Thursday, April 23, 2009

AWARE and the art of hijacking associations and societies in Singapore

aware

Everyone is aware about AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research) nowadays. Everyone is talking about it - uncles, aunties, the young and the old. Membership has grown. I have no idea what they really do - most of my female mates have no clue either - but since everyone is joining, I was thinking maybe I should join AWARE too. The question is should I sign up as IZabella or IZ? Someone tells me IZabella has voting rights, IZ no. Tough one, this.

You see, ever since the news broke that AWARE has been taken over by a group of newcomers, hijacking associations and societies in Singapore has become an art. You've got to applaud how these women did it in a stealthy manner. First, get lots of new members to join the association months before the Annual General Meeting. Plan, plan and plan how to take everyone by surprise during the AGM. During the AGM, make sure you have a majority support by bringing along all your new members, overwhelm the old guard and challenge every goddamn position available. Once you've taken over the leadership, next step is terminate all the current heads of the sub-committees, then sit back, relax and enjoy your new rule.

Sounds easy? Remember you need to be really well-organised and the plan has to be well-orchestrated. So are you guys and gals game enough for some hijacking now? Ok. Which society should we hijack first? Hmmm.

Update:
New AWARE exco's press conference yesterday
More drama at AWARE's office
Leaked emails show AWARE's takeover is planned

46 comments:

Myra Leong said...

IZabella!!!!

r'chelle said...

let's take over aware next year and vote izabella as our president!

Lady Lara said...

I only know AWARE write to the papers about woman stuff.

Lady Lara said...

BTW, I'll go for IZabella. Do you come with mini shirt and fish net stockings dear?

wendy6 said...

izabella. lol.

GeekGod said...

>Which society should we hijack first?

IZ: How about the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)? :op

dann said...

it's no good being a guy when it comes to joining aware. can't vote. i understand your predicament iz.

primus said...

dude isn't izabella the name you use when you cross dress every friday nite? no wonder there's this "female" that look very familiar.

Anonymous said...

Please join AWARE and support the old guard during the upcoming EGM.

zinc said...

izabella's a lovely name iz. so we can be sistas now eh?

Lord Kimbo said...

Let's give the new comm a chance to lead AWARE. They haven't even started anything yet. If you people are not happy, then don't vote for them during the next AGM.

The old guard and supporters say they are not sore losers but a look at their we-are-aware.sg site proves that they are!

Anonymous said...

only in aware you have men who have no powers.

Anonymous said...

aware saga = pro-lesbians vs anti-lesbians bullshit!

Boywonder said...

Good post IZ. I mean... IZabella.

Anonymous said...

what is the big fuzz? isn't this good old democracy in action?

Michael Yap said...

Look! The only people who are making the loudest noise are well known lesbians.

Anonymous said...

here's from the we are aware website:

* The new group at the AGM felt that it was not relevant to make known their “religion and views on homosexuality”.

* Except for Jenica Chua (and old AWARE members, Caris Lim and Chew I-Jin) other members of the new Exco joined AWARE only in the last five months; none of them has served in AWARE committees nor participated in AWARE initiatives as volunteers.

* The new Exco has terminated all the current heads of the AWARE sub-committees, including Braema Mathi, Chairperson of AWARE's CEDAW Committee (CEDAW stands for Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international bill of rights for women adopted by the UN).

* The new Exco has kept ex-President, Constance Singam out of Exco meetings, which is unconstitutional.

* Constance Singam and Claire Nazar have resigned from the new Exco on the grounds that their advice and direction have been totally disregarded by members of the new Exco.

* The new president, Josie Lau and 5 other Exco members belong to the same church, Church of Our Saviour. Given this, it is very likely, in our view, that they have acted in concert to take over AWARE. We do not know why as they have refused to disclose their reasons to either members of AWARE or to the press and this makes us even more worried. They, or persons whom they have been associated with, have written homophobic letters to the press. While that is their personal conviction to which they are entitled, we do not want AWARE to be made into a vehicle for any hidden agenda.

* Josie Lau, was in charge of the DBS Charity Drive in support of Focus On The Family, US-based Christian organisation that is opposed to abortion and equal rights for sexual minorities. This created a controversy last year which was well-documented.

* 160 members, including former AWARE committee members and founder members, petitioned for an extraordinary general meeting to consider a vote of no confidence in the New Exco on the basis that the New Exco has not acted and is not acting in the best interest of AWARE; does not appreciate or share the values of AWARE and does not have the requisite experience of carrying out AWARE's work or is otherwise inadequate to further AWARE's objectives. An EGM will be held on 2 May 2009.

Anonymous said...

WHY CAN'T WE ALL BE FRIENDS?

K9 said...

I'm not siding with the newcomers or the old guard but IZ is spot on man. You've got to give it to the newcomers. The old guard did not see this coming at all.

Gaylord said...

I told you people many times. IZ is gay!

Ulysses said...

Anyone like Scrabble? Can hijack Scrabble Association, Singapore.

http://www.toucanet.com/menu.html

Anonymous said...

AWARE (new exco) press conference at 7pm tonight. Room Banyan 1 Raffles Town Club. RSVP needed 98167747.

xXx said...

those women should get into the ring and have a catfight to settle once and for all.

Mr Big said...

Boing Boing is now covering this story. Thanks to you dude!!!

Anonymous said...

how can people say that they are christian fundamentalists just because they go to church and do not have a favourable view on homosexuals?

Rickie said...

Hey IZabella, this is funny and very well written. Anyone running a society or association should now look at tightening their own rules that govern how members can be nominated, etc.

Anonymous said...

please support us at the egm and help us get back the AWARE that we know and love.

we cannot trust AWARE to the new exco.

Adam76 said...

>the New Exco has not acted and is not acting in the best interest of AWARE; does not appreciate or share the values of AWARE and does not have the requisite experience of carrying out AWARE's work or is otherwise inadequate to further AWARE's objectives

To be fair to them, they have just started their term. Let them do their job first.

Giselle Loh said...

I love you IZabella!

Anonymous said...

It is not AWARE's business to promote or reject homosexuality!

Troy said...

You think these women who meticulously plan the takeover will give up their power easily during the EGM?

If the old guard brings 150 members to the EGM, the new exco will have 300 members.

annaleo said...

i hate those christian fundamentalists.

Anonymous said...

on boing boing!!!

congrats!

Anonymous said...

I love gays, they have nice ass and their give great BJs

Anonymous said...

Instead of all the talks of old and new guard, homosexuaity issues and other miscellaneous stuff, why not focus on one thing:

What is AWARE's original mission?

It doesn't involve straight or not straight. It doesn't involve liberal or conservative. It dpesn't involve faiths.

Rather, its sole purpose is to aid WOMEN from being discriminated and ensure their fair position in this patriachal society. Why can't anyone perceive that?

Anonymous said...

I agree with our Ministers that Singapore is a multi-religious country, which also includes a significant portion of non-religious citizens, whose wish not to have any religious views imposed on them should be equally respected.

We should not allow a secular organization to be hijacked for some religious agenda, especially if it is to propagate hatred against any group and result in divisiveness.

Religious views should not be disguised as morality or so-called "pro-family" issues, and should be kept within the boundaries of the religious space.

Peace, cohesiveness and harmony amongst all Singaporeans is most important, especially during this difficult period of the economic crisis.

We should also remember that AWARE is set up to protect all women, regardless of her innate sexual orientation.

AWARE is pro-choice, secular and empowers all women to fulfil their fullest potential. Let us keep AWARE that way.

Anonymous said...

The minister has spoken. We should build a “rainbow coalition”.
Building the rainbow coalition is for the interest of our nation.
I hope members of the new exco of AWARE understand, resign and leave. This is a sensible thing to do.

The AWARE saga shows the danger of religious brainwashing making highly educated people to lose their sensibility. It is good to be moderately religious but dangerous to be extremely religious. Extremists tend to lose their heads in heaven forgetting that their feet are still on the ground.

We need laws when we discard the values. According to the law, members of the new exco have won but according the ethics and values, they have lost. It is a sad thing that their lives are guided by laws and not by values. As Christians, it is a disgrace that their lives are not guided by values. God guides them through the values. Throw away the values and they will be guided by Satan in the name of God.

Anonymous said...

Pastor voices support for new Aware Exco
While COOS has denied involvement in the AWARE takeover, they are actively supportive of their church members getting involved in the EOGM to support the new Executive Committee.
Pastor Hong devoted most of his sermon on the issue of homosexuality, voicing support for the endeavours of the new Aware team. The service was attended by about 800 people.
The Church now wants to take over AWARE. It is no more an internal affair. The Church is making use of religion to interfere in the internal affair of a secular organisation. This is going to cause a religious conflict. The Government has to do something to prevent the conflict.

Anonymous said...

It is clear the church wants to make use of religion to take over AWARE. This is not an internal conflict among the members. There is infiltration by the church members. The church is interfering in the internal affairs of a secular organization. This is going to cause a religious conflict. The government must do something to prevent the conflict.

Anonymous said...

I think this if ridiculous.

When people you like are votes into power. You sound applause.

When people you don't like are brought into power, you term it hijack.

Its really awesome to see that you are opinionated and passionate about your cause, though severely misguided.

Don't take one issue and severely dramatize it. There is power in individual journalism, that doesn't give anyone the right to misuse, abuse and frame others. You are entitled to your opinions, does that mean that the new ex-co isn't?

If anything is being hijacked, its you hijacking by journalistic force, and undermining the rights and authority that they were voted into. You obviously aren't happy about it, and true hijacking involved striking terror, and mass hysteria. Which are the elements you are involved in.

Anonymous said...

I'm a neutral observer with a definite opinion, whose opinion does happily align with the majority of online observers. To me it doesn't matter who takes over as long as AWARE's founding principles are adhered to.

If anyone disagrees with AWARE's founding principles, he or she is free to set up another organization.

Hijacking an existing NGO to further one's private religious or personal beliefs wouldn't win much respect from the larger population. Remember there are people with no religious beliefs, who do not wish to have religious values imposed on them, whose wish should be properly respected.

In a pluralistic and progressive society like Singapore, I would expect the principle of "all-inclusiveness" to rank high, where ALL women are given the same care and respect and every legitimate concern is addressed, regardless of the woman's race, religion, social class, or sexual orientation.

Some people have raised concerns about AWARE addressing lesbian issues. Those of us who think clearly do not see why not? We ask these people two simple questions: Are lesbians women? And are lesbians human like me and you, deserving to be treated with sensitivity and respect?

Lastly, someone mentioned "striking terror" and "mass hysteria", which I feel is an apt description of some people involved with the new Ex-co, who appear to be making quite a number of scare-mongering and alarmist statements to demonize and further alienate an entire population of women with a different sexual orientation as themselves.

Singaporeans are getting increasingly well-educated and with this increased sophistication in thinking, most of us would be able to think through issues rationally and logically by ourselves and there is no need for fear-mongering tactics, which won't work too well with the well educated masses.

Anonymous said...

I hope people don't start thinking all Christians are so militant, underhanded and intolerant. As a Christian I'm ashamed of what those people are doing. Those people, though vocal, do not have the majority of Christians standing by them.

Anonymous said...

I also believe that not all Christians are like the fundamentalist members from the Anglican Church of Our Saviour. However, fact is, those Christians whom I've come across as disrespectful and intolerant of other religious beliefs are always from the evangelical Protestant denominations. If you happen to come across anyone handing out leaflets or knocking from door-to-door to invite you to their church; just ask them which Church they're from and they'll definitely tell you they're from one of the several thousand Protestant denominations i.e. Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian etc. I recalled this teenage guy from the Fishermen of Christ Fellowship (whose church is ironically just behind Church of our Saviour) knocking on my door to invite me and my family to his church. He was with another teenager. I declined with thanks and replied that I am also a believer. Then he noticed the picture of Mary with the baby Jesus in her arms and asked whether I was Catholic. I told him my family and I used to attend New Creation Church aka "The Rock" at Suntec City before we embraced the Eastern Orthodox faith. I told him we now attend an Orthodox Church whose liturgical services are more traditional, more respectful and reverent i.e. unlike the jumping & yelling, sudden emotional outburst and speaking in tongues scenario one often sees in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches like New Creation Church or City Harvest. Immediately he said that it was good that we've left the Charismatic/Pentecostal churches cos what they are doing is wrong, then he said that my family and I have made the wrong decision to join the Eastern Orthodox faith because (imagine the audacity of this ignorant teenager who hasn't even heard of Eastern Orthodox Christians lecturing an adult, geez!) because since we have pic of Mary and proudly displaying on the outside of our home, we're just like the Roman Catholics who worship Mary. Then I told him that both Roman Catholics and Orthodox do not worship Mary. Bit since we worship Jesus, how can we not honour the mother, right? I also have pic of my late grandparents in the living room but I'm not worshipping them but rather I'm honoruing them because it's part of our Chinese beliefs. Then he argued that Bible doesn't state any requirement that we must honour Mary alongside Jesus (apparently he still have this conception that we give honour to Mary like how we honour God, which is totally untrue!) and said that we're in depraved error. So I ask him (he's Chinese also) whether he celebrate Chinese New Year & National Day. As soon as he said yes, I immediately told him these celebartions are not stated at all in the Bible, so why he celebrate? Then I also asked him whether he agree whether in the Bible, the dragon is represented as the Devil or Satan. When he said yes, I simply told him off that some Singapore currencies got the dragon picture, why use? Cannot what, after all he himself said he comes from a Bible-based church which believes in ONLY the Bible and the BIBLE ALONE as the source of its teachings. So he & his church contradicting themselves. He was clearly not very happy and asked me that "famous" question every cornered evangelical Protestant would ask - "Do you believe you are saved?" I told him the Pharisees and Sadducees believe wholeheartedly that they are saved because they say they are God's chosen people and that they are Abraham's sons but as Christians we know they are not saved because of pride and arrogance they have refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messian as prophesied in the Old Testament (Jeiwsh Bible). Then I told him as Orthodox, only GOD ALONE can answer this question for us. If I say I'm saved just because of my belief in Jesus then I'll be like the Pharisees and Sadducees. How can I the created answer such a question that's clearly meant for the Creator? What absurdity, right? Aiyoh, I dun want to kena struck by lightning for "usurping" or "arogating" Almighty God's postion by proudly saying that I'm saved, like as if I know God's mind like that...Cut story short, I just didn't feel like continuing my conversation with him anymore cos he's clearly very keen to get into a debate with me (boh liao boy). Wah, I cannot tahan liao, he kept talking and talking so what to do, I said sorry (though not my fault but I'm civilised and got more class that these evangelicals have mah) and slowly close the door on him. You know what after I close the door? I could hear him and his friend praying and asking God to deliver me and my family from ignorance, balh, blah, what the..fish! After they left my Buddhist neighbour called me and asked me whether I got kena harrassed by the two teenagers...She then told me that one of the teenagers had asked her "If she went to bed tonight and died, does she think Buddha will be able to save her? She told me she had never been so humiliated all her life and wonders whether all Christian youths are like that. I had to explain to her that not all are like that..and had to use myself as an example by reminding her that my family and I have not gone around proselytysing or impose our Christain beliefs on others or belittle other people's beliefs. You see, in Chinese culture, to ask another Chinese person whether he/she going to die tonight etc. is TABOO. So you see the stealthy takeover of AWARE by Josie Lau & the new exco doesn;t surprise me one bit when it was revealed that they're all members from the same Christian church. Thank God I've already left the evangelical Protestant fold which has the majority of myopic/intolerant/disrespectful/potty-mouthed/exclusivist etc. as compared to the more ancient traditions or denominations of Christianity like Roman Catholicism found mainly in the West, Eastern Catholicism (Eastern Europe), Eastern Orthodox (Middle East & Eastern Europe), Oriental Orthodox (India & Middle East), Syrian Orthodox (Middle East, Coptic aka Kofta (Egypt), Maronite aka Maruniyah (Middle East), Melkite aka Malkhoota (Middle East) etc.

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to add in case I kena interrogated by evangelicals on this blog as to why I've "betrayed" my Protestant roots and decide to follow Orthodox faith which has almost many similarities like Roman Catholicism (in case you don't know Orthodox priests can be married men at the time of ordination). One of the many reasons is (this is my favourite): "As a Protestant, I must protest at every little petty issue, tired leh!" Hehehe! Joking only ah....remember to be tolerant, dun be like Josie and her brood of old cats ;)

Anonymous said...

need to find out why they do such a things. if we allow such an action they may try to do to other group even important association in singapore. please check and let the people know why?? very bad

Anonymous said...

Instead of all the talks of old and new guard, homosexuaity issues and other miscellaneous stuff, why not focus on one thing:

What is AWARE's original mission?

It doesn't involve straight or not straight. It doesn't involve liberal or conservative. It dpesn't involve faiths.

Rather, its sole purpose is to aid WOMEN from being discriminated and ensure their fair position in this patriachal society. Why can't anyone perceive that?
-------------
abv just quote...

Singapore pls look at e whole *-damn picture. Ur society is really in shit state. U want the first openly gay-homo PM go ahead. sic.

I dont want to b ur citizen.

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