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Channel NewsAsia’s report on press conference.

Choo Zheng Xi/Editor-in-Chief

New Guard highlights fear of homosexual agenda
(story includes additional quotes from the press conference)

AFTER weeks of public speculation about the reasons behind the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) takeover, law firm Director Dr Thio Su Mien has come out into the open to declare that she mentored the takeover.

At the press conference given by Dr Thio and members of the new Executive Committee, one looming issue dominated the new guard agenda for AWARE: AWARE’s perceived promotion of homosexuality.

Dr Thio cited AWARE’s attempts to give men the vote as part of the evidence for a homosexual takeover of the organization.

Dr Thio said: “So there is this sudden shift to give men the vote. Why? Are the men masquerading? Is the homosexual activist men coming under the umbrella of Aware?”

New Honorary Secretary Ms Maureen Ong told the press conference yesterday that she was motivated by a similar fear:

“I came into the picture because somebody told me that something is happening that affects children and I am a mother of three children. I don’t want my children to say that oh, it’s all right to go and experiment with homosexuality, to experiment with anal sex, to experiment with virginity or the pill or even pre-marital sex”…Ms Ong had previously denied an anti-gay agenda by Honorary Secretary Maureen Ong in a televised interview on Talking Point. She was asked by host Deborah Soon whether the takeover was driven by anti-gay sentiment.

Ms Ong had replied: “I for one had come across an article in the Straits Times that had interviewed Constance Singam and talked about AWARE and I felt that AWARE stood for something I believed in”.

At the press conference, concerns were raised over AWARE’s screening of a lesbian themed film at a gala premier last year, as well as past president Constance Singam’s appearance at annual gay event Indignation.

It also emerged yesterday that the new Executive Committee yesterday fired long time AWARE center manager Schutz Lee and changed the locks on the doors to the headquarters at Dover Crescent.

Ironically, AWARE has come under attack by lesbian groups for not speaking up enough about homosexual rights. Ms Constance Singam’s appearance at last year’s Indignation was heavily attended by lesbian women critical of her. writes: “Constance Singam, President of women’s group AWARE, displayed courage in deciding to speak to a full house of (mostly) lesbians at a Sayoni-organised talk, even though she was well aware many in her audience might be a little hostile about AWARE never speaking up for lesbian concerns”.

Dr Thio is currently the Senior Executive Director of corporate law firm Thio Su Mien Partnership (TSMP). She currently chairs the Public and International Law Committee of the Law Society of Singapore. She served as the University of Singapore Law Faculty from 1968-1971.

To view the Channelnewsasia interview with Josie Lau and Maureen Ong, click here.

Excerpts from the press conference

Josie Lau explains how Dr Thio helped get her involved:

“Let me share with you my story. I’ve been married to the family for 20 yrs. We meet occasionally once or twice a year, during Christmas and Chinese New Year. And she has been nagging me for the last 15, 20 years, asking “are you doing something in the public, contributing back to the community?”

Now my kids are much older, I feel that it’s time for me to contribute and when last year I personally was very taken aback by the Spider Lilies premiere, as part of Aware’s premiere gala & that set me thinking: what actually is Aware doing with all this thing? And when the opportunity came and she (Dr Thio) asked would you like to serve or join Aware, she said I’ll put you in touch with somebody. It was Claire Nazir who called me and she was looking for somebody to assist her in the area of marketing and that’s my area of expertise. And as it turned out, honestly, I did not join Aware thinking that there will definitely be a new exco. I just know that I’m joining aware & if I stand for election and got elected, this is the area where I think I can contribute.”

Dr Thio, when asked if she mobilized the AGM takeover

Okay, can I make it clear? I’m speaking on behalf of my personal capacity and I wanted to come because I feel kind of responsible for these difficulties they’re going through because I was the one who mentored them over the years different groups of people.

I go round Singapore teaching, counselling. So when all these problems about Comprehensive Sex Education came forth, then I started thinking: Hey, parents, you better know what’s happening, you better know what’s happening…I talked to parents, I said, you better do something about this, otherwise your daughter will come back and say, “Mum, I want to marry my girlfriend” or your son will say, “Dad, I want to marry my boyfriend.”

So they kind of got flabbergasted, what nonsense are they talking. So you know, I teach…well, maybe (you) should go to the website, educate yourself what’s happening. It’s happening in the US, in Europe, there’s nothing new. It’s going on five, six, seven, eight, nine years. So what is happening in society is that we are redefining marriage, we are redefining families. So I’m a concerned citizen and if people are so ignorant, I think I want to teach them.


Read also: Alledgedly emails sent out to Aware members – here and here.


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