2014 has been crazy, has it not?
It’s ridiculous how many bad things happened. take a look at the amount of terrible things that happened this year. There were the successive flight catastrophes, the countless deaths in Crimea, Syria, Gaza and Iran. There were the ISIS beheadings. There was Ebola.
In Singapore, it was hard to say that it was not a good year in substantive terms. However, I believe most informed Singaporeans would sense that this year was an especially tense year. Not because Goh Chok Tong had prostate surgery and couldn’t fart for days. But because there was a constant flow of undercurrents surreptitiously sowing discord in our country.
People were still harping on the Little India Riot at the beginning of the year. That brought up issues of the treatment of foreign workers. Now they have a centre for recreation. Alright fair enough. It also overlapped with Anton Casey. And some silly people began to blanketly label all foreigners as uncivilised trolls.
There was HPB’s online information on homosexuality, along with Paster Lawrence Khong’s leaked plan for quashing the ‘gay agenda’. Then there was Pinkdot, followed by the Wear White campaign. There was the removal of children books about alternative families, which then led to a withdrawal of support from the Singapore Writer’s Festival. There was plenty of heat on AWARE as well for their curious brand of communication. And who can forget the Hong Lim park saga. Oh yes and the Sim Lim Square fiasco. Its almost like everyone’s geared up for a fight. In one sense, I am rather heartened at the passion driving these actions. Its very human and it reminds me that we’re vivacious millenials. haha that sounded a little fancy. Yet, in another, I am really worried that no one realizes there isn’t an end game. Every social dispute becomes paralyzed in a state of uncompromising moralism. ‘I can’t be right unless you are wrong,’
However, there were plenty of other interesting trends as well.
There was the banning of To Singapore, With Love. Instead of kbkb-ing, a few hundred Singaporeans snuck over the causeway to watch it. And conducted a little post-screening forum with the filmmaker herself, Tan Pin Pin. So peaceable and mature. I approve.
Another source of social advocacy had been with regards to the ongoing slaughter between Palestine and Israel. It may seem like a distant issue for the most in Singapore. But the Muslim community has not been silent on this international issue. Around July-September, many of my muslim friends were sharing the atrocities of the Israeli militia on the Palestinians on social media. Most were fairly harmless and uncontroversial. The horrors of war; what’s new? But there was a broader issue here. It was clear to me that the Muslim community in Singapore had become more vocal and educated about the socio-political issues surrounding their faith. The young and tech saavy were espacially inclined to use social media to express their beliefs of course. And that raised the saliency of Gaza to other religous groups, who stepped up to help.
isn’t that nice? a new pair of flyovers being constructed?
Civil society was evidently more vocal this year on many fronts; homosexuality, foreigners, religion, alternative families, censorship and feminism. It caused plenty of excitement and tension. For me, I was pretty much an observer. I attended Pinkdot though and bought one book abut feminism. I also read through Lawrence Khong’s little manifesto. I wrote an essay on the relationship between civil society and democratic development in Singapore. 2014 was a really educational year for me. Which is just in time cos I’m turning 21! And so I’m gonna commemorate by leaving Singapore for a month 🙂 gonna be in London, bitches.