIDS (Jul 26)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eyes Meet Eyes, what's Next?

You are walking down the street and see someone interesting. He gives you a glance and smiles.

- What would you do?

- How do you tell him that you're interested?

- What signals would you give?

What would your response be if this happens in a club or sauna?

Come & join us for a fun-filled discussion on cruising, sex and relationship.

Date: 26th July 2008
Time: 2.00pm to 5.00pm
Venue: Sooma Café, NankinRow @ China Square Central
3 Pickering Street #01 – 14, Singapore 048660
Email: msm.resources@
Tel: 6254 0212
Price: FREE

Organised by: Action For AIDS Singapore

Reuters: Sodomy laws in Malaysia and elsewhere (Jul 17)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

FACTBOX - Sodomy laws in Malaysia and elsewhere
Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:40am BST
(Reuters) - Police investigating a sodomy allegation against Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim warned on Thursday they could compel him to give a DNA sample, threatening to further stoke tensions in the highly charged case.

De facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and later jailed for corruption and sodomy. The supreme court overturned the sodomy conviction six years later.

He has said the charges are a political ploy aimed at destroying Malaysia's resurgent opposition.

Here are some facts on sodomy laws in Malaysia and elsewhere.

* Malaysia is one of half a dozen former British colonies to retain colonial-era "anti-sodomy" laws. Section 377 of the Penal Code criminalises gay sex.

* The mainly Muslim nation's sodomy laws were introduced in the late 1870s by British administrators, about 20 years after the first such law was drafted by Lord Thomas Macaulay for the Indian Penal Code.

* Anyone who "voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal" can be jailed for 20 years and/or caned and fined under Section 377. Section 377A, interpreted as outlawing gay sex, specifies up to two years jail.

* Similar sodomy laws were adopted by other colonies, such as Australia, Bangladesh (then part of British India), Canada, Hong Kong, the Straits Settlements (now Singapore), Pakistan (then part of British India) and Sri Lanka.

* Australia, Canada, Fiji and Hong Kong, have all repealed the laws. The UK legalised sexual acts between two adult males in 1967. Indian activists are currently challenging Section 377 in court.

* Activists argue the laws violate various rights to equality, non-discrimination and freedom of speech, and make the fight against HIV/AIDS more difficult as they drive gay sex underground.

* Malaysia's neighbour Singapore repealed Section 377 in 2007. But retained Section 377A, which specifies a 2-year jail term, as its Prime Minister concluded Singapore was still a conservative country uncomfortable with homosexuality.

* Homosexual acts remain punishable by death in several countries, including Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Source: Reuters

(Writing by Gillian Murdoch, Beijing Editorial Reference Unit)

FCC Sunday Service (Jul 20 2008), Speaker: Dr Jeffrey Kuan

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

20 Jul 2008 (Sun) - 10.30am
FCC Main Hall
56 Geylang Lor 23
Level 3, Century Technology Building
All are welcome!

Hagar: The Other In Our Midst

Worship Leader: Victor Lee
Keys 1: Greg
Keys 2: Gary Chan
Backup Vocals: Paul Wang, Shane Loo
Guitars: Nathan Goh
Drums: Jimmy Tan
Communion: Jonathan Foong
Prayer: Miak Siew
Service Pastor : Susan Tang

ST Forum: Night club's policy discriminatory (Jul 15)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Night club's policy discriminatory

ON JULY 9, my friends and I wanted to have a fun night out at O Bar, a popular night club located in Mohamed Sultan Road. However, it turned out to be a disappointing night for all of us when my two friends, who are androgynous, were denied entry into the club because of their masculine appearance.

It was Ladies Night that evening, and my two friends understood that the Ladies Night promotion of free entry and drinks for women didn't quite apply to them. Hence, they were willing to pay the entrance fee and enter the club like the any other men.

However, the club's staff refused them entry. When asked for an explanation, the staff simply mentioned that it was the club's policy.

This was never a problem for my two friends at other clubs like Zouk and the Ministry Of Sound.

I am upset over this incident of discrimination. I could understand from a business point of view if my friends were denied free entry as women on Ladies Night. However, what I could not comprehend is why a business would reject a customer who was willing to pay to enter because of the way she looked.

If O Bar's main argument was based on adhering to policy, than it is very disappointing to know that such a policy exists to exclude a specific group of people based on their choice of lifestyle.

I strongly feel that this is pure discrimination against people like my friends. People should be allowed to express themselves freely in a manner that is most comfortable to them. My friends and I hope that the management of O bar would reconsider this policy.

Geraldine Raphaela Joseph (Ms)

The Celluloid Closet @ Pelangi Pride Centre

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Celluloid Closet - PPC
The Celluloid Closet @ Pelangi Pride Centre

The film is based on the 1981 (revised 1987) book of the same name
written by Vito Russo, and on previous lecture and film clip
presentations given in person by Russo 1972-82. Russo researched the
history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had
portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. It was
given a limited release in select theatres, including the Castro
Theatre in San Francisco in April 1996, and then shown on cable
channel HBO.

The documentary interviews various men and women connected to the
Hollywood industry to comment on various film clips and their own
personal experiences with the treatment of LGBT characters in film.
From the sissy characters, to the censorship of the Hollywood
Production Code, the coded gay characters and cruel stereotypes to the
progress made in the early 1990s.

Vito Russo wanted his book to be transformed into a documentary film
and helped out on the project until he died in 1990. Some critics of
the documentary noted that it was less political than the book and
ended on a more positive note. However, Russo had wanted the
documentary to be entertaining and to reflect the positive changes
that had occurred up to 1990.

Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Produced by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Written by Vito Russo, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Sharon Wood,
Armistead Maupin
Starring Lily Tomlin (narrator)
Music by Carter Burwell
Running time 107 min.
Subtitles - Yes

RSVP - This event is by invitation only.
As there are limited seats, prior registration is required.
For an invite -please email [pelangipridecentre at yahoo dot com] with
your name (in full), contact number, the name/s of your guests.

Details at a Glance
Event: Screening of "The Celluloid Closet"
Date: Saturday, 12 July 2008 (120708)
Time: 4pm
Venue: Pelangi Pride Centre - 54 Rowell Road (in Little India)
Cost per person: $6 (cost of 2 drinks and finger food)

For directions on how to get to the new PPC:

Come into Hindoo Road from Jalan Besar.
Look for tall HDB block 639 at the end of the road.
Corner terrace house with grapevines growing.
Come in from the back door.

FCC Retreat 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Additional Screenings for Women who Love Women

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Screenings in July @ Sinema

Sinema is extending our run again in this month of July, but are programming only 2 weeks in advance. Our confirmed screening so far is on:

Saturday, 12 July, 2.30 pm

The 2 pending screenings, depending on how ticket sales go are on:

Thursday, 17 July, 6 pm
Sunday, 27 July, 7 pm

An update will be given if the latter two screenings get confirmed. However, in the meantime if you can only make these latter screenings, call Sinema and let them know anyway and if there's enough interest, I'm sure they'll open up the screening.

Venue: Sinema @ Old School (11B Mt. Sophia Road)
Tickets: $8 each
Ticketing Hotline (Sinema): 63369707
[Tickets to be reserved over the ticketing hotline; payment and collection of tickets only at Sinema itself]

For more information:

FCC Service: Speaker: Rev Swee Ann Koh (Jul 6)

6 Jul 2008 (Sun) - 10.30am
FCC Main Hall
56 Geylang Lor 23
Level 3, Century Technology Building
All are welcome!

Guest Speaker

Worship Leader - GARY CHAN
Keyboards - ERNEST THIO
Communion - CYRUS HO
Service Pastor - JORG DIETZEL

Herstory Femme Quest 2008 Final Showdown @ZOUK, Thur 10 July (July 4)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Herstory @ZOUK
10 July 2008
After a rocking Preview Show, the Final Showdown is going to blow you away! Why? 10 beautiful grrls in their Oriental Outfits & Swim Suits, each showing off their individual performance in the Talent Segment. To add on the show list, we have the last Femme Quest winner, Aya giving you a surprise performance together with a whole bunch of gorgeous butches taking center stage along side with the contestants. On top of that, you might be treated to a special celebrity performance and our A-list panel of judges testing the contestants on their wit. With so much line up for you, do you want to miss the show? We bet not because you'll regret not being part of the Biggest and Hottest Grrls Party in town! Happening at ZOUK on 10 July 2008 for the Final Showdown, Herstory will not disappoint you, so be sure to be there.

The party don't end here, Zouk's resident RnB DJ Nervous will take the set and play your favourite dance hits. Now get ready to party. See ya at the dance floor.

Sign up for 1 Year of Herstory BLACK to receive:
Privilege online surfing
Herstory Black Membership Card valid for 1 year
1 FREE Party Entry Pass
Roxy beach bag
LePride's Car Decal

Don't miss Herstory Grrls Only Party happening at ZOUK and The BOILER ROOM at St James Power Station on 2nd Thursday of every month.
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..

Femme Quest 2008 Final Showdown starts at 11pm

Party Theme
Oriental Chic. Mix & Match your Oriental with a Modern Touch. Show off your style @ZOUK. We want to see!!

Programme Highlights
Chillout 9pm-10pm
Showtime Femme Quest 2008 Final Showdown 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 - $5
Non Herstory Members - $10
Entry for men - Subject to Approval at Door ($15)
POLICY : Mainly womyn with men as guests

Door Gift
Free tanning voucher worth $39 by Fabulous Tan
(No purchase terms)
(Limit to 1 voucher per guest)

Table Reservations
SMS: +65 91700517

17 Jiak Kim Street Singapore 169420

Bus 16

9pm - 3am
Every 2nd Thursday Monthly

YOUnique! FCC Youth Group‏ (July 4)


As a cell group-based church, Free Community Church (FCC) continually seeks to address the various needs of Christians out there. Along this line, we present to you YOUnique! which exists primarily as a safe space for queer youths to discuss biblical teachings in ways that aim to be relevant to our lived experiences.

Some topics we have covered include:

Coming out with Jesus – identity management

Drinking with Jesus – lifestyle issues

Relationships - breaking up & starting anew

Sexy Jesus – youth, sex and God
Topics we are going to cover

Overcoming worldly demands - stress, ambitions

Handling interpersonal relationships - peer pressures, temptations

Current affairs - mass media influences

Consider joining us if:

you are comfortable with an interactive approach to studying biblical teachings

you believe in working out your spirituality with those who struggle in similar ways

you have topics that you want to discuss with other Christian youths

you support the need for both queer women and men to fellowship together

If you fall between the age range of 16-25, and are interested, do drop us an email at with your name and contact number.

Also, do pass this mailer on if you know others who might be interested! We meet every alternate week. Venue and timing will be disclosed in the reply email.

ST Insight: 'Human rights' label often abused (July 4)

July 4, 2008
'Human rights' label often abused

Barely three months into his appointment as Attorney-General,
Professor Walter Woon is in the thick of public debate over human
rights and civil liberties. He spells out his thinking on these
ever-controversial issues
By Lydia Lim

NINE years in the diplomatic corps and two in the Legal Service have
done little to dilute the pungency of Professor Walter Woon's speech.

The former law academic-turned-Attorney-General still speaks his mind,
including on controversial topics at the heart of ongoing tussles
between law enforcers and activists from the ranks of civil society
and political opposition.

Last month, just seven weeks into his appointment as Attorney-General,
he sparked debate in the letters pages of The Straits Times and Today
newspapers with an off-the-cuff speech on human rights, delivered at
the launch of the Law Society's Public and International Law
Committee. He had warned against foreigners who are fanatical about
human rights and seek to impose their views on Singapore.

But some local civil society activists took umbrage as they thought
his use of the term 'fanatics' was aimed at them.

Prof Woon, 52, who lived in Europe from 1997 to 2006 while serving as
Singapore's Ambassador to Germany and Belgium, makes it clear his
issue is with foreigners who harbour the 'delusion that they define
human rights for the rest of humanity'.

That is why he welcomes efforts such as the Law Society's to encourage
Singaporeans to discuss where they believe the line between human
rights and obligations should be drawn.

'If we don't discuss ourselves where our society is going, then we
abdicate the debate to all these fellows and the types in Singapore
who follow that line,' he says.

One local development that disturbs him is how the term 'human rights'
is abused by many people with grievances against the Government.

'Often enough, if someone runs foul of the law, one of the things they
yell is, 'It's a breach of my human rights, you shouldn't arrest me
for doing this, you shouldn't charge me for doing this.' I get loads
of rubbish letters along those lines,' he says.

That has also been the claim of former Singapore lawyer Gopalan Nair,
who faces charges for insulting two judges.

One charge involves a blog posting in which he accused Justice Belinda
Ang of having 'prostituted herself'.

Prof Woon makes it clear such language goes beyond the pale.

He challenges those who dispute the need for any limits on an
individual's freedom of speech to engage in an experiment.

'Go and tell your friends and family exactly what you think of them
and criticise their faults and when they object, say 'No, it's my right.'

'Do it for six months. If you're not divorced by then, I'd like to
know,' he says.

In his view, those who claim to fight for greater political and civil
liberties by deliberately breaking the law are doing others who want
more elbow room a disservice.

People who want to push for change need to learn 'how to work the
system', and accept that others will have different views.

'I have been overruled on many things and I've been criticised on many
things. Sometimes it takes a while before others will accept what you

I won't stand idly by while people insult our judges

# There seems to be a lack of clarity on where Singapore officialdom
stands on human rights. What is your view?

There's a general impression that Singapore officialdom is against
human rights, but that's not the impression I get. Most of our senior
officials and ministers have been educated abroad and I don't think
there's a single one who says human rights are not for us.

But when it comes to implementation, there will be arguments about
where the lines are to be drawn. And when there are new so-called
rights, then there has to be debate - is it really a right?

For example, take 377A (the Penal Code section dealing with acts of
gross indecency between males). I express no view on either side.

As far as I'm concerned, it's still against the law and we still
prosecute if there's a need.

The Prime Minister said that, if it's consensual between two adults,
we're not going to go after them if nobody complains.

But if you look at the debates on the issue, they're often phrased in
terms of: 'You're breaching my human rights by not letting me get
married.' Now, I think that's a very controversial statement.

This is something new for all our societies. Just because some Western
societies have accepted it, doesn't make it a human right.

You take the argument about the death penalty. It's phrased entirely
in human rights terms in the West. But you have to remember that in
1947, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated,
the West had just held the Nuremburg war crimes trials, the Tokyo war
crimes trials and the war crimes trials in Singapore. The war
criminals were hanged.

There was no question at that time that the death penalty was not
against human rights.

# What about established rights such as freedom of expression?

You have a right to freedom of expression. It's in the Constitution.

But can we also accept that freedom of expression doesn't mean
unlimited freedom? There has to be a line drawn somewhere. I think
most civilised societies accept that.

In many European countries, you cannot question the Holocaust. And any
suggestion of anti-Semitism is immediately whacked, even with jail

But you can use extremely vulgar terms to describe Muslims, which is
what Theo van Gogh, a Dutch film-maker, did. That, apparently, was
freedom of expression. You can insult the Prophet Muhammad. That's
freedom of expression.

Now, they may accept that within their society. Can we? Should we?
That's the question.

Many of these fanatics think: 'We've decided that this is human
rights, therefore when Singapore does something, we're entitled to
criticise them.'

I say rubbish. You want to do it in your society, do it in your
society. Don't come and tell us you draw the line for the rest of the

On freedom of expression and freedom of religion, we've got to be
clear ourselves where we want the line to be.

Do we want to allow people like Theo van Gogh to insult Muslims? Theo
van Gogh paid with his life. He was assassinated by a Muslim fanatic
who basically said: 'I refuse to accept Dutch law, I'm seceding from
Dutch society, and if you let me out, I'll do it again.'

This is what happens when you don't draw the line properly. You
encourage fanaticism on the other side.

# Are there similar issues in Singapore?

You can take, for example, contempt of court. The court has to decide
when your right to freedom of expression clashes with somebody else's
right to reputation, which is a very long-established right in all
Common Law jurisdictions.

In the court system, there's always one disappointed party. Are you
going to allow the disappointed party to go round criticising and
undermining the courts?

I didn't become Attorney-General to stand idly by while people
undermine the courts and insult the judges.

Now, you have people like Gopalan Nair, for example. He says the judge
has prostituted herself. He says: 'I'm here, what do you propose to do
about it?'

We charged him. He will stand trial. He is claiming his human rights
have been breached. Reporters without Frontiers claims his human
rights have been breached. Did they even check the facts? I doubt it.
They're talking about rights without talking about responsibilities.

But some Singaporeans wonder why the Government has to come down so
hard on people who, to them, are just mouthing off.

If you don't take action, over time people lose respect for institutions.

I've been going back to the United Kingdom for nearly 30 years on and
off, and I think the standard of civility has dropped. There's no more
respect for authority, for teachers, for judges, for priests, for parents.

If you don't draw the line and say, 'This is unacceptable' then, over
time, you lose respect and you cannot get it back.

The courts are in a very unfortunate position because when somebody is
disrespectful to a judge, the judge must impose a sanction and then
people say: 'That's not fair, he can't, he shouldn't.'

But a parent does it all the time. Teachers, too, should do it. They
used to do it.

The judge does it when it's done in the face of the court. When it's
not done in the face of the court, when somebody insults the judge by
saying she's prostituted herself, for example, then the
Attorney-General has to take some action because the
Attorney-General's Chambers is the protector of the public interest here.

And when the fellow says, 'I'm posting this, I'm here in Singapore,
what are you going to do about it?', it's a direct challenge to the
authorities. If you don't take action, after a while, every time
somebody loses a case, he's going to call the judge names, he's going
to call into question the integrity of the court system.

That is the danger we face, which is why we must draw the line and
draw it firmly.

It's a different thing to criticise a judgment, which as an academic
I've done. Law students and lawyers do it too, but we don't do it in
that way. There's a certain respect due to the office.

# Some opposition politicians advocate civil disobedience because they
believe they have a right to break laws which are unjust. Your response?

If you break the law, I must react. I can't say you break the law, I
avert my eyes. That you disagree with the Government doesn't give you
licence to break the law.

Otherwise, everybody will say: 'I disagree with this, I'm going to
break the law.' Then we're going to have real trouble.

They say they have no alternative because they cannot change the laws
through legal means. Your view?

I have my own views on that as a citizen but I won't comment on that
because it's political and I take no sides.

All I can say is that has not been my own experience. You can get
policies changed, you can get mindsets changed, you just have to be
more subtle than that.

It's one thing to say, 'I do not think this policy is just. It affects
the poor too much and it's unfair', and another to say the officials
or the politicians are corrupt and clinging on to power and we must
get rid of them so we can help the poor.

There's a world of difference between the two. I have not found
officials in Singapore to be closed-minded. The higher you go, the
less closed-minded they are.

But they are also very concerned about how far we can go without
unravelling the whole fabric.

When you look at other countries, the ones who talk loudest about
rights very often have very dysfunctional societies when you live in
them. So the rhetoric doesn't match the reality on the ground.

When we're talking about where lines are to be drawn and whether we
can move them, we do need a dialogue.

# What is the difference between breaking the law through acts of
civil disobedience and people who do things that are against laws such
as 377A, but are not going to be prosecuted?

People break the law all the time. Take jaywalking. I've seen people
who do it right in front of the old Supreme Court. If we spend our
time prosecuting such cases, we will do nothing but that. So there is
always a public-interest element when we decide whether or not to

In the case of 377A, for example, we are prosecuting some cases, such
as where you have older men preying on young, underage boys.

If it's two consenting adults, technically it's an offence but, if
nobody complains, the police aren't going to beat the bushes in the
parks to spy on you. If somebody does complain, then the question is:
Do we want to prosecute or do we just warn? Very often, we warn rather
than prosecute.

In cases where there are arguments between neighbours, sometimes it is
sufficient to say, 'Don't do that again. We'll let you off this time,
but don't ever do that again,' because each time we prosecute, it
takes resources. We do not want to prosecute in all cases, we only
prosecute in clear cases.

# What would you say to people who say: 'Walter Woon used to be
liberal and far more critical of the Government and now he's gone over
to the dark side and become a hardliner'?

Ah, these are the people who never read my speeches, obviously. It's
the same reaction I got to the speech I gave at the Law Society. They
didn't read the speech; they just lay on their own prejudice.

I've never agreed with everything the Government has said and I've
never felt any pressure from above not to say so.

When I've said something, I've taken the consequences. I've been
criticised by every member of the Cabinet from Minister Mentor
downwards. Some people seem to think I should be free to say anything
I want and nobody should criticise me in turn.

It doesn't work that way.

I haven't changed my views, but now I'm in this position - as
ambassador first, and now Attorney-General - my freedom of speech has
been reduced because I can no longer say things I would like to
without people misconstruing.

As far as law and order is concerned, my views haven't changed. I've
always been a law-and-order person. I was head prefect in my primary
school, and a prefect in Raffles Institution, yet people seem to think
that, for some reason, I'm not in favour of law and order.


'There's no more respect for authority, for teachers, for judges, for
priests, for parents. If you don't draw the line and say, 'This is
unacceptable' then, over time, you lose respect and you cannot get it

ATTORNEY-GENERAL WALTER WOON, on why he will not stand for insulting
attacks on judges and will take action, as in the case of US lawyer
Gopalan Nair Heinous vilification, persecutio of homosexuals (July 3)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heinous vilification, persecution of homosexuals

Nellsen | Jul 3, 08 4:15pm

Malaysia's sodomy law is not applied equally. It has been selectively
and systematically enforced to vilify and persecute homosexuals. In
Malaysia's Penal Code Section 377, the sentence for conviction of
sodomy is flogging, plus up to twenty years in prison. Victims are
flogged with a section of bamboo that is split into several strips.
When bamboo is split, it has extremely sharp edges, which slice the
skin like knives. Flogging is quite bloody and leaves permanent

In addition to Section 337, just to prevent any homosexual from
escaping conviction, Section 337A provides for a male to receive up
to two years in prison for any act of 'gross indecency with another
male person.' This vague wording allows prosecution for any kind of
erotic interaction between two males. This law is explicitly applied
only to homosexual behavior among males, but lesbians also suffer

The US State Department 2006 Country Report on Malaysia concluded
that these anti-gay laws 'exist and were enforced. Religious and
cultural taboos against homosexuality were widespread'. There is much
other evidence that shows the particularly strong and heinous
vilification, discrimination and persecution that is happening to
homosexuals in Malaysia today.

In 1998, homophobia and Malaysian politics intertwined when deputy
prime minister Anwar Ibrahim made a major break with then premier Dr
Mahathir Mahathir due to his economic policies, and pressured him to
institute democratic reforms. The prime minister responded by
charging that Anwar had sex with two men.

Anwar refused to be intimidated by what he called an untrue smear,
and led protests against the dictatorial policies of the government.
Mahathir then used the existence of the sodomy law to have his major
political rival arrested.

The two men testified at the trial that Anwar had sex with them. But
both of them later recanted their stories, and admitted that they had
been pressured by government officials and police to make the
accusation of sodomy.

Mahathir obviously believed that the charge of homosexuality would be
so damning that most people in Malaysia would withdraw their support
for Anwar and his call for democratic reforms would be discredited.
While many Malaysians supported the deputy prime minister, and joined
protests on his behalf, most of them did so only because they believe
he did not really commit homosexual acts.

In response to mounting international criticism, the government
established a National Human Rights Commission. The commission
defines human rights solely as those provided for in the Malaysian
constitution, and this does not include rights for homosexuals. There
is no challenge to Malaysia's sodomy law, which criminalises all
those who engage in same-sex relationships.

Gay people have no one to speak up for them in Malaysia. Without any
public discourse on the subject of equal rights for homosexuals,
there is little opportunity for changing the attitudes of the public
or government authorities.

Therefore, since homosexuality is considered an affront to Islam, any
news relating to gay and lesbian rights, especially including calls
for ending discrimination against homosexuals, is suppressed.

Police raiding, aided and abetted by a scandal-hungry media,
continues. For example, at 7:30pm on Nov 4 last year, police raided a
gay party in Penang, and brought along reporters who took pictures of
the gay men at this party. The police claimed there was sex going on
at this party, though all of the photos that were made as soon as the
police burst into the scene showed the men all fully clothed. P

Participants said that it was a purely social gathering, and denied
there was any sex going on. Whether there was sexual behavior or not,
what is important is that this was a private gathering of consenting
adults in a closed private business.

The extensive publicity regarding government condemnation of
homosexuality has sent the message to the police and others that
persecution of homosexuals is acceptable. All my recent research
shows that conditions for homosexuals in Malaysia are quite
precarious. Things are getting worse rather than better, and there is
no evidence of any turnaround potential for the forseeable future.

The negative attitudes, discrimination and persecution being
experienced by Malaysian gay people today is a direct result of
religious attitudes and governmental policies. Defining homosexuality
as criminal 'sodomy,' imprisonment, censorship of media discussions
of the issue, and police oppression, together constitute a pattern of
government-sponsored persecution that is impossible to deny.

With this being the case, I think it is time to organise a massive
campaign to end unjust laws (Section 377) and discriminatory policies
in those nations that persecute sexual minorities.

Please spread the word, and let's begin a campaign to produce change
for homosexuals being persecuted in the Muslim world. I remain an
optimist, and having seen such dramatic change in China, as well as
in other countries, I feel that change is possible in the Islamic
world as well.

There are some Muslim nations that are not actively persecuting
homosexuals, and they can be the model for change by the homophobic
governments. But though I am ultimately optimistic I also know it
will be a long struggle.

In the meantime we owe it to the poor people who are being
discriminated against to do everything we can to help them escape
from the oppressive conditions under which they have to live.

I am proud to have made my contribution in this area, and call upon
all other rational people who oppose discrimination to do likewise.
Lives of millions depend on this. Please do your part. Repeal Section

Pelangi Pride Centre presents "The Celluloid Closet" (Jul 12)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Celluloid Closet

The film is based on the 1981 (revised 1987) book of the same name written
by Vito Russo, and on previous lecture and film clip presentations given in
person by Russo 1972-82. Russo researched the history of how motion
pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender characters. It was given a limited release in select
theatres, including the Castro Theatre in San Francisco in April 1996, and
then shown on cable channel HBO.

The documentary interviews various men and women connected to the Hollywood
industry to comment on various film clips and their own personal experiences
with the treatment of LGBT characters in film. From the sissy characters, to
the censorship of the Hollywood Production Code, the coded gay characters
and cruel stereotypes to the progress made in the early 1990s.

Vito Russo wanted his book to be transformed into a documentary film and
helped out on the project until he died in 1990. Some critics of the
documentary noted that it was less political than the book and ended on a
more positive note. However, Russo had wanted the documentary to be
entertaining and to reflect the positive changes that had occurred up to

Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Produced by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Written by Vito Russo, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Sharon Wood, Armistead
Starring Lily Tomlin (narrator)
Music by Carter Burwell
Running time 107 min.
Subtitles - Yes

RSVP - This event is by invitation only.
As there are limited seats, prior registration is required.
For an invite -please email [pelangipridecentre at yahoo dot com] with your
name (in full), contact number, the name/s of your guests.

Details at a Glance
Event: Screening of "The Celluloid Closet"
Date: Saturday, 12 July 2008 (120708)
Time: 4pm
Venue: Pelangi Pride Centre - 54 Rowell Road (in Little India)
Cost per person: $6 (cost of 2 drinks and finger food)

For directions on how to get to the new PPC:

Come into Hindoo Road from Jalan Besar.
Look for tall HDB block 639 at the end of the road.
Corner terrace house with grapevines growing.
Come in from the back door.

Voting: Sayoni Hot 20 List 2008 (July 1)

Dear All

Every year, mainstream, men's magazines such as FHM and Maxim publish lists
of Hot 100 Women. And every year, we choke on those lists because they
feature typically boring, made-for-straight-men, never-over-35, and
never-over-110-pounds women. We know, that as queer women, we have way
better taste , and we are
able to appreciate all kinds of beauty. Hence we opened nominations for
women based in Singapore or originated from Singapore, and boy, did we did
get a lot of responses.

Gone are the young stick-thin bikini girls, and in place, genuine women of
substance dominate the list. We have playwrights, directors, actors,
businesswomen, politicians, poets and more, and our list comprises a much
wider age group.

Now this is your chance to tell us whom YOU find hot. Vote away after taking
a look at the nominees here:
Voting is limited to queer women (Sorry gay boys! But we still love you).

Look out for the results in a few weeks' time!
The Sayoni Admin Team
To Empower Asian Queer Women

ST: Indian gays hold rare march for their rights (July 1)

July 1, 2008
Indian gays hold rare march for their rights
Coming-out pride rallies show how attitudes in nation are changing rapidly
By Ravi Velloor

NEW DELHI - AT FIRST glance, the 500 or so marchers in central New
Delhi looked like they were rallying for communal harmony.

'Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai,' read the placards they carried, using the
Hindi word for Christian.

Below those words were another rhyming line: 'Homo-hetero bhai bhai.'

Bhai-bhai in common Hindi translates as 'brotherhood'.

The marchers were holding an unprecedented public demonstration in the
national capital on Sunday for gay rights, showing sympathy towards
those clustered as LGBT - short for lesbian, gay, bisexual and

In the technology hub of Bangalore, dozens of gays came out of the
closet to hold what is commonly known as a pride rally. So, too, did
gays in Kolkata, where pride rallies have been held since 2003.

Among the marchers in New Delhi was Mr K.R. Gopalan, a retired Indian
Air Force officer whose daughter is a lesbian.

'I came here to support my daughter,' he told reporters covering the
rally. 'I support her decision on her sexuality.'

The coming-out pride rally underscores how rapidly attitudes are
changing in this country regarding practices and ideas that go against
the norm.

India has had its famous gays. The late rock star Freddie Mercury, who
fronted the British band Queen, was born in Mumbai as Farrokh Balsara.
He died of Aids in 1991 and was a homosexual. Writer Vikram Seth
recently acknowledged that he is gay.

But for the most part, homosexuals have remained in the closet,
stigmatised by society. Indeed, India's public laws are often woefully
behind the times, thanks in part to the humbug of politicians and

Some years ago, when top character actresses Shabana Azmi and Nandita
Das starred in a movie on lesbianism called Fire, right-wing
protesters succeeded in having the film pulled from many theatres

In Bangalore, perhaps India's most globalised city that was once known
for its swinging night life, the administration now bans live music in
its bars. Mumbai has banned its once-ubiquitous 'dance bars'.

India's laws treat homosexuality as a crime.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, drafted in 1860, prescribes
punishment for up to 10 years for 'carnal intercourse against the
order of nature'.

Human rights groups, in a challenge at the Delhi High Court, are
asking the judges to declare that India's law does not apply to
consenting adults. The court is set to hear arguments this week.

'In India, gays and lesbians still live highly closeted lives,' said
Mr Vikram Doctor, 40, a member of the Queer Media Collective, a group
of journalists who aim for a more balanced treatment of gay and
lesbian issues.

'There is still violence. There are still many desperate suicides by
gay couples. There is still harassment. And there is still intense
pressure to marry those they do not want to be with. But today, we
have a voice. This march has taken on a momentum of its own.'

The penal code is rarely applied, but hangs as a threat and a tool for
corrupt policemen to occasionally extort money.

This time around, gay rights activists probably have a better chance
of being heard. One reason is that there is growing realisation in
India that driving homosexuals underground may be hindering the drive
to combat Aids.

Mr Ashok Row Kavi, a pioneering gay rights activist in India, noted
that homosexuality is gaining acceptance in the West after years of

'It is going to be a bitter fight here as well because modern India is
a product of many other cultures,' said Mr Kavi, who works as a
consultant for UNAids.