A bit of rambling on the AWARE saga


Strictly human affairs aren’t featured on tec for the simple reason of it being a minionly blog. But there are hiss spats, and then there are hiss spats. This is one of those that demands a bit of attention. It also requires more thought but I am pressed for time since the AWARE EGM is on 2 May so please bear with the rambling.

To set a bit of background: I am of the opinion that everyone has rights and freedom to choose, without fear of reprisals, persecution and discrimination, especially with regards to to personal basic stuff like sexual orientation, choice in abortion, gender equality, respect for others’ freedom to practise and express their opinions and beliefs. I cannot stand the imposition of one’s beliefs on another whether by force, stealth or other forms of coercion. This stems from my personal experience as a six year old who, along with with my younger sisters, was lured and “brainwashed” by a pair of  smiling young women Christian evangelists to “drive out” the false evil gods sitting in my home and accept the true god of Christianity or risk burning in hell. As children of practising Taoists, and having visited Haw Par Villa, the burning in hell bit did it. When they asked if we want to be saved, of course I said YES for all of us. We were told it was simple, that we only had to repeat what they said (which I know now to be prayers). Though a six year old who had barely started learning English, I grew more and more uncomfortable, not to mention scared and confused, at the things we seemed to be repeating, which seemed to include clauses for burning in hell for offending the Christian god in future. Thankfully, our mother swooped in before the deal was sealed and rescued us. I still remember the look of disappointment on the two women’s faces as our mother herded us away. Our mother was scared and angry of course, and tried to help us understand the enormity of what the two women had attempted when we got home. I felt sick then and prayed at the altar in our home for forgiveness and for assistance to drive out the evil god that I almost accepted. From then, I had bad dreams of being burnt in hell by the Christian god for the longest time. The incident happened while I and my sisters were out playing in the neighbourhood playground, just 20m away from our second storey 1-room flat, while waiting for my mother to return from errand running. It was a long time ago in an age when neighbourliness was such that every mother did the same. But after that incident, though she continued to allow us to run down to the playground ourselves, our mother made sure to keep an eye on us from the corridor – there goes the neighbourhood really. Now that I know, I feel nothing but pity and contempt for evangelists who prey on the naive, desperate and the weak in the name of their god or think the world must live by their creed. Talk about forced enlistment! How Religion Ruins Relationships so: why can’t people just accept people for what they are instead of trying to force-mould others to their truths?

With this tangling mess at AWARE, surely it shows the danger we are in from such fundamentalists.

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Time to stop hiding and take a stand, like Angel did.

The first I knew of the AWARE sage was this TODAY article (pdf alt. Comment on this article: AWARE: a civil society primer). I had really thought it was a storm in a teacup. But unfolding events show it is not so simple, and where the ilk of Thio Su Mein are involved, alarm bells must ring. Then I read that the DBS tie-up with Focus on the Family (which had seemed mildly insipid if a little unfathomable) was under the aupices of Josie Lau, new AWARE president in her capacity as DBS’ head of credit cards marketing. Back when it broke, I had thought it was a simple fluke that a secular organisation picked such a strongly anti-anything non-christian group which is hardly heard of in Singapore for their Corporate Social Responsibility gig.

(Side-track: This weekend past was a flag day for Focus on the Family. Asking money from the public of Singapore to fund their “work”. The cheek! People, please do pay attention to what you are contributing to.)

I also find Dawn’s take on the whole shenanigans insightful. (And I am touched that amid their work and focus, the members of AWARE extended their empathies during the SARS fiasco in 2003)

One other thing I have to mention about AWARE – when the SARS crisis happened, some AWARE members came forward to offer us their moral support. They felt that active volunteers involved in civil society should help each other out. If you’d like find out what you can do, go to We Are Aware.

mrsbudak‘s thoughts are educational and eye-opening too. In fact, I got a few references off them Here are her posts in chronological order:

Other important and interesting references:

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5 responses to “A bit of rambling on the AWARE saga

  1. correctmyreligion

    I would be interested in your opinion on this post…

    http://correctmyreligion.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/mma-ufc-gay-porn/

  2. Well said as always!

  3. are you going to the egm? i will be there standing up for the AWARE that has been standing up for all women for the past 24 years. and i am all women.

  4. Correctmyreligion,
    Not sure what you’re aiming for but well, try this on for size: Another Look at Homosexuality and Christianity

    Dawn,
    Thanks =)

    animalfamily,
    Am thinking about it… maybeeeeeeee

  5. Pingback: AWARE Saga: Post-mortem « Tipped Ear Clan