Sunday, September 13, 2009


CHEE & THIO: TWO SIDES OF
THE SAME COIN?

Singapore is poorer without Chee Soon Juan and Thio Li Ann.

They speak their minds fearlessly, draw heavy fire from their opponents and strike discordant notes in a society more interested in making money and wasting its passion on consumerism, colored nails, racing cars and casinos. We do not resemble computers – an idiot machine designed to store information, play games and kill our time. Life is not a game and we are not machines.

Li Ann forces us to think about families, religion and gender. Soon Juan drives a wedge between political centrism and activism. Do we want opposition political parties to only stir discussion in Parliament or do we want attention grabbing activism? Thanks to these two, issues we'd normally ignore are taken note off.

Reject them if you must but please don’t despise the choices they bring to the body politic and the civil space they've opened. Choices and a bigger space in the civil society help us craft solutions, stimulate changes, preserve traditions. Li Ann and Soon Juan make us pause and question the “whys” of our lives. No, they are not pragmatic. Nor are they here to help us prosper materially. Pragmatism and wealth are not the best weapons to fight a war of attrition against a larger enemy.

So where do they get their motivation to bang on their drums in the face of name calling, hostility and heckling? Perhaps their Christian faith provides a clue. The Bible not only provides the ballast to cast doubt on present worldly arrangements but also provides pictures of a different and just kingdom.

You dont have to agree with their views or like them. But they are one of us and deserve a hearing.

Singapore... Thio Li Ann and Chee Soon Juan are your sons and daughters.

5 comments:

Muni said...

I found the premise of your article interesting....and that there is a need to examine values in deciding what we believe in and say and do. I also sense some angst that most citizens tend to accept the status quo and not want to fight for values in case they disrupt the ongoing stream of life and materialism.

Barn2 (Barnabas Ju-Ern) the Samsengkia said...

My Mummy would rather you separate the two. They are so different.
She will support Thio but not the guy.
Important to differentiate the causes.

Raphael Samuel said...

Dear Barn2,

Your mother has the right and the freedom to separate the two.

They may be 2 sides of the same coin but they are on different sides.

The challenge is to see how 2 different sides can remain part of the same coin.

Raphael

blogpastor said...

"They speak their minds fearlessly, draw heavy fire from their opponents and strike discordant notes in a society which is more interested in making money and wasting its passion on consumerism, colored nails, racing cars and casinos"- what a powerful sentence. I admire them both for courage to speak their convictions and willingness to absorb the pain of doing so. Their faith is the anchor that holds them steady amidst buffeting waves.

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