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Sayoni Summer Camp 2009: An Insider’s Account
Articles - Sayoni Summer Camp
Saturday, 23 May 2009 00:00

This article is written by a guest writer, Sharon.

It took wagonloads of faith to know nothing about the camp and yet sign up for it. I had no idea where we were headed to (friends asked, 'how would we know where to extradite your body from then, be it if you drown during water activities or if you collapse from being at a lesbian camp.' My friends equate lesbian camp to sex orgy thingy.), what was the exact itinerary (gawd, please don't let them make us play school-ish telematch games nor do the 'oh this is how much potential you have in you, however please do feel real bad about yourself so you'd move your lazy ass' seminars), or who are the other 45 campers (45?! I barely want to get to know one new person per year in my personal life).

 

So why did I do it? Because it is the first ever camp for queer women after all. The advert did say 'series of meaningful and exciting activities, and make connections with others in an ideal exclusive location'. Which queer woman wouldn't want to make connections with others... in a series (!), in a meaningful and exciting manner (!), and at an ideal exclusive location (!!). No wonder places filled up quickly….

 

The campers came from all walks of life, across an age range of 18-40s (Editor’s note: oldest person present was close to 50). There were bankers, students, engineers, bummers, researchers, test-tube washers (me), consultants and etc. Some previously knew about Sayoni, others didn't. Several came from beyond Singapore, a few came from way beyond. It was truly a diverse group, but very quickly that didn't matter. Like in the wild waterpolo matches, all that mattered was 'we are team, let's play!'. This spirit of 'team' spilled over to the workshops, late-night symposiums1 and stolen-moment gatherings.

 

The workshops were about self-development and growth, with a focus on encouraging self-exploration and understanding of our relationship with the world around us. In other words, the workshops were about 'who am I', 'who am I in relationships' and 'who am I in the community'. Messages from the workshops were delivered in various ways -- in detailed textual descriptions on screen, in patient comprehensive explanations by the speakers, in visually stunning pictures, videos and demonstrations, in lively open discussions from the audience, and in personal sharing of stories and opinions in small group discussions. Contrary to my expectation of the 2 to 3 hour-long workshops, I was never bored. Furthermore, I surprised myself that from each workshop, there was stuff for me to bring home to think a little more about. Even the more mature ones among us mentioned that they benefited from the workshops. Seems like it was 'milk' enough for the young 'uns and 'meat' enough for the toughies.

 

As quickly as 'team' surfaced from the diversity, the spirit of 'family' soon emerged by the 2nd day of the camp. You could say we played our way into each other's hearts. Waterpolo matches, meal times, BBQ dinner, late-night symposiums and even on the ferry back, these were all dear moments of playful fun, hearty laughter, good conversations, and explicit sharings, We found ourselves to be different yet so similar in our struggles, challenges, discrimination, hopes and dreams.

 

Just a word here about the camp conditions. I believe I echo the sentiments of many campers when I say it was good. The rooms were big and spacious, each one had a balcony with a view, the sheets were comfy and clean, toilets were clean and functioning properly, and even had toilet paper and paper towels all the time. (Yes, I am quite the fussy traveller.) Meals were buffet-style with at least 2 types of 'carbo' (rice, bread, noodles, or pasta), 3 kinds of meat, vegetables, a soup, a long dessert table, and the ever-essential coffee and tea. The resort was a good choice to have the camp. It had a big beautiful pool, a private dining area for all of us, a private beach, and an outdoor bar & grill place by the beach with a good sound system and even a place to dance. Schedule-wise, we had enough time for fun and workshops. There was also free time where we could choose to laze at the hotel or go down to town for shopping and a 2-hour massage. The organisers were also flexible in accommodating our request for more pool time in the sun. I was also impressed that it was relatively fast and painless from the point of meet-up and registration, getting our boarding passes, onto the ferry and 3-min bus transfer, to checking-in to our rooms.

 

In my business organisation, we are extremely customer-oriented. At the end of million-dollar projects, we give our clients a customer satisfaction survey to fill up and mail anonymously to our head office. On the survey form, clients can rate us on the scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is 'disappointed', 2 is 'does not meet expectations', 3 is 'meets my expectations', 4 is 'beyond my expectations' and 5 is 'delighted'.

This camper is delighted.

 

 

Notes

1. Symposium – (in ancient Greece and Rome) a convivial meeting, usually following a dinner, for drinking and intellectual conversation.
Last Updated on Sunday, 06 June 2010 23:12
 
AWARE EOGM: An Account and Commentary
Articles - Events
Written by Indu   
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 00:00

Most of the bloggosphere has been buzzing with the happenings of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) on 2nd May. The run up to the meeting was fraught with drama, suspense and old-fashioned politicking. The stakes were high for the veterans – the 24-year old organisation they had been with for years (and in some cases, since its founding) was in danger of being lost to a group of new faces who did not exactly seem to have women’s welfare in mind. (See here and here for a review of the events after the power-grab).

The venue had been changed twice – at first from Toa Payoh Auditorium to Expo, then, upon the instigation of the police (who was concerned with law and order issues given a large-scale Christian seminar would be going on next door), to Suntec. The media were ready with cameras and microphones, and when Saturday dawned bright and early upon Suntec, the stage was more than set.

I arrived at 10.45 am, as the registration was set to start at 12 pm (and the meeting was set to start at 2pm). Clearly I was not the only one with the bright idea of arriving early – the 4th floor was already full of supporters on both sides: red-shirted men and women on the side of the new exco, and white-shirted volunteers on the side of the new exco. When I arrived, taking in my outlaw appearance (ie, not being a chinese christian), 3 women tried to stop me from going up the escalator to the 4th floor, saying registration didn’t start until 12, and that the white t-shirted people weren’t part of their team. I brushed them aside and went up anyway.

After waiting an extraordinarily long time in the queue (thank god for reading materials I brought along), during which the white-shirts distributed food, flowers pamphlets and advice, and passing a security check, I finally entered the hall and sat myself down for what was going to be a long wait.

Little did I know the said long wait was going to be for the next 9 hours until the end of the EGM. In between reading, I noticed that there were two police-men guarding Thio Su Mien, and that an extraordinarily old woman on canes (literally) was walking up the aisle to the VIP seats, whom I later learned was Mrs David Marshall, coming to support the old guard.

The meeting started really late, at 2.40pm, where they exco finally presented themselves. The second Josie Lau took the mic and started speaking, the previously demure congregration burst into jeers and shouts.

And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the EOGM. If anyone ever thought Singaporeans were quiet docile lambs, all such notions would have been dispelled within seconds of being in that hall.

The drama continued for the next 7 hours – for a full transcript of proceedings, see here. The highlight of the proceedings were threefold: when the new exco admitted that they had spent 90k SGD to date, in prepping for the EGM (including the venue), when Thio Su Mien stood up and declared that she was qualified to be a feminist mentor because she was mentioned on an obscure book AWARE published, on page 73, and when the new exco was voted out 1414:761 through a no-confidence motion.

Now, having had a few days to digest this historic win and event, and having read distinguished commentaries upon it (here and here), there are a few things I would like to highlight.

Firstly, the behaviour of the exco in spending nearly 90 000 dollars since the time they took office a few weeks ago, itself makes them entirely unsuitable for running AWARE. There were so many ways to do it for cheaper – such as employing volunteers to scrutineer (and make a buddy system to cross-check against biasness), engaging pro bono counsel instead of running to one of the most expensive law firms in Singapore and perhaps not installing CCTVs and changing the locks barely after they took over. Their attitude is one of that of a mega-church with deep pockets, or a corporate entity, not of a voluntary organisation. Whatever else one can say about their stealthy maneavours and less-than-noble intentions, if one is to judge them by their performance in office for a no-confidence motion, this would have been the clincher.

Secondly – just because you are legally in power, does not mean you have the authority to lead, especially when you have had no experience, the only reason you are voted in is because you rallied people to sign up and vote for you, and your means were underhanded and shady. Please show us some respect, and do not keep insisting that this was not planned – it most obviously was, and the longer you repeat that story, the more credibility you lose. I asked a question at the EGM which was not answered: what if I decided that Focus on the Family (FOTF) was losing its pro-family focus and becoming overly concerned with promoting homphobia? What if I decided that, because of this, I was going to appoint myself a Family Values mentor, email my friends and family and simply take over FOTF one day? It might be entirely legitimate, but does this new exco have any moral or even practical authority to lead FOTF? More importantly, is what I did right?

Thirdly, I was there, and I can testify that the crowd was indeed loud and sometimes overpowering. But contrary to what the other side has said about the old guard supporters being bullies and hooligans, I feel this was a result of passion and deep belief.  Voices were raised, but no one was harmed, or even threatened to be harmed. Emotions spilled over, but that is approximate response to what happens when one takes over an organisation by stealth and under-handed means. No one stopped the other side from speaking up – they were entirely free to make their opinions, and when they did, I observed that they made no sense (even to an objective listener). The other side had all the opportunities to speak, but they did not.  I personally feel many of the supporters of the new exco were only there to vote, not speak – by the very fact that the most of the new exco supporters left shortly after the voting process. Even I cannot help preserve the freedom of speech for someone who does not want to make their opinions known.

Fourthly, the opposition camp has painted this as a pro-gay vs anti-gay issue. It is anything but – it is the new guard who declared their motivating factor to take over AWARE was because they felt AWARE was too pro-gay. It still is NOT a pro-gay vs anti-gay issue – it is an issue of mutual respect, of living in harmony with different points of view and faiths. It is an issue of protecting the secular principles this country is built upon, by making sure one religious group does not overstep its boundaries or amass so much power as to intimidate minorities.

Fifthly, going into the hall, knowing this is not a pro-gay vs anti-gay issue, I was pleasantly surprised that there were plenty of people who spoke up for the acceptance and inclusion of queer people – women and men of all ages, backgrounds, religions and races. The message the majority sent out is that inclusiveness is not an empty word, and it means what it means. And really, for a bunch of educated women, especially Thio Su Mien – they seemed unable to tell the linguistic difference between tolerance, acceptance and promotion. The dictionary is there, use it. When you do learn the meaning, come back and tell me with a straight face that being accepting gay people for who they are, is exactly the same as telling people to be gay.

It must be said in conclusion that this EOGM was a reaffirmation, and a heart-warming sign that there is progress being made on the forefront of inclusiveness. It however, sadly highlights the existence of certain fundamentalist conservative groups who do not understand this concept and will do anything, anything to stop it from happening, even though it really has nothing to do with them.

Christians are not the enemy, neither do we consider them to be. We are not your enemy either. I take this opportunity to make a plea not to let things go that way, to not go the way America has gone in terms of the culture war – there are far far more important things in the world to think about, to work on. There are literally starving children in Africa, and I think your money, your effort, all the passion you have towards changing the world, can be redirected to causes much much bigger than trying to stop two consenting adults from loving each other.

And on that note, this is me hoping the best for the future!

 
Breaking News: AWARE EOGM Results – Old Guard Returned (Singapore)
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Saturday, 02 May 2009 01:33

Today was a day to be marked down in history, as the day that Singaporeans realised they are indeed in control of their destiny, as the day they decided to take ownership in NGOs, as the day they stood up against the tide of intolerance and stood up for equal rights and inclusiveness. After a much-prolonged, 7-hour extraordinary general meeting (not counting waiting time), the old guard of Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) were returned to power, ousting the new exco who had all but taken AWARE’s leadership by force.

The meeting was stormy, emotional and inspiring. Many women and men stood up to speak up for the old aware and against the injustices perpetrated in the short term of the “new” exco. Many shocking things were revealed – such as the exco spending about S$90k since they took office (when only authorised to spend S$20k). The depth of their ignorance about what AWARE really did and stood for was revealed, as well as their inability to effectively lead. At the end of the long meeting, the no-confidence motion was passed by a margin of 2-1 – 1414 votes for yes, and 716 for no, and after an extended discussion, the exco finally decided to step down. The general meeting then proceeded to elect back the old guard into power – starting with Dana Lam as the president and Chew I-Jin as the Vice-President.

What was the most touching to us was the number of people – men, women, fathers, mothers,� teachers, students, christians, muslims… who all stood up and spoke up for inclusiveness, the importance of having a queer-neutral sexuality education program, and why AWARE should help queer women in need.

Sayoni would like to join in congratulating AWARE on its historic victory. This is not just a victory for womenm or even queer women, but for civil society in years to come. For extended reports on the events and commentary, stay tuned!

 
Why I am Bothered by the AWARE saga
Articles - Feminism
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Thursday, 30 April 2009 00:00

This article is written by a guest writer Bryan Choong.

Each time I talked to my friends and colleagues about the ongoing AWARE issue, they are puzzled why I have spoken with so much anger. There are a lot of women who are indifferent about the issues, and men who think this is a women’s problem. Some said that a new organisation can easily replace AWARE so why should we be so bothered by the new Exco and their non inclusive stand.

Being a gay person, I am sure many of my friends though that I am feeling so frustrated because the new Exco is anti gay and I felt threatened. Yes, the matter of fact is, I do. But let me explain why I am with the old guard. I should also clarify that I only joined as an associate member of AWARE recently but I have been very aware of what old AWARE represents. And it all started when I was 14 years old.


One night when I was 14 years old, I found myself sitting in the old New Bridge Road police station, waiting for my mother to complete her police statement. My mother has just been beaten by my father after months of verbal abuses. It was about 1am. There were no visible bruises and the policeman on duty told my mother that he could not do much to my father than to bring him down to the station and give him a verbal warning. Unless, in his own words, someone is visibly injured or dead. I was sitting next to my mother and listening to all these. My mother decided against the police going to our place to bring my father to the station. She feared that things would be worsened. For the rest of the night, my mother and myself sat outside the station. I was so worried that my mother would get a chill so I bought a cup of hot milo for her from the vending machine. That was the only thing this small built boy could do. I remember that cold night till today, that overwhelming helplessness of being a 14 years old boy who could not do anything to help his abused mother.

That was not the only time I felt that way. When I was 7 years old, after my father’s repeated beating, my mother left home without a single penny. Later she told me that she had to beg for a 10 cent from a stranger to call her sister for help. She was standing on the street with nothing except her clothes. In another occasion, I accompanied her to look for a place to stay when the abuse increased. We walked through the entire Joo Chiat area but nothing was affordable or safe enough for her to stay in. Hopeless and helpless, we went back home, which was increasingly more like a battlefield than a sanctuary. From that very young age, I learnt to be present at home whenever possible so that in case of a dangerous situation, I could shield her or do anything to protect her. Most of the time, I was disappointed that no one seemed to be able to render any assistance. I have to clarify here that my mother was not the soft asian woman you can imagine. However, she has gotten into a wrong marriage because she wanted to break away from my grandfather’s control. Unfortunately, in those days, you could walk away from your father but it was not so easy for you to walk away from your abusive husband. No one, apart from those who walked this journey before, will understand how vulnerable we felt.

The first sign of hope came when NMP Dr Kanwaljit Soin pushed for the amendment of Women Charter in 1997. I was so excited that I borrowed a copy of the Women Charter publication from the National Library and read it to my mother. We finally knew and got our rights. I watched the debate in the Parliament when NMP Soin spoke and I swear to the god that she is the only female MP whose face and name I could remember till now.

Finally, with the new Women Charter in place and the family court more empowered to do more for domestic violences, my mother decided to end the marriage when my father hit her for the last time and a Personal Protection Order was issued. Despite of the PPO, my mother’s lawyer, Ms Ellen Lee, now MP for Sembawang GRC tried so hard to ensure our safety during the divorce proceeding. She even allowed us to use her office address in Beach Road as a correspondence address so that our actual place of residence would not be exposed.

After a long legal battle, we got our lives back, leaving the years of living in constant fear and abuses behind. I regained my trust that there is justice in this world and women and children should be protected against any wrongful acts by their male family members. What Dr Soin and AWARE probably would not know is that their fight for women rights have changed the life of a boy who they never know.

I cannot tolerate the new Exco’s attempt to deny the good works by these women and AWARE. And I cannot trust them when the church they belonged to, openly stated that 'the wife is in subjection to her husband' and 'women [are] to continually deny themselves and yield the rule to men'. This statement alone makes me feel so sick, the same sick feeling I had when the policeman told me that he could not do anything.

In Singapore we are so used to take a neutral stand on everything, until it affects you. I know exactly how that feels. For you who has the right to cast your vote and decide not to do anything at all, you might regret it when you need it.

Editor’s Note: Please visit www.we-are-aware.sg for news and updates, and information on how you can help.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:29
 
One Cause For All Women
Articles - Announcements
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 01:34

 

Help save AWARE.� Vote out the new exco.

Dana Lam’s interview to save AWARE

Update : New Venue for the EGM
Suntec Exhibition Hall 402!

Don’t go to the wrong place!�� The venue in the video clips are outdated.

 
Responsa to the Press Conference by AWARE’s New Exco
Articles - Feminism
Written by Indu   
Tuesday, 28 April 2009 00:00
The past few days, after the new guard came out and declared their motivations and objectives, and revealed Dr Thio Su Mien to be their mentor, there have been a variety of responses from various sectors and individuals. We collect and republish for you, a selection of responses.

But first, we would like to remind all AWARE members that the EOGM on 2nd May will be held at SINGAPORE EXPO HALL 2. Official notices from AWARE states that Registration will begin at 12noon, EGM at 2p.m. Bring your NRIC for admission. Please check SAVE AWARE for the latest news.

 

Press Conference by the Old Guard

24th April 2009

We are glad that the truth is finally out. What happened at AWARE AGM on 28 March was a planned takeover by a group of women, guided by their ‘feminist mentor’ Dr Thio Su Mien, who have taken it upon themselves to, as they put it, ‘bring AWARE back to its original, very noble, objective’.

The issue is not whether AWARE has indeed strayed from its original aims. What is really at stake is the space for a diversity of views in our cosmopolitan and pluralistic society. Singapore is a multiracial, mulitreligious and multicultural society. As we progress, the diversity will grow. We have to be able to co-exist, to live with differing views on many issues.

What has happened at AWARE is a threat to Singapore’s pluralistic society. A ‘feminist mentor’ takes exception to some of AWARE’s programmes, decides to monitor the organisation’s activities, and then encourages women she knows to challenge AWARE; they could have invited AWARE to a seminar to discuss the programmes; they could have written to the media.

Instead, these women joined AWARE in the few months before the AGM and then voted their representatives onto the Executive Committee ‘ without giving any indication that they were acting together. They continued with this stance until Thursday when they finally told the truth.

The cannot be the way forward for Singapore. We cannot have people acting like moral vigilantes running around and taking over established organisations. If Dr Thio and her mentees feel that AWARE has strayed from its original aims, or that some of the programmes are unsuitable, then go ahead and criticize AWARE, but do so openly.

Better still, form their own organization to offer parallel programmes with what they see as the right messages, and let the public choose which they prefer. Their motives and actions will then be visible to all. There will be transparency and accountability.

Video of press conference

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:28
 
A tale of two events: how they have completely lost the plot
Articles - Feminism
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Friday, 24 April 2009 00:00

Originally published on the Glass Castle – written by Jolene

The new AWARE Exco have completely lost the plot. Two events they organised last night are of note. First, they had the locks on AWARE’s office changed, summarily firing staff and disrupting the use of the centre as a space for counselling abused women (emphases mine):

Dana Lam, former AWARE president, said: “I walked in and there were three burly men sitting at the counter. It’s not something we encounter at AWARE because it’s a women’s centre and we are giving counselling sessions to women who have been abused.

“The men have apparently been instructed by the president to change the lock in the centre. There is a vote of no-confidence going on here. By right, they have no right to make any changes. I am worried for my materials- 25 years of research material, including confidential material.”

Did the new Exco make any alternative provision for abused women who might have been seeking, or relying on the services, provided at AWARE? Who knows? Did they even care?

Other things were probably on their mind, as they also spoke at a news conference, the second event of note. On the same evening that services to abused women were being disrupted on their order, you see, they spoke of restoring AWARE to “its original noble cause” (emphases mine):

The new exco said AWARE had become a single purpose organisation overly concerned with promoting lesbianism.

They repeatedly raised examples, like how the old guard had backed a lesbian film screening in 2007 and organised a lesbian-friendly Mother’s Day event in 2006. And they wanted to bring the association back to what they say is its original noble cause.

Let me get this straight (being straight is important, you see). A few days ago, Josie Lau told us on television that the reason she wanted to take control of AWARE was because it had become too “diversified” and needs more “focus”. But now the problem, the reason justifying the takeover, is that AWARE should be stopped from becoming a “single-purpose organisation”. Just taking both their statements at face value is making my brain hurt.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:27
 
Save AWARE! Gender equality for all! – Petition
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Thursday, 23 April 2009 01:36

Save AWARE! Gender equality for all! – Petition

As Singaporeans overseas we are very concerned about the take-over of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) on 28 March 2009 by a group of people, whose values are opposed to what AWARE stands for. For nearly 25 years, AWARE has worked to advance gender equality for all women in Singapore, regardless of race, religion, or sexuality. Through its many contributions, AWARE has significantly enhanced women�s capacity to make informed choices over their bodies and their lives.

We support the Save AWARE Campaign (http://www.we-are-aware.sg) on the following grounds:

1. Media reports indicate that the newcomers, now on AWARE�s new Executive Committee, are, at best, ignorant of AWARE�s mission and, at worst, ideologically opposed to this.

2. There are clear indications from media reports that the take-over was by a group with affiliations to known fundamentalist organisations � notably, Church of Our Saviour and Focus on the Family (as well as possibly Liberty League and Exodus International). As reported in the Straits Times (18 April 2009), six of the eleven current Ex-Co members attend the Church of Our Saviour, which has publicly stated its position on women�s role and status. In the document �God�s Order for the Family�, posted as a resource on the Church�s website , it is openly stated that �the wife is in subjection to her husband� and �women [are] to continually deny themselves and yield the rule to men�. This document states: �feminist movements�are not according to God’s order�. Rather, �His will for a young women is to do four things: (1) marry, (2) bear children, (3) guide the house, (4) not be a reproach to her husband.� It is highly unlikely, to say the least, that members of a church promoting such values would champion gender equality for all women in all spheres of life. Rather, it is more likely that this fundamentalist group would engage in an exercise of defining who qualifies as a �woman� and who does not. If so, this would be diametrically opposed to AWARE�s inclusion of all women as having the right to gender equality, be they gay or straight, married or unmarried, mothers or not, employed or not, Christian or not.

3. Various blog writers have pointed out that this hostile take-over is a warning sign of fundamentalist ambitions that may extend far beyond AWARE. The question has been raised several times why fundamentalists have been motivated to take over a secular organisation like AWARE. Is it to �confuse others into believing that these agendas are supported by an organisation which is concerned with women�s best interests from a feminist and humanist point of view, rather than a Christian fundamentalist point of view�? (http://www.glass-castle.org) Is this the thin end of a wedge that may subsequently affect other secular civic organizations and perhaps even beyond?

4. The new Ex-Co has not communicated with the rank and file membership of AWARE, despite the public controversy that has broken out, leaving members to learn about AWARE from media reports. It has sacked all the current heads of the AWARE sub-committees, including the summary dismissal of Braema Mathi, Chairperson of AWARE�s CEDAW Committee. (CEDAW is the UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.) It has refused to disclose specific plans, despite repeated questioning by journalists. The recently elected President, Claire Nazar, resigned after 11 days, because of what she described as the new Ex-Co�s �Stormtrooper tactics� (The Straits Times, 19 April 2009). All these acts and omissions are symptomatic of the duplicity and disingenuousness that underlie this take-over by stealth.

5. This was confirmed in the recent letter to AWARE members written by the Immediate Past President, Constance Singam, who noted that �although the team [the new Ex-Co] had publicly said that they would honour Aware�s founders and build on the good work of past members, their private behaviour suggested otherwise.� �In private meetings, the exco showed a complete lack of respect for me, ignoring my advice and keeping me out of an exco meeting when I had the right to be there, as stated in the Constitution,� she wrote (The Straits Times 19 April 2009).

We, the undersigned, support the Save AWARE Campaign as a collective endeavour to reclaim AWARE as a vehicle to advance women�s rights to gender equality and individual choices.

We call on the fundamentalist group who have taken over to respect AWARE�s vision of �gender equality for all� and its mission �to identify areas for improvement in gender equality, encourage positive change; and support women in realizing their highest potential.� As reported by The Straits Times (10 April 2009), when this new group was asked at the recent Annual General Meeting if they believe in equality, �they kept repeating they were there to support women and to make sure they got ahead and got all the opportunities given to them.� We call on this group to quit AWARE as soon as possible, if they cannot uphold its foundational vision and mission.

We call on all Singaporeans and permanent residents concerned with the continuing existence of a secular civil society in Singapore to support the Save AWARE Campaign.

(Note: Signatories should be Singaporean citizens and permanent residents, of any gender. Please provide your name as stated in your NRIC with your NRIC number and your current country of residence.)

Save AWARE! Gender equality for all! – Petition

 
Sayoni Summer Camp: 3 Days Left to Sign up!
Articles - Sayoni Summer Camp
Written by sayoni   
Friday, 10 April 2009 00:00


There are only 3 days left to register for Sayoni Summer Camp 2009! Prices start at only $270 inclusive of 2 way ferry tickets, 3D2N resort stay and all meals. If you are thinking of joining us this very special Labour Day weekend, please make sure that you sign up now!

Only 8 places left, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity for a fun-filled and meaningful vacation.

Visit www.sayoni.com/ssc09 and register immediately!

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 June 2010 23:22
 
Letters to Ling: Blurring the Lines
Articles - Advice Column
Written by ling   
Monday, 30 March 2009 02:41

 

Facing a problem with your life, your sexuality, relationship, family et cetera? Write in to our advice columnist, Ling, with your problem. All emails are confidential and your anonymity will be preserved.

Dear Ling

I am in my mid-20s and have been heterosexual, or so I believe.

Recently, I took up a course and my teacher is a female. I wasn’t attracted to her initially, but over time, as I attended more lessons, I felt something. I like to chat with her, I like the way she laughs and smiles, I like her mannerisms. She is a sporty and tanned woman who is older than me by a few years. She has short hair and behaves quite like a tomboy.

We chat a lot during lessons, so over time, we got to know each other better. Both of us are pretty open so we chat about almost everything under the sun, from pets to family. She also gave me her number so that whenever I have queries about the course, I can text her and she would always reply. Sometimes we would make small talk over SMS as well.

During one of our chats, I decided to find out if she was attached. She paused for quite a while before telling me that she doesn’t intend to get married. She said that she prefers a carefree lifestyle and gave me a bunch of reasons why she was not suited to marriage life. At the end of the day, I failed to derive an answer and so am still unsure if she’s straight or gay.

Are there any tell-tale signs/ traits that would indicate to me that she’s not straight? Would I be able to hint to her about my feelings?

I’m also concerned that I may be barking up the wrong tree and offend her if I make any wrong assumptions. It would then affect our student-teacher relationship, which I do not hope to encroach. I still wish to complete the course under her guidance and supervision.

Confused Student

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:57
 
Review: The L Word Season 6
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Monday, 23 March 2009 00:00

So here it is. The end. The finale of the series that has alternately kept on the edge of our seats, swear in despair, rush to the nearest bar to get a drink at the end of 13 episodes only to wait for the next season to begin, cry, laugh and generally provide a good fodder for gossip and some good old-fashioned bitchfest.

The reason this season review is two weeks late, is because I had to consult a therapist for the acute and schizophrenic feelings of loss and relief. It is kinda like ending a very bad/abusive relationship that just gets worse by the day – you are so glad it has ended (and it certainly feels nice not to be beaten up all the time) but at the same time, you have been with the woman for 5 years and letting go is hard, and you miss being around her.

So, here’s a season review, as tough as it was to write.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

This season is quite possibly the worst season in the entire series. It is like Ilene Chaiken decided that this was the last season, they can throw everything out the window and write whatever crap they wanted, make it as bad as possible so that they can wean us off the show. It is a pity because it started off as a really good series, with witty, sharp, raw writing and likeable characters (of course it had its fair share of criticism, mostly to do with representation). Representation, however, became the least of its issues later as the writers got infected with the dreaded What Happened Yesterday Is Irrelevant (WHYII), characters were routinely transplanted with new personalities (hey, maybe that’s where Joss Whedon got the idea for Dollhouse), and in some cases, got abducted by aliens and were never spoken of again (anyone remember Mark? Papi? Yeah I didn’t think so).

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:21
 
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