a community of singaporeans

A personal reflection on the gay issue

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 12, 2007

By Anonymous

I had a friend in secondary school once. He was a very good friend of mine. We were both interested in more or less the same stuff, hung out a lot together. He was one of those types who didn’t seem to need to study too much to get great results in school. I always envied him for that.

He called me on the phone one day and asked if he could speak with me frankly and honestly. He said it had to do with religion, namely catholicism. I was a catholic (back then) and had often spoken to him about my religion. Not that I was trying to convert him. They were just discussions between 2 good friends. He became very interested and went with me to the Novena Church in Thomson Road quite frequently.

Anyway, right off the bat, he asked me over the phone, “What does the church teach about homosexuality?”. I was quite taken aback, to be honest. It wasn’t because I frowned on homosexuality – I never did and do not, even now. I was taken aback because I didn’t expect that subject to come up.

I told him that from what I know, the church does not approve of it. I wasn’t very well-informed about the issue of homosexuality, so I didn’t say much. We arranged to meet up in person to talk further.

When he came to meet me, he brought someone with him (lets call him J). I guess it was his way of being totally open with me. I didn’t say anything, leaving it to my friend to tell me what he wanted.

At the end of it all, two things were clear to me:

1. My friend was gay.

2. His friend, J, was one of the nicest person I had ever known.

Which brings me to the current debate about homosexuality.

Reading what is published in the papers and on blogs, it seems to me that we are losing perspective. Numbers, statistics, chapters, sections and verses of the law are invoked. One has even gone out of her way to relate homosexuallity to paedophilia and bestiality. Gay people are prosmiscuous, diseases-infected humans who are out to bring society down.

Nothing short of an apocalypse, it seems.

Perhaps Anthony Yeo said it best at the Safehaven forum when he said, repeatedly, that ‘there are real people behind the issue’.

So, lets not get lost in the legal semantics, extreme predictions of apocalypse and the display of homophobia borne out of ignorance and fear.

My friend never committed any crimes, loved his family of an elder brother, a younger sister and parents. He served his national service, going through exactly the same thing as any male Singaporean goes through. He worked hard when he started his career and took care of his parents when they began to grow old.

He struggled and cried about the inner demons that were raised by his sexual orientation which contradicted the beliefs taught to him by the church – pretty much in the same way as Kok Wei revealed in his testimony at the Safehaven forum.

I guess this internal struggle my friend – and Kok Wei and thousands of other gay people – face is perhaps the most confusing and most unbearable. Why so?

Because it is a struggle to know who they are – personally, intimately.

The very identity of being a human being.

My friend never committed any crimes. Never hurt anyone intentionally. He loved his siblings, his parents. Lived his life like you and me. Paid his dues and does his part in building this nation.

The only “crime” he has “committed” is the crime of expressing his sexual orientation.

It is ridiculous.

I met up with him a few days later – after having thought over what we had talked about at the coffeeshop. And this is what I told him:

“Do not worry about the Church. They will have their concerns and their theologies and dictates. They too are a political organisation. Be true to yourself. Be honest with yourself. That’s where it must all begin. And if in that honesty, you know what and who you are, right there deep in your heart – then be at peace. For if you love another honestly, truthfully, faithfully, not even God can fault you for that. Only you know, in your heart, how you feel. Honour it.”

I hadn’t seen him for quite a few years until 2 years ago when I bumped into him at a Starbucks.

J and him are still together and seem rather happy.

Before we cast mindless stones at fellow human beings, please take a pause and reflect about the people behind the issue.

Imagine a 13 year old reading or hearing that he is a “criminal”.

Just for being who he is.

Now, which is the greater “crime” – to love or to despise?


12 Responses to “A personal reflection on the gay issue”

  1. Hades said

    Well it is a very well written out post, but somehow the idea of simply leaving people alone just does not occur to our political masters, and probably never will.

    That would require a level of commonsense and decency that is far beyond what the men and women in the Big House Across Boat Quay have.

    Simply put, I don’t see what right I have, or for that matter anyone has, to tell another man where he can or cannot place his penis.

  2. paT said

    Interestingly it has more to do with who this person really is. There will come a time when the truth will reveal itself considering the fact that we (you, them and I) have a tendency not to go deeper into our innermost being to see ourselves in our most naked and vunerable form. Our past will catch up with us in the future (hopefully) and the present with all its supposed beauty (make believe world that some of us live in) vanishes. With regret and bitterness, I hope not!!!!!

  3. Mr Human said

    This is written with arresting clarity. Whoever you are, salut!

  4. Beast said

    I have an article written about the gay issue on my blog.

    Frankly, there is no justification in persecuting homosexuality, whether if they can choose their sexual orientation, or that it is beyond their means to change.

  5. Ken said

    A very poignant account of a gay trying to come out to a friend. It is one of the greatest steps forward that can be taken by a gay. Accept them, hug them and let them know that they are who they are – ordinary people with feelings and capable of loving another fellow human being.

  6. joshyo said

    this is a great review on gya people. its good i am one tooo … i feel better after reading this tkx

  7. Hi Joshyo,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ll relate it to the author. Glad that it has helped you somewhat.. 🙂


  8. […] respect gain trust. Archaic anti-homosexual laws may change in countries where it is illegal like Singapore. Only then communities gain trust of each other because they have begun to understand. And only […]

  9. […] of Parliament, several bloggers and several people with intriguing comments. Of course almost everything that can be said on this issue has already been said; however recently there have been intriguing […]

  10. […] respect gain trust. Archaic anti-homosexual laws may change in countries where it is illegal like Singapore. Only then communities gain trust of each other because they have begun to understand. And only […]

  11. Haadjairret said

    It is really no business of any of us to judge the actions and choices of consenting adults, however, the problem arises when one tries to foist his/her ideals indiscriminately on others. Similarly, its up to the individual to choose his/her own religion. Problems arise when each tries to foist his/her religious beliefs upon others.

    I belief nobody really has any serious problems with homosexuals if they just went along and did their own thing. Of course, discriminating and being prejudice agaist homosexuals, or for that matter, against anybody else cannot be right. But as a society, we should all respect the cultural norms and protocols of which our society was built upon.

    So, if a society is generally uncomfortable with gays, then gays should’nt try to foist their rights or norms upon the society. Its like the Chinese, Malays, Indians, Expats in Singapore all trying to fight for their mother tongue (or native language) to be the official language in Singapore. It would be total chaos.

    You cannot have too many distinct components and be one nation. It makes interchangeability difficult. If you want complete acceptance – which extends beyond the boundaries of a society’s norms – then its better to move to another society who can accomodate you. But there are of course circumstances where it is wise to leave things be. In such matters one has to find a middle path between uniformity and a certain freedom to be somewhat different.

  12. Each individual is born with his or her own needs, traits and characteristics.

    It is not our business as human being to impose our personal standard or conduct on someone else. Bur talking about gay issues may go beyond personal respect for gay people many of whom are quite decent and nice in all other aspect except for being known as gay.

    There may be a lot of misunderstanding or prejudice about people known as gay.

    As long as they keep their personal conduct as gay to themselves there is really nothing to feel affronted about gay and their personal activities.

    The government is right to remove discrimination against gay in employment.

    However whether gay people realize it or not there is a need of society as a whole and not just the religious people to avoid open promotion of homosexuality or same-sex marriage within society.

    This open homosexuality as a norm may not be that desirable. Gay people should know let such practice stay private. As long as it is private then there will be no discrimination against gay or even their homosexual conduct among them.

    Let society including the church know the need for gay to live their lives even if in their own perception open homogexual conduct is still largely regarded as abnormal or a sin or evil,

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