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Tan Seow Hon & Thio Li Ann

Reading the first ST forum ‘let’s force people to increase our population by criminalizing abortions’ letter from Tan Seow Hon just struck me as someone forwarding an opinion I didn’t agree with.

(for the record, I don’t ‘like’ abortions. I’ve never been in a situation where I needed to make the decision, thank God. But using sledgehammer law to criminalize desperate people forcing them to birth & care for children they don’t want/can’t afford/are accidents… that’s going to produce the kind of new population you want?)

But when this morning’s forum carried her hissy fit point-by-point (& in language designed to overwhelm & intimidate rather than to explain & share) response to a comment on her first letter I was so so so (not being a law lecturer I don’t use high faluting language) struck by her resemblance to our favourite Thio Li Ann.

The same ‘how dare you not agree 100% with every point I made’ approach was there as she nitpicked every point commented on as though analysing a paper submitted by a law student rather than a shared view in forum.
The language was similar too.

Further, what transparent act is expected? A tagline about one’s religion, and indeed, agnosticism or athesim?

remember our favourite Thio setting up straw demons (or strawed noses) to demolish?

And then I found this:

They were teacher and student and are now colleagues in NUS Faculty of Law. Feel awkward? Professor Thio Li-ann, “not at all, it has been a great pleasure to have my former students like her, become my present colleagues.” Dr Tan Seow Hon, “Other than when I initially found it hard to call her by her first name in the first few months, no.”

& in the Thio’s words:

Dr. Tan was exceptional as a public law student and won the public law
prize, unsurprisingly. She stood head and shoulders above her classmates despite
her physically short stature. Her superior intellect was already evident as a young student. An original thinker; she dominated her public law tutorial with flashing eyes, forceful, cogent and clearly articulated opinions. In short, she kicked intellectual ass.

Tan Seow Hon (‘Dr’ Tan, in case we lower mortals are not sufficiently impressed by her language and points) does not write as a member of the Law Faculty or as a Christian.

Could she be astutely cultivating the right people/path to tenure?
Or, as a Christian sincerely expressing her views on abortion as she did last year on same-sex marriage?

Some students in my legal philosophy classes suggest it is regretful that a person who is in love with another person of the same gender may not marry the latter. Homosexuals, my passionate students argue, should have equal rights, including the fundamental right to enter into a legally recognised exclusive lifelong relationship.
To these students, the argument that the law does not deny the homosexual a right to marry, he just has to marry someone of a different gender, will understandably seem facetious.

like the Thio when trying to rally public opinion support, Dr Tan spews the familiar slippery slope straw demons:

Or what about threesomes or foursomes engaged in exclusive sexual relationships among themselves, if they too sought the right to marry?

and concludes:

Some might suggest that marriage can indeed be extended to cover the situations mentioned. But if so, any two (or more) persons could jump on the bandwagon and claim lifelong commitments for tax and other benefits.

Given all these problems, perhaps the best thing is that the traditional definition of marriage should remain.

No, she doesn’t write as a avowed ‘Christian’ or Thio Li Ann disciple here… apparently she just felt it necessary to publicize–& the ST felt it necessary to publish–her transcription of points that arose in a tutorial exchange with her students.

Why? Perhaps 1) to demonstrate the wrongness of same sex marriage or 2) to display to all ST readers how her own brilliant senior law insights demolished all points put forward by students who disagree with her.

The NUS Law Faculty (does expressing a reaction count as libel?) makes me sick.


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the links, Jolene! Will go look them up.

  2. Thanks for writing about this. We have blogged about it in Glass Castle too:


    Tan Seow Hon’s argument struck me as particularly disingenuous when she tried to imply a link between abortion and breast cancer but put in a disclaimer about the lack of causality (why even bring it up, then?) By contrast, the real medical and other burdens of pregnancy and childbirth go unaddressed.

    A website I saw with a similar argument to the blog post we put up at Glass Castle is here:


    – Jolene (www.glass-castle.org)

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