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2 Jul 2019

Singapore radio star barred from giving TED talk at university

Organisers at Singapore Polytechnic cancelled Joshua Simon’s talk when he refused to change gender pronouns and remove his coming out story.

A TED talk by a Singapore radio presenter was cancelled by Singapore Polytechnic University after he refused to remove LGBT themes. Joshua Simon, host at Kiss92 FM, was set to give a speech on identity and the true self on Saturday (29 June). Simon told Gay Star News he was excited to share his story of how a serious break up forced him to come out to his father one year ago.
However, when handing a copy of his script to organisers the day before, he was asked to remove male gender pronouns. Organisers also asked him to take out the coming out story. When he refused, Singapore Polytechnic removed him from the event, citing Ministry of Education rules.
To read more, click here! [ insert hyperlink on “here” to https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/singapore-radio-star-barred-from-giving-ted-talk-at-university/#gs.mbjo27

A TED talk by a Singapore radio presenter was cancelled by Singapore Polytechnic University after he refused to remove LGBT themes. Joshua Simon, host at Kiss92 FM, was set to give a speech on identity and the true self on Saturday (29 June). Simon told Gay Star News he was excited to share his story of how a serious break up forced him to come out to his father one year ago.

However, when handing a copy of his script to organisers the day before, he was asked to remove male gender pronouns. Organisers also asked him to take out the coming out story. When he refused, Singapore Polytechnic removed him from the event, citing Ministry of Education rules.

To read more, click here!

Singapore

Reader's Comments

1. 2019-07-03 01:16  
Hopefully this narrow minded group will eventually see the light. In a time when other governments and countries are opening up to the fact that there are ALL kinds of people living on this planet, it will eventually happen I hope. We in the states are constantly making progress and continuing to move forward to an all inclusive society. There is hope.
2. 2019-07-03 05:38  
I would have held the talk somewhere else, plenty of places to give a talk especially given that it is being broadcast online.
3. 2019-07-03 12:01  
Universities should be a venue for education, enlightenment and open discussion. It appears that Singapore remains in the dark ages and would prefer to promote ignorance and discrimination. The students would be much better to study overseas where healthy and broad education policies are encouraged.
Comment edited on 2019-07-03 12:04:50
4. 2019-07-04 20:57  
@melbguy90 - "It appears that Singapore remains in the dark ages" What sort of senseless comment is that? Please tell me. You are talking about one of the most advanced countries in the world, the envy of most, one which has risen from a swamp with no natural resources other than its people in little more than half a century.

I do not know how many times you have been to Singapore and how much you really know about its politics and government. Please understand that Singapore is not Melbourne or Australia. Singapore may not be your idea of paradise, but there is a great deal wrong with Australia and how Australia developed with its abuse of native aborigines and the abuse of young children shipped from Britain and ... need I say more?

The suggestion that students should go overseas for study is utterly ridiculous. Who is going to pay for that? Will you start a fund?
5. 2019-07-05 14:33  
Hi gunoilh20, thank you for your comments.
Yes Singapore is one of the most advanced economies in the world but clearly still in the dark ages when it comes to LGBTIQ rights and their acceptance. Their policies and attitudes towards this group are hardly progressive and that is why I made that comment. It was intended to be a comment in relation to this article and nothing more.
I have been to Singapore many times and understand that it is a conservative country. In my opinion that does not provide a veil to hide behind and excuse discrimination. The seed needs to be sown for change and I acknowledge that it may be a slow process in their case.
Of course no country is perfect and Australia has had some very poor policies in the past and indeed now. We do at least acknowledge them and are going some way on making amends. These are for a different debate and I would rather stay on topic of this article.
Encouraging students to study overseas is far from ridiculous if they are able to receive an education that will allow debate, questioning and research in order to broaden their minds and life experience. Of course the expense may be out of reach for many but hopefully even they will realize that they can look to other opportunities to learn and question.
The worst we can do is say it's too hard and point the finger at other issues and try and divert attention from the points raised in this article.
6. 2019-07-05 21:36
Hi melbguy90 - I thank you for the courtesy of your reply to what I know were my quite strong comments. You are a gentleman.

I first visited Singapore in 1980. I have visited the city state more than 80 times since then, partly for work, partly to meet friends. Many of my visits were just for 2 or 3 days. Some were for a month or two. I think you could probably say that most Asian countries - and I have spent time in virtually all - are basically conservative. I believe we all have to remember that most Asian countries were in whole or in part colonised (or in the case of Japan closed to outside influence because that is what the shoguns wished). Under the colonial yolk, none could develop as western countries developed.

I think we also have to remember that after the traders and colonisers arrived, the missionaries were not far behind. Asia as a region was pretty accepting of homosexuality for centuries. Thailand, for example, never had a word for homosexuality until it decided to adopt western customs and values in the 1930s. Certainly Asia was far more accepting than those living in the rich western nations. Then the British introduced their anti-sodomy law in England and immediately adopted it in all their colonies. Odd that no other colonising power did likewise. But then after Britain went bankrupt fighting World War 2 and decided to pull out of their "Empire" with seeming indecent haste, they left that law on the statute books. And then they decided they would decriminalise homosexuality in their own land in the 1960s, they left many countries stuck with their surface Victorian morality as far as gay men are concerned.

I can perfectly understand why Lee Kuan Yew did not repeal that law. He had to fashion a multi-cultural state comprising Chinese, Muslims, Malays and Indians. Add in the Christian influence, which has in recent decades became pretty much Evangelical in the worst meaning of that term. Lee could not afford to alienate any section of the population. It therefore was of benefit to him to maintain Section 377A. He himself was also pretty much of a dictator - albeit a benevolent one. If you did not do as he wished, you were out - and probably in jail.

So to expect Singapore to develop culturally in the same way as Australia or Britain or the Netherlands or the USA is, in my view, quite ridiculous. All countries are different with different histories and traditions. I don't agree that western values HAVE to be imposed on any country. That's a bit like George Bush Jnr. believing that by invading Iraq he was introducing democracy to the Middle East. That was a disaster of frightful proportions and the effects will continue for many more years.

I have met hundreds if not thousands of Singaporeans some of whom remain friends after many years. The fact is that most gay men are able to live a happy and contented life. There are gay bars, gay saunas, gay cruising, gay chat rooms . . . Most Singaporeans are more highly educated than many of their western counterparts. They debate better than many, they question and they research. To suggest otherwise is, frankly, untrue. They know Singapore will eventually change. But they also know that they prefer to have all the benefits of being a citizen of Singapore - owning their own apartments, benefitting from excellent education, a thriving arts and culture scene etc. - than to exchange them for all the freedoms enjoyed in the west. Of course some want change to come more quickly. Great! I'm sure they are working away at it and eventually they will chip away old prejudices.

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