Go to Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuSvZVOL45Q So MOE looked at this. The school spoke to the teacher. The teacher understood that this was beyond the limit, because how he lives is his own thing. But what he disseminates comes very close to promoting a lifestyle. So, they spoke to him, he took down his blog. He posted an explanation, he apologised for what he had done, and he continues teaching in RI today. So there is space, and there are limits. De facto, gays have a lot of space in Singapore. Gay groups hold public discussions. They publish websites. I have visited some of them. There are films and plays on gay themes. In fact, sometimes people ask, "Why are there so many? Aren't there other subjects in the world?" But since we have allowed it in the last few years, maybe this is a letting off of pressure. Eventually, we will find a better balance. There are gay bars and clubs. They exist. We know where they are. Everybody knows where they are. They do not have to go underground. We do not harass gays. The Government does not act as moral policemen. And we do not proactively enforce section 377A on them. But this d oes not mean that we have reached a broad social consensus, that this is a happy state of affairs, because there are still very different views amongst Singaporeans on whether homosexuality is acceptable or morally right. And we heard these views aired in Parliament over these last two days. Some are convinced, passionately so, that homosexuality is an abomination, to quote Prof. Thio Li-ann's words yesterday. Others, probably many more, are uncomfortable with homosexuals, more so with public display of homosexual behaviour. Yet others are more tolerant and accepting. There is a range of views. There is also a range of degrees to which people are seized with this issue. Many people are not that seized with this issue. And speaking candidly, I think the people who are very seized with this issue are a minority. For the majority of Singaporeans - this is something that they are aware of but it is not the top of their consciousness - including, I would say, amongst them a significant number of gays themselves. But, also, I would say amongst the Chinese speaking community in Singapore. The Chinese speaking Singaporeans are not strongly engaged, either for removing section 377A or against removing section 377A. Their attitude is: live and let live. So, even in this debate in these two days, Members would have noticed that there have been very few speeches made in Parliament in Mandarin on this subject. I know Mr Baey Yam Keng made one this afternoon, but Mr Low Thia Khiang did not. It reflects the focus of the Chinese speaking ground and their mindsets. So, for the majority of Singaporeans, their attitude is a pragmatic one. We live and let live. The current legal position in Singapore reflects these social norms and attitudes, as Ms Indranee Rajah and Mr Hri Kumar explained yesterday. It is not legally neat and tidy. Mr Hri Kumar gave a very professional explanation of how untidy it is, but it is a practical arrangement that has evolved out of our historical circumstances. We are not starting from a blank slate, trying to design an ideal arrangement; neither are we proposing new laws against homosexuality. We have what we have inherited and what we have adapted to our circumstances. And as Mr Hri Kumar pointed out, we inherited section 377A from the British, imported from English Victorian law - Victorian from the period of Queen Victoria in the 19th century - via the Indian Penal Code, via the Straits Settlements Penal Code, into Singapore law. Asian societies do not have such laws, not in Japan, China and Taiwan. But it is part of our landscape. We have retained it over the years. So, the question is: what do we want to do about it now? Do we want to do anything about it now? If we retain it, we are not enforcing it proactively. Nobody has argued for it to be enforced very vigorously in this House. If we abolish it, we may be sending the wrong signal that our stance has changed, and the rules have shifted. But because of the Penal Code amendments, section 337A has become a symbolic issue, a point for both opponents and proponents to tussle around. The gayactivists want it removed. Those who are against gay values and lifestyle argue strongly to retain it. And both sides have mobilised to campaign for their causes. There was a Petition to remove section 377A. It accumulated a couple of thousand signatures which was presented to this House. Therefore, there was a counter-petition to retain it, which collected 15,000 signatures - at least, according to the newspapers. I have not counted the signatures - 16,000. An hon. Member: 15,560. See complete transcript of whole speech: http://sporelgbtpedia.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Transcript_of_Lee_Hsien_Loong%27s_parliamentary_speech_on_Section_377A,_23_Oct_2007
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Since the early 21st century, Singapore's LGBT community has become increasingly aware of the...
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