Fresh from the Oven:

At 8.50pm, AWARE’s old Exco proposed a motion to remove Ms Josie Lau’s Exco. This was passed with two objections.

Ms Josie Lau tried to take it in her stride. The Online Citizen website later reported her as saying: “We note the outcome of no confidence. The Exco has decided to graciously step down and the team hopes that AWARE will return to its original roots in the Constitution.

These new developments came after members at the EGM passed a vote of no confidence on Ms Josie Lau’s exco by a margin of 1,414 to 761. The voting results were reported by the mainstream press and TOC slightly after 8pm.

After Ms Josie Lau’s committee confirmed their resignations, a vote to install a new team was then taken.

Ms Dana Lam nominated by Constance Singam and seconded by Lena Lim. She was subsequently voted in as President. Zaibun Siraj was voted in as chairperson.

Chew I-Jin was nominated by Poonan and seconded by Braema Mathi for the post of “Vice President”. Chew I-Jin was subsequently voted in as Vice President.

Yap Ching Wi became the Honorary Secretary. Corrina Lim was voted in as Assistant Honorary Secretary. The new Honorary Treasurer is Tan Joo Hymn and Assistant Treasurer is Lim Seow Yuin.

Other Committee members include Joanna D’cruz, Hafizah Osman, Margaret Thomas, Martha Lee, Nancy Griffiths, and Nicole Tan.

According to TOC, the newest Exco of AWARE urged members to give a huge round of applause to the outgoing committee headed by Josie Lau.

The new Exco headed by Ms Dana Lam then stood onstage and said to a cheering audience: “Without you, the new Exco would not be onstage … … You are brilliant! I thank everybody on behalf of the new Exco and the past presidents … … I am grateful to everyone of you, to create history in Singapore, to see civil society restored. And more importantly to see that the right voice of women has a place in Singapore.

New President Dana Lam said: “You know what’s the best thing today? Today we saw we have so many smart, witty, and gorgeous women in Singapore!” This win has been a win for the whole of civil society in Singapore. Singaporeans from near and far have come together to support the cause. Thank you.


An open letter to new AWARE president Dana Lam and her team Pastor regrets 'actions on pulpit

  1. With all the hoohahs in the mainstream media which I have noticed, constantly portraying Ms Lau’s team as the usurper (including this website), such an outcome is no surprise. It is neither a defeat for Ms Lau nor a victory for the newly elected EXCO. It’s a total FIASCO for our civil society where highly educated and intelligent Singapore women quarelled publicly just because one side shockingly defeated another side in a contest which did not violate any rules.

    Now the previously defeated EXCO has turned the tables, using the same method of Ms Lau’s team which they have described as “infiltration”.

    As the saying goes “it takes a thief to catch another thief. ” Similarly, here we see an infiltrator defeating another infiltrator…What a shame!

  2. How on earth did they manage to spend $90,000 in a month? I have volunteered on AWARE fund-raising projects so I know how tough it is to raise those dollars. They must be held accountable.

  3. To Concerned:

    Either you do not read news, or you simply refuse to accept facts. Which morally righteous people would want to turn off the microphones when the old guards were trying to speak? Why did Josie and her gang need to keep out journalists from attending the event at Suntec? Why are they so sneaky? Why can’t they be transparent if they have nothing to hide?

  4. It is good that this Exco has decided to step down ‘graciously’ after their stampede on good sense and civility by sacking people, alienating volunteers and changing locks at the Aware premise.

    Good riddance! Good come-uppance!

    Sincerely,
    Anti-Bigot

  5. Concerned, i agree with you. The organisation is a fisco. All the highly educated women were bickering like aunties at a wet market today.

    The new Exco headed by Ms Dana Lam then stood onstage and said to a cheering audience: “Without you, the new Exco would not be onstage … … You are brilliant! I thank everybody on behalf of the new Exco and the past presidents … … I am grateful to everyone of you, to create history in Singapore, to see civil society restored. And more importantly to see that the right voice of women has a place in Singapore.”

    I think not only the voice of women were heard today but also the voice of lesbians and trannies who want to be women. The lines are very blurred now. I don’t know what she meant by right voice of women but voices were definitely heard! Lol

  6. To Noriyuki Nomura:
    My article was posted immediately after reading the blog on Sat night. I read the news in details only on Sunday, and I think you are the one that should the news more in details.

    My turn to ask you: Which morally righteous people will grab the mic to interupt while the elected President is making a speech? And I read that this was done many times. I would have responded in the same manner!

    And did you not read that after the new EXCO were voted out, they stepped down graciously? When the again elected Presdident Dana Lam made her victory speech, did you see any of Josie Lau’s supporters grabbing the mic to interupt?

    And was there a need for the former President to resort to sarcasm by holding a packet of Mentos and describing it as “feminist mentos”? Where was the teaching of “humble in victory and gracious in defeat”?

    Why do they need to be so sneaky? With the media constantly portraying them as power-grabbing people and constantly interpreting their views in a negative way, can we blame them for being sneaky? Ever wonder why the SDP dislike the local media? Ask Chee Soon Juan.

    Have they not been transparent when Dr Thio stated her stand and opposition against the views regarding homosexuals and lesbianism by the previous EXCO? How did the media react? By virtually interpreting all hers views negatively and even accusing them of imposing religious teachings on others!

    Let me reiterate that I am no supporter of the Dr Thio or Josie Lau. I never even bothered what their intention was when they initially won the elections during the AGM. I am reading the news as a neutral reader and am appalled by the lack of neutrality of our media.

    An article on Sat even described them as having “executed a coup to grab power” when they had played by the rules of the elections. What professional journalism is that ? What a shame!

  7. But anyway, I do agree that Ms Josie Lau and her team must be accountable for the $90,000 bill.

  8. dear concerned,

    the new president was not elected. she was appointed, as the centre manager had mentioned.

    the new exco did not step down graciously. they kept mentioning that the vote of no confidence was not legally binding, they took close to an hour to make their decision, and they did not bother to keep anyone informed of their whereabouts during that period. they only SAY they graciously resigned, it was their final attempt at face saving. i can say i am gracious too. will you believe me?

    of course none of her supporters grabbed the mic, there were almost none left! they all left after casting their votes. that line of argument is invalid.

    thio’s self appointed feminist mentor title is ridiculous, arrogant and deeply insulting to many people. my opinion is that the use of sarcasm is to relay that message in a less direct and confrontational manner. if she has the audacity to call herself that, everyone jolly well has the right to tick her off.

    they started being sneaky right at the agm. that was before the media started reporting about them in detail. so don’t blame it on the media.

    but you brought up an interesting point regarding SDP. the press reports negatively on SDP, and denies them the right of reply. that is why Dr Chee publishes his replies on his party website. that is the way to counter negative portrayal – by speaking out. Josie and co. however, did the exact opposite by evading all the questions asked. So of course we blame them from being sneaky.

    of course they came clean when dr thio mentioned their stand. that’s not ‘being transparent’. that’s called ‘we have no choice but to spill the beans’. transparent means telling the truth at the start, not when you’ve been driven into a corner by your own contradictory statements.

    accusing them of imposing their religious views on others..that is exactly what they are doing. they say they want homosexuality to be a negative word, instead of neutral, and proceed to take over an organisation to do simply that. what more do they have to do for you to consider them as imposing their values?

    you are right that they have played by the rules of the elections. that simply means it is not a coup by law, but it is still obviously a coup in spirit. it’s the same logic behind the term ‘legal corruption’.

    long post. thanks for reading :)

  9. Dear xed
    I thank you for this rebuttal which was done in a very professional and tactful manner, and I felt that I now have a slightly better understanding of the whole saga. Like you, I am just a reader with my own interpretations and of course, like you, I stand to be corrected. But I only want to be corrected by someone who had read and understood more than me, had a more analytical mind to convince me, which is what you did. I just did not like to be accused of “not reading the news and refuse to accept the facts”.

    I just only recalled that it was our government that kept telling people:If you have a view which you think can work better for the country, come and stand up elections. Get yourself democratically voted and not becoming an armchair critic. I thought that was what the just ousted EXCO did.

    You are not wrong to say that it is “spiritually a coup”, unfortunately in a society that is governed by law, as long as you played by the rules, it is not illegal, whether you are spiritually doing the right thing or not.

  10. Nevertheless, it has not changed my view that the press coverage has been less neutral. I felt that I was like reading press coverage of the PAP and SDP.

  11. But I still do not agree with the accusation that “they tried to impose their religious views”. I share the same concern that one fine day my son may come and tell me “I wan t o marry my boyfriend. I love him very much and I cannot live without him. Afterall, there is nothing wrong with that.”

    It is a scary scenario for me and many other parents as well.

  12. Jaunty Jabber Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 10:30 pm
    My take on the old exco’s winning votes, is receiving no clap from me.

    To me, bad people are usually more suspicious, more sensitive, more defensive and ever ready to war.

    When one did not do anything bad, one don’t need to be suspicious of other people’s intent when others haven’t even lift a finger, simply rising an eyebrow will set an evil-heart on its nerves.

    The Bad also tends to over-react whenever there is a slight sniff of rat, they are ever prepared with loads of defensive gears and also ready to start a war anytime should they feel that their position is in any form of threat.

    The good always believe that it is never too late to fight back a justice. Never in a need of hurry to proof anything, the truth will be out. The good sometimes have to tolerate bullies until the right day comes, and if the right day will never come, at least the soul is at peace with its dignity.

    Nevertheless, what’s good and what’s bad can be subjective depending on each and every individual perception and beliefs. I am not imposing what I thought to anyone, I am just airing out my views on this friendly online panel.

    All the new members who have joined recently just to add up to the vote digits are good for head counting only? What are they going to contribute to the society after the EGM? Before this saga, where are they? Why didn’t they join AWARE if they have true interest to work on woman issues here?

    Now, about the supporters of the old exco, I do wonder if anyone find it scary from the way they have behaved at the EGM and all the other things they did prior to 2 May? Things such as death threats, loud and nasty online bashing against Josie & team, boycotting DBS, names-calling, votes-buying, shouting and bawling at the EGM…, if AWARE is going to be made up of members who do not appreciate cordiality and manners, I do not think AWARE is earning any respect.

    If AWARE is going to be made up of members that behave like hooligans towards whom they deemed as opponents, then it deserve no respect. It will not be setting good example to the young people in the schools who will be receiving some programs from AWARE.

    Having a vote in their hand, they already have a chance and the rights to dictate who they want the winner to be, why the need to boo and bawl loudly? Trying to broadcast sarcasm? Only to show to the public that they cannot manage their own behavior, can’t control anger, lack of EQ. lack of grace?

    If AWARE is professional, they ought to have integrity & social responsibility in terms of what they are showing and demonstrating to the public.

  13. the parallel with the govt is not entirely accurate. what PAP suggested is for critics to form their own political party and run against them, not to infiltrate PAP and change it from within. In the same way, we want thio su mien to form her own NGO, instead of taking over AWARE.

    you may share the concern yes. but not everyone does. So you might not consider it imposing because you agree with it, but other people will. I am an atheist gay man, and I definitely do not share the same views.

    Why is it scary for you? I think you have to ask yourself that question. If it’s because you don’t understand the issue, some reading up might clear your doubts.

    In any case, ultimately your son will make his own decisions, because he is his own individual. If he really falls in love with another man, he will do so regardless of whether people tell him it’s okay or not. Sexual orientation is immutable. How he deals with the situation, however, depends on society.

    By the way, your tone in your initial posting was also a little confrontational, that probably explained why you got the response you did.

  14. Apparently in my attempt to show some respect to your views, you seem to have taken it to mean that I deserve that kind of response from you. I tried not to be too confrontational because like what I mentioned, I am no supporter of Dr Thio or Josie Lau.

    The only inaccuracy with my comparison is that while a country is run by parties, AWARE is run by individuals with a heart. While I am no supporter of PAP, I still trust that even if some people really tried “infiltrate” into the PAP to change it from within, the PAP would not respond in such a manner as long as the change is for the good of the nation.

    As long as Dr Thio and Josie Lau violated no rules in the process of taking over AWARE, no one has the right to forcibly impose onto them that “they can always form their own NGO”.

    Why am I so scrared? I never forget during my teenage years how one of my male teachers always liked to caress my hair and when I was invited to his house, he would ask me to massage for him before proceeding to ask sensitive sexual questions. Now that is scary! Remember the gay varsity don who was murdered after trying to make advances on his students? That is scary!

    I also had some friends who experienced heartbreaks with the opposite sex and then tried to experiment intimacy with the same sex, and sometimes we became their targets! That is also scary!

    The scariest part is when they start targetting the same sex who do not share the same sexuality with them. But I tell you, I am still not anti-gay. I am most willing to help any gay friends in trouble, except becoming his partner. Yes, you can say that I do not understand them enough and I shall be grateful for your enlightenment…

    I also did not read any statements by Dr Thio saying homosexuals should be portrayed as “negative” instead of “neutral”. My understanding is that the younger minds could interpret the word “neutral” as normal and thinks it is ok to start practising it. It is just like the government encouraging people not to smoke, not because it is a crime but because smoking brings discomfort to non-smokers.

    Similarly, homosexualism brings discomfort to the majority of heterosexuals and while we cannot tell them that “you must be like us because God made us like that,” we do not hope to see it (the act, not he person) becoming too prevalent.

    Hope to hear from you xed…..

  15. I do not presume you to deserve anything from me.

    Whatever reaction PAP would have had is a seperate point. The PAP was asking people to stand for election against them (i.e. another group), not with them, (it was responding to people criticising it). That was your point wasn’t it?

    people are asking them to form their own NGO, not because their act was illegal, but because their goals run against that of aware’s.

    for paragraphs 4-6, the actions of a few individuals do not represent the entire group. The bit about your teacher, it would have been equally offensive if he had done that to a girl. And personally, I would find the murder part more scary than the making advances part. Besides, all these acts happen amongst non-gay people also.

    Then, please take some effort to find out what is it that she said.
    http://www.divaasia.com/article/3287
    People of all groups make advances on other people all the time. Just say no?

    Smoking is different, because smoking cause real, measurable harm to non-smokers (cigarette smoke contains carcinogens, etc). Homosexuality does not. Discomfort caused by different beliefs is not an acceptable reason to block something out in an inclusive, tolerant society.

    (thanks e jay for allowing us to hijack your website :) )

  16. “The PAP was asking people to stand for election against them (i.e. another group), not with the….”

    Yes , stand for election against them, in order to have a mandate right to run the country. I thought that was what the Josie Lau’s team did, and were accused of “infiltration”.

    Nevertheless, I am still reading up more info from other blogs in order to get a more accurate picture.

    As for “asking them to form their own NGO”, my point is if we do not like others imposing their views on us(which is what the JL team has been accused of), then we should not impose our views on them to form their own NGOs, am I right? Is it wrong that they have chosen to stand for elections because their goals are different? Why should they be constantly subjected to accusations like “infiltration”, “have a religious agenda” and so on?

    But I myself certainly do not agree that they should resort to changing the office’s padlocks immediately after taking power.

    Believe me, despite my “scary encounter” with my teacher, I never thought of asking the MOE not to employ gay teachers. I do have younger friends telling me about their own gay teachers but when I ask them “did they make sexual advances on to you?” “No.” Ok, that’s it. don’t join your friends into gossiping about his gay nature. He is paid to impart knowledge to you. If he has fulfilled that, then fullstop.

    i am working in the entertainment industry and has met a number of gay performers. But I never want to ask them about their sexuality as they may not find it comfortable. I respect their sensitivity.

    You are right. The murder of the gay varsity don is scary and that is my point, that their sexual prference can bring fatal consequences when the wrong type of person is targetted.

    I also remember an incident when a friend of mine warned his male friend who was sitting intimately close to him and began caressing his thigh: Do it one more time and I will whack you. That is what I mean by scary.

    If a young pretty girl were to get to close to a guy, he will respond positively. Unfortunately a gay will not get similar type of response all the time. That’s why it is scary.

    I mentioned smoking to draw comparison with the similar levels of discomfort that it can cause. I never implied that homosexuality is bad for health.

    Surely when the other party is feeling uncomfortable, do you respect his sensitivity by drawing a line or do you tell him”you don’tunderstand homosexuality. Read more about it and you will won’t feel uncomfortable with me.”

    The whole AWARE saga is rather a clash of ideals that resulted in jostling for power. My understanding is that OLD Guards’ view is “homosexualsare not freaks to be shunned. They are also humans with different sexual preference. ”
    The just-ousted new guardsview is “By saying homosexuality is normal, it can mislead the young minds to think that it is alright to experiment with it. So we must not let this happento our children”.

  17. Anyway, I will be reading more about the nature of homosexuality to undersatnd my gay friends bteer.

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