If you are of an age below 18 and would like to participate, please register here.
Your participation will inform future advocacy by Sayoni.
This commentary contains the personal views of the writer.
Channel NewsAsia helpfully noted on Talking Point that once licensed under the changed MDA regulations, websites “have to follow certain guidelines on content, for example, nothing that incites racial or religious hatred, promotes violence or advocates homosexuality” and take down offending content within 24 hours. Before 1st June, these websites were under the automatic class licence under the Broadcasting Act, but they now have to apply for an individual licence and put up a $50,000 performance bond.
The affected sites aren't your average blog. They should have significant traffic – “are visited by at least 50,000 unique IP addresses from Singapore each month over a period of two months” – and have “an average of at least one article per week on Singapore’s news and current affairs over a period of two months”.
So what’s new, really? Some commentators have opined that nothing will change. After all, it has been said that individual blogs will not be affected. Organisers could also shift their bases to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Others point out that websites have already been removing offensive content under existing laws, and bloggers have in fact been sued for defamation over sensitive posts. Gay Star News has provided gay and lesbian perspectives saying that this change is aimed at political blogs and LGBTQ websites are an area that may still remain fuzzy.
But the real, immediate consequences of this law are only part of the picture. Yes, there are sites that will have to muzzle themselves as a consequence of their individual licence. The news sites of the future may also be deterred by the barriers in place – why aim for a wide readership and commercial success when they bring added controls?
There are other implications, perhaps more ideological ones, which concern me as a queer person.
This post is by guest writer Jennifer Koh, about the activist reading of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues presented by Etiquette and Sayoni at The Arts House on 10 May 2013.
How many names do we have for the vagina? Thirty-nine at my last count, according to the rendition of The Vagina Monologues presented by Etiquette and Sayoni, staged at The Arts House on 10 May 2013.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one [wo]man in [her] time plays many parts [...]
- William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act II, Scene vii)
Do you like doing your part for a meaningful cause? Do you feel that you have something to give to the community? Would you like the chance to grow through valuable working experiences? Would you like to make a difference to someone's life — someone like you?
Sayoni is actively seeking volunteers to contribute to our growing needs. A wide range of opportunities are available, covering skills as diverse as copywriting, event organisation and academic research. You may volunteer for a one-off/short-term project or for a longer effort.
Whether you are a seasoned volunteer or completely new to volunteerism, we welcome you to apply with us and have a conversation.
Examples of our past and ongoing projects include:
If you identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), you are invited to participate in the first ever NATIONAL LGBT CENSUS 2013 SINGAPORE, jointly supported by Sayoni, PinkDot and Oogachaga.
Your responses (all anonymous) are important in helping us understand our community’s health, housing, education, employment and family needs.
Apart from being a useful resource for local LGBT-affirmative NGOs to plan for the community, the findings will generate greater awareness to improve the day-to-day experiences of LGBT people amongst both public and private institutions in Singapore.
The census has 54 questions and should take about 30 minutes of your time.
Thank you for taking time to contribute to the understanding of our community!
The National LGBT Census is a collaborative effort between Pink Dot Sg, Sayoni, and Oogachaga -- three lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) affirmative non-profit volunteer groups in Singapore. With a common goal to understand the everyday experiences of LGBTQ people in Singapore, this census covers a range of issues, from family-life to friendships, school and work experiences to thoughts on citizenship. Heterosexual individuals are welcome to participate in the study as well.
Pink Dot Sg is a social movement that champions the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation, through an annual gathering and campaign. Sayoni is a community of queer women, including lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, that organises and advocates for equality in well-being and dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Oogachaga is a counselling and personal development organisation for LGBTQ individuals and groups.