by Nathan Lee
Dear PM, DPM, Ministers, MPs, NMPS and Dr Tan,
I write to you today with a heavy heart. I have been and always will be a Singaporean Son. Someone who has done his part to play a constructive role in society. Having done my duty to the country in the highest capacity that I could. However, something that I have learnt as of late is that my country will never stand by me. To it I am nothing more than an inconvenience. The unspeakable. Addressing me would be toxic. I am nothing more than a topic to be brushed under the carpet, to be hidden and forgotten.
You see, I do not fit the mould of a typical Singaporean Son narrative. I am different. I am gay. I am a Gay Singaporean Son. As I write this, hidden in my room, I yearn for a different Singapore. A Singapore where my sexuality or gender plays no significance. Where I will not be discriminated by my own government and its regulatory bodies. However, I know that will never happen, not in my lifetime, because that is not in my hands. The people who can make a difference, people who are reading this letter, lack the courage to do what is right.
I recall the late great MM Lee once said, and I quote conservatively, ‘…I cannot change them overnight. I think society, their own experiences, their own reading, their own observations, will bring about the change despite their innate biases.’ This was in response to a question of how conservatism opposes practical views when it comes to homosexuality.
Over the past few years we have made progress in this issue, there is no denying. However, when regulatory bodies and laws stand in our way of progress, ready to hold us down to our conservative roots, what do we do? Lest we forget that these regulatory bodies only pander to the views of highly conservative individuals. These individuals whom are ready to strike out against change the moment they sense it coming.
The government sets the stage for conversation and progress. What happens when the government chooses to take the easy way out and avoid the conversation? By acting behind the scenes to restraint progress in the name of conservatism?
I believe the question I have on my mind is: Am I not worthy of conversation? Am I not worthy of progress? I cannot emphasis enough how hateful rhetoric and behaviour is propagated by the deafening silence and inaction of the government in halting discrimination in its track.
You see, what rips families and societies apart is not the freedom for LGBT people to love openly, but the rejection of this freedom. The failure to recognize that they are only human. That they too love from the heart.
I am utterly disappointed by the stand taken by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore in their feeble attempt to pander to the hateful by saying that, and I quote, “ ‘Supporting the freedom to love.’ which may affect public sensitivities due to the issues at hand”. Let’s not forget that Love does not breed hate. Hate breeds hate.
Today, I will remember, that the government of Singapore and its regulatory body decided to stand on the side of hate.