Aware takeover: great news!

The Straits Times’ rather convoluted account, by Wong Kim Hoh, of the rout of the Old Guard at Aware’s recent AGM published on Good Friday made me smile with evil glee.

Although one or two of my friends are card carrying members, including even working Aware’s hotline, I always thought it an organisation made up of the sort of Western educated Singaporean women of a certain social class whom I find particularly irksome.

U know, they bad mouth the Government at every turn, for sport or bravado and yet will smugly slip in somewhere how cosy they are with some of the powers that are. To me, this is the worst kind of showing off!

But back to Aware: if indeed there was a conspiracy to swoop on the dozing Old Guard and chuck them out of the ex-co, then I say good for the conspirators. And aw shucks to the Old Guard!

What made you think because you’ve been there X years gives you the right to be elected year in and out? And what sort of a commitment do the old members have that an ex-president could arrive so late that 100 others had signed in be4 her and she had the gall to be surprised!

The moral of the story is this: if those who founded Aware and those who have been nurturing the organisation for almost two decades really value their vehicle then they should treat it better.

Otherwise, it’s open season n country. Newcomers will snatch it from those caught napping in complacency. Whether for fun and games or with serious intent — the end result is that Aware will never be the same again.

Which may not be a minus in Aware’s case. Any change must be a change for the better, even if the conquerors turn out to be the mirror image of those they conquered.

At least they are fresh faces — not the same old-same old of those whom I shan’t name but anyone familiar with Aware would know whom I mean… and yes, I shall say it be4 anyone else does. I’m really mean when it comes to Aware.


55 thoughts on “Aware takeover: great news!

  1. Reading your blog entry concerned me as AWARE has pushed for many positive changes at a policy level. Yes, they appear to be mostly English-educated, and I don’t know about their socio-economic background. What I do know is that they were the first to bring the issue of domestic abuse into the parliament, they provide a Befrienders’ service to women who need to go to court to face their abusive spouses, they do research on sexual harassment (of both men and women) in the workspace, and are pushing for official policies to be put in place. They give talks at school about self-esteem and bodyimage, about comprehensive sexual education tailored for teens. AWARE functions on a comitted pool of volunteers (myself included), who dedicate time outside of their work and family, hoping to help other women in our society.

    You may not like the women who make up AWARE, or may not be able to relate to them. But beyond the people,ultimately what matters is the work they do. Someone has to speak up….and they do.

  2. Alrightie, Lisa! Thks for recycling here all the good things that Aware claims to have, and has, done in its existence. I’m delighted to provide u with the space and the audience to read abt Aware’s achievements.

    This said, I’ve no reason to change my mind abt those who founded and ran Aware. Or my delight at those brave souls who administered the coup d’etat. Like u said, someone has to speak up… and I have, for them!

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  4. I don’t think you understand the implications of what this means. It would be better to understand the backgrounds of those “new faces” before coming to your conclusions.

    I find it ironic that you claim you dislike “Western educated Singaporean women of a certain social class” when all the new comers are precisely of this stripe.

    I doubt you will sing such a happy tune once you find your rights stripped away one by one…

  5. Hi Han: Thanks for dropping by.. there’s nothing ironic abt my welcome for the new gals. I alredi said they may be mirror image of the old pack but at least they are fresh new faces and voices.

    Huh? Wot rights have the old Aware got for me that I don;t already enjoy. Don’t be so alarmist.

    Wot I find really weird abt the whole episode is that just because one group has the mike for XX years, it’s assumed that it has an unshakeable right to hang on to that mike ad infinitum. Get real! Eeven monarchies have to give way to the peasants.

    The only way to keep on mouthing what u want, more or less unchallenged, is to go set up yr own blog… 🙂

  6. Whoever take over or take charge, we only wish that this organization is really helping the women. Not just to advocate on “help” while down at personal level, bully women.

    Organization is made up of people, therefore people is important. The integrity of the people is important.

    Personally, I like the result of the election. Welcome the new members. Let’s do some housekeeping and build a better AWARE.

  7. Well said, Jaunty Jabber. Actually, I don’t like all this pro-women or pro-men groups. I prefer pro-human groups. It makes me squirm whenever we make a big fuss over a woman becoming this or that, as if a chimpanzee is suddenly drinking champagne.

    I don’t know when we are going to grow up and out of such mindsets. If a person deserves it, it matters not whether the person to be rewarded, promoted or helped is a man or woman.

  8. Ever thought that perhaps the reason you now feel no need for gender struggle, is because the actual gender struggle was fought for you already – by those people?

  9. The answer my dear Bladismos is “never” because the founders of Aware are not the original suffragettes, in case you don’t know. Mrs Pankhurst they are not, hehe! 😉

  10. I find your reasoning to be suspect. It is akin to saying that Paul Krugman made no contribution to the field of economics because he is not Adam Smith. Surely you cannot mean that?

  11. Hi Auntielucia, totally agree with you, pro-human should be the ultimate.

    Next, organization with sincere intention to improve the overall well-being of the people should practise whatever they preached at their professional portfolio and also on their personal lives aspects. No point delivering to the public some big polished-up noble topics while on their other hands, personal code of conduct and behaviour is causing pain and bringing stress to others.

  12. Hi Jaunty Jabber. I know where you are coming from. Thanks for dropping by again and making another comment. I regret I had to delete yr last sentence as I don’t allow innuendos or outright allegations on my blog. Hope you understand.

  13. Dear Han, thanks for returning. I don’t know what you mean abt Adam Smith n Krugman but as far as I’m concerned, Aware benefited me not one wit as a woman or as a person. And it would be hubris on their part if they imagine they have done so. In any case, in S’pore as one sage once said: If our women want to be equal to our men, then they shld give up some of their rights”. OK lah, mayb our Aware gals did as much as Germaine Greer or Betty Friedan… in certain aspects, hehe!

  14. auntie lucia,

    thank you for being such a gracious blog host to bother responding to my comments. I do appreciate it.

    I guess I am curious about your reasons because it does feel to me that you appear to welcome the “new” faces simply for newness’ sake. One would think that normally people would evaluate change on the basis whether they are the right people for the job, and one aspect of that would be to look at their backgrounds and motivations.

    That said, I do agree with you that people have been complacent. Perhaps this is a timely wake up call for people to be vigilant.

  15. U r very welcome, my fren. No need to furrow yr brow abt why I wrote what I wrote. I’ve alredi said it in the post: I’m gleeful because I don’t like some of the incumbent/founder Exco; hence I’m mean, personal n petty, traits which u’ll find again and again, if u go thru my posts.

    Also, I think it’s ridiculous for the losers to behave as if Aware is a private fiefdom (and now calling an EOGM for heavens sake!). If that were so, then they shld have made it a darned sight harder fr pple to become members: such as demanding that they be recommended by a dozen existing members who must have been with Aware for six yrs, for example, hehe!

    Now let me ask u this: “one aspect of that would be to look at their backgrounds and motivations”. Why apply this only to Aware newcomers? Why not to the 100s of bloggers out there rubbing our Govt in its face (very occasionally deservedly so) over everything?

    Sleep on it and if you still have the interest or time, we can continue our conversation tmr? [^V^]

  16. Hi there, I just devoted some time into reading this news today, and so google turned out this site amongst others.

    I feel the need to comment a bit here, if just to observe the saga from another perspective.

    Personally, I think religious fundamentalism is a sad way to construe a force that can otherwise be so positive. Personally, I think what 377a has shown us is that said fundamentalism is enjoying a perverse sort of renaissance these days. Then again, personally, I’ve only be vaguely aware of AWARE until now, and since I’m not even a woman, I probably have very little standing to take issue here.

    The problem, is that a lot of other groups, especially on the vocal internet, find it difficult to make that kind of distinction. Liberals (which the internet is full of) are as guilty of drumming up their own agenda as the fundamentalists they accuse to be trying to steer AWARE down the a certain path. And so, as with many issues discussed on the internet, you get all this noise which generally obscures the main issue.

    And that really is, there has been a somewhat irregular change of power in AWARE. While irregular, it has all been in keeping with the rules governing the organization. Is it suspect? morally wrong? Dubious? Perhaps – but importantly it is entirely legal. And as outsiders, that’s all we can really comment, and let the club run its activities by its own rules.

    As a happy point to note however, is that the “old guard’s” current attempts to call and EGM and a possible recast of votes, is also entirely legal. We can only wish AWARE all the best.

  17. Hi Leon, thanks for dropping by and spending the time to pen your extensive thoughts on the Aware cat (should I use so sexist an adj?) fight. I generally agree with the thrust of yr comment, except I think you are incorrect to call the passing of power to a new group “irregular” or “dubious”. What’s done legally (which u accept is so) — ie within the framework of Aware’s existing constitution — can’t be irregular or dubious.

    The two labels wld be most appropriately applied to what happened in Irag: Uncle Sam declared regime change and with shock and awe achieved that.

    Btw, if u want more people to visit yr blog u should use “.” instead of “@” 🙂

  18. On the contrary I think irregular and dubious can exist within the context of legality. If you adhere to a minimal theory of law, then law’s just the basic rules. Everything else such as higher aspirations and “being nice,” really isn’t the purview of the law.

    So in this case, what was done certainly was dubious, in that we have all these new members suddenly voting new leaders, and of course this is also irregular. Other adjectives could be used too, such as sneaky, cunning, and so on. But it’s all still legal.

    A good example would be how the incumbent government makes it difficult for the opposition to come into power (via the GRC scheme, and the new Public Order Act), and yet completely be within the framework of the law.

  19. Was watching from the sidelines, and wondering what Leon would consider as being regular and not dubious. Seems like any strategy that would upset the status quo will be irregular and dubious would it not? The constitution is there to define regularity, so as long as the challenge to leadership was done constitutionally it cannot be deemed irregular or dubious.

    The old guard is of course constitutionally able to call an EGM and raise an appropriate challenge, but given they are in the minority, it may be difficult to change the new status quo.

    One good outcome for AWARE might be the old guard will bring in 50 new kakis, and then the new guard may try and outdo that with 50 newcomers of their own…

    Result : a swelling membership and much publicity.

  20. Good old Giga! I was debating how to rebut the young gentleman’s insistence that dubious and irregular could sit side by side with legality, when like magic, you’ve given him a reply that’s exactly what the doctor (or ahem, a lawyer) would have ordered.

    Anyway, Leon, you are welcome to hang on to your views, so long as you allow me the freedom to have mine, esp where Aware’s concerned, K?

  21. O of course I could hardly impose my views on you on your own blog not less. And least my previous comment has mislead you, I’m not trying to take a side here.

    But I shall stick to my guns on this. A general understanding of the words dubious and irregular are an apt description of what has happened here. Dubious in that we are unsure why the coup was planned, and irregular since no one (least the old guard) was prepared for it. Instead they were depending on some more informal unwritten rules that governed their conduct.

    So the distinction I’m making is between the contravention of these kind of informal unwritten rules (i would use gentlemen agreements here, but it would seem vaguely sexist), as oppose to contravention of the constitution of Aware.

    To some extent, the rules/law does ensure regularity, but society as we know it would be far too onerous if all aspects of behavior were established as concrete rules (and i’m sure no one wants that).

    On a tangent, this is also where many of our internet commentaries are probably coming from. They probably adhere to the more expanded view of law or rules to include this kind of unsaid social norms, and therefore what Aware did could be said as “unfair” or even “unlawful,” should you believe them

  22. errrmmmm….I am really not sure we should be using that word coup. It has been somewhat wrongly applied here. A coup really represents an illegal and forcible seizure of power from a legitimate office (government). It certainly wasn’t that here. The challenge and transfer of power was perfectly legitimate and legal, so there wasn’t a coup.

    Dubious? I hardly think so… people stand for elections to take over power from the old guard. Which is what happened here. Is there any uncertainty why the new group stood for elections? Their intentions were clear from the very moment they stood for elections. It happens all the time in every elections. You might as well say the Workers Party has dubious intentions for standing in the elections.

    Irregular? Just because the old guard was not prepared for it? duhhhh…. You mean the old guard went into elections thinking that they had an inalienable right to rule? That any challenge was ‘irregular’?

    If that was their thinking, they deserved to be kicked out.

    BTW, I am also not involved in AWARE and not interested in taking sides. It just seemed to me that their behaviour has been quite petulant, undignified and immature.

  23. Leon, my dear chap, I think no one in his right mind could describe the Aware almost clean sweep by newcomers as unlawful. If that’s so, it wld already have been a police case! Unfair? That’s subjective. Depends whose side u r on, hehe!

  24. Thank you Giga, for yr unbiased n professional views, and always so well articulated. I’m biased in so far as I don’t like the old crowd which by default cld mean I like the new crowd, which needn’t be so. I’m just being spitefully gleeful abt the Old Guard getting their come-uppance, that’s all!

  25. Yes Auntielucia – you seem quite happy that the republican party and Sarah Palin has taken over AWARE. LOL. You must be one of those sabre rattling anti-lesbian christians. Nothing wrong with them, but I do think we ought to be a more inclusive society. Whether you agree with the ‘Old Guard’ – well they are forward and frank about their agenda, which you might not agree. However, same cannot be said about the ‘New Guard’. Double however – their intent seems quite obvious from their obvious background and speckled past.

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  27. Hi Mumu: thanks for dropping by. Since u asked, I’ll tell u: I try to b a christian with a lower-case “c” (if u know what I mean) but I don’t often succeed, esp when confronted with wot the Old Guard n DBS are trying to do to block fresh blood from being infused into the organisation. I can understand where the Old Guard is coming from but DBS? Its actions sure raise many uncharitable thoughts concerning those calling the shots at the highest levels of the bank.

    OK, so the old Aware wants to be truly inclusive like you say. Had it ever included the welfare of prostitutes in its agenda? Had it ever welcomed prostitutes into its membership, or holy cow into its leadership?

    If the Old Guard’s oft repeated “inclusiveness” is just a code word for advancing the rights of gay, then I think it should at least be honest. Gimme a break from hypocrisy…

  28. I am not well educated nor aware (no pun intended) of what AWARE does for women. This is the first time that i am aware (hahhaa….again) that AWARE has been around for 24yrs. See, blur right…..

    The problem facing most women is balancing work and home. If you are homemaker, you are faced with temptations of easy and available fresh-faced competition at the coffee shops. Just who is AWARE going to help?
    The homemakers or the competition? Both are women.

    25 yrs of research material ?? Gee, you would think important stuff like this is copied and saved.

    Old Guards or new people – does that really matter (except to them)? Sad to say this, this wayang has little nothing to do with the majority of women. I do not like the way the new ppl take over but the Old Guards have not endear themselves to the women they are serving.

  29. haha! for a not well-educated housewife u are terrific in yr writing. U need no aware there!

    U’ve said wot exactly I want to say: including duh, Dana Lam n her 25 years’ of research. Wah, u mean no digi archives meh? How to help women progress with such dinosaur ways?

    Yet at the end of the day, both sides probably don’t deserve sympathy. The Old Guard has wittingly or unwittingly become a gay advocacy front. Which is well n good but donch gimme that all-inclusiveness tripe!

    As for the New Guard, they obviously didn’t come together entirely by accident. Y pretend to be such? More credible to say we want to stop the masquarade at Aware. U can hold yr head up better. Don’t meet subtefuge with subtefuge!

    Yet on balance, I tend to believe that the New Guard has the better message. If the Govt hasn’t the will to draw the line in the sand, then ordinary citizens must!

  30. I think you misunderstood my previous comments, and since so much time has passed I’ll just leave it at that.

    I am curious though as to your belief that the new guard has the better message. For one, I’m not very sure that they actually have a message yet, beyond an increasingly clear anti-homosexual agenda (one need not look further than the “feminist mentor” they have appointed).

    They have made some vague representations about “bringing aware back to it’s roots,” which again is very confusing, since it implies that the old AWARE wasn’t helping women at all. While the quality of what AWARE was doing certainly can be discussed, there is little doubt that they have been making progress for women’s issues in Singapore – in particular the abolishing of the medicine faculty’s sexual quota.

    Yes they could have done more – but let’s be reasonable about what we want from a civil rights organisation. With respect to what D has said – do we really want a third party organization coming in to police how men associate with women at coffee shops?

    With respect to D, a reason why a lot of people don’t know about AWARE has nothing to do with the achievements of the organization. A lot of people simply don’t care, in the way that Singaporeans are famous for – so long as it doesn’t affect ME, I don’t need to get involved. So let’s be honest with ourselves when looking back at the old AWARE. Were they really so hopeless and unknown? Or were we too busying chasing our 5 Cs and not worrying about silly unpragmatic things like civil rights.

  31. And since i didn’t have the chance to reply to gigamole:

    I think the very fact that the media is having its field day over this would be proof that this takeover is certainly something out of the ordinary. This is what I am implying by the usage of dubious (which i take back now since the agenda of this new exco is increasingly clear) and irregular.

    You brought up an interesting example with the old guard having a right to rule. I think there is no need to indulge in hyperboles here – you know I am certainly not representing that point of view. The irregularity is simply that there has been a significant deviation from certain norms and conduct that AWARE was run by. It would seem that the organization has unwritten rules of people having to serve first in a sub-comittee before running for exco. In fact, AWARE was trying to change their constitution to reflect this and restricting voting to 1 year + members. This is the root of the irregularity, the transgression of these unwritten rules.

    Least we get pedantic about our word choices, substitute whatever adjective you want for irregular. The word choice is not entirely relevant since the meaning is evidently clear – that something out of the norm has happened in a manner that has attracted considerable criticism. Surely if all things were regular, members of AWARE wouldn’t not be up in arms about the change of leadership.

    It is however, still strictly lawful (as defined under the context of the club’s constitution).

    I’ve comment a bit more than I have wanted to, but I would like to comment in ending that the current EGM is sad way to solve the matter. Since members can still freely join, it’s going to end up as a game of numbers to pass the no-confidence vote. And you can bet that it’s going to be polarized between gay and anti-gay sentiment. All this should be totally ancillary to AWARE but now is unfortunately taking center stage.

  32. Leon: thanks 4 coming back again n again. I’m most flattered. Shall we say, let’s agree to disagree over the adjectives u choose to apply to the New Guard’s success in winning power and what Giga n I choose to apply? So pax on this, K?

    Now if it’s any comfort to you, assuming you need comforting, I believe quite strongly that the Old Guard wld win the day on May 2.

    And not becos their arguments r superior (except perhaps for those they wittingly or unwittingly front) but because the Old Guard have media champions in n outside the media organisations in S’pore and perhaps also outside. MSM as well as Internet. Quite an achievement!

    After all, several of the Old Guard, in power or just being puppet masters, are or were from the media. Why do u think there was this long convoluted expose in the ST that started the whole of S’pore talking? Why do u think P N Balji gave Josie Lau that killer question on CNA last Sunday? Lois Ng was spot on when she asked why was ST pushing the envelope? And CNA too. Why has no one asked abt the background of all the Old Guard and their links, current or past, to the media, when the New Guard’s letters to the press on 337A were meticulously n effortlessly dug out?

    Unfortunately for the New Guard, they come across as far less articulate, including Prof Thio (judging frm the transcript of her participation in the New Guard’s first major press con). I tend to sympathise with their innate message but find their delivery confused n whiny at best, unconvincing at worst. I’m a sucker for the wrapping. And so I get turned off. Perhaps others have been too.

    For those holding Singapore’s political power, and who always believe the media could make or destroy the message, what’s happening at Aware is a demonstration of that much feared power. Haha, so don’t say Auntie didn’t tell u 😉

  33. I think the jury is still out on the vote for 2 May.

    As mentioned I think clarity of argument or media bias (although I feel the need to point out that ST has taken pains to provide a somewhat objective few, especially in their review pages), will count for little. The matter at hand here has been painted (you could thank the internet for this one) as gay v anti-gay, and on such a contraverstial issue a little bit of media or argument isn’t going to change the way you vote.

    If say, you were staunchly against homosexuality and sat in parliament, even if i had a shakespearean command of the english language, i highly doubt i’d move you opinion when it comes to voting for a particular bill. These are the kind of opposite camps that are at play here, especially since there is no substantial “sitting on the fence” group to persuade.

    Worse still (and stupidly so) you can register for aware membership and vote at the EGM. So again, it’d be a matter of numbers. How many can the gay camp get? Will the new guard milk their mega churches links to get more votes?

    And there’s been alot of noise between our discussion, but I’m not in favor of either camp on basis of what they stand for. If I wanted to promote gay rights or christian beliefs, I would be rather insulted that I had to surreptitiously try and squeeze in these agendas in a woman’s civil rights group. I’ll set up my gay group/church on it’s own!

  34. You are right about the old guards treating the club like a social outfit. But that doesn’t give the rights to a bunch of zealots to gang up on the poor club. Aware is supposed to represent women and females come in all races and religion.

    Auntie L Hi SG: thanks for stopping by but I regret I’ve to remove some of your inflammatory comments. If you mind, I can of cos remove your post al2gther.

  35. Say, Leon, why don’t we have a side bet on who will win the day at Aware? If the Old Guard wins, u write a poem abt the 15-min Sumatra which swept S’pore the other nite? JJL (joke-joke lah)!

    However, don’t underestimate what having media champions can do for yr cause. It’s not just giving u column inch by column inch equal space. It’s abt display, headings n sub heads can convey powerful msgs, esp for pple who don’t or can’t be bothered to read everything, when the articles are long and too many. Choice of pictures matter too. As well as how they are cropped. And the body text of cos. Also, when better writers write pieces taking the Old Guard’s position and ho-hum writers are assigned to cover the other side. The bias and the prejudice will build up until it forms what is called “public opinion”. It doesn’t help that the New Guard can’t match the Old Guard in public speaking, even if both sides resort to a bit of husky voice and teariness!

    Have a great week end or what’s left of it!

  36. I think you are missing a few things. Firstly, I don’t think you really know what Aware is about, nor their history or workings. Secondly, it seems clear that you have not taken to task to finding out the facts about the takeover. Thirdly, you do not seem to really understand the implications of such a takeover, and in this manner. Lastly you don’t seem to really know what the new Ex-co wants yet you support them entirely.

    It doesn’t really matter if you don’t know any of the above, but for the fact that you are a fellow Singaporean, woman and publishing your uninformed opinions so irresponsibly.

    By supporting the new group, it means you are agreeing with these:
    1. It is fine for a religious group to usurp an established secular social welfare group that they had not contributed to nor have any stake in. And this is made possible because, unlike the way you have put it, the old AWARE is not clubbish or cliqueish, and it grants voting rights to new members who did not even serve in any way or were in any way involved.
    2. It is fine for a religious group to turn the secular agenda of an established secular social welfare group to a religious one simply because they are able to take control over it by such systematic hijacking.
    3. There are scores of vulnerable women who have received help from AWARE, and their lives have been made much better. And for many of the these women, receiving help from AWARE would be awkward and even impossible if there is a religious agenda on AWARE’s part. I myself was one of them and I think you are seriously undermining the work done by AWARE’s counsellors compared to similar counselling services provided by church affiliated groups. Moreover, AWARE has always reached out to the economically disadvantaged and I can’t see how these services are dinosauric. if its agenda were to change as the new Ex-Co intends and proclaims, many of the people AWARE have been able to reach out to in the past will be cut off from help. And the sad truth is that there are very few secular groups in Singapore that provide good social services.
    4. It is right to refuse help to a lesbian, or someone who does not agree with the moral agenda of the new AWARE.

    You claim that the main difference is that the old AWARE are more media savvy and the new ones not, and there is a political agenda behind it. And that Aware has unwittingly or wittingly allow itself to become a gay rights champion. How more uninformed could you get? I’m frankly surprised.

    If politics come into this, the new ex-co is nearer to our dear government than the liberal old Aware. Aware’s media ties took years to build up, and it was an uphilll task from the very first. Issues such as women rights which were controversial and slammed by the media in the past were fronted by Aware. The new ex-co had never contributed to AWARE, nor did anything for this brand that they have usurped, why should the media be sympathetic to this bunch of people who operated with lies and stealth?

    As for gay rights, there is a very big difference between championing toleration for homosexuals and championing homosexuality. Looks like you have fallen hard for the gay rhetoric of the new ex-co.

  37. Hi ChuiHua: My initial reaction was to delete yr comment but stopped myself becos u did me the courtesy of writing so extensively n it wld be most boorish of me to snatch away yr mike, even tho this is my space and I’ve absolute discretion to shut out noise that doesn’t pse or flatter me.

    I don’t mean abt yr explaining the Aware cause and its acclaimed achievements but yr rather rude aside re my being irresponsible etc… So much for the much touted Aware values of inclusiveness and that other pple’s truths (as enunciated by one of yr past pressies) have as much validity as that/those u hold.

    As for my view that Aware has the media on its side it is as obvious as the tip of yr nose: y do they stress the religious orientation of the new Exco and not the sexual orientation of the old Exco? If the media had been as zealous in publicising how many old Exco are movers n shakers on Fridae (perhaps none, then say so, lah) as they have been in publicising how many of the new Exco go to the same church at Margaret Drive (?) then I’ve no reason to conclude that the media have already voted with their comps.

    Anyway, in the spirit of inclusiveness and letting everyone have the comfort of his/her own version of the truth, I’ll let yr comment stand in toto. Also, allow me to be among the first to congratulate the old Exco for their shoo-in May 2 — unless of cos, in the spirit of national unity, the meeting is called off and the new Exco with a few new co-opted members from the Old Guard is given a chance to do their own thing for at least one year…. have a good week ahead! 😉 😉 😉

  38. Hi Lucia,

    I thank you for allowing the post to remain. Apologies if you see my comments as rude. However, I feel that once you publish your comments in a public domain, it is no longer a personal virtual space so as to speak. Since you are willing to air your views and stand up to them, it follows that you are open to an exchange, which you have done.

    As for the irresponsibility, I’ve put that in because it seems from all your previous posts that you do not really know what had gone on before you formulate your vocal support. And don’t you think it is dangerous to declare your support before you are even clear on what the new ex-co is about and what the implications are for civil society in Singapore?

    What I find most threatening in this is the fact that none of the new voted in members nor their voters have ever been involved in Aware’s work in the first place. They joined up a few months before the agm, with a very singular purpose of takeover. Unfortunately the emails on their coordination have been leaked and it is very ugly to read things like them wanting to use Aware and be ‘agents of change for the Lord’s will’. If they are so sure they want to do right, why keep this secret in the first place, and why not just set up their own women’s group instead of taking over a group whose agenda is so different from theirs?

    Aware’s programmes are inclusive in the sense that they do not refuse help to vulnerable women because of their socio economic background etc. It does not mean it includes or tolerates all opinions. That would have been pretty dumb – Aware can’t possibly include child abuse, or domestic cruelty, but of course there are people who would.

    If you have been reading, the media has also been covering the new ex-co’s side of the story. Unfortunately they are not very clear what they want to do other than get rid of the old ex-co. The other things they propose are so generic and contradictory I shudder to think what they are able to do for vulnerable women in Singapore.

    Why not focus on the church issue since this was precisely how the ex-co got in? As for the old ex-co, would you be surprised to know that most of them are married and healthy heterosexuals? They are public figures and their backgrounds are freely documented in public space.

    I was never an Aware member, only a beneficiary of their social services. But with this saga, I’ve just signed up to be their member. The problem with the old aware is that it has never actively recruited like minded individuals and didn’t even think to impose a minimal level of involvement for members to have voting rights.

    Have a good week too.


  39. Hi ChuiHua:

    Tks v much 4 writing again n at such length too.. I shan’t try to compete but will address some of yr main points which r
    1) right of u or any others to have space in my blog, since I’ve written abt something that touches u: my view is that even MSM don’t give carte blanche right of reply or contribution. As far as cyberspace is concerned, even our gt Internet hero MWSS, can occasionally decide to take away the mike, ie gives his last words and then closes the comment facility without debate or asking for permission.

    2. Since u brought up the topic of child abuse, don’t u think what Aware trainers have been teaching 12-18 yr olds abt gay sexuality amts to some form of child abuse? Inclusiveness shldn’t be selective or a suspension of judgment, just becos it suits one’s line of thinking.

    3. U r wrong that I support the new Exco in toto or that I’m out to get the old Exco. Frankly I’m getting bored with the circular arguments of both sets of gender-focused do-gooders. However, I find that the New Guard’s win shld stand becos it’s democracy in action and just becos one lost, one shldn’t try and after the fact rewrite the very rules one has set. That’s wot is called sour grapes and sore losers. Also, I tend to favour the underdog and in this instance, the New Guard are the underdog, given the media and apparent constructive Govt support for the status quo ante.

    4. I like the gratitude and the loyalty u show to the Old Guard. Those r attributes that good pple should have and brings to life the old Chinese saying abt remembering favours for a 1,000 years. The OG obviously came to yr rescue in a time of need. However do consider this: even a bad person can do a good deed some of the time, even all of the time. Gd deeds don’t necessary make a person good in all aspects of life.

    Once again, have a good week. I’m grateful for yr continuing visits… AL

  40. Lol.

    I only want to say a few things now.

    I don’t think Aware actually taught about gay sexuality if you look at their programmes carefully. What they taught were pretty straightforward and information freely available on internet and movies and games. If that’s child abuse, I guess a lot more things our schools and society are doing are child abuse too. What Aware was concerned about is homophobia, which is sadly prevalent here.

    As for democracy – don’t you think it applies that only stakeholders should have a say in how an organisation is run? This is analogous to say, a bunch of foreigners who have never contributed or involved in Singapore running in to vote PAP out (whether or not it is a good thing), and people who are born and bred here with minority say.

    I’m curious as to what exactly the old Aware has done that is considered ‘bad’, other than the shaky homosexual claims by the new ex-co. Have you any idea?

    Lengthy again. Haha… thanks for the space.

  41. PAP, whatever its faults, won’t have given citizenship n hence voting rights to anyone who applies rightaway! So the analogy doesn’t work, teehee!! LOL to u 2!

  42. Not at all: it only means PAP is run by more far-sighted pple who can envisage scenarios when their grip on power might be affected and take steps accordingly to reduce chances of that eventuality. In short, PAP leaders aren’t complacent… have a good day!

  43. I agree Aware’s too shortsighted. But it’s more due to trusting that no one will pull such an extreme coup rather than complacency. What’s there to be complacent about? An organisation that speaks up for women who lambast it?

  44. Pingback: My prediction abt Aware OG win comes true! « FOOD fuels me to talk…

  45. No never too late, especially since I’ve won the bet… so are we going to have a little free verse (or worse?, hehe) on the Sumatra which swept S’pore some 10 days ago? Or any topic u like lah!

  46. I look forward. Hope it’ll be more like Childe Harolde than the Iliad…

    All best for yr exams tho in this day n age, am surprised that there’s such a thing as exams to test whether the digits imbibe stale knowledge their predecessors regurgitated 🙂

  47. AWARE should stop making excuses and start taking responsibility for their deliberately non-compliant CSE programme. It is only decent that they own up to their mistakes and learn from it rather than repeatedly trying to package their offending behaviour than what it really is.
    Please give your support to these 2 petitions and forward to your friends if you agree that (1) AWARE should start taking responsibility for their mistakes and issue a public apology for their CSE Programme, and that (2) MOE should ban AWARE from offering sex education to schools:


    And here:

  48. Hi JustMum: I hope your nick isn’t going to live up to its name, which is to just keep mum? Pse don’t — keep mum, I mean. 😉

    Thanks fr dropping by. I’m delighted to give yr petitions space in the comment box but be aware (haha our sing vocab now has many new trigger faces other than lah and leh to draw laughter!!) that mine is a low traffic site so yr harvest may not be as fruitful as putting the links on say Aware’s site but I guess the Old Aware won’t be magnanimous enough to let them stay, n’est pas?

  49. wongis etc: Take Note: Auntie Lucia has deleted yr comment which is vicious, mad n wholly without merit. Pse don’t write such nonsense again

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