Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LGBT rights in Singapore vs. Russia

While I don't really care what goes on between two consenting adults, the law does.

There's been a lot of global media attention (OK, fine, mostly Western media attention) about the "gay propaganda" law that was unanimously passed in Russian Parliament and subsequently signed into action by Putin. It's hard to get the whole Duma to agree on anything, so this was certainly something Russians feel strongly about.

Many Russians on both sides did not act in a civilised manner, and people have been physically injured at protests. But then again, what do I know about public protests, right? It's practically impossible to hold one in Singapore, and I am just as indifferent to protests and demonstrations as I am to chewing gum because I simply didn't grow up chewing gum. I grew up in a very conservative, homophobic environment--in an all-girls, Methodist mission school, and from my experience, not much more homophobic than in Russia. Neither Russia, nor Singapore, is quite ready for civilised debate about gay rights. The laws in place are very much a reflection of the current attitudes of the people--and mostly, the "silent majority".

So why the global hysteria, people?

Let's put it all in perspective before anyone else wants to jump on the bandwagon to condemn Russia. Homosexual relations (between men), are currently illegal in Singapore, and punishable by a jail term up to 2 years.

In Russia, homosexuality has been legal since 1993.

Yet no one has called for the boycott of the Youth Olympics, or called for LGBT rights supporters to send sex toys to Lee Hsein Loong, or to pour Tiger Beer down the drain in front of our embassies in protest.

So all I have to say to the LGBT side protesting against Russia: if you want to get your rights, grow up first, or no one will ever take you seriously. Russia may not be the ideal place to raise a "non-traditional" family, but there certainly are worse places to be--where homosexuality is actually illegal and punishable by law.

Meanwhile, I'm against any sort of propaganda against minors.

Russia's ruling party should get rid of the Nashi youth movement while they're at it too.

(Which they have.)

Read more about the issue:
Collection of articles on the topic of the gay propganda law on RIAN
Voice of Russia: Hysteria about law against gay propaganda starting to annoy – Russian LGTB member

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Putin Walks Alone - By Anna Nemtsova | Foreign Policy

Why the American president's cancellation of their pending summit meeting is just a blip on Vladimir Putin's radar.


More: Putin Walks Alone - By Anna Nemtsova | Foreign Policy

Friday, August 9, 2013

Brian Whitmore: The Audacity Of Navalny

From Whitmore's Power Vertical:

August 08, 2013

There's just no escaping Aleksei Navalny.

Whether one thinks he's Russia's greatest hope, or the most dangerous man in Russia, he is absolutely dominating the conversation right now.

The ruling United Russia party is complaining about his online fundraising, as is Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Television personality Ksenia Sobchak is worried about his aggressive tone, Vladimir Putin still won't utter his name in public, but even he can't avoid talking about Navalny.

And with good reason. How the Navalny story winds up will probably tell us a lot about how this turbulent and important chapter in Russian history that began with the castling of September 2011 -- and whose plot thickened with the rise of the protest movement -- will finally end.

And both friends and foes of the anticorruption blogger-turned-opposition leader know it.

More: The Audacity Of Navalny

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

National Day post: Songs of Singapore by a Canadian, and a Russian

I found out just awhile ago that Singapore's most iconic National Day songs, Stand Up for Singapore, Count On Me Singapore, and We Are Singapore, were in fact written by a Canadian by the name of Hugh Harrison. Read all about it here.

Then, of course, there were some mean people (mostly opposition supporters) who suddenly took a nationalist (read: racist/xenophobic, anti-foreigner) streak and were upset that they weren't written by a Singaporean (just read the youtube comments in the above links and you'll see what I mean!). But they're just pseudo-patriots who just want to spoil the celebratory National Day mood with their lousy attitudes. Their opinions belong to the trash heap, and that's all I have to say about them.

The international community has given Singapore so much, and we should be thankful that we inspire songs, and literally had them singing praises of us. I'm especially touched by another piece of work, Singapore: A Geopolitical Utopia, also composed by a foreigner

Some years ago, my old friend Michael Tay, then-Ambassador to the Russian Federation, commissioned a Russian composer Vladimir Martynov to write Singapore: A Geopolitical Utopia, a complex, refreshing, and exhilarating masterpiece performed in conjunction with the second Russia-Singapore Business Forum in 2006. Here's a detailed review of Singapore: A Geopolitical Utopia. The piece is also available on iTunes.

This, I say to you, friends of Singapore: Thank you for the music.