Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stubborn minded people are dangerous

I notice something common between LHL and this woman. They like to start their message using straw man logic.

May 27, 2009
Religion still has its place
By Jeremy Au Yong, Political Correspondent

(Left, daughter of self-claimed Feminist Mentor) Nominated MP Thio Li-ann. -- ST FILE PHOTO

RELIGION and politics should not mix, but that does not mean religion has no place in public life.

Nominated MP Thio Li-ann argued at length in Parliament on Tuesday that secularism, as practised in Singapore, did not exclude religion.

Referring to Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng's recent reiteration that religion and politics must not be mixed, she said that while this was sound, 'there are difficulties of definition as no bright line demarcates 'religion' from 'politics'.

She added: ' 'Secularism' is a protean, chameleon-like term. What it means depends on the context and who is using it; it can be a virtue or a vice. It is timely to eschew glibness and examine the Singapore model of secularism with precision.'

In the first place no one is excluding religion, or saying religion has no place in public life.

2ndly, she is trying hard to link or blur
public life with politics. Bcos if religion has a place in public life, then it should in politics too, since both are legitimate going by her argument.

But she is mistaken. For e.g. it may be my belief that eating sharks fin is a terrible thing and sharks fin eaters are stupid and irresponsible fuckers. This is private and this belief remains within me. My actions in public is also personal, i do not eat sharks fin. I do not vocalise my belief in public or go around getting other people to share this belief. Maybe there are some other people who also believe in the same thing. And the public calls us Sharkists or other stupid names. But that is about it. We don't start to go around invading Chinese restaurants and take over their menu decision.

So that is the difference between public life and politics. Politics affect everyone, not just yourself.

By way of elaboration, she pointed out that during the parliamentary debate a few years ago on whether or not to have casinos in Singapore, many MPs prefaced their speeches by stating their faiths.

'Everyone has values, whether shaped by religious or secular ideologies; all may participate in public discourse to forge an ethical social consensus. This is democratic and cherishes viewpoint diversity,' she said. 'While religion is personal, it is not exclusively private and has a social dimension which is not to be trivialised.'

Prefacing speeches by stating one's faith is perfectly ok to me. But to base their political decisions on faith or values grounded in faith is another thing. The latter will no longer be secular liao. Besides, the casino debate, if i recall correctly, ended up being one of weighing economic benefits against social ills.

Also, this is more of a case where we have PAP MPs who are simply going along with their political boss, appease their constituents or members of certain faiths. It is a no-brainer.

Rather naive for an NMP like Thio not to understand this but instead tries to subtlely reinterpret the facts.



Alan Wong said...

Isn't she a bore ?

She seems to be harping on the same 2 issues as her infamous self declared feminist mentor mother, namely her faith and her anti-gay stand.

Are these 2 issues of such importance that it has to be debated in Parliament ?

Shouldn't she be more concerned about other more important issues such as the current recession & GIC/Temasek losses ?

Her grumble about unprofessional journalists in Parliament was really unnecessary. It would have been more appropriate if she have complained directly to the newspaper concerned.

I sense that it only shows that she has a personal axe to grind during her Parliamentary debate. And that she wasn't debating for the general good of the public.

Donaldson Tan said...

Why is Thio Li-Ann still single? No eligible bachelor at Cornerstone Community Church?

Xtrocious said...

To Donaldson

Isn't TLA committing a 'sin' as well by not being married and bearing children? hahah

Jokes aside, if she calls the rest of us "militant secularists", what about those from Joe's Army?

Pot shouldn't be calling the kettle black no?

Anonymous said...

In an ideal world ...
Back on planet Earth, politics is almost inevitably mixed with religion. Eg, Republican = christian right. Green parties in various parties. Hindu parties in Inida. Taliban. etc, etc. with exception of Communist country, dictatorships and possibly Singapore.

Because religion is a powerful rallying force.

Using the shark fin analogy + straw man logic, u will notice that there are many green groups that try to discourage shark fin menu. Unlike perfect beings like urself, for lesser mortals who have not attained Nirvana tend to want to influence others if they believe strongly in an idea/belief (correctly/incorrectly).

Actually thats the whole idea of democracy and free speech. Bring the differences into the open, fight (figure of speech) and whoever wins ... gets to write the moral education/history textbook/laws/etc.

Yes she is a bitch. Haha. But at least she is brave enuff to stick out her neck for her belief.

Lesser Mortal

Recruit Ong said...

alan wong: Are these 2 issues of such importance that it has to be debated in Parliament ?

ya i also say.. same as today this other beh kan MP asking vivain about the Liu Guodong vs STTA saga.

who the fuck cares about Liu Guodong? This fucker already took the bonus money and left Spore. Now he goes around whining about his coach of the year award?! knn now PRC so big fuck can tell STTA wat to do & even bring up in parliament?

Jackson Tan said...

My personal views are slightly different from yours. I believe that it is alright to bring religion (or for that matter, personal belief) into politics, but one has to:

1) not interfere with the (equal) rights of other religions,
2) convince people of other religion to accept your ideas.

This is because most people's moral system are shaped by numerous factors including religion, tradition, familiarity as well as principles. And sometimes, one's moral system compels oneself to make a effort to change society. And perhaps I should add:

3) if people reject your idea, accept it graciously.

Take your shark fin example. Now, I'm not sure the reason why you choose not to eat shark fin, but if it is the typical reason of environmentally destructive, then you not eating shark fin is one minute step towards saving the sharks. However, that is not going to make an impact. The sharks are still going to die; the environment is still going to be destroyed; the marine ecosystem is still going to be wrecked.

So with regards to saving the sharks, there are two approaches. One is to take a principled stand for oneself and not eat shark fin. Alright. Another approach is to convince/coerce/force others not to eat. This, will have a positive impact on the shark population. The first approach may be motivated by "save the sharks" principle, but the sharks are still going to die. Like it or not, this principled stand is not going to change things. It is only by action - telling people not to eat shark fin - that really matters.

Now, if I apply my personal stand, I will definitely not support the methods of coercion. Neither should one harass or nag at others, or use shaming tactics. A reasonable way for a "save the sharks" person to go around reducing the consumption of shark fin is to reason, well, with others on why this is correct. If others reject the arguments, then this guy should have the courtesy of pulling back.

In fact, I think most people who advocate for saving the sharks do this, but I can't be sure, since I don't hang out with too many people. But then again, given the severe damage to the marine ecological system, I think, perhaps, some coercive action may be necessary.

Recruit Ong said...

Jackson Tan, i agree.
i think also... religion at the most basic level is about values.
the difficulty is how those values and teachings (which are usually vague) are interpreted or applied to everyday life, politics and state affairs (which are usually very specific).

not saying religious ppl cannot become politicians. but for some ppl sometimes their staunch faith overrides or impedes their thinking ability. hahaha

tikno said...

I agree with you.
We should make clear distinction between religion and state.