anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

I don't know what to say about Singapore sometimes. Telling people that I am from Singapore comes with a mixed bag of pride and shame - pride because it's a modern, developed country with a high standard of living; and shame because its socio-political climate is capable of rivaling Russia's for its stunning ability to re-define 'backwards', 'regressive' and 'illiberal'. It is laughable and shameful all at once that we are removing 'gay friendly' children books from public libraries while Amsterdam has just hosted another Gay Pride weekend. It is sad beyond belief that we are trying to get rid of a colonial-era anti-sodomy law, rooted in Victorian morality which had little in common culturally with Singapore (arguably both then and now), when homosexuals have the right to marry in the Netherlands since I don't even know when, and the same right has just been conferred on homosexuals in the United Kingdom.

I don't want to live in a country that has shown itself incapable of treating every one of its citizens with equal respect. I don't want to live in a country governed by reactionary, self-perpetuating drones that don't seem to know what they stand for, who don't have the courage to do what is right. That anti-gay sex laws are unconstitutional for violating equal protection and right to liberty guarantees isn't even debatable anymore. It's not even an interesting issue at all in Europe, such that Dr. K told me that he had no interest in reading a paper about the rights-violating nature of something like Section 377A when I was deciding on a topic for his class. He said that it was 'philosophically settled' that anti-gay sex laws are a violation of human rights - which is clear as daylight if one stopped to get past one's senseless bigotry and actually thought about it.

I can't stand the sanctimonious bullshit that comes out of the mouths of narrow-minded religious leaders of (surprise, surprise) mega churches in Singapore. I can't stand this 'family values' nonsense. These people should realise that the LGBT movement is nothing but a product of their hatred. Like I told Wouter yesterday when walking to one of the canals to watch the Pride Parade, there is really nothing to be proud of in being gay, just like there is nothing to be proud of about being heterosexual or black or Chinese or whatever. It only matters, and it is only phrased like that, because gay people have been made to feel like they have to be ashamed of their sexual orientation, and by extension, of who they are. There is no real reason why it should be okay for a gay person to say that he's proud to be gay, but not okay for a straight person to say that he's proud to be straight, or for a white person to say that he's proud to be white. All these assertions of pride over something that is innate to the individual, which cannot be described as ahcievements by any stretch of the imagination, are equally absurd and juvenile. When it concerns minority groups that have historically been repressed and discriminated against, though, this querulous insistence of pride makes sense - because it is borne out of hatred and discrimination.

A properly-functioning constitutional democracy will never allow the views of a segment of society to override the constitutional rights of those citizens that these views demean as inferior or morally repugnant. It should not even matter at all whether a majority of Singaporeans are against homosexuals and homosexual sex because the constitutional right of homosexuals to the equal protection of the law trumps any political action to effect those views. The Singapore government doesn't get this. I honestly think that the Singapore constitution is a sham. Constitutional law in Singapore has been unfortunately 'made' by Yong Pung How, whose decisions on the Constitution uncannily revealed his limited understanding of what a Constitution is.

It is really sad; and if truth be told, I really can't stand the massive stupidity that goes on in Singapore.


On a brighter note, the Pride parade was so awesome. Not even the random heavy downpour could spoil it: Wouter and I hid under his Amsterdam umbrella (which he bought when he met me for the first time in The Hague) while standing on someone's houseboat and watched the boats go by. Before this, he told me that the parade is full of gay men in thongs and leather, so I was really disappointed when I saw women on the boats. Some of them were fat and unattractive, but they didn't seem to care one bit when they let half their boobs hang out of their tops and their bellies spill over the waistband of their micro-shorts. Gross.

Still, I was really excited when I saw some boats with shirtless men. That was what I wanted to see, not fag hags dancing drunkenly to bad music. The best boat was one that was filled with people in leather/possibly bondange attire, though it was not as outlandish as I was expecting. That said, a gay couple kissed! Stop the press!

We were there two hours after the parade had started, so we missed a lot of it. I really liked that many organisations and public authorities rented a boat to show their solidarity. Of course, it's a good PR move, but still - nothing speaks louder of acceptance than a boat with people from the military. Truly, what a country. I may dislike a few things about the Netherlands, but I bow down to its progressive and liberal society - and Amsterdam is simply one of the most dynamic and open cities in the world.

When the parade ended, we stood by the bridge to watch the party boats go by. Some of the people on those boats had water gun-type things which they filled with the water from the canal and sprayed at the spectators. I looked at the beer cans floating in the water and thought how gross it would be to be doused in that...and three seconds later, I felt spurts of water on my right arm and hair. I shrieked, ducked behind Wouter, and looked down - and saw some guy on a boat blowing kisses at me. How lovely. I didn't freak out that much because it was all in good fun, but I definitely showered when we went back to his house before heading out for dinner.

The downside, though, was that the streets were literally littered with trash. We went out for a movie at night and the theatre was located in the area where the Pride party was taking place. Trash lined both sides of the streets: beer cans, Burger King bags, burger boxes, the burger itself. It was even worse when the movie ended at midnight. It was the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen on the streets in a European city. I'm pretty sure half of it was contributed by the tourists.


Wanted to write more but too tired.
Tags: amsterdam, commentary, politics, singapore, wouter

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