Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wear pink for prayer & expression on October 22

On Monday, 22 October 2007, Nominated Member of Parliament and corporate counsel Siew Kum Hong will take an important prayer to Singapore's most sacred law-making body, Parliament.

Scheduled to be heard and debated at some point between 1.30pm and 4.30pm, it is a prayer for thousands of people young and old, male and female.

The prayer is humanity's cry for fair treatment and non-discrimination. The prayer stands for the land of equality that independent Singapore's founding fathers and mothers sought to build.

The prayer also represents the dawn of a new page for civil activism in Singapore, where many holding strong views about the issue did not hesitate to come out and make their views known.

Siew Kum Hong is not just seeking the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code. (It is highly unlikely that the legislation will be repealed, since most indications from the elected political leadership swing in favour of keeping Section 377A.)

Siew Kum Hong's prayer is more significant. It is about the future of expression in Singapore, and the importance of standing up and fighting for the things that one believes in.

Siew Kum Hong took on a very difficult task of bringing an important plea to his parliamentary colleagues. That journey for him has not been easy. People are have called him names. Others have also sought to stereotype him. He has been scrutinised at both a professional and personal level.

As a citizen of Singapore, I am proud to have a Nominated Member of Parliament like Siew Kum Hong. (I am as proud of the fact that he is a friend, who I respect greatly.)

He is doing what Nominated Members of Parliament should be doing in Parliament, in providing a voice for the parts of society that go unheard; and in highlighting issues that elected Members of Parliament, whether from the ruling party or otherwise, will hesitate to raise for fear of losing votes at General Elections.

Even if Siew Kum Hong does not seek or have a second term as Nominated Member of Parliament, it is clear he will go down in Singapore's history books as a pioneering NMP.

If you are free, make sure you are there to witness history in the making.

Be in the public gallery in Parliament on October 22 to hear Siew Kum Hong's prayer.

Also, wear a pink shirt / blouse to let him know that you're there to support him in what he is doing; and that you believe fundamentally in the importance of standing up and fighting for things that one believes in .

Even if you can't be in Parliament, wear a pink shirt / blouse on Monday to show that you too believe in standing up and being counted.

Your support will certainly make a difference. Let's be festively pink on October 22!

Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this?

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