News and Opinions

A tale of two events: how they have completely lost the plot

on . Posted in Feminism.

Originally published on the Glass Castle – written by Jolene

The new AWARE Exco have completely lost the plot. Two events they organised last night are of note. First, they had the locks on AWARE’s office changed, summarily firing staff and disrupting the use of the centre as a space for counselling abused women (emphases mine):

Dana Lam, former AWARE president, said: “I walked in and there were three burly men sitting at the counter. It’s not something we encounter at AWARE because it’s a women’s centre and we are giving counselling sessions to women who have been abused.

“The men have apparently been instructed by the president to change the lock in the centre. There is a vote of no-confidence going on here. By right, they have no right to make any changes. I am worried for my materials- 25 years of research material, including confidential material.”

Did the new Exco make any alternative provision for abused women who might have been seeking, or relying on the services, provided at AWARE? Who knows? Did they even care?

Other things were probably on their mind, as they also spoke at a news conference, the second event of note. On the same evening that services to abused women were being disrupted on their order, you see, they spoke of restoring AWARE to “its original noble cause” (emphases mine):

The new exco said AWARE had become a single purpose organisation overly concerned with promoting lesbianism.

They repeatedly raised examples, like how the old guard had backed a lesbian film screening in 2007 and organised a lesbian-friendly Mother’s Day event in 2006. And they wanted to bring the association back to what they say is its original noble cause.

Let me get this straight (being straight is important, you see). A few days ago, Josie Lau told us on television that the reason she wanted to take control of AWARE was because it had become too “diversified” and needs more “focus”. But now the problem, the reason justifying the takeover, is that AWARE should be stopped from becoming a “single-purpose organisation”. Just taking both their statements at face value is making my brain hurt.

The headache gets worse when you introduce the minor question of reality – that is, AWARE’s actual track record to date. Confusingly for a “single-purpose organisation” devoted to lesbians, it includes a Befrienders programme for abused women (those pesky people again), work on body image and self esteem, comprehensive sex education programmes (because lesbians really need to know how to avoid pregnancy by using a condom), and research into workplace sexual harassment (Claire Nazar should be able to tell them about this, since she worked on it). I could go on, but you get the point. AWARE has obviously turned itself over solely to recruiting more female flesh to satisfy the craven sapphic desires of a twisted lesbian mob. It’s not very good at it, but that’s what it’s doing.

Poppycock. The real gripe here isn’t that AWARE was devoted solely to “promoting lesbianism”, because AWARE was doing nothing of the sort. The only meaningful way to understand the new Exco’s statement is that any inclusion of lesbian and bisexual women was too much. Not content with their own homophobic activities and programmes, the new Exco members wanted to prevent another organisation from recognising – in however limited a way – that lesbian and bisexual women’s issues are part of women’s issues. They couldn’t stand that there was a group which non-judgmentally acknowledged the reality of lesbian and bisexual women, which was supportive – in however limited a way – rather than condemnatory. And they were willing to disrupt work on women’s welfare to prevent it. Good job, “feminists”.

Joining the new Exco at the conference was a new figure, or at least a new figure in the public view: Dr Thio Su Mien. Her connections to some of the new Exco’s faction and her homophobia have both been documented before. Apparently, she is the shared “feminist mentor” of the new Exco members:

During the one-and-a-half hour event, the group introduced well-known corporate lawyer Dr Thio Su Mien, as their so-called “feminist mentor”.

Dr Thio is the Senior Executive Director of TSMP Law Corporation and mother of Nominated MP, Dr Thio Li Ann. [...]

Dr Thio Su Mien also revealed that she had emailed several groups with her concerns about the direction the association was taking, which prompted reporters to ask if the takeover was orchestrated.

“It depends on what you mean by organising. It is kind of flattering in a way. I’m frustrated, I talk to people, I collect info, I send to different people. You want to join, (then) join. I will help you. We discover that networking helps,” said Dr Thio, adviser to the new AWARE exco.

Leaving aside for a moment my horror at the idea that my feminism has anything to do with Dr Thio’s bizarre gender politics, my headache is returning. A few days ago, weren’t we told that the new Exco members hadn’t previously known each other? Didn’t some people tell us that “speculation” over an “anti-gay conspiracy” was unhelpful? Now it turns out that not only did many of the Exco member attend the same church, they have a shared “feminist mentor”, who “[discovered] that networking helps” when you are “frustrated” with something, namely the rise of a “single-purpose organisation” which is “promoting lesbianism”. Of what did this networking consist, if not putting people with similar interests in touch? I do not know – can Dr Thio tell us?

It remains a possibility that the takeover was not a coordinated effort. It is possible that what really happened was, the constellations came into a perfect alignment seen only once every ten thousand years, and all these women – who go to the same church and are inspired by the same individual woman in relation to a cause around which this woman “networks”, but who have never met and discussed the beliefs they hold so dear – spontaneously arose and attended the AWARE AGM. That must be it.

Pull the other one now.

These people have lost the plot. For the sake of all that is sweet and fluffy in this benighted world, I beg you, please click here to join AWARE, attend the EGM on 2 May and get rid of this Exco.


The new Exco members also claim some of them have been receiving death threats. I cannot comment on the plausibility of these claims, but if indeed such threats are being sent, that is wholly reprehensible. Yes, the new Exco have a horrid obsession with homosexuality, are willing to disrupt vital work on women’s welfare to advance their bizarre agenda, do not value accountability and pluralism at all, and are giving me a headache. But you don’t threaten people with violence: that is just as bad for pluralism as anything these people have done. So stop threatening them right now, or I’ll… well, I can’t kick your butt, because I’m committed to non-violence and pathetically small, but I’ll be very sarcastic at you. So stop it. You’re deeply nasty and you’re not helping anyone.


# loupgarou 2010-02-02 02:02

loupgarou said,

April 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm

the new exco says the death threat is from a “masculine gay” and jihadist sleeper cell?

first of all, if a jihadist sleeper cell already exists in singapore, I doubt its going to expose itself.

futhermore, muslim extremists are pretty antigay, it would be antithetical for a gay man to join one.

It is my opinion that they are claiming such a thing only to look victimised. its probably self fabricated to show that they are being attacked by the gays, the muslims, and the terrorists.

in otherwords, pretty damm seditious.
# Past Blog Posts 2010-02-02 02:03

Past Blog Posts « We-Are-Aware said,

May 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm

[...] April 24 – A tale of two events: how they have completely lost the plot [...]

Add comment

Security code

Sign up to receive announcements and updates