Wednesday, September 09, 2009
THIO LI ANN: CHAMPION OF FREE SPEECH!
Neither petite nor passive, Thio Li Ann brings it on!
I finally got to hear and meet this remarkable lady at a seminar on media this morning at Kum Yan Methodist Church. She was one of the two keynote speakers. Li Ann's book, The Mind Gap, was available at the talk. She didnt sound lawyerly or professorial but was relaxed and entertaining. Her jibes and fast talk lit up the place.
The reaction she evokes from her opponents is understandable. Her humor, quips, barbs and arguments tend to sting, especially when you're at the end of them. And she does not give the impression of taking prisoners in a debate. This chica has absolutely no qualms about making her views known. But one observation needs to be made. She didnt sound like the moralizing right wing christian fundamentalist her opponents and make her out to be. Mainstream media love her because she gives them a lot to write about.
Her defense of free speech, even for her opponents, was an eye opener for me. She does not believe in a theocracy, saying at one point Im a Protestant! How can a Protestant believe in theocracy? When was the last time anyone identified themselves as a Protestant!
Is she enslaved to the American right? I cant remember the exact words but I thought she said, Dont go to some stupid american website and think you can apply their stuff in Singapore.
Li Ann, a liberal? Yeah, why not!
Her spirited advocacy for by-elections in GRC wards and comments about the unfairness of restrictions on political party films are reflective of a politician committed to diversity in the public square. She is not a single issue politician, although the local media tend to only portray her as an anti gay politician. Labeling politicians and creating a straw man or woman are potent weapons in political squabbles. Singaporeans can be classier. Lets not put this lady or any politican for that matter in a box and make unnecessary assumptionns about them.
Bring it on, Miss Thio!