Andrew Loh

Live from press conference:

The old Aware exco is presently holding a press conference at Bishan Junction 8. (18.00 hrs)

Press statement: Old Aware calls new exco “moral vigilantes”.

On homosexuality – Aware cannot be an ostrich and pretend it doesn’t exists – Kanwaljit Soin

What Aware gives are facts on homosexuality. Aware is “anti-anti anything”

Dana Lam: The mention of homosexuality is so miniscule in the programmes of Aware.

Panelists currently answering questions on homosexuality programmes..

Former Aware exco releases point by point rebuttal of accusations by new exco – including explanations on films shown in the past and the men being given the vote, and schools’ sexuality programmes.

“We believe in being open. No hidden agenda.” – on Aware’s past programmes.

“I don’t remember seeing Dr Thio Su Mien at any of the meeting [of Aware} in the past.” – Dr Soin.

“I have not heard of Dr Thio Su Mien being called a feminists… but then you can always have closet feminists” – Dr Kanwaljit Soin, a founding member of Aware. “As far as I know, Aware has not deviated…. violence, against women, foreign workers..”

Aware was against the graduate mothers policy. Earlier Aware programmes were on literacy. Later, to financial literacy. Showing that Aware’s focus was not a narrow one.

Important to recognise how Aware has built up processes of leadership building…

“How civil society actors behave in Singapore,” Dr Soin, saying the issue is a bigger one. “Is this how we want civil society to behave?” 

“It’s not a fight between women. It’s about civil society.. if you join a society, it must be because you empathise with the issues. ” Dr Soin.

If new Aware members did not agree with the “single issue” Aware, then they shouldn’t have joined Aware or took over the organisation. 

One cannot come in and “strangle” the organisation. – Dr Soin.

“I think we are very sadden that Josie Lau has received [death] threat… we are sorry for that. We do not think such actions should took place in a civil society.” – Dr Soin.

Panelist do not want to “give away” what they have planned for the May 2nd EOGM.

Indonesian schools have asked to use Aware’s sexuality programmes.

Statement that Aware is allowing men into the organisation is “not true”. It is still under discussion.

Constance Singam: Instructions given to staff to co-operate with new Aware exco.

“It is not a question of factions. It’s just an idealogical divide.” – Dr Soin.

“The appearance they [the new exco] give is that they’re not ready for dialogue,” Dr Soin. The old guard is always ready for dialogue.

“Don’t demonse us and say things which are not true,” – Dr Soin.

New exco giving out contradictory statements.

Low membership because we are “liberal”, “laid back”.  But currently crisis has aroused S’poreans to action. “Not Aware’s style to actively seek out members.” A variety of reasons why members did not renew membership. Membership is only for one year.

Constance Singam does not feel responsibility is hers alone for what has happened under her watch as president. 

The lack of trust and lack of justice on the day of takeover… that trust is gone. – Constance Singam. “I am saddened by what is happening.”

Constance Singam breaks down.

New guards should be responsible for what is happening. Old guard was “too trusting”. 

Hope that next Saturday’s eogm will not become a “numbers’ game”. 

“It is incumbent upon us to be secular,” Dr Soin. “Aware is secular and it will remain so.”

“We did not say, hey first you have to convert to lesbianism before you can come into the programme,” says Dr Soin, on Aware’s programmes. Aware tackled this issue sensitively and “beautifully”.

“We do not want to speculate,” Dr Soin when asked about the new exco’s religious agenda.

Several representatives from various NGOs now making statements in support for the old exco of Aware.

TOC’s “live” report ends.

TOC will bring you a full report later tonight.


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