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Statement From New Chickens in AWARE Coup

btw if you have limited time, go read this site instead of mine–he sums up the situation brilliantly.

This is the statement issued by the new Aware Ex-Co last night.

Apart from the error in the first line (‘The regime born of the shock takeover of Aware Aware is delighted to announce’–‘delighted’ is laughable given how many Aware members are decidedly less delighted than disgruntled/dismayed/distraught/disgusted/dismissed by the announcement) this sounds like a really great statement of intent.

What I would really like the new ex-co to explain now, before I’m ready to take their statement at face value is:
If they are as appreciative of Aware’s past work as they claim (see below) why was there a need to take over the way they did?

Is their idea of remembering & honoring the ‘vision’ & ‘endeavors’ of ‘past Aware members’ to blindside them, refuse to discuss anything before & during the agm…

And again, why was there such need for secrecy? Did they think their bid for power & control would not be approved of by the very women they claim to ‘honour’?

Or is underhanded secrecy & the building of insider networks just the way they naturally operate?

Or is the emphasis in that statement on past Aware members–now that the strong foundation has been built up those who built it up can be cast out.

But I must say I was pleased by the new committee’s stated commitment to bring the welfare of Singapore women:

in tandem with the standards in the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw).

(see below for full statement)
especially given the way the CEDAW Committee is officially focusing attention on the impact of state and non-state violence and discrimination against LBT individuals. (Ecudor 2008)

Have we all misjudged them?

If they stand by their first official statement and take clear action to end state & non-state violence and discrimination against lesbian, bisexual & transsexual women in Singapore then yes.

Otherwise it just looks like a power grab by women with their own private agenda, unwilling to go through the motions of setting up a new group from scratch.

With the number of professional women in the new committee why didn’t they takeover Prime Time instead?

btw Does anyone know why elected president Claire Nazar quit so suddenly (handpicked by old guard for succession, she was aware of the position & responsibilities & won unopposed), to be replaced by Josie Lau???

‘Aware, Singapore’s leading women’s advocacy organisation, is delighted to announce that its new president is Ms Josie Lau. She is joined by a dynamic, fresh and committed group of women forming the executive committee, who hail from diverse professional backgrounds drawn from the business, banking, finance, legal, education, management, human resource and social service sectors.

2009 marks the jubilee of our nation (50 years of self-government). In this period, the cause of women has made many great strides in many respects. The new team at Aware wishes to remember and honour the work of past Aware members for their vision and endeavours to advance the cause of women in all areas of society through advocacy and community work.

The new team intends to build on the solid foundations laid by the founders of Aware and will continue to promote the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of our society. The goal remains to bring about full equality of the sexes and to end all forms of discrimination against women.

Aware will build on existing advocacy, research (eg. attitude and policies towards singles) and education to empower women to deal with various forms of discrimination, raise their awareness of rights and responsibilities, and promote their welfare in tandem with the standards in the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw). In 1995, Singapore became a party to Cedaw which contains benchmarks against which to measure the elimination of discrimination against women on a national basis.

Singapore has made much progress in areas like education and health but can do better in other respects. In particular, the new team will seek to promote the role of women in politics and public life as Article 7 of Cedaw affirms. We endorse the Cedaw committee recommendation that women’s participation in public life should reach a minimum of 30 per cent to 35 per cent, sharing the conviction that this will revitalise political and public life.

The new team will, as a paramount objective, seek to empower women to be leaders in our society, in politics, business, the professions and in all areas of endeavour which will benefit our nation.

President Josie Lau says: ‘In these challenging times, the new team will actively seek to collaborate and align Aware with other women’s organisations with outreach to girls and women who are affected by the current economic downturn.

‘The new team aims to empower women who have been retrenched and equip them with new skills. In this context, we will work with training agencies and launch a series of programmes of practical assistance, such as grooming, budgeting, finance and debt management, career planning and management of change. We will continue to provide emotional, psychological or legal support for women.’

We call on all women of Singapore to rise to the challenge of taking on leadership roles in our nation. We invite volunteers to help make Aware a positive agent of change for the beneficial transformation of our society, where all people, regardless of race, religion or sex, are valued and have a place under the sun.’

4 Responses

  1. Dear Dr Cheong,

    I am Christian too–but these people scare me. Don’t think they were listening when Jesus said ‘He who is not against Me is for Me’ in effect telling them to mind their own lives.

    Because it is just possible that what is right behaviour for them doesn’t fit everyone else in every situation.

    Especially if, like you say, HOW they went about this sums up what & who they really are.

    But thanks, really for stopping by here. Especially now I know who you are! If you think of anything else Please Do get in touch!

  2. Dear Ovidia,

    Thanks for the “wow”.
    In the real world, I know what I do is trivial. I collect watches. But I do that with my heart.

    I make myself feel better by playing doctor.

    And yes, I am trying to speak from a place where there will be an audience quite different, with some downstream effects to be seen. Hopefully with wisdom.There is NO escaping this event, everyone is talking about it today.

    There are a few observations about passionate Christians, who equate passion with being “right”. They may have taken a seat on the chair that is on the left hand side of Jesus…innocently.

    I don’t fully understand the value that they have placed on getting what they want from AWARE. What people want, and HOW they go around getting what they want, may just sum up what they are.

    Sadly, in this case, I fear that the CORE of what is wanted is NOT a chance to contribute, but the opposite.

    (Yes, I am one and the same person. From the Geneva Grand Prix, ironically, also the same city of the Geneva Convention)

  3. Dear Dr Cheong,

    Thank you very much for your visit & very astute comments. Your interpretation makes a lot of sense–unfortunately if (which is probable) you are right the situation is even more dire.

    Don’t worry about not knowing Josie Lau & her husband joined Aware–seems to have been swift & silent. I didn’t see them at any events but then I don’t attend them all.

    And if you can do/think of anything that might help restore balance here your help is desperately needed & would be much appreciated–plus I don’t think anything could make the situation worse than it is right now!

    (btw are you the Bernard Cheong-Watch Collector who came up with the transparency in jury selection system for the first Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve in Asia? If you are–WOW!)

  4. Greetings. I like your blog, and it’s my first visit.

    Like buttocks on a butterfly, I really don’t belong here.
    Nevertheless, I hope I am not about to take a stab at affairs that would put a foot into my mouth. And if it does, I hope its my own foot. It hurts less.

    Anyway, I was shocked to see this on the morning papers, that AWARE has been taken from the “inside out”, and I feel the structure and path of its previous platform has been dismantled.

    That’s “just” my observation.

    The point that you made, “it just looks like a power grab by women with their own private agenda, unwilling to go through the motions of setting up a new group from scratch.”

    I think it is much more sinister.
    It looks to me that they wanted to:
    (1) Remove and dismantle the power and influence that the previous exco had.
    (2) Replace it with a new agenda. Whatever it is. I guess it has much to do with conflicting points of view of gay rights.

    In that way, the “new chickens” did a strategic battle maneuvre, probably underhanded, a secret stab to the back, etc etc…but legal.

    To set up a new group or society from scratch was probably not its intention (and not by innocent ignorance), it would have left the old guard at AWARE functioning and alive, so to speak.

    I disagree with those who say that the old exco was “sleeping”, because when you are up against a hostile take over, as well planned as this…the “new chickens” would have acted faster, and just as deadly, thru another channel.

    I am not the kind of person to take a moral stand on this. It is obviously a hostile move, with the typical public relations bull*#*^, after the battle.

    Being a director of Lifeline Medical Group, I was taken by TOTAL surprise by this trun of events. Since my public profile is not “low”..I was flooded with many questions today.

    I am not a fundamental Christian that employs the hammer on the head, or the guilt on the heart.
    But I am very much a born again Christian.
    I am not gay, pro gay, or anti gay.

    I have not seen or spoken to Josie Lau in YEARS (Altho her husband is one of our partners).
    I had no idea that they had joined AWARE at all.

    Boy, am I glad that I enjoy my hobbies, my own weak desire for fame and stature is less harmful with collecting watches and comic books.

    An old friend once advised me ” It sounds great to help, provided they really want your help and that you are not going to make things WORSE than it already is”.

    Dr Bernard Cheong

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