mater's school song had the following verse:
"In Queenstown area bright and GAY
"Stands the New Town Primary School.."
in the late 1960's. Then, GAY simply meant
"brightly coloured and pretty to look at".
Since then, the term GAY has taken on an additional
new meaning and I am not sure whether today my
primary school still has "GAY" in its
school song. I doubt so.
1960's, change has taken place around the world. Gay
people have come out of their closets. The western
world has taken the lead in accepting these people.
In some European countries, gay marriages are legal.
Asia, we have been slow in accepting the fact that
gay people actually are proper people. Perhaps, it is
because of our conservative roots. We have been
brought up to think that our sons who hold our
surnames must pass on these surnames to their
children. And we expect this ritual to continue
unabated for generations to come.
comes as a shock to older people that some of their
children may not be able to proliferate the family
line. Those younger may not have that problem. They
are quicker in accepting that some people are just
born that way. That they also have a right to live
life the way they want to.
Singapore is a place where filial piety is expounded
- and rightly so, for this is a value which provides
for continued stability in the hierarchy of the
family unit. It is this value that baby boomers who
are now in their forties and late thirties will use
as a guide in their twilight years.
do we manage the acceptance of gay people in our
community? People Like Us, a local group for gay
people, said in its book People
Like Us: Sexual Minorities in Singapore, that it
tried unsuccessfully to register itself first as a
society, later as a company.
any change must come top down. The government, last
week, signalled that Singapore will embrace
diversity. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, in a recent
interview with Time magazine let out that the
government had been hiring homosexuals on the quiet,
even for sensitive posts, provided they declared
still a long way to go yet. Three sections of the
penal code here provide for punishment against
homosexual acts. These laws are not likely to change
any time soon. Gay people have got to be responsible
in their actions - they should not impose themselves
on others of unlike mind. They should not be brazen
in their behaviour - in public, that is. There are
many of us out there who still find it difficult to
come to terms with homosexuality.
government's apparent loosening of the reins is
welcome news, it should not be mistaken for a
go-ahead for gay people to take to the streets to
promote their rights to the public. This is not
America! Such public displays will only damage the
efforts of gay people in gaining mainstream
acceptance. Live and let live, I say.
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