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23 Jul 2009

Thio Li-ann cancels visit to NYU Law School amidst controversy

In an unexpected move, Dr Thio Li-ann who has vehemently defended her right to hold anti-gay views while being a human rights instructor, has reportedly cancelled her visit to New York University (NYU) Law School to teach.

In a statement published by the New York Times on Jul 22, Dean Richard L. Revesz of the NYU School of Law said: "I am writing to let you know that Professor Li-ann Thio informed me today that she is canceling her Fall visit to NYU Law School as a Global Visiting Professor as a result of the controversy surrounding her views regarding homosexuality and gay rights. She explained that she was disappointed by what she called the atmosphere of hostility by some members of our community towards her views and by the low enrollments in her classes. The Law School will therefore cancel the course on Human Rights in Asia and the seminar on Constitutionalism in Asia, which she had been scheduled to teach."
Revesz had earlier defended her appointment while stating that "the Law School categorically rejects the point of view expressed in Professor Thio's speech.”
Dr Thio Li-ann is a law lecturer at the National University of Singapore's law school.
Earlier this month, NYU OUTLaw, a gay and lesbian student group, sent an email to students highlighting Dr Thio’s opposition to have Singapore’s gay sex laws repealed and quotes from her infamous speech given as a Nominated Member of Parliament describing anal sex as "shoving a straw up your nose to drink."
A petition protesting her appointment garnered over 800 signatures, according to abovethelaw.com, a US legal blog, which covered the mini-controversy closely. The blog had earlier quoted an NYU law student who said "NYU Law voted with its feet" with "a grand total of five people applied for Dr Thio's class." Both the professor’s courses are said to be severely undersubscribed.
Last week, the professor sent the dean and some faculty members at NYU an 18-point memo accusing her detractors of bullying, attacking her personally and jeopardising her job.
"I am tired of the insinuations that I am in favour of oppressing any community in Singapore or elsewhere.
"What I object to is the colouring of any principled moral opposition to homosexuality as 'bigoted' and ignorance or 'hatred'.
"I am deeply offended at Mr Graves-Pryor's characterisation of me / my views as immoral. I disagree with his views but I do not threaten his job."
She was referring to a letter sent by Malik Graves-Pryor, a NYU staff member and NYU student, asking for her appointment to be terminated.
He wrote in his letter that he "as an African-American man…  could never imagine the day would come when NYU would allow the appointment of a legal scholar who held the opinion that African-Americans practice acts of ‘gross indecency’, that African-Americans who strive for diversity should be rebuffed because ‘diversity is not a license for perversity’, describing the private intimate acts between African-Americans as trying to ‘shove a straw up your nose to drink’, among other intellectually and morally shallow absurdities."
"I would also never imagine the day in which a legal scholar who held the opinion that African-Americans are inferior to Whites or any other racial/ethnic group would be granted a platform here at NYU Law, simply due to interest in not squelching ‘other views," he wrote.
"As a Gay man as well, however, it seems that it is still an acceptable position within academia to hold these opinions about LGBT individuals and community without repercussion."
In its latest statement, the dean of the NYU law school clarified that neither himself nor his colleagues were aware of Dr Thio's parliamentary speech (in which she argued against the decriminalisation of consensual sexual acts between men) at the time of her appointment in January 2008. However should he or the school have been aware of her speech, the fact "should not have played any role in the evaluation of her merits to be a visiting professor," the statement said.
From her 18-point memo, Thio Li-ann on:

- people “who do not want to have conversations with (her) anymore”
4. I have colleagues and students who identify themselves as homosexual. Some are hostile to the views I have expressed as a politician, some are hurt (and I have had really difficult conversations with such students whom I greatly liked as individuals, who expressed their disappointment at me for my views but I had to point out that everyone is entitled to their convictions which are complicated things. Some understand and know I respect them as people and some do not want to have conversations with me anymore. That is their prerogative)
- ex-gays and their right to “sexual re-orientation”
6. I have friends who identify as ex-gay. They point out to me that the homosexual community is the most vicious when they try to speak out. What about this oppressed minority group? One of them said to me: If they have a right to sexual orientation, do I not have the right to sexual re-orientation? All they get is vilification and abuse and charges that homosexuals are 'born that way' and it is a fallacy to believe they can seek to mute unwanted same-sex attractions if that is their choice. 
- “homosex” activists and homosexuals in luxury condos
8. Homosexuals in Singapore are by and large affluent and literate; building developers target high quality residences for their consumption. They have space to lead quiet lives which is what most of us want. They are basically left alone in practice. However, when you enter the public arena and demand to change social norms, which others resist, do you expect a walkover? When reasoned arguments are presented against the homosexualism agenda, which any citizen in a democracy is entitled to do, what happens? Homosex activists hurl abuse, death threats. They have demonstrated nothing but abuse towards their detractors. This is not the way to win respect. This is not conducive to sustainable democracy in the long-term. I argue it is a horizontal chilling of speech by the most malicious of methods. Homosex activists may see it as a "rights" issues (and I have academic friends and feminists who disagree "sharply" with my viewpoints but refuse to vilify me because they know who I am and respect me as a scholar), others see it as a matter of a "goods" issue, about the nature of public morality and social norms. And these debates are played out on a global basis.
- being “bullied”
17 c. My objection is not to gay people; it is towards the nature of the homosexual political agenda and the vicious and degrading tactics of some activists. I say "some" because there were gays in Singapore who (a) agree that homosexuality should not be mainstreamed or coercively taught as having moral equivalence with heterosexuality as a social norm) (b) disagree with me but reject the tactics of insult and death threats.
17 f. Another reason is frankly, a tiredness with this sort of bullying towards anyone who opposes the gay agenda. (And I know gays who oppose the gay agenda). One of my colleagues, an untenured professor, wrote an Op Ed supporting the retention of the sodomy law and the policy of non active enforcement. An argument raised was that law has an educative function in signalling social mores. Removing the law would signal a different set of values that colleague was opposed to. What happened? That colleague received a torrent of abuse. People wrote to our dean demanding that colleague (a) be removed from her job (b) be subjected to homosex sensitivity training (c) be required to teach pro-gay cases from abroad (which in fact were referenced in lectures while not celebrated). We do not tolerate such self-righteous intolerance in Singapore. At stake is genuine academic freedom and civil discourse. Who is the oppressed and who is the oppressor in this context? Or does an unrelenting hubris occlude the ability to see the truth of things in different contexts? 

To read Thio Li-ann's memo and Malik Graves-Pryor's letter in full, click onto the Dr Li-ann Thio v. Random NYU Law IT Guy link. 

Reader's Comments

1. 2009-07-23 18:42  
Good riddance. She can pretend to be self-righteous and defend herself all she wants, but such a narrow-minded person should not be allowed to teach. On human rights, no less. How oxymoronic.
Comment edited on 2009-07-23 18:43:09
2. 2009-07-23 18:44  
Is she saying that wealthy gay people should be locked away in their condos or whatever?! What about poor ones? In HDB flats?

And what's homosex?!

3. 2009-07-23 18:52  
Attending her course, would be like shoving a straw up your nose to drink.
4. 2009-07-23 19:13  
Yippy yippy yippy! The witch is gone!
5. 2009-07-23 19:13  
The above article misses out the scathing comments the Dean made about Thio's "offensive" responses. Worth reading the full press statement.

Also someone posted a point by point rebuttal of her 18 point victim statement, it's the Feministe link at the bottom of the article.
Comment edited on 2009-07-23 19:17:41
6. 2009-07-23 19:15  
ex gay = they wanted to experiment at first or plain denial

good job NYU OUTLaws!
7. 2009-07-23 19:21  
hahahahaha...SHE CHICKENED OUT!
8. 2009-07-23 19:30  
This cow deserves the treatment she gets from NYU Law Faculty - I don't think NUS Law Faculty is as enlightened!
9. 2009-07-23 19:39  
"they can seek to mute unwanted same-sex attractions if that is their choice. "

I note she doesn't say "change their sexual orientation". Has COOS and the "ex-gay" movement changed its stance on this?
Comment #10 was deleted by its author
11. 2009-07-23 19:50  
"We do not tolerate such self-righteous intolerance in Singapore.
"
Honey, neither do we tolerate pompous intellectual-laziness---do you seriously think people are so ignorant they don't know what's going on? ;-) All yr talk's just a copy of the speeches & slogans that symbolises the original civil/human rights movement, which frankly speaking it's more than a tad disrespectful to the people who have genuinely stuggled & suffered the injustices society imposes on them. By twisting words & making then yr own, you're in effect making it a mockery out of their plight. Not to mention blatant plagarizing, in an academic sense.
Shame on you!
Comment #12 was deleted by its author
13. 2009-07-23 20:59  
It is a pity that TLA has backed down from her visit to NYU. This would have been the chance, where she would have had to face stiff opposition to her views and she would also have had to stand firm on her views with logical and rational arguments. Of course this would not have been an easy task for her, as under the principle of equality of humans, she would have had to argue why discrimination of gays was legitimate in her views and beliefs, although everybody knows that discrimination based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation per se constitute a breach of the principle of equality and therefore are unconstitutional.
Of course, it is a difference if you have to face a debate among equal human beings, compared to the relative comfort of being a member of Parliament of the ruling party.

Nevertheless, TLA should, if she had the character to stand up for her convinctions and beliefs, have gone to NYU to face the opposition (she apparently is not used to) and to use the NYU forum to defend her viewpoints. Or, have the decency to admit that this was too big for her to handle and to admit it.

But when looking at her arguments in her defense, she deliberately omitted the central point, which leads to opposition against her. It is not her views on homosexuality, which are to contested, everybody has the right to view homosexuality in their onw manner, but the horrendous fact that she wants gay sex to be and to remain a criminal offense under the law. This is where she advocates discrimination, regardless whether such law is applied or not. The mere fact of having such acts to be a criminal offense consist of discrimination, thus breach the principle of equality and therefore are unconstitutional.
14. 2009-07-23 20:59  
:)

smiles all around. i loved the way the Dean sent out his message to clarify the whole situation.
15. 2009-07-23 21:02  
I guess it's just easier to stay home and "preach to the choir" in Parliament, without fear of public challenge, debate or disagreement - the likes of which would only serve to advance the cause of human rights in Singapore. So much for actually believing in your arguments and being willing to defend them in an academic venue.
Oh well, if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, Dr. Thio. But realize, you have just removed any level of credibility to your arguments by physically removing yourself from the debate. Perhaps now, you are beginning to walk a mile in PLUs' shoes. See how it feels to be shunned, ignored, mocked and persecuted simply for being who you say you are.
16. 2009-07-23 21:20  
so to her many qualities we now can add those two :
coward, and sore loser.
Comment #17 was deleted by an administrator
Comment #18 was deleted by an administrator
19. 2009-07-23 21:38  
If we consider the notion that everything that happens in life and society falls in circles, each event a result of one another, back and forth, why hasn't that woman bothered to ponder upon why some gay activists come across as being "abusive" and "aggressive"? If you forcefully push someone, it's only natural that person would push you back just as hard, tit for tat.
It's common sense, would the oppressed start to oppress if they weren't oppressed in the first place?
20. 2009-07-23 21:49  
[- ex-gays and their right to “sexual re-orientation”]

If ex-gays will leave us alone, we will surely leave them alone in their misery. Ditto with the homophobic bunch. Thing is, they're not leaving us alone. There is a concerted effort to dictate their 'norm' values to other segments of a diverse society.

Bravo to the students at NYU for voting with their feet. But it's a shame that TLA will not be teaching there. I was hoping that there will be vigorous discussions in her classes that will challenged her homophobic views.

TLA and her gang will probably be more resolved in pushing the heterosexist agenda in Singapore. This battle may be won but the war is not over yet.
Comment #21 was deleted by its author
Comment #22 was deleted by its author
23. 2009-07-23 22:04  
Comment 17, I don't know whether she's Vietnamese or not but I do know that it is definitely NOT the point and that, by making an attack based on her ethnic origins rather than her opinions, you end up behaving exactly like her. Sad.
In case you forgot, there is no such thing as "justifiable" racism.

Comment 19, I would like to suggest that civilisation starts when the vicious circle of action/reaction is finally questioned - and hopefully stopped - by one or many individuals. Read Gandhi and you will think differently about "tit for tat", "Irak for WTC" and the like...

Comment 20 I agree with you 100%. If that teacher and all the likes of her stopped wanting to tell other people how they should BE, who they should LOVE and who they can F**K or not F**K the problem would simply disappear.
I don't like her looks but i'm not going to Parliament to demand that they be changed. I just avoid dressing or doing my hair like hers, hahaha !
24. 2009-07-23 22:16  
Comment 23, precisely! As long as she doesn't stop with the arrogance and disguised dictation, the hardcore activists would react even more aggressively and this issue would just blow further out of proportion. How do we expect to educate and promote understanding (which activism should really be about) when everyone's become engrossed in their rage? Many of us grow up learning to live and let live, and yet she's just not giving us the peace to live the way we want, which in no way harms anyone else.
As long as no one is harming anyone, just leave us alone already!
25. 2009-07-23 22:47  
=)....
"good bye darling,
take care and all the best to your bunch of straws "
muah
lol~~~~
26. 2009-07-23 22:52  
THIS COMPLETED MY DAY WITH A CHERRY ON TOP!!!

I would have to give a shout of HALLELUJAH for that righteous move!
27. 2009-07-23 22:54  
and TWO THUMBS UP to #3!
28. 2009-07-23 23:23  
Singapore, though not at the forefront of human rights, would not wanna be seen as a country filled with ignorant, intolerence and bigotry. The key word here is being inclusive regardless of race and sexual orientation. So far, I only see retaliation and the community speaking out in defense. We are not rallying for a gay agenda neither are we promoting a gay lifestyle as she has implied. All we asking for is "you lead your life, we lead ours".
This is just the begining.
29. 2009-07-23 23:41  
Thio Family down 2-1! No place for Bigotryin this society!
30. 2009-07-23 23:51  
Okay so Thio Li-ann will not be going to NYU after all, and the reasons for it are;

1. the hostility of the legal community; and,

2. the dismal enrolment (I wonder if the invisible hand that guides the market forces of demand and supply had anything to do here - just a wild guess.)

But I wonder if there could have been another final ... ahem ... *straw* that might have broken the camel's back.

Just last night, I had dinner with a friend of mine who is somewhat religious, updating her on the latest news about my activism.

Pardon the religious overtones that's coming next, but with reference to exactly this issue - this latest twist had of course not broken yet - she said, and I quote: "In all likelihood, you will look back at these tussles with the religious types as God's sense of humour."

What my friend meant was that God deliberately sends exactly those people claiming to be inspired by Him, but those who are not *of* Him will only end up tripping over themselves, and exposing themselves to be exactly what He does not want for His children.

Prophetic words.
Comment edited on 2009-07-24 00:00:50
31. 2009-07-23 23:55  
Thio continues to paint herself as a victim of gay activists. We're the victims here...not her! She has chosen to publicly support the criminalization of consenting gay men having sex in private. You are the offender Thio!
Comment edited on 2009-07-24 00:02:08
32. 2009-07-23 23:57  
We would have survived her appointment.
33. 2009-07-23 23:59  
Oops, forgot something else my friend said.

Megan also reminded me to tell true Christians who are allies, and I would include her in that category, to also remember the story of David and Goliath and if that wasn't a parable about the oppressed fighting the injustice against them.
34. 2009-07-24 00:09  
The students at NYU, as they voted with their feet, also showed TLA (and us) that they deem her arguments and objections moot, (as the under 40 segment in the USA have basically moved beyond her banal stance on same-sex issues)...that her objections to homosex-uality are irrelavant (not worth wasting their time and their tuition to attend bohemian lectures or waste their breath with her on rebuttals and discussions), and her base of knowledge and opinion do not in any way apply to their careers. Her own relentless hubris is making her a pariah world-wide, and soon I predict, her own local "choir" will toss her out on her prejudiced arse. Ding-dong, the witch is "dead" (at least at NYU).
35. 2009-07-24 00:20  
It is a pity that she did not take up the position , as the intellegent NYU students could have questioned her on her views!Is she against anal sex (str8s and gays )? Is she against gays being allowed privacy in their relatioinships.?Is she against gays being discriminated against in all aspects of life ? Does she equate 'curing' of homosexuality with denial that it is a fact for life for most gays ? [Lots of people/guys fuck about with guys and then marry. They may claim to be cured and claim forgiveness in the reborn situation .Let them, poor things l!!} These and other questions could determiine, in a free and democratic society ( unlike Singapore's) whether she could be termed a human rights expert. It could have been instructive to hear and put under severe and intellectual questioning in an open society in the USA , her credentials as a HR expert and to hear her views on Asian HRs !.She is now left to fester and do harm, as a so called HR expert (presumably recognised as an expert by the NYU when they invited her )in a closed and largely unquestioning Singapore to spread her religious right ( also found in the US of A ) personal and political views
36. 2009-07-24 00:28  
Yeah. I would have preferred for her to go there to face the music, so that she can be exposed to diverse views. She is too sheltered by Singapore's heterosexist agenda.
37. 2009-07-24 01:21  
if your life is fulfilling and meaningful and filled with excitement to share true values of finding happiness in this turbulence world, you will not have the time to go figure out what others do behind close doors, have a 20minutes speech about a behaviour that you dont even subscribe to or have any relevant experience in doing, or write a 17point essay on a topic that is of the least interest in your life.

i dun even think about analsex or talk so passionately about it as our beloved dr thio.

imagine that amount of research, and the amount of imaging that happens in her mind, whenever she sees 2 guys together.

that must be either hell or heavenly for her :)
38. 2009-07-24 01:33  
Sadly that brings her right back to Sg. Lol.
39. 2009-07-24 02:58  
Hang on a second, she 's going to to lecture about the course on Human Rights in Asia yet she said, "... I am in favour of oppressing any community in Singapore or elsewhere."

Who granted her doctorate title and how the hell did she get it? Smart were the ones who rejected her.
40. 2009-07-24 03:02  
In Dr. Thio's defense, she is right when she says there is no consensus on the issue of gay sex in America. The landmark case she cited before the Singaporean lawmakers, Lawrence v. Texas (2003), was a 6-3 decision striking down Texas' sodomy law. It was highly unusual in that it overturned Bowers v. Hardwick from only 17 years earlier where the court ruled 5-4 upholding Georgia's similar law. Courts at the federal level throughout the United States are unlikely to be guided by Lawrence, and indeed have shown a wide range of opinion on the matter.

Scalia, (the late) Rehnquist and Thomas all dissented in the Lawrence decision. It makes me wonder. If Scalia or Thomas had been invited to lecture at NYU for a semester, would there have been the same uprising at the school? Would Scalia and Thomas have been deemed automatically disqualified from teaching a course on Human Rights? If Dr. Thio was a strong proponent of the war in Iraq, should she have been prevented from lecturing at NYU because most NYU students were against the war? Or did the NYU students feel they were on stronger ground sabotaging a female professor? A foreign professor? Can we be sure there was no element of sexism or xenophobia involved? Or was she simply deemed to be too monstrous, a la Hitler or Stalin or Robert Mugabe?

Voltaire is often, but wrongly, credited with the words: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." This is a concept so well-embedded in American society as to require any further words of exposition. I believe the NYU students have done their community a disservice by railroading Dr. Thio's appointment. They have lost out on a chance to exchange views, and to convince her on the wrongheadedness of her ways. This occasion will only harden her belief that America is not interested in a dialog with the rest of the world, only in moral imperialism.

As a former lawyer, I would have welcomed the chance to spar with Dr. Thio. Shame on those NYU students. And shame on the NYU administrators for giving in to this kind of pressure. Those kids need to wake up and smell the Constitutional coffee. You don't dispatch of opposing counsel in court with a petition drive. You do it with a well-reasoned argument, preferably in his or her face.
41. 2009-07-24 03:25  
Comment edited on 2009-07-24 03:31:17
42. 2009-07-24 03:28  
So if I read this right she is hurt (and surprised) that outside Singapore hers is a minority viewpoint?! - and that her views are considered completely backward?! Poor thing ... welcome to global citizenship. I hope the Singapore government also takes note.
43. 2009-07-24 05:14  
The good thing for the gay community now it seems that Dr. Thio's has highlighted the ignorance of what Singapore old elite stand for.

That is: The programmed Singaporean prejudice of human rights -Ironic eh? But now SG is back on the international map adn being watched thanks to her prejudice and intolerance.
44. 2009-07-24 05:32  
What a stark contast between Dr. Thio Li-ann & Mr. Anthony Yeo (see the other article by Mr. C. S Zhou), and both are my sister & brother-in-Christ!

I understand that Dr. Thio desires to follow the Lord and want to be the "salt & light of the world" and is an expert of the Law. And I have no doubt she has done a lot of good like helping the poor that we may not know of.

However Mr. Anthony Yeo had walked amongst us, communicated with us, communed with us and did not see us as "untouchables", but rather fellow human beings deserving dignity and respect.

Perhaps Dr. Thio should spend some time communicating with the "lepers" of the current... in CDC spending the last days with AIDS.

The Pharisees (also an expert of the Law then) thought they were doing the "right" thing but they missed the mark totally in applying the Principle of Love.

Dr. Thio, though I am not an expert of the Law, consider this:

"On hearing this, Jesus said, " It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this mean: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'a For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:12-13, a 13 Hosea 6:6)












45. 2009-07-24 06:08  
Underneath it all, this woman may be worthy of some compassion, it's just her hair I find offensive. If she and her type want to wear their hair like that in private then I suppose we should turn a blind eye but she must realise that her hair style is very offensive to most reasonable people and should not be allowed in public. And of course it would be abhorent if it was discussed openly as a normal, respectable hairstyle young peope could aspire to. Human rights simply can't extend to such depravities. This helmet haired fanatic mustn't be allowed to ram her folical preferences down everyone's throat!
Comment edited on 2009-07-24 06:12:20
46. 2009-07-24 06:57  
byebye, dont let the NYU door hit your ass on the way out.
47. 2009-07-24 07:19  
Boo-hoo-hoo. Run back to her feminist mentor mummy now for the next target. Yawn...zzz

(Excuse my post at #41.It lagged when I tried to edit for grammar and now appears blank and undeletable/editable. What's up with that Fridae?)

PS: #44, well said Amen!
Comment edited on 2009-07-24 07:20:52
48. 2009-07-24 07:58  
Godammit. I missed ANOTHER collective action by those acting on The Gay Agenda. How come I don't know what it is?! Where do I sign up? Should I have had an email or something about what WE are supposed to do this week?

And have I won a car or a holiday or, hell, even a toaster somewhere on that Agenda listing? Is that how it works?

Damnit... I think that Li-ann knows The Gay Agenda better than I do.

I am SUCH a rubbish homosexual... if I don't start achieving more on the Agenda, I'm afraid I'll get thrown out of the club...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to shove a straw up my nose. It's painful, sure, but I read Li-ann's comments about what I Should be doing, so, I better stick with the expert, right?

Ow. Ow. Owwwwwww...
49. 2009-07-24 08:10  
Probably been cruising Fridae and realised she was risking her career as an S&M dominatrix. (That's one way to explain her.) I understand she has tickets for Sleaze Ball this year and a great rubber outfit. The hair is a real problem, I think the shaved look would suit
50. 2009-07-24 08:45  
like mother like daughter both r witches ...... u christian paliban-BUM!!!!!!!!better get out frm singapore dun disturb the peace, harmony, unity. Respect our human rites!!!!!!!!!!!u both will be curse by evil.............u witches.......B.............condemn 2 hell......
51. 2009-07-24 09:12  
she loves to bully gays and spew hate in singapore from the protection of the parliament where she knows she won't be criticised. but when she has to defend her views on neutral ground, she crumbles. i guess we're stuck with her...but hopefully she'll be offered another teaching position somewhere that would appreciate her, like saudi arabia or zimbabwe
52. 2009-07-24 09:32  
Commenting on Seoulseeker's thoughts, its not worth the effort and time sparing with bigot and ignorance. The outcome would still be the same. Bigot will still be a bigot. It is in human rights to have freedom of speech and freedom of thoughts. But I honestly believed that TLA has a more pressing agenda, that is to execute those thoughts and ideals of hers into reality. The folks at NYU simply don't shared her views and thus, don't see the worthiness of attending her talks.
Ideas and Ideals could only be shared when there's a meeting of the minds. Conflicts only give rises to disagreements.
53. 2009-07-24 09:34  
Bulls (#49), I'm aghast that the outfits would still fit her!!
54. 2009-07-24 09:42  
Wait!... Yes, she is not at NYU... That means she is staying put here in Singapore for good? Oh no!!!... That also means she is going to continue her witchcraft along with her mother and her cult gang.

LGBTs of Singapore, this is the time we must stand firm and united. The "war" against us is not over yet. We must get ourselves ready and vigilant to defend our own rights and our freedom to love.

This witch is a bully and such a freaking bad actress! (And ugly too! The bible says God made us in his image... Well some thing went wrong on that fateful day!) She wants to play victim but yet the whole world can see through her lies! DOES THE PARLIAMENT NEED WITCHES LIKE HER????????????? Does Singapore need another witch after the Aware saga? Hell NO!!!


55. 2009-07-24 10:30  
To seoulseeker:

You wrote:

"Or did the NYU students feel they were on stronger ground sabotaging a female professor? A foreign professor? Can we be sure there was no element of sexism or xenophobia involved?...This occasion will only harden her belief that America is not interested in a dialog with the rest of the world, only in moral imperialism."

I wonder if you had the opportunity to read my post (#45) in the following discussion.

http://www.fridae.com/newsfeatures/2009/07/10/8610.lgbt-student-group-raises-concern-over-appointment-of-anti-gay-singapore-law-professor?n=sec

I am in an unusually advantageous position in this matter: I am an Indian Singaporean living in Canada now.

One thing that means, given that I am also very politically aware, is that I know what my country of birth stands for when it comes to official racism against the non-Chinese races. That's what I argued in my post in the link above: that based on previous precedents by the Singapore government - and I note that no other Singaporean has disputed me thus far - Thio Li-ann would likely be at NYU to advance the Singapore government's agenda of global Chinese supremacy.

I also said in that same post that she would try and accomplish this goal by attributing any criticism of her homophobia by Caucasians (and other Westerners) to "cultural insensitivity" to in turn allege racism: a sure way to paralyze white liberals into silence and ineffectiveness in problem solving (of homophobia in this case) otherwise.

It's a cunning ploy on the part of the Singapore government, and their small band of global disinformants in the war of attrition against human rights in Asia, to pave the way for the Chinese government in the future to assume the role that Singapore has thus far been doing.

This is where my residency in Canada becomes relevant: I know full well that there is no shortage of non-whites in N America who will help this Singapore-led charge, that seeks to impose cultural and political imperialism over all others by accusing the West of the same. And all because they cannot seperate their grievances around any racism that they might have experienced from the homopobia that we see in the likes of Thio.

Racialized peoples - the term in Canada that is replacing "people of colour" - in N America should not seek to mitigate their experience in racism in the continent by supporting the fascism that is coming out of Asia.

It is Thio Li-ann, and not the NYU students, who deserves to be designated the moral, cultural and political imperialist.
Comment edited on 2009-07-24 10:39:00
56. 2009-07-24 10:40  
@ 52, OrientSoul, who says "its not worth the effort and time sparing with bigot and ignorance." Does this mean we should simply ignore people like Dr. Thio? Or better yet, take up guns and execute them while they lay sleeping in their beds at night? Is this how the gay community would best quickly and efficiently solve its problems?

What about our parents--the "ignorant" ones who have a hard time understanding why their sons and daughters are gay? Should we simply spit in the faces of our "bigoted" parents who cannot understand who we are? Should we curse them for being close-minded fools? I couldn't do that to my parents.

Perhaps one day Dr. Thio will have a child, a child who is gay. Perhaps she will be more understanding then. Here in America we have seen how even Dick Cheney, our former vice-president, who led us to our present state of financial and military ruin, can be a compassionate man towards gays because he has a gay daughter. But until Dr. Thio does, I would hope that our gay community would continually engage and challenge her, not dismiss her or laugh at her hair or disparage her looks. If we were to get rid of everyone in the world who disagreed with us in even the slightest manner, what kind of world would be living in? No world at all.
57. 2009-07-24 10:48  
I suspect Fridae's readers misunderstand Dr Thio.

She sounds like a nasophiliac (for her, taking fluid thru a nasal straw is an act of passion).

Wanting to share in the fun, I have started inhaling thru a straw. It was a bit uncomfortable at first (kinda like that other thing we do), but later became quite enjoyable - especially when the fluid came from a sexy guy. But the fluids didn't stay in, they just seemed to dribble out the other nostril. (Maybe Dr Thio could tell me how she does it.)

Can't wait for her next sex tip.

58. 2009-07-24 11:04  
Gay Agenda? What gay agenda?

I am just a normal gay guy who has to work and struggle for a living so that if I fall ill, I will have money to pay for my hospital bills, either directly or through my insurance.

I do not need some authority figure to go around telling and influencing people that I am a criminal because I am gay. And when the 'normal' people, who have been brainwashed that being gay is a choice and a crime, knows that I am gay, will want to talk to me so that I know how to be a 'normal' person.

Do you know how hard it is to already lead a normal life without being shoved by 'normal' people physically and mentally?
"Why you do not like women?"
"Don't you want to cure yourself?"
etc, etc, etc....

If being gay, and wish that I am not judged by others for being gay is the Gay Agenda, then I am all for the Gay Agenda.
59. 2009-07-24 11:18  
57#-therd9 : I suspect its all in her mind. She's probably not getting enough. Closest thing to intimacy she had is probably the straw she so much enjoy.
Seoul, I applaud your gutso in the continuing your crusade on being the fore runner of a spokes person on gay activism. This is what human rights is all about. A voice to be heard and a channel where it ccould be heard. How you want to say it. Where you want to say it.
60. 2009-07-24 12:33  
I suspect her “principled moral opposition to homosexuality” stems from her conversion to Christianity in the late 1980s. Many Christian sects are notoriously intolerant in this regard, particularly the newer American influenced versions. They’ll cheerfully ignore Old Testament bans on pork products, or wearing cloth with 2 kinds of thread, but happily condemn ‘man lying with man’ that’s mentioned in the same book.

Still, we are fortunate that few Christians today support pogroms, sectarian violence, religious wars, crusades, burning scientists, witch trials, book burnings, star chambers, inquisitions, church based torture, colonialism, slavery, preventing women voting, child abuse, castration of choristers or any of the many other abominations that have been a feature of Christian life over the past 2000 years. That fact that so few Christians openly support these atrocities today shows that Christian thinking can change for the better…even if it takes a few centuries.

The same thing will happen with their anti-gay views. Already more enlightened factions reject the hate based intolerance of the majority. There are even a few sects that allow gay clergy In time this number may grow and hopefully the “principled moral opposition” of bigots like Li-ann will recede into the dusty pages of history. In the mean time, it is up to the rest of us reject their hate-based agenda and stand up for the brother hood (and sisterhood!) of humanity.

Just one question…what kind of university employs a person like this as a “human rights” instructor? Is it full of similar laughably contradictory positions… or perhaps a little nepotism was involved in this particular appointment?
61. 2009-07-24 13:02  
I also want to know more about this alleged "Gay Agenda". Where can I find a copy of it?
When African-Americans were "uprising", rioting and literally fighting and dying for their rights, through the 60's, 70's and 80's in the USA did they operate from the base of a "Black Agenda"?
When feminists first began lobbying for their rights to vote, rights for equal pay and equal benefits, rights to have a modicum of control over their own bodies, were they implementing a "Female Agenda"?

TLA has come forth with an 18 point "I'm hurt and really pissed-off" statement...I now charge her to come forth with this alleged "Gay Agenda" to which she often alludes as she's self-richeously, self-servingly preaching exclusion, oppression as she spreads lies, propaganda and myths on her wobbly little parlimentary soapbox.

TLA: we're concerned about HUMAN rights.....IF there is an "agenda" it is not a "hidden" agenda...it is not a "perverse" agenda, it is not an agenda against family or against religion. It is an agenda of Equal Human Rights Under the Law...it is for equal treatment, equal benefits, equal status, equal opportunity, equal protection regardless of where we choose to stick our straws.
62. 2009-07-24 14:03  
Can we all Singaporeans write a petition to NYU Law School for her to live there and teach, and NOT come back to Singapore?
63. 2009-07-24 14:38  
'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!!!' I would like to write alot to express my thoughts. But alot has been said and expressed, and therefore me thinks TLA needs to have an early retirement and start volunteeing for AFA. Perhaps they will open up her heart & change her prissy, self righteous, cowardly attitude. The LGBT community can only pray for her redemption from her clouded, narrow mindset... God be with her...
Comment #64 was deleted by an administrator
65. 2009-07-24 14:42  
Yippy yippy yippy! The witch is gone!
66. 2009-07-24 14:58  
from the dean ........"But situations such as these, despite the unfortunate pain that they inflict, also serve as learning experiences..."

next time dean, pls do your research before employing anyone. all u need to do is google your candidate name, so simple right? i thought lawyers are smart people haha.
67. 2009-07-24 15:29  
It was just a very lazy and 'easy' response by that lady to start claiming that those who opposed her were/are acting from some kind of organised and orchestrated point of view; as though agitators, rather than ordinary Individuals, were responsible.

It's what the Iranian government said about the role of foreign governments on its current crisis; it's what the Chinese government said about the recent riots it faced etc; it's what Lots of people in power tend to do whenever a problem comes along - try blaming it on other parties, instead of realising that the vast majority of people hear of something happening, and then decide to act on that by themselves, based on their individual belief, rather than being 'motivated' by some murky group in the background.

As someone else pointed out very well above, it's a LOT easier for her to say her nonsense back home in Singapore - bubble of intolerance that it is - than to venture out into the rest of the world, and specifically into 'the decadent West', where she would face real opposition and very real challenges that she won't get at home.

Hmmm. Unless she went to Texas, where she'd probably be welcomed with open arms...
68. 2009-07-24 15:37  
She would have been eaten alive if she had gone to NYU. Check out the the intelligent responses from everyone who have contributed to the rebuttals on http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/07/14/the-oppressor-and-victim-is-who-and-what-now/

I have mixed feelings about this. I didn’t want tla to have NYU in her portfolio. At the same time, it would have done her good to be there. In Singapore, she is a member of the English-educated right wing christian literati. She is not used to rebuttal and disagreement. Usually, she makes statements and people are silenced because of her status and position in society. Obviously she has no courage to face the challenge to her prejudiced and bigoted views.

It is really embarrassing that a supposedly qualified legal lecturer from the island of Singapore has that kind of response to mere disagreement with and rebuttal to statements she made. Says alot about the qualities and caliber of the academia in Singapore. It is obvious she has had no practice in legal and logical argument and her deep-seated prejudices are religious and cultural in nature.

It is also telling of her mindset that instead of engaging in what might have been an interesting and lively student-faculty debate, she chose to write a letter of complaint to the faculty and dean. That unfortunately is how the patriachal system of which is she an active member works. Students of NYU are right in deciding that she would not be able to contribute a qualified and dignified higher education in her time there.

Well, unfortunately she is back on this island and she is our problem. We did after all create the environment in which someone like her thrived and received support for her ideas.

Warwick University from the UK rejected a place in Singapore because of they feared they would not be able to discuss openly sensitive issues like homosexuality here. Other than Malaysia and countries in Africa, we are one of the few ex-British colonies that have retained the anti-sodomy law for homosexuals. The same law was repealed for heterosexual sex in 2007. Even China is more open than we are. And now we have an anti-gay rights activist rejected by NYU. As a Singaporean, I have no idea where to ‘put my face’.

Be kind. We are not all like that. We are trying to make changes too.
69. 2009-07-24 17:16  
Well, if nothing else, this incident has sparked some remarkable comments here. I'm impressed with the quality and insight of most contributions. Some of them like #45 (friskylad) are also hilarious. Thanks guys !
70. 2009-07-24 17:18  
first of all, it is so disappointing to see such professors in one the best uni in SIN, stupidly behaving in such passive-aggressiveness. one would expect some Ah Lian behave in such a way, but not a Law Prof. she couldnt come to NYU because of the hostility of people around her. this is a true example of a loudmouth who create controversy without thinking about consequences, and as a matter of fact, probably enjoying the attention as well. and now she is like "ooh, people hate me maa... i cannot talk anymore, i am vely scared one". what actually does she wants? and the fact that she is going to talk Human Rights in Asia, LOL......
71. 2009-07-24 18:05  
Just the fact she keeps repeating a "homosexual agenda" is sufficient to be suspect of her objectivity and ability to discern reality - and evidence of her having an agenda of her very own - which, in my view, is a fatal flaw in anyone's ability to teach anything.
72. 2009-07-24 18:09  
Well thank god......
How does a narrow minded fool do so well in academia?
Well so much for being too cool for school
AKA - Kool 4 skool?
73. 2009-07-24 18:24  
Yep, this is a very typical case of the "conspiracy syndrom". When a person can't cope with a group of human beings, usually for personal and highly neurotic reasons, they tend to rationalize their hate by viewing that group as an organized league with a hidden agenda against humanity, thus justifying the fact that this "dangerous" group ought to be destroyed (Hitler) or at least somehow forced back into the norm (TLA). There are innumerable examples in human history.

I understand your view, qxbdxp, but I'm sure you realize that if all teachers with a hidden agenda of some kind or other were to be removed from their post, schools and universities around the world would most likely be left with a mere handful of individuals to do the job...
74. 2009-07-24 20:18  
One thing she has succeeded very well in with her behaviour is to anger hundreds of American lawyers who are now, thanks to her, aware of the criminalisation of gay people in Singapore, and the sort of people and attitudes gays there have to contend with.

75. 2009-07-24 20:46  
It's not all 'bad news' for her though - I imagine that she'll be able to milk the story for all it's worth back home in Singapore, with a range of 'upsetting' interviews about her 'horrible' experience, and how 'The Gay Agenda' mobilised to 'crush her human rights', and 'hypocritically' moved to 'silence her freedom of speech', and so on.

In the newspaper business, we often say: "Some stories write themselves". Well, I'd bet good money that she's trotting out a ready-made story to local media at home right now, about 'evil' Western homosexuals 'once again', and how they don't want 'normal' people to be heard. Right?

Singaporeans - is she doing that, there? I'm curious... after all, if she was to speak her views here, in Ireland, she'd soon be in legal trouble, and potentially facing crimincal charges of incitement to hatred, but back in Singapore, I expect her to, as I said, be milking her story for every last drop of sympathy. Or cash. Is she?
76. 2009-07-25 06:22  
too bad she didnt come to new york, our gay community of forgiving men would most certainly like to help her update her look and charm her, we would even have invite her to a few parties in the hamptons or taken her to our gay and lesbian fellowship at the marble collegiate church on fifth avenue... lords knows she needs to meet more gay men excelling in life and who can charm her over... i think she needs to get off that small island for a while and interact with some real men who wont bully her

i do recommend Oribe to get rid of the helmet mallet haircut and update her look

hmm. if she came to New York she would leave her a better women and broaden her perspective and meet some interesting well groomed and affluent chaps
77. 2009-07-25 09:15  
I think her comments should be criminalised. Then perhaps she'll have an added appreciation for what she's talking about.
78. 2009-07-25 10:00  
Thio Li-Ann may be a dragon lady here, but is downsized pitifully to a Jimmy Cricket in US. This shows glaringly her anti-gay views (and that of many members of Parliament in Singapore) do not hold water in the international stage. At least MM Lee, despite steely demeanour raised from a past age, has the wisdom to acknowledge that discrimination against gays will fall eventually, like those against the blacks and women.
In a desperate bid to garner support thru her 18-pt rebuttal, she cited support of her anti-gay view from members of Parliament during infamous parliamentary debate. I think this is another bad move - pulling others down with you while your ship is sinking.
She and those politicians who support her, they are not my government! And I will show it (and I urge you all) during our next general election.
79. 2009-07-25 10:04  
Dear lagunabro, you are funny and sharp like many New Yorkers :)
Thanks for teaching Li-Ann a lesson. Many Singaporeans are just too meek and dumb :) to stand up for themselves, after years of conditioning and scare tactics. New Yorkers rocks!!!
80. 2009-07-25 11:00  
She's really incredible. A scholar should know that the most important thing is to be unbiased and objective in the analysis. Her perspective on homosexuality reveals the exact opposite of that. Yet, she justifies it in a thousand dumb ways. By that rationale, even Nazist' race perspective could be legitimate.
I think what happened was also a victory for singaporean LGBTs. Guys, what people like her want is to make us invisible. This shows this fight for basic equality is beyond borders.
And let us be clear about this: there is no room for xenophobia, homophobia and racism in academia ( and in politics).

Dr. Theo, i love you, you're so sexy when you're angry and humiliated=). Must feel like a straw up your nose.Oh god, you've just had anal sex!! enjoy the orgasm.
81. 2009-07-25 17:53  
One thing I don't understand. Being a professor means that you have some advanced knowledge or ability to pass on to others, right? Ms Thio Li-ann, by supporting the continued oppression of LBGT in Singapore, surely the most oppressed and most deprived of minority groups in that place, has shown that she doesn't have this advanced knowledge or ability, especially in her chosen field of human rights.

If they really wanted to employ her, isn't there something else the bitch could teach, like beauty therapy, or cooking, something more suited to her intellectual level?

Just a question, you know.
82. 2009-07-25 18:31  
hey, our bisexual polo team is playing polo in the hamptons next week, too bad she will miss us play... a couple of my friends even wanted to get her some tickets for new york fashion week and we are even ready to kick in a free seat on the sex and the city tour bus with drinks later at Butter...
83. 2009-07-25 20:45  
Can somebody tell me what Homosex means......?
Is there such a word.......?
Singlish.....?
84. 2009-07-26 01:55  
seoluseeker@56:

Our relationships with our parents are private ones. I trust we all capable of flexibility in approach when dealing with homophobia in our private relationships.

Our relationship with public figures is an entirely different ballgame.

Thio Li-ann is paid from Singapore public funds - and NY/US public funds as well, had it not been for the cancellation of her classes; she's accountable to the public as a consequence.
Comment edited on 2009-07-26 01:56:32
85. 2009-07-26 09:03  
Ms Thio and gang scream murder every time their jobs are threaten because of their own doings, but they will insist that laws are to be left intact, in spite of these laws taking away value of other people's lives.

They do this all the time.

They can't even pretend that they believe every person should have equal rights.

They are giving gay people a hard time, so at some point, gay people push back. And this sort of whining is the best they can muscle up.

I think the saying or lyrics to a song goes, "you give as good as you take, if you can't take the heat, get off the fucking street."
Comment #86 was deleted by an administrator
87. 2009-07-27 11:20  
"She explained that she was disappointed by what she called the atmosphere of hostility by some members of our community towards her views and by the low enrollments in her classes."

Retribution, my dear Ms Page 73. Evidently she couldn't handle being on the receiving end of all the hatred and bigotry, and so decided to remain here where she can crow loudly without any fear of being ostracised.

This really speaks volumes about the cultural and even political situations in our country.

88. 2009-07-28 02:22  
I don't see how a law professor, who was an NMP, can actually be "bullied" by the words of students and the gay community to the extent where she needs to cry foul while still being a sore bitch, yet not realising that she's bullying the whole gay community through discriminatory legislation and insensitive (or even outrageously rude) remarks.
HELLO, just look at the ridiculous difference in magnitude.

If anything, at the very least it's entertaining to watch her plot her very own demise.
Comment #89 was deleted by its author
90. 2009-07-29 01:56  
She's a "victim" now??? ROTFL What a cowardly hypocrite.

This is classic bully behaviour. Loudly condemn and judge others when in a position of power. But as soon as the tables are turned, cry foul and run to mummy. I am the victim. Poor me. They judged and condemned me...

Judge not lest ye be judged in turn. Treat others like you would be treated. Hypocrisy dwells not in the mind of the deluded and self righteous.

I think we should all encourage her to write a book on human sexual practices and the deviancy thereof. She can fill it with great original and astounding insights like the drinking straw metaphor. Every time I see a straw now I think anal sex... I would buy a copy for the sheer entertainment value. It will be a worldwide bestseller in no time. The next Borat... bringing laughter to all corners of civilisation.

But seriously, good bloody riddance to rotten evil rubbish. It was great that (a) she was invited to the position despite (or because of) her bigoted views AND (b) the people voted with their feet.

5 people enrolled! Ba ha ha ha ha ha. (Could it be that she saw this tragic figure and decided to quit, and found it convenient to blame the wicked homosexual political agenda?)

God works in mysterious ways.
91. 2009-07-31 10:43  
For friends from oversea who are not familiar to Singapore, Dr. Thio Li-ann is a role model of local social norm. Faithfully listen to the govenement; get married, have 2 kids (oh, now its more the better…if you are 'rich'). When kids grow up, they find good jobs and they get marry and have more kids. Perfect family model and this is what we are taught, we see, we think and we believe. There are so many 'do as I say...perfect families' in Singapore. They don’t look beyond. 'Gay' is beyond so is abnormal and should be suppressed. Call Dr. Li-ann witch or bitch, whatever, nevertheless, there are many more 'Dr. Li-ann' in Singapore. Of all, there is the biggest 'Dr. Li-ann' in the parliament. Every candidate specially selected from 'perfect family model' who see, think and believe they are normal and perfect. Even they have the slightest sympathy and dare voice in favor of minority, chances are they may be castered out the next day. So, beat them or join them? Sad!
92. 2009-07-31 21:15  
Post 91 "Dr. Thio Li-ann is a role model of local social norm. "

Isn't she around 40+, single, no kids?
93. 2009-08-01 11:00  
I think the point of this article is to bring awareness to the lack of tolerance in society. Yet, "we" the gay community, are unable to tolerate the people who cannot accept our lifestyle choice or some would argue lack of choice. While I understand things are different in Singapore, and I wont pretend to know what to do about it. The haters will continue to hate, and we the lovers will have no choice other than to continue, without a doubt to love. Spread the msg of love :)
94. 2009-08-01 18:09  
My view is that she is not criticizing gay group, but just on certain sexual practices - anul sex. We have no idea why she thinks like this. Bad experience could lead to that. We would have to learn to respect others. Yet I think as a prominent figure of the society she would have to learn politeness, tolerance, and respect towards groups of diversity in any nature. The speech amounts to discrimination against sexual orientation. Students of NYU Law School might have just expressed their views on justice which is reflected by the low enrollments of her course.

If the International Convenent on Civil and Political Rights protects against discrimination on sex(gender), we might ask does sex includes gender as well as sexual orientation?


Comment edited on 2009-08-01 18:11:01
95. 2009-08-02 10:13  
There is a very well written comment posted in the Strait Times.
Here is the link:

http://www.straitstimes.com/ST+Forum/Online+Story/STIStory_410761.html:

Before this comment is removed, I think it is better for me to copy and paste it below:

"Academic freedom not on par with basic human freedom"

I REFER to Thursday's commentary, 'What academic freedom?' While the points raised have merit, it is important to note that there are ramifications to what an individual chooses to express in his personal capacity in the public sphere, on his professional life. It is perhaps even naive to think the two can be compartmentalised.

This is especially so considering that Professor Thio Li-ann's vehemently anti-gay views are in conflict with the fundamental meaning of human rights - the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, a component of which arguably includes gay rights - that she was engaged to teach at New York University (NYU).

Look at it this way: If a gay individual in Singapore were to stand up and openly flaunt his sexuality in a conservative company or society at large in government-deemed conservative Singapore, then he should be prepared for the professional, social and even economic consequences such as discrimination in the workplace.

The environment one chooses to work, live and play in comes into focus. The operative word here is choice.

Prof Thio had chosen to take up a position to teach human rights at NYU, a place where themes like diversity and inclusion are not just tolerated but accepted and perhaps even celebrated. Thus, she should have been prepared for her strong anti-gay views and beliefs, which she had so willingly volunteered in the public sphere, to be dissected in such manner by the students and faculty of NYU.

Prof Thio is not a victim here.

In fact, this is an illustration that discriminatory viewpoints which may have widespread acceptance in Singapore, where discrimination against homosexuals is built into the legal framework, are simply not tolerated in other parts of the world that embrace the true meaning of human rights.

Kudos to the 808 students and faculty members who signed the online petition opposing Prof Thio's appointment at NYU to teach human rights in Asia, calling it 'inappropriate and offensive'.

Indeed, how can anyone even consider the importance of academic freedom on par with basic human freedom?

Jamie Alicia Nonis (Ms)


Thanks and Kudos to the writer, Ms. Jamie Alicia Nolis!

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