Post EGM–Still High!

(Finally back home & so back on my computer! Had some problems posting yesterday but things seem to have cleared up now)

The feeling was electric after the results were announced-

So many people have already twittered/photostreamed/live-blogged yesterday’s Aware EGM there’s no need for me to do the same…

I’m just going post some personal observations/ experiences:

Right at the beginning it didn’t look very hopeful–I got there around 10am and was told we couldn’t be there because they were preparing the space.

It didn’t look good because most of the people who Were allowed into the space were wearing red ‘pro woman pro-family pro-singapore’ t-shirts and most of them seemed to be tense women and bemused looking middle aged men.

Which kind of made me think they were from the ‘other’ side.
They also outnumbered us considerably…at that point.

But then I met some friends, also there early to queue, more and more people turned up… we told each other we had to stay around to support the ‘old guard’ however things turned out…

And then it started to feel like a great big reunion. I met people I haven’t seen for years–some going back as far as my school days! (also my old Girl Guide Company, fellow volunteers–from different groups but all supporting Aware, theatre people I’ve worked with, yoga & gym buddies, old teachers & lecturers…)

Some brought their daughters with them and one brought her mother!

And I was so impressed by a group of theatre people who came to queue to sign up at 12 noon, dashed off to perform a matinee show, rushed back in time to vote ‘by the skin of my teeth!’ as one put it, then rushed off again to prep for their evening show!

At that point I was thinking–it looks like we don’t have a chance, numbers-wise, but we have to stay to show what we think.

And the people in white t-shirts showed up and they started handing out bottled water, flowers (I got a pink daisy & a yellow daisy!), curry puffs (“It’s okay Ovidia, no meat inside. And you can’t eat those sandwiches, they’re tuna. But these ones with egg are okay for you. No egg? Okay, you can have these onion rings…”)

“Stay calm, queue in orderly lines, don’t be confrontational no matter what they say,” we were told many many times.

OK, I definitely got the message to stay polite & non-confrontational.

And I managed to–most of the time too.

Before proceedings began I had an encounter with a man who came to talk to me (yes, I was sitting in my seat in a well behaved manner) about how from his experience doing voluntary work overseas and as a concerned father of four children he was very uncomfortable with Aware’s approach to education.

Huh? But MOE is investigating right?
If it turns out Thio SM was trying to use Bush’s ‘weapons of mass destruction we must invade now before you have time to think or ask for evidence’ approach then there’s nothing wrong with Aware.

He said he had experience from working overseas with a foundation…

Which foundation? I asked. The Foundation? Points of Light Foundation? Make A Wish Foundation?
(at this point I was really just curious)

You won’t have heard of it. It’s an international foundation, he told me. But it is doing good work. And I was volunteering with them. I am an experienced volunteer with a good foundation. So I am concerned about what is happening here.

Why won’t you tell me what it’s called?
(by this point I was definitely finding him swarmy/slimey!)

Because you won’t have heard on it. I just want to share with you why I think that–

Anyway, he (fortunately) had to go back to the ‘white chair’ section once the egm was called to order.

Some highlights:

1) An estimated $90,000 was spent by the new Ex-Co in their one month in office.

This includes fees for Gregory Vijayendran and team from Messrs Rajah & Tann.

By the way I was very impressed by Gregory Vijayendran–he might be the contact person for the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship Monthly Prayer Meeting (held at Thio Su Mien’s TSMP Law Corporation’s office–just saw your comment, SooJen–Thanks!) but yesterday he was a ‘real’ lawyer and showed what I consider a ‘real’ Christian behaviour.

(as opposed to what Thio SM & Josie Lau seem to consider ‘Christian’–doing whatever it takes to force other people into living by what they define as ‘right’.)

Gregory Vijayendran was fair, he was honorable, he was upfront.

Whether he was worth an estimated $90,000 to Josie’s Ex-Co is up to them to decide.

Perhaps he’ll offer to waive his fees? Several other lawyers present came forward & said they would have acted pro bono if asked but they weren’t.

I hope he doesn’t–and Josie’s Ex-Co should not take his fees out of Aware funds…

One of her supporters said that with $120,000 coming in from new memberships $90, 000 to pay their lawyers is nothing.

Well, I don’t want my membership fee going towards that!
And think what a precedent that would set–

Still, if he wants to keep peace and his Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship Monthly Prayer premises he might have to…

(remember, he didn’t offer his services for free or that $90,000 estimate wouldn’t have come from Josie’s Ex-Co!)

2) Thio Su Mien waving a book & going:

“I’m in this Book! On page 73!”
As justification for calling herself The Feminist Mentor and demanding our respect.

We couldn’t see or hear very well from where we were sitting.

“What book is she talking about that she’s on page 73 of?”

“Dunno. Maybe the Bible. She’s saying God appointed her on page 73,”

“Her bible maybe. Not mine.”

It was a long long long day, from 9-something am to 9-something pm.

But it was totally worth it.

And I hope the ‘old guard’ of Aware learned something yesterday too.

They have not done a bad job. They were honest, noble and gentle people who naturally assumed others were too.

We have been taking them for granted all these years while enjoying the life & respect their initiative & hard work earned us.

I hope they realised yesterday that they don’t just have the respect, appreciation and honour of Singapore women for what they have done for us–they have our love and loyalty too.


27 Responses

  1. […] May 3 – Post EGM – Still High! […]

  2. […] May 3 – Post EGM – Still High! […]

  3. Thank you, Dr Cheong & Samie–very good point on the choice of such an expensive lawyer. Dr Cheong, I’m going to forward your letter to the current Ex-Co because I can’t put it any better than you did & I believe they should be ‘warned’. So thank you very much!

  4. Sally Ang is a lawyer and runs her own law firm. Why was she not the legal adviser and they had to spend an arm and a leg to hire Gregory Vijayendran?

  5. Dear Ovidia,

    Congrats to the victory of right over wrong.

    I hope that you guys are not stuck with a 90k bill.
    The bill is not a minor point, but raises again the ugly “coicidence” of it possibly crippling AWARE.

    Points to note if you guys are not already “on to it”.
    Many observers noted:

    (1) Maureen’s steady stance as she answered $90,000 as if it may be a threat, or worse, they had planned it… that if voted out, the incoming AWARE will be demolished by a large bill.

    (2) The recently deposed AWARE exco may have had many lawyers available whether within AWARE or their church, and even among relatives/friends that would have done it for a low price.

    (3) If the defence was to have a “neutral” lawyer…why was Rajah and Tan’s lawyer apparently also a Christian (check carefully)?

    So…technically, if Josie and co wanted to take over and dissamble AWARE, they did suceed half way. They lost the takeover, but left behind a trap. A 90,000 dollar bomb.

    I hope you guys take care.
    Argue wisely for reasons of WHY 90,000 and decide on talking to some good people at Rajah and Tan.
    Their senior counsel, Steven Chong Horng Siong SC is a litigation lawyer and managing partner of Rajah & Tan is a very good and fair man.

    Take care.

  6. Hi Robin–that’s exactly it–thanks for summing it up so clearly. dingbat, the site’s hilarious… but I think it’s the wrong Thio!

    Thanks mrdes–yes, pleine makes very good points–a month ago I would have said pleine’s one of the few I would pin any hopes for the future on but right now I’m seeing HOPE everywhere!!!

    Just got Dana Lam’s President’s message–it’s true it’s true it’s really true, we stopped Thio’s Takeover!

  7. Good to hear that Seth! Just put up with it a couple more days ok? then I’ll send them (& the ones I deleted) to Greg V for a laugh!

  8. Oh Ovidia, don’t worry about me getting upset because that is the last thing I will do. 😛

    Isn’t that what trolls want and were set out to do anyway, trying to get people upset?. We don’t want them to succeed, do we? 😉

  9. Hi Ovidia, have enjoyed your writing and views:). Good point made by Pleinelune:) His fiduciary duty is towards the body.

  10. Thanks Pleinelune–yes, I was very impressed by how fair & unbiased he was (sorry I’m so distrustful of lawyers–going purely by fundie letters to ST & speeches in Parliament).

    Darkorph–if it comes in black I want one too!! If they don’t ship to Dubai I will!!
    so-Thanks v much for the t-shirt link, humph. Agree it was very comical; I didn’t think so then (too far away, too mad at her) but was watching the “I’m On Page 73″ recording last night & it’s hilarious.

    And Dear Sweet Seth–(also Kall & anon, I love the troll link!) thank you to all of you for commenting here & for your previous troll rebuttal, Seth! Please don’t get too upset by it–I want to keep its posts online for just a few days more.

    I know I wasn’t the only one who wondered if–

    (despite the way they manipulated themselves legally into power with the help of FemmeMentorCharmedFormerLawDeanSeePg73…see why I distrust lawyers?)

    –we should have given Josie L & her ex-co a year to prove themselves & maybe bring some of their corporate culture experience to Aware.

    But once this JL/Thio supporter started reminding me of the more freakyfundie McCain/Palin supporters from last year I knew we did the right thing!!!

    (Must say that like McCain, Josie Lau stepped down very graciously. I was very impressed with her demeanor throughout that long, long EGM.)

    So far I’ve linked two people to messages from JL’s troll supporter (with ‘Vintager”s IP Address for authentication) & both agree with me.

    So–just ignore the messages (or link anyone who wants to see what the ex-new-ex-co would have brought in with them!) and I’ll delete them in a few days okay?

  11. Vid, about the R&T lawyer – he cannot give biased advise so publicly, because it is not just religious leanings or who he favours. If he gave biased/untrue advice, his entire professional reputation will be compromised, as well as the reputation of his firm. He was engaged to advise AWARE, not the AWARE exco, hence his fiduciary duty is towards the entire membership body.

  12. I am still puzzled about the “I’m on Page 73” part of the whole thing. Anyone knows what’s with that?

    I also want a “Shut Up and Sit Down” T-shirt. But does it come in Black? And do they ship to Dubai? 🙂

    • Oh, our dear Vintager is here. I agree with Ovidia, there is no point in talking to someone who already has an axe to grind.

      Apparently “I’m on Page 73″ refers to the page that Dr Thio Su Mien is mentioned in a 2007 AWARE publication on being the first female law dean in Singapore.

      However, it is beyond my imagination why being mentioned in a AWARE publication makes her a “feminist mentor”.

      • wow. to you asking questions = having an axe to grind.

        did you go thru gp class?

  13. still happy too, and couldn’t help whistling all day. felt sorry for josie lau though, and quite admired the way she conducted herself on saturday. sally ang is another story. the queen mother turned out to be surprisingly comical, really wasn’t expecting that. i’d imagined her to be something totally different.

    check this out:

    i think i’m going to buy the “shut up and sit down” white edition, if i can verify 70% of the profits is really going to aware.

  14. Hi fC & Hong, yes–it was totally electric! So fantastic & more than we dared hope for!

    There wasn’t a white shirt convention (as far as I know–) think the white printed t-shirt wearers were more the ‘core’ people taking on the role of keeping the rest of us seated, fed & watered–you probably looked more ‘undercover’ than out of place!

    & no Hong–sadly I haven’t been riding for some time now. As for the eye, the blind side is still blind but I’ve pretty much adapted, thanks for asking!

    Dear gambit, thank you for the support (you’re very sweet!) but please don’t worry about the troll. It’s really quite funny & I hope you’ll try to see it that way? (Otherwise just ignore it)

  15. When was there a ‘convention’ of sorts to wear white shirts to support the old guard!? i went there wearing a RED shirt to support a secular singapore but ended up seeing everyone wearing white -_-. felt realli really out of place then!

  16. You acknowledged that ‘Gregory Vijayendran was fair, he was honorable, he was upfront’ but you found it too difficult to apologize for having cast doubt and shadow upon his reputation and integrity? Is the word sorry so foreign to you?

    And do you have a problem with comprehension? One moment you comprehend that the estimated $90,000 spent by the new Ex-Co INCLUDES fees for Gregory Vijayendran and team from Messrs Rajah & Tann (this MEANS PART OF) and the next you try to funny and asked if ‘whether he was worth an estimated $90,000 to Josie’s Ex-Co is up to them to decide.’

    His fee is part of the 90K they spent – they did not spend 90K for his fees!

    This is appalling coming from a English playright and story writer.

    ‘Perhaps he’ll offer to waive his fees?’ – after messing with people’s reputation, you want to mess with his rice bowl too.

    Too much.

    • to the poster above – you’ve obviously many personal gripes with the owner of this blog that you should see it fit to come here and personally disparage whatever she says. why? were you on thio’s sycophant’s team and sore about failing to impose your agenda?

      seek psychiatric help. immediately.

      • No. I am actually a neutral party, pointing out some facts. I do not know Ms Yu and do not have anything personal against her.

      • @vintager

        Speaking as a true neutral party who just happened to drop by this website, you are NOT a neutral party, and you DO have a grudge against Ms. Yu.

        I recommend the others recognise him for what he really is – a troll – and ignore him.

    • It is fair to say that going into the meeting, nobody knew if Rajah & Tann were going to be representing Aware the organization or the new Aware Exco. Ovidia raised the question as did many of us. From my understanding, the old Exco actually put the question to R&T directly but never got a reply so the suspicion was justified.

      However on the day they showed that they were representing the organization and their contribution was well received by the members.

      Greg’s reputation was never impugned. But it was fair to question their role in the process. No apologies are necessary.

  17. Yeah, the atmosphere was electrifying at the EGM. I’m so glad that my initial fears of the other camp coming in by the busloads didn’t come true. I don’t know, maybe after what the NCCS head said, no church dared tell their congregations to support the new Exco. Phew…

    It was obvious that Josie and gang were incompetent, lack leadership qualities, ain’t got no integrity, credibility, gray matter (but I’llstop here)…

    BTW, Ovidia, how’s the eye doing? Still got bike? You should come yao cair hor with me and my friend someday.


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