anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

I spent about an hour this afternoon re-reading Lim Meng Suang v Attorney-General and it just got me so bloody angry and annoyed. All I can say right now is...oh my god, @ndrew Ph@ng, please go back to pontificating about contract law and leave constitutional law alone.

What really frustrates me is the lack of clarity or understanding of some of the philosophical concepts that were raised in the judgment. The one that is most frustrating is the court's coinage of this thing called the 'tyranny of the minority', in response to the argument that section 377A represents the tyranny of the majority. I'm sorry, but flipping a familiar phrase from the literature on judicial review on its head neither conjures it into existence nor infuses it with sense. The concept of the tyranny of the majority is typically used to protect the constitutional rights of the minority, which are typically sacrified when laws are made based merely on majority rules (e.g. anti-gay sex laws: gay men can't legally have sex with each other because the majority disapproves, which violates gay men's rights to equality, liberty and privacy). Judicial review is therefore an important institution in guarding against this tyranny, because the judiciary is entrusted with the task of deciding the scope and limits of constitutional rights, including deciding whether a stated reason for encroaching upon a constitutional right is legitimate or not. The Court of Appeal, unfortunately, does not see this as its role.

There's also this assertion that getting rid of section 377A somehow leads to a trumping of majority rights by the minority. What does this even mean? What rights are the majority claiming when they clamour for section 377A to be retained? What rights of the majority are violated when men are legally allowed to have sex with each other? What harm will be occasioned to the majority if sectin 377A is repealed? If it's mere offence at the knowledge that your prejudice is no longer legally enforced, then I'm sorry (even though I'm not), that's simply a piss poor reason to retain a clearly discriminatory law.

My morning was a lot more pleasant as I spent it reading Ronald Dworkin's chapter in Taking Rights Seriously on Liberty and Moralism. Dworkin makes me so happy. His writing is so lucid and eloquent, and the way he argues a point is so logical and reasonable. I have lots to learn from him; I tend to use pretty strong language when I make an argument on things that I care about and against things that I find utterly stupid. Dworkin, on the other hand, employs such reasonable language that it's capable of cajoling even his most stubborn opponent into submission. More importantly, everything that I've read of him makes perfect sense to me. There is a good reason why he's my favourite legal philosopher.

Anyway, I am so tired right now and I am utterly uninspired to write the section on section 377A, equality and the enforcement of public morality for the human rights in Singapore chapter. I feel like getting out of here but 1) I really need to get this done; and 2) I am supposed to meet G tonight but, as is almost always the case with him, we haven't made any concrete plans. He said that he has meetings from 4 to 5.30...I hope these meetings don't drag beyond 5.30 because I don't feel like writing anymore.

It's interesting how I've pretty much dictated all our dates so far. He either doesn't give a shit where we go, or he's really so caught up in his work that he doesn't remember to think about it. I've also given up on waiting for him to make plans with me because nothing will get done if I sit around and wait for him to get around to it. Under normal circumstances, I think, I probably wouldn't keep taking the initiative, but considering our specific circumstances, I can't really be bothered to maintain any degree of restrain. I mean, I want what I want and I go after it, right? As long as he keeps acquiescing, it's all good.

I'm slightly more level headed in my feelings for him now as compared to the crazy intensity in the first week. I suspect that I was partly influenced by PMS in that first week, and...I don't know, I guess the novelty of meeting someone like him also kind of made me lose my mind. I still like him a lot, but you know, I am starting to spot some of his habits that I probably wouldn't like very much if he were my boyfriend. For one, he is a bit inattentive when we are not physically together. While I don't enjoy texting all the time, it would be nice to hear from him at least once a day, and to hear back from him when he says 'Text you later.' He usually does, but when he's working, he doesn't think about anything else.

For another, and using the above as a point of departure, I suspect that I would always have to compete with his work for his attention. In fact, it is something of a miracle that he takes time out to see me. Sometimes I wonder if his brain ever takes a break; he is so intense and focused that I can't comprehend it because I get tired after two hours of intense reading/writing. He doesn't seem to get tired. Actually, I genuinely think that his brain operates on a slightly higher level than mine; by that I mean that he is smarter than me.

Then again, he is five years older and he has the advantage of being a maths prodigy when he was a kid. I was always a bit of a late bloomer, hampered by my laziness, so I should give myself time to grow my intellectual capacity. Considering my educational history, it is pretty freaking amazing that I am going to do a PhD in Cambridge. Nobody would've seen this coming after I scored 13 points for O Levels, landed in Jurong Junior College, and scored Bs and Cs for my first two years of law school. I asked G on Sunday in Sentosa whether he'd always known that he wanted to be in academia; he said yes, he'd kind of known since he was six.

I, on the other hand, stumbled and felt my way to this path. I tried and discarded many things before I decided that this is what I really wanted to do with my life. I wanted many different things at different points in my life; and it was only upon realising that those things didn't fit, and that I was only really comfortable doing two things - writing and reading - that it became obvious that, apart from being a writer, academia was it for me. There is little that I enjoy more than pontificating about what the law should be and using pretentious phrases like 'philosophically incoherent', and being paid and making a name for myself doing what I like. It is perfect. I can't wait to start.

All right, I am going to try to get back to writing. Hopefully I find myself more productive; otherwise...I will have my work cut out for me tomorrow morning when I come back to work on it before 4pm tennis.
Tags: g, human rights, law, personal, phd, ronald dworkin, singapore, work

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