Non-discrimination in Singapore? Not so, Prof Koh
Professor Tommy Koh stated that Singapore is 'seriously committed to upholding the principle of non-discrimination' ('Yale-NUS a timely, visionary initiative'; last Sunday). I do not fully agree.
Sexual discrimination may be minimal but we have not witnessed a female prime minister, unlike some other countries in the region.
We have, as Prof Koh stated, 'one of the world's most diverse populations', but only compared to developing countries and rural cities.
When I lived in Canberra in 2002, within weeks, I met people from most regions - the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. The presence of white Australians was often overshadowed by other ethnicities.
Here, Chinese, Malays, and Indians constitute over 90per cent of the population. We are diverse but cannot hold a candle to cosmopolitan cities like London and New York.
As for our attitude towards sexual minorities, we 'have to progress at a pace acceptable to Singaporeans', said Prof Koh, but these Singaporeans are specifically those who reject sexual minorities.
Why is Singapore developing at a rate that many have difficulty coping with, but when it comes to sexual minorities, acceptance is slow?
Why do we thrive on how others marvel at our economic progress, but expect them to accept our slow pace in accepting sexual minorities?
Furthermore, there is a difference between not accepting a minority group and having laws against their acts. Homosexual acts are criminalised and same-sex civil union is a fantasy.
What about discrimination against singles? Married couples can buy new Housing Board flats at a subsidised rate and use this as an investment opportunity.
Property agents tell me that many newly married couples buy a brand new HDB flat, sell it after a few years, make money, and move into a condominium. They use taxpayers' money for investment, while singles are left out of the race.
Wong Jock Onn (Dr)