377A – to stay or to go? it’s not your call.

i’ve just been on a weekend getaway to tanjong pinang – beautiful part of indonesia where you can experience and be engulfed by the open skies, clear seas and endless serenity.

however, the latest news that have been hogging the headlines of every mainstream paper in singapore have greatly disturbed me.


there have been much heated discussions, on and off the political scene, regarding penal code 377A.

extracted from wiki:

 377A (“outrages on decency”) states that:

 any male person who, in public or private, commits or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

all legal lingo aside, what i understand from this statement simply is that:

gay sex is against the law.

some members of the public, and even certain celebrities, have stepped up and voiced their disagreement / disapproval of this penal code. appeals, video and web-logs have also been established and publicized in an attempt to repeal 377A.

and what was the result?

377A stays.

for a city-state that is aiming to cultivate an “open and inclusive” society, these dissent voices seemed to have been ignored on the grounds that our society is not yet ready to accept such a radical move. concerns regarding the probable disintegration of our basic family units (deemed to be normal) and the active promotion of a homosexual lifestyle have also been raised as reasons for 377A to stay.

we’re not ready yet, they said.

yes, i can accept that. we might not be ready for now.

but when will we ever be if nothing ever changes?

let’s look at it in another context.

in the past, singapore’s economic strengths used to lie in its manufacturing and electronics sectors. however, with globalization and the rise of other economic superpowers such as china, our competitive advantages were rapidly eroded.

they told us: to progress and survive, we must innovate, initiate and accept changes. hence, we struggled and strived to transform ourselves from a manufacturing-focused economy to one that is services-based.

even when there was a misfit between our workforce’s skills and those that were required of a services-based economy, they said we had to upgrade ourselves. only through constant skill-upgrading and adaptation can we continue to grow and prosper.

programs, initiatives and incentives were put into place to encourage and facilitate this great change but still, it wasn’t easy with the onslaught of various challenges such as structural unemployment etc.

maybe it’s still too early to say that we’ve successfully transformed ourselves 100%, but it would be fair to say that we’ve gained significant amount of ground on this path.

moral of the lesson?

we’ll never be ready if changes are not allowed to take place. how can we ever progress if things remain status quo? it’s just like keeping a baby chained down for fear of him falling and hurting himself – he’ll never learn to walk, much less run.

applying this to the 377A saga, don’t you see a similarity?

i’m not advocating homosexuality and to me, it’s neither right nor wrong. it’s a personal preference / choice that individuals make with regards to their lifestyle. since heterosexual individuals have the freedom to make their choices, why are we depriving homosexuals of this right? are they lesser than others? do they not deserve to enjoy the same rights and privileges that are given freely to others?

we might have come far in our pursuit of economic well-being but have we really progressed in a holistic manner?

have we truly become better people or did we just mask our “ignorance” (as opposed to being more open and accepting to a wider range of views) behind dazzling material gains?

i ponder.


One thought on “377A – to stay or to go? it’s not your call.

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 2 Nov 2007 « The Singapore Daily

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