Enshrining Stupidity

I’ve often said that one the best things about Singapore is the fact that we have a government that prides itself in being exceedingly rational and is willing to take a position contrary to popular opinion if it has the facts on its side. This wonderfully matter of fact approach to “tricky” and “difficult” matters has been on display in its handling of the Coronavirus. The government has been careful to follow the facts as they come out, they’ve restricted movements and been generous on the economic front. The government has avoided “Trump-like” messaging and avoided confusion and panic in the market place.

Yet, there remains one topic in which this rational and pragmatic approach gets rolled into the proverbial shit-pot and flushed down the toilet. That is the issue of 377A, or the law which criminalises consensual sex between two adult men. I’ve blogged about this topic on countless occasions and I seem to be making the same point – there is no rational, logical or helpful reason as to why the State should intervene and criminalise private and consensual behavior. I’m not the only one to make that point. We’ve had a former senior diplomat (Professor Tommy Koh), a former Chief Justice (Justice Chan Sek Keong) and two former Attorney-Generals (Professor Walter Woon and Justice VK Rajah) come out and make exactly those points. None of these men can be accused of being stooges of “Western Liberalism.” All of them are highly respected members of society and all of them are regarded as being amongst the most brilliant minds that our society has produced.

Yet, despite all these brilliant and respected men coming out to make the obvious points, our system remains entrenched in an almost childlike thinking when it comes to the topic of 377A. Today (30 March 2020), the High Court released its verdict on three constitutional challenges presented by three men. The news report can be read here:

The only thing that seemed to make some logical sense was the statement – “The court is not the appropriate forum to seek a resolution of a scientific issue that remains controversial. This is in any event an extra-legal argument that does not come under the proper purview of the courts.” This statement by Justice See Kee Oon makes sense in the same way that a janitor in a hospital telling you that he’s not the appropriate person to talk to if you ask a question about a complex medical issue
However, the rest of the verdict seemed to lack a logical and reasonable thought in its delivery. The most embarrassing moment came from the way in which the court had to defend the fact that while the law is set to remain on the statute books, the government has “promised” not to enforce it. Poor Justice See had to deliver these lines:

“Statutory provisions serve an important role in reflecting public sentiment and beliefs. Section 377A, in particular, serves the purpose of safeguarding public morality by showing societal moral disapproval of male homosexual acts.”

Unfortunately, the public morality argument has been long blown away. The public, for example, does not approve of prostitution or gambling. Yet, these vices are perfectly legal and until Covid-19 forced the government to shut down “entertainment,” were thriving industries. Both gambling and prostitution have been proven to cause social problems (there is such a medical condition called “gambling addiction,” and sleeping with prostitute’s does leave you open to venereal diseases – a warning that is well publicized in Singapore’s brothels). Yet, nobody seems too bothered by the presence of gambling and prostitution (a cynic might argue that there are more gamblers and customers of prostitutes among the well to do than there are homosexuals).

Furthermore, the public disapproval argument does not stand when you consider that genuinely conservative societies like India (I repeat the place that gave you the caste system) and Taiwan (the China we don’t recognize) have done away with laws banning consensual sex between consenting adult men.

A certain section of the “conservative” movement might argue that this argument holds because it enforces “approval” onto a disapproving majority. This is an ingenious argument. It seems to argue that if something is legal, it means that one has to accept it. It forgets that a certain portion of society had nothing more than the government’s promise that they would not be sent to jail for behaving like everyone else with the exception of their choice of consenting sexual partner.

Since logic is unfashionable, I’ve always wondered if 377A proponents who made this argument were not repressed homosexuals themselves. I’m speaking as a heterosexual man with a normal sexual appetite. I like to have sex with women and as long as I have sex with a consenting woman, nobody is going to disturb me and nobody is going to care who I have sex with. So, if you look at this basic fact and apply it to a homosexual couple, why should anyone really care what they do in the bedroom as long as its in the bedroom. Homosexual sex (like any other form of sex) should only be a problem if its done onto someone who does not consent to it.

The bout of cases of voyeurism in our universities is far more damaging to society than what the homosexual community does in its bedroom. Are we really easier with boys setting up spy cameras in the girls public showers than we are with two gay guys doing it in the privacy of the bedroom.
In one of the challenges, experts (as in people with scientific knowledge) were brought in and just about everyone concluded that gay people are well…..gay. It’s not a lifestyle choice of something people do because its fashionable. If the science did not favour homosexuality as a genetic fact, “gay conversion” therapies would not be banned in most places.

We are lauded around the world for being intelligent and rational. So, surely, it is time we showed some rationality and intelligence when it comes to this topic. Though having said that, I was once told that there is intelligence in this refusal to listen to rationality on the topic of 377A. I was once told at a party that the “LGBT” community contains the highest portion of opposition voters. Let’s be cynical here.

 

 

Tang Li

*The author blogs at http://beautifullyincoherent.blogspot.com/

 

 

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18 Responses to “Enshrining Stupidity”

  • TruBlu:

    Sorry,i think it us rational that TWO MEN CANNOT BE *HUSBAND* N *WIFE*?

    So,no rational child or ADULT(when he grows up) would feel good calling a man as MUMMY?

    Or,a woman,DADDY?

    SO WHAT IS RATIONAL?

    I can accept a male torn with female tendencies n i can fully understand that it could be biologically-linked but i would dread calling him,*daddy*,wouldnt you,Tang Li?

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  • Stupidity of Believing:

    This would be Purest Stupidity :

    1. DO Not Wear a Condom when sex with prostitute. Wear only after infected

    The idiots need to be forced to concede mistakes.

    The idiots are not medically qualified. Just Ivory tower big headed ignorant egoists.

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  • ??:

    What are you saying? What is the moral of your story ?

    /// I was once told at a party that the “LGBT” community contains the highest portion of opposition voters///
    What bullshit is this about Opposition voters?.

    Are you referring “Opposition voters” of LBGT or referencing to opposition voters who are WP, PSP or SDP supporters ?

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  • Great Asia:

    Tang Li,

    Are you a believer?

    Do you want to re-write the Bible, Quran or other holly books?

    “…there is no rational, logical or helpful reason as to why the State should intervene and criminalise private and consensual behavior.”?!!!

    Why 377A?

    Why not go for something much bigger?

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Right strategy?:

    In order to push for a change of 377, this writer first praised the gov to the sky?

    Is flattery a good strategy for this gov?

    Maybe. But other readers may end up vomitting after reading the first para.

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  • 哗好多油水:

    你知不知道有好多好多油水正在冲上尿和屎道上,苯和蠢通通用上改道不知不觉冲進黑害煤灴里那有空去想穴是正或不正的蠢是。正是不懂事,不是尿屎才料。好多好多油水哗。特狼普屎尿太高兴唠。什么鸡,什么鸭哬,那有汩水来的真。蠢旦是您跟即些柳树幽魂。几杯尿n塊屎就搞定了真是烦。沺水油水冲耒吧。咱里爱煤等你哦。

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  • Tang Li's Bipolar Mind:

    Voyeurism is not synonymous with homosexualism. It’s not categorically impossible for there to be voyeurs spying on gays doing it to one another in some possible universe.

    Heterosexual sex is not only coincidentally a natural means to parenting offspring. Gay sex is otherwise – no matter how hard they might strive. The marriage lives of heterosexuals perpetuates the human species.

    We only pray that there could be more love between souls.

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  • PAPVID-20:

    Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the d!shonourable son’s nephew? The gay son of HY, Huanwu?

    D!shonourable son has almost fixed HY’s eldest. He’s fixing HY’s wifey. And erh ….. he’s probably waiting for someone to catch HY having sex with his gay spouse in their bedroom so that he gets another chance to fix another love one of HY?

    “You accused me of abusing my power right? Ok, then I’ll abuse my power for you to see.”

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  • Sojoürner of Truth:

    I hope you’re right, Tang Li, about a turning of the political tide when it comes to supporting people across the sexuality spectrum.

    But do the community a favor and add a “Q” to LGBT. I’ve seen that acronym elsewhere, and I have a relative who identifies as gender queer, rejecting the dichotomous male-female categorization.

    Don’t enshrine your own stupidity. Just one more letter, please.

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  • There Are Limits To Everything:

    ABs are very good in seizing opportunities to further their cause – the deviant ways of life.

    Reading the article, any discerning reader can easily see where it is coming and where it is going.

    Good attempt but it won’t even move a single hair.

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  • Kumar is a Pondan:

    The govt keeps 377A becuase of homophobic voters like the FCBC (Faith Community Baptist Church). Thee people like to impose their preferences on others.

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  • Always Man:

    Shit holes are meant for shit. Period. And love among men can be brotherly. Why must involve sex and then try to justify it.

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  • Sojoürner of Truth:

    Christians have thoughtful opinions about what love is and isn’t, and just because we are called “hateful” doesn’t mean we will abandon beliefs and scriptures that have lasted far longer than today’s zeitgeist. Hate me if you must; but at least entertain that thought that some of us Neanderthals actually have a good deal of experience and thought behind our opinions.

    The other and to my mind more important change that needs to occur is rather than rely on the tired and false old notion of pigeonholing people into a neat little category: gay, straight, bi, we need to recognize this: that human sexuality functions along a continuum like all other states of the mind. It can and does change, and the sooner people admit to arousal from all sorts of stimuli that they have been socialized into squashing down like an inopportune and embarrassing erection, the better off and saner our culture will be.

    You can sit in your ivory tower and pontificate about the “make-believe” nature of human rights. Doesn’t it strike you as absurd and pathetic that we concern ourselves with the private sexual preferences, even the sexual practices, and the current state of the genitalia of various people. Why not just stop talking about these details and be concerned about the social and economic impact of the spreading Covid-19?

    The other day I had a nice laugh when I came across this passage in a history book citing an ancient Christian canon law (“penitential”) regarding that kind of “relations” between men and women:

    “There is also [xxxx intercourse] with males, in which some pitifully blinded men leave the wholesome bread and, unseeing, consume trash; that is to say, leaving the female nature [sc. organ] they [use] the waste vessel of these miserable men” (John Boswell, “Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe,” 1995, p. 220)

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  • Harder Truths:

    Just another homo trying to make $G another western mentally retarded nation not knowing there are only TWO sexes and marriage is between man and woman.

    If the homos in $G does not like how Asians value our NATURAL life – then he /she /it can go to USA or Europe and live there with other diseased people who now are dying from their evil ways.

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  • Pok Kai TKL:

    The picture is enuff to make you puke.

    Right strategy?:
    In order to push for a change of 377, this writer first praised the gov to the sky?

    Is flattery a good strategy for this gov?
    Maybe. But other readers may end up vomitting after reading the first para.

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  • status quo:

    There will always be two camp on this issues.
    Majority still prefer the status quo now.
    Thats life..live with it.

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  • DavidNeo&IreneVanessa:Morons:

    Well what do the Bible say about polygamy, adultery and fornication? Is it ok for a man to have many women and vice versa? After all heterosexuality is normal. Basically Christians are only afriad of the idea of homosexuality. I rarely haer churches publicy chastise straights for sexual sins. But they love Sodom and Gommorah story because the story is so arousing and disturbing at the same time, if Christians are honest enough to admit it.

    Well in all fairness, those gay places also exercise social responsibilty and close their venues. Because you don’t have to have unprotected anal sex to get CoVid 19. Which makes it deadlier than HIV and AIDS! But agree, everyone should be concerned about covid 19. It is decimating the world economy and making people “anti social”.

    Sojoürner of Truth:
    Christians have thoughtful opinions about what love is and isn’t, and just because we are called “hateful” doesn’t mean we will abandon beliefs and scriptures that have lasted far longer than today’s zeitgeist. Hate me if you must; but at least entertain that thought that some of us Neanderthals actually have a good deal of experience and thought behind our opinions.

    The other and to my mind more important change that needs to occur is rather than rely on the tired and false old notion of pigeonholing people into a neat little category: gay, straight, bi, we need to recognize this: that human sexuality functions along a continuum like all other states of the mind. It can and does change, and the sooner people admit to arousal from all sorts of stimuli that they have been socialized into squashing down like an inopportune and embarrassing erection, the better off and saner our culture will be.

    You can sit in your ivory tower and pontificate about the “make-believe” nature of human rights. Doesn’t it strike you as absurd and pathetic that we concern ourselves with the private sexual preferences, even the sexual practices, and the current state of the genitalia of various people. Why not just stop talking about these details and be concerned about the social and economic impact of the spreading Covid-19?

    The other day I had a nice laugh when I came across this passage in a history book citing an ancient Christian canon law (“penitential”) regarding that kind of “relations” between men and women:

    “There is also [xxxx intercourse] with males, in which some pitifully blinded men leave the wholesome bread and, unseeing, consume trash; that is to say, leaving the female nature [sc. organ] they [use] the waste vessel of these miserable men” (John Boswell, “Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe,” 1995, p. 220)

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  • Pok Kai TKL:

    status quo:
    There will always be two camp on this issues.
    Majority still prefer the status quo now.
    Thats life..live with it.

    The problem is that the minority kept forcing their agenda onto the majority. It will come a day when they crossed the line and gets DESTROYED!

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