Last edited: December 24, 2004

Mainstream Shouldn’t Impose its ‘Values’ on Others

Today, December 21, 2004
Voices section

By Charles Tan

WHILE Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a point in saying that the Snowball Party is about “balancing norms” (Dec 20), one also needs to be aware that Snowball is a ticketed event. People who are offended by same-sex intimate behaviour need not attend.

If Singapore truly wants to embrace diversity, the conservative mainstream has to stop imposing its “values” on others.

The same can be said of the recent casino debate.

While Families Against Casinos Threat (Fact) perceives gambling as a social evil, it should be mindful that Singaporeans are able to visit casinos easily on overseas cruises. People can fritter away their money even if we do not build a casino at home.

The crux of the argument lies not with whether casinos will break up families or create more social problems; but rather, personal responsibility.

In that regard, Fact would do well to focus their educational efforts on how citizens should “gamble” moderately.

Both issues highlight a pertinent dilemma.

Conservative Singaporeans want the Government to constantly impose tight controls or legislate against what they perceive as “social evils”. Yet, they are not willing to look beyond the surface.

Banning such activities outright only brings them out of the country.

Singaporeans will continue to gamble in neighbouring countries and gay people will spend their tourist money in societies with a much more tolerant culture.

As we aim to become a more modern and progressive nation, conservatives need to understand that there have to be compromises. As the saying goes, “We cannot have our cake and eat it too.”

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