In 2007, Singapore suffered its first nation-wide cultural divide, so to speak. This was the first of many such cultural divides to come.
I call it that for while we had violent riots in our early years, this was the first time so many Singaporeans became involved in a national debate. The issue was over the proposed decriminalisation of unnatural sex i.e. dude-to-dude rear entry. Over the months of the debate, tens of thousands of fiery-worded posts were left online. Members of Parliament also revealed how they were flooded with letters, many of which were based on the same template. (A template rumoured to be disseminated by a church) The Prime Minister ultimately concluded the debate, sort of, by retaining the law but promising never to enforce it.
This compromise by the PM closed the debate in parliament, but it far from ended the split in society. From then till now, teapots battles on the same subject recur with an almost clockwork predictability, the most recent being the reason for this post. This morning, I read about how two performances were banned from an arts festival, on grounds of excessive genitalia exposure. The same news report also revealed how there were conservative groups on Facebook lobbying for this ban. As always, these groups argued with the presumed position they represent the majority of Singapore, that they are “family” defenders.
First off, let me declare that I didn’t have the intention to attend the festival. In fact, I actually have a dim view of arty performances still relying on nudity and shock to convey a point.
What appals me, instead, is the tendency of such so-called conservative, pro-family groups to howl for governmental intervention whenever such cultural divides surface.
IF it could be considered as an actual divide, and not a matter of a difference in taste. Moreover, while I’m certain most Singaporeans wouldn’t express support for such performances, if interviewed by newspapers, I wonder how many truly believe such shows would bring about the apocalyptic end of us. These performances aren’t even broadcast on mass media. They are obviously also targeted to a very specific audience only.
On top of which is that ubiquitous hysteria behind such demands. The likening of one ART PERFORMANCE schedule to the cultural divides in the United States. That old accusation of promoting homosexuality and transgenderism and bringing about the end of days. Even if sexual orientation is indeed exclusively taught, would a few shows and performances be capable of such a phenomenal change as causing one to switch sexual preference for life?
If it’s as simple as that, no country needs to fight wars again. Just circulate some gay porn in the enemy’s territory. Within a generation, the enemy population would die out from no childbirth. Their land would be open for taking. For good.
Likewise, no political party would ever need to worry about losing power. They just need to inundate all communication channels with propaganda. They would get 100 per cents in elections. There wouldn’t be dissidents, rebellions, uprisings.
The whole of Singapore could even turn Christian with months. We just need to broadcast Charles Heston movies day and night on TV and in cinemas. Vice versa, to enjoy the delicious spectacle of us all rolling in the streets in mass orgies, just switch to Verhoeven movies.
Life becomes that simple. That easy.
As if life has ever been that simple. Or should I say, moronic?
Personally, I don’t think any of these self-styled defenders are truly concerned about morality, or families, or cultural divides. It’s not even about the obvious pride they have with the labels they display on themselves. I think these demands are expressions of a craving. A deep desire for there to be an omnipotent voice that is also the only voice. The voice they proudly represent.
Show a person a movie. Present some brochure printed by yourself or your supported organisation. And everyone else is thrall to your opinion forever.
If someone doesn’t “listen,” it’s not because the presented position is flimsy, or absurd. It’s because that person was seduced by immorality and the dark ways. The next dark Jedi in the making.
As for governments, they must do as demanded. If not, they too are wicked and deserve to be booted out. This so, regardless of everything else they are doing. Or the upheaval caused by such uprisings.
How terribly fiendish, in my opinion. And ironically, the biggest reason behind actual cultural divides. It’s not a difference between those who prefer clothes on or off during art performers. It’s a rift between those who bow and gobble up every heard word. And those who prefer having their own opinions.
I wish for Singapore to stand up to such mentality. This latest incident suggests that it is still going to be a while before it does so.
That said, I am confident the country ultimately would. How long would it be before the general population notices all such apocalyptic proclamations never do remotely come true? How long before people tire of the same rants?
How long before people conclude the ones who forecast the most doomsdays, are almost inevitably the ones responsible for these tragedies?
I believe Singaporeans are smart enough to notice very soon.