Polling Day: Eve of Merdeka? Answer, No.

 No Merdeka-ing tonight, sorry. 
Check soon for thoughts on results but enjoy the story. 

When I was attending St. Patricks School, an odd incident occurred that I wasn’t really able to comprehend until now.

It was close to the end of the year, Kids enjoying the relaxed mood of the pre school holidays week, after exams were over.
Three Sec 4 boys from the express stream (Morning section at the time) Were on their way out of school at they shouted MERDEKA! which means Independence in Malay.

This caught the ire of the disciplinary head teacher who was waiting at the gate trying to give problems to kids who were coming to school late or with untucked shirts.

He then reprimanded them, by making a display of them, making them stand on stage as he tried to make his point, something about Singapore’s independence how people shouted merdeka and whatever, it’s a bit of a blur to me now, and how it’s a sensitive word, because LKY cried or something. Look it wasn’t a convincing speech, I was just perplexed as to why this was punishable by public shaming.

I just thought, that’s odd, if the word Merdeka is not allowed to be uttered by students can I say the english version of it, Independence?
Would those boys be in trouble if had shouted Independence instead?
I just didn’t understand why that word needed to be censored especially in its very definition it symbolizes a good thing, Independence.

Remember this was the week after exams and these boys were done with secondary school education. So saying Merdeka in this context especially since two of them were Malays is relevant and well within the context of their life experience.

Needless to say, they got detention and the rest of the day went on as per usual for the rest of us and this incident went to the back of my mind until now.

I struggled to understand why the word Merdeka triggered the Discipline teacher so much, and here at the cusp of the GE2015, arguably the hottest election year in our history since 1965, We might actually gain independence from the PAP and the sovereignty of our minds, I think I finally understand him.

I think he took issue with the sec 4 boys saying merdeka because the idea of independent thought scares him that those kids dared utter words that defy conformity, he is the head of discipline after all, it was his duty that his students are molded the right way, a word that they love to use,”right”, which is utterly useless in the context of objectivity.

So Singaporeans
Is there going to be Merdeka at midnight?
Or are we going to have another five years of the same old shit?

Peace.

Malays and Muslims are NOT Synonyms (Thoughts on Cooling off Day)

The run up to the Singapore General Elections 2015 have been a real eye opener for me.
In my opinion none of the Malay candidates are fit to represent the Malay community with the exception of Noraini Yunus from the Reform Party, as they seem to be religiously motivated with talks about the Malay Muslim community.

I have a question for them.
I’m Malay in my Identity card.
I’ve renounced my faith and no longer Muslim.
Am I then, a Malay Atheist, excluded from your policies?
How about the Muslims who aren’t ethnic Malays, are they excluded too?
Lastly, is Singapore a secular country or do we need to have a partisan system of law and policies for Non Muslims and Muslims?

This is the problem that I have brought up in my previous posts, the Taboo of Apostasy and Singapore for Singaporeans (The Great Divide) where I highlighted that the Racial Harmony in Singapore is a farce more akin to Racial Profiling, this deep seeded identity politics runs so deep that Malays themselves identify as Muslims first rather than as Malays and this is at odds with the principle of secularism and creates a chasm between themselves, Ex-Muslims and everyone else.

Religion has no place in politics for only when governments are free of religious influence that everyone can enjoy freedom of religion and freedom from religion but as it stands now in Singapore, it seems like Islam is being used as a tool of politics by the Malay candidates and this is a frighting threat to secular democracy and serves only to divide the Malay community further. How can we be united when we’re so obsessed with each other’s piety?

The silver lining in the horizon is that there are more and more Muslims in Singapore who support secularism and there is also an increase in the amount of Muslims apostatizing from Islam within our shores but then why do we not hear about them?

The problem lies in the fact that we do not have freedom of speech in Singapore, Articles 298 and 292 have made it specifically clear that we cannot offend the feeling of the religious, which in itself is incredibly vague as offense is always taken and not given.
And I’m sure right now some people reading this are taking offence to the fact that I, a Malay ex-muslim, am criticizing them.
Secondly Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (Religious Council of Islam Singapore) has far too much authority and influence on the local Muslim community.
And lastly the ministerial position of “Minister in charge for Muslim Affairs”.
Think about it for a second, do we have a Minister in charge for Christian/Taoist/Buddhist/Jewish affairs? What makes Islam so important that we needed a position in Parliament just for it, instead of allowing Muslims to discuss amongst themselves through interfaith dialogues.
If practitioners of those faiths can settle their own religious discussions, why can’t muslims?

So this leaves us, Ex-Muslims outside of the dialogue that needs to happen, even though we’re still affected by policies effecting Malay Muslims because to many people they’re the same thing and it silences the community at large from having a discussion about Islam within the Malay Community because MUIS and the Ministerial position of “Minister In Charge of Muslim Affairs” are seen as the authority for Muslim issues.

Secularism is the principle of Separation of State and Religion.
Every policy brought up within government in terms of people should be to the benefit of all people regardless of their religion and having these 2 bodies speak on behalf of Muslims through government is clearly not Secular.

And Muslims have the biggest role to play, by treating religion as a personal belief instead of as a tool of behavioral control. You can see through mass media how the Malay Muslim community reacted to recent events.

muslim contest 2
Malay Minister holding a confetti cannon that looked like a champagne bottle and even if he did partake in the consumption of alcohol, so what?
It’s none of your business what he consumes but you’re half right, after all he is the Minister In Charge of Muslim Affairs and should set the standard of a “Good Muslim”, while another political candidate is lauded as as an exceptional Muslim because he openly prayed, amazing.

Abas
Another claims to champion minority rights but says he doesn’t agree with the move to repeal 377a the act that criminalizes male homosexuality, which is at odds with his Party’s stance, that this law needs to be repealed to ensure equality for all citizens.

Yet the one political candidate that does champion minority rights and secularism, issues effecting the malay community, yes malay community not malay muslim community, Ms Noraini Yunus hardly gets any recognition for her efforts.

Do you see the problem I’m talking about?
Where using religion as a form of behavioral control is not a good thing?
When there is a formal authority to decide on muslim affairs and issues.
You become obsessed with the piety of a person instead of the merit of their ideas and policies and the whole thing devolves into a pissing contest of who is the most pious.

I would love to see the Malay community become more inclusive with the rest of Singapore but first we need to remind ourselves that religion is a personal belief belief and that Malay is not synonymous with Muslim that first and foremost we are Singaporeans.

Peace

“A Secular(godless) state is the guarantee of religious pluralism. This apparent paradox, again, is the simplest and most elegant of political truths.”  – Christopher Hitchens

This article is also found on the Council of Ex-Muslims Singapore Facebook page.
Feel free to comment and share over there, if you don’t have a way of doing so here and would like to add your input.

The Taboo of Apostasy (from Islam)

I’ve had a few people asking me why it’s such a big deal for ex-muslims to come out.

It really shouldn’t be a big deal for a person to lose their faith or convert to another religion.

But within Muslim Communities, It’s still a very big taboo.

Niloy Neel was murdered by Islamists, people who believe in the divinity of Shariah, wherein apostasy is an act of treason and should be punished by death.

Our condolences go out to his family members and loved ones.

I’m lucky, I guess, I live in a country where Islamism is kept at bay, despite being surrounded by heavily Muslim neighbours, it’s really not that bad here but even so.

In a country like Singapore, many of my colleagues express their fear of coming out due to their parent’s disappointment, being outcast by family members and just being a societal pariah within the Malay and other Muslim majority ethnic communities and this emotional burden eats up at our relationships.

And all of this stems from the inability within the Muslim community to discus Islam, be it protected by shariah law or making it an offense to criticize religion for fear of “wounding religious feelings”.

In the west you have Authoritarian Leftist, Regressive Illiberals (who fancy themselves as liberals, the irony) who condemn any and all criticism of Islam and certain Muslims and their community as Islamophobia.

To these people, I would like to say, your shielding the majority of Muslims, the non Islamists ones, from a badly needed discussion to address how their religion is being hijacked, is putting our lives at risk, the Muslims who want to address the problem of Islamism and the apostates who want to leave Islam altogether, we’re not sorry we don’t play the victim card, it is due to our position where we find ourselves at that gives us the ability to understand how freedom of speech is crucial for progression and all you’re doing is keeping us back and keeping the majority of Muslims in complacency, while allowing Islamists to terrorize us.

And in the East you have Islamists exacting holy law on non believers and if that’s not happening, the very act of apostasy is taboo.

To any Muslims, reading this.
It’s time for a discussion about Islam between yourselves.
If you support secularism and human rights, we support you too.

But as Ex-Muslims, our priority is not the reformation of Islam, it is to provide support for people who have left Islam, as it’s an emotionally taxing thing to do. As we have left Islam, it is not our place to reform it.

All we can do as ex-Muslims is engage the Authoritarian Left, who are silencing people like us, the reformists and the apostates, the minorities within the minority.
The reformation of Islam and it’s renaissance is ultimately up to you, Muslims readers.

Peace.

Singapore for Singaporeans (The Great Divide)

sg4sgers

That slogan Singapore for Singaporeans kinda scares me.
Like Germany for Germans back in 1940s.

Nationalism is a dangerous ideology and it’s been ingrained into the minds of our youth since kindergarten, Singing the National Anthem, Reciting the National Pledge, Preparing boys for life in the Army.

I’ve expressed this many times that Singaporeans do not have actual racial harmony as we are not allowed to speak about hard topics (example: Apostasy within the Malay Muslim community) so we pretend that racial profiling is harmonious because we can co-exist with Indians who are Hindus, Malays who are Muslims, Caucasians who are Foreigners and Chinese people of different dialects, each dialect denotes a certain stereotype, no doubt, because ts easier to pretend we know everything about our neighbours than to actually get to know them.

We also brag about multiculturalism further testament to our tribalistic mentality, instead of working together on a unified culture, which we had in the early 80s believe it or not Singlish actually played a big role in this, so instead we destroyed it and divided the people up even more with an ever widening class divide by thinking that people who speak Singlish were unsophisticated and that proper English is posh.
Even I’m guilty of propagating that social conditioning when I was younger.

The rich come here as their play ground, make fun of the poor citizens who are forced to take public transport who cannot afford to buy a piece of paper that privileges them into owning a car.
They, the rich locals, pretend the old people collect cardboard boxes and sell tissue paper for fun and exercise.

All of this conditioning, the racial divide, the class divide and Nationalism, are you really surprised that this overt tribalism exists?
We defended a young boy who was prosecuted by the state for expressing his free speech, because hes one of us.
But when a Filipino practices their free speech, even at our expense, it’s business as usual because hes an other?
How can we say we defend human rights when we don’t even offer them for those we don’t like?

I oppose Population White Paper, not because I’m anti foreigner but because I’m aware that this country’s infrastructure is not capable of handling our population as it stands now, with the MRT’s total breakdown, the overcrowding, the slow bus services, the crowded roads, and we want to increase the population to 6.9million?
Make the expressways wider, increase parking space, reduce MRT and Bus Fairs and make them more frequent, instead of putting up useless taxes and selling pieces of paper at a ridiculous price that don’t seem to be going into road upgrades.

And instead of focusing on foreigners creating jobs for Singaporeans, which they do by the way because rental in Central Business District area is expensive along with the property prices, so rich investors who can afford the prices due to their strong currency can afford these. Why doesn’t this country focus on helping local entrepreneurs and business start ups, so LOCALS can create jobs for everyone.

And it’s slogans like “Singapore for Singaporeans” is why I don’t want to support these protests.

Peace

“Tribalism never prospers, for when it does, everyone will respect it as true nationalism, and no-one will dare call it tribalism.” – Ernest Gellner