Sunday, September 13, 2009
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.