April 4th, 2008


Exploitative Openness and the Myth of Saint KY

Singapore is a pirate's heaven. Not the sort of pirates living in ships with a parrot or pirates stealing entertainment such as movies and selling them, but more sophisticated pirates.

We have bootleg democracy, synthetic cosmopolitanism, simulated multiculturalism. We are the perfect blend of the good old days and the brave new world dawning upon the globe. We are Confucian Asian capitalists who bow not to whimsical notions of freedom and welfare.

We plunder from reality as much as we can until it is lost to us forever while those who vaguely remember it hanker after it almost tearfully.

And we now are even homophobically gay-friendly. And of course, we have to place a century-old (almost) minister on a disgusting pedestal for that. (Don't blame me if his bones shatter after a vicious fall for I didn't put him there.)

So, it's a triumph for no-we-are-not-homophobic (we-just-call-ourselves-conservative) Singapore that a certain gay professor has naively (or so it might seem to those uninitiated to the national propaganda press) decided to come to Singapore's NTU because his partner is allowed to come too. (Why not? This is Singapore. When it comes to foreign talent, the rule is simply "The more, the merrier".) A pity he is not a Law Professor. Otherwise it would be interesting for him to have that Prof Thio as a colleague. I can almost see someone launching a campaign to ban straws in the canteen in the name of environmental friendliness, lest they end up in the wrong orifices.

It's a triumph for Singapore, of course. Except that most of us are, unfortunately, not Singapore. But we are supposed to be happy. Wow. now THE PROGRESS of "SINGAPORE" is not impeded by our supposed traditional Asian-valued sensitively religious homophobia. Great. Now we don't have to worry about whether we should repeal stupid laws like 377A or not. After all, it is not supposed to affect the economy, the growth of which does not seem to benefit anyone except for the richest of the richest anyway. (That's to add on the the absurdity of the absurd space otherwise known as the Joke Called Singapore.)

So we are meant to live a double lie. The first lie being that official but feigned openness is enough and latent homophobia will not affect Singapore's talent concentration in any way. The second like being that we are Singapore is really open.

The third lie being that the old man who now looks like a speck of dust because he's too high up on the pedestal and too far from the wretched ground has once again led Singapore into a golden age. OK, make it a triple lie then. (What to do, I'm bimbotic.)

"WTF. Molly is being viciously acerbic and totally unconstructive again. Why can't she just she down and calmly analyze the issue like any self-respecting Singaporean blogger? How could we ever hope to change the results of the 2011 General Elections a la this year's Malaysian elections if bloggers keep behaving like stupid porcupine bimbos who takes a dig at all that Singapore is proud - and not proud - of. Waste of time?"

But what if the Singaporean Absurd transcends all attempts at rational analysis, critique and all the highly-valued modes of (non-)thought?

"WTF? What's that again?"

Oh never mind. Let's get back to the issue.

OK, what was the issue? Oh yes, I remember. Something about gays and Singapore's openness, isn't it? Or was it something about the lack of openness? After all, something is deemed newsworthy only if it is something rare enough--certainly not an everyday phenomenon. Just like the poor man's son who managed to become a PSC scholar and get a chance of joining the Eternal Ruling Party (ERP) of Singapore if he holds the right political views (which really amount to holding none) or if he is willing to be co-opted.

But Molly is digressing again, isn't she? Why can't she just talk about how far Singapore has come since its early days of paranoid homophobia? And let everyone believe that change is possible without change. Well, she could. But why should she? She's bimbotic and one shouldn't expect her to be level-headed.

In fact, Molly is going to talk about exploitative openness. Feigning openness is like faking an orgasm. The other party might not have satisfied you, but you pretend to be satisfied anyway. Get it over and done with. There are more important things to do. (So Molly isn't the only digressive person around.)

There are more important things to do, such as making money for ---. So Singapore must fake openness and Singaporeans feign orgasms. We welcome gays, of course. They are good for the economy. But then they must continue to be willing to be technical criminals, even if not convicted ones. It's the basic Singapore Principle: every person is only as good as his inevitably transient use value and is hence not a person.

Exceptions apply.

An old man's words can be treated as an imperial fiat that transcends law and reality.

"But the words of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew changed his mind.

Though the male homosexual sex remains a crime in Singapore, MM Lee had said in an interview last year that while Singapore wanted to maintain its social norms, the Government should not pry on consenting adults."

On the eighth day, god said, "Let there be openness." So there was openness.

[On Molly's part, she could well say that bloggers must consider the goodness of the Eternal Ruling Party (ERP) of Singapore and still continue to scratch it ever so unfairly with each blog entry.]

Of course, the Exalted one on the Pedestal could shout down and be echoed, "no public purpose is served by interfering in their private lives." But haven't you rendered the private public by so speaking? Hey look! He has sex with men (but we are open enough to let him exist amongst us)!

To sum it up: let's turn that faggot into an icon of a uniquely Singaporean talent attraction.

(He can stick his straw up someone's nose while we offer him to our one and only god on the altar.)

An economic commodity that moonlights as a manufacturer of cultural simulacra. What else? An unwitting tool of discipline.

They are tools of mind discipline as their willingness to be subjugated to the absurd Singopenness is insidiously held up as exemplary  behavior that one might wish to emulate.

Prof Sieh: "I'm no crusader, but I'm going to be myself."

How peaceable.

Molly: I'm not a crusader, but I'm not going to let myself be.

How utterly subversive! Why don't you, Molly Meek, ask the stupid question of whether Singapore is ready for an Indian female Prime Minister?

Molly: Is Singapore ready for a lesbian Indian female Prime Minister not from the Eternal Ruling Party (ERP) of Singapore?

No, that's not right. Ask the right questions and get the rightly stupid answers, you bloody Irrational.

Molly: Irrationality is the most underrated virtue in Singapore. And I'm pretty virtuous.