Friday, September 21, 2012

The Archbishop Letters

This whole episode of the Archbishop’s mysterious letters to Function 8 is very amusing.

It starts with, of all people, Alex Au, a well-known gay rights activist who publishes a blog post claiming that his source had informed him that many months back, the Archbishop sent Function 8 an unsolicited letter, giving them moral support.  Function 8 then wanted to use this letter in a Hong Lim Park event to say that finally the Church or God has forgiven them for their “sins” in the 1987 Marxist Conspiracy. The Archbishop than retracts the letter, supposedly after having lunch with the DPM and here, according to the great “source” of Alex Au,  the Archbishop was arm-twisted to do so.


Then the Archbishop puts out another statement saying that he retracted the letter on his free will after realising that the letter was going to be read out loud and the political implications of the letter being that it will disrupt social harmony.  Alex Au then says that Archbishop is basically lying and insinuate again that he is pressured by some shadowy government force to come out with statement (yes another tip-off from his great source).  The problem with claiming everything has a conspiracy behind it is that it gets a bit stale after a while.  It’s a never-ending spiral; which is why probably the government never wants to give the Marxist people a new hearing; because if the independent panel finds that the Marxist people were guilty as charged … guess what? Yes ….. conspiracy again.

Back to this story … Function 8 and then Maruah (yes it’s that confusing) comes out with statements attacking the Archbishop over this letter and even MHA gets into this statement war by defending the Archbishop and saying that all these people are disrespectful to him.  Alex Au goes on a roll chronicling all these statements and basically attacking the Church for caving in to Government pressure.


Even if we ignore the fact that Alex may have some grievances against the Church, he is the champion of LGBT rights in Singapore after all, and the Church whether Catholic or Protestant is not exactly very gay-friendly; the fact remains: who is this great source of his?

From Function 8? Maybe and probably but then how would a source from Function 8 know so much of the Archbishop and his lunch meetings even?  A source from the Church? Maybe, but than why would a source from a Church want to do this?  How about this possibility? A source that is both close to Function 8 and to the Church?  Whisperings in the Church have more or less already narrowed down who could be this great source.

The problem with Alex is that no matter how hard he tries; he cannot be really objective.  And probably his “source” knows that too.  So in the end, who to believe?  The real story is always the simplest, maybe the Archbishop blindly signed on a letter given to him by this Alex Au “source”, found out that it is a problematic letter and got it withdrawn with or without government arm-twisting.  The “source” and Function 8 got angry and found someone who is willing to be their champion.  And it so happens to be Alex Au.  

Splinter in Your Eye, Log in Mine

This quote by Alex Au is golden: “, “I also stand firm, like the great majority of Singaporeans, against any attempt to mix religion with politics, which agenda partly explains why the new guard at AWARE have to resort  to stealth  

He should really be careful and aware that stealth is not monopolized by government only; maybe stealth is also being used by this great “source” of his.


Anonymous Craven (AC) said...
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Anonymous Craven (AC) said...

All these letter and retractions tie back to the ISD's Operation Spectrum in 1987. Function 8 and Alex Au's assertion is that the social workers arrested then was falsely accused of involvement in a Marxist conspiracy.

Amongst those arrested was Vincent Cheng, a full time church worker who was previously studying to be a priest. Catholic Priests issued statements questioning the detentions, and Church services were held for the detainees, leading to the build-up of tension. A meeting was arranged between then PM Lee Kuan Yew and Archbishop Gregory Yong which led to the Church backing down and suspending the priests who issued earlier statements.

Was there a Marxist Conspiracy? So far the consensus seems to be doubtful of such - the few sparse government statements so far have nothing in reply to accusations of torture and ill-treatment to obtain confessions; and even Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, speaking in 2001, declared, “Although I had no access to state intelligence, from what I knew of them, most were social activists but not out to subvert the system.” Indeed there have been repeated calls for the government to unveil their evidence of the Marxist Conspiracy, or to have an independent commission - so far the government have resisted any and all calls for transparency on this matter.

So, if we were to approach this matter from the angle that the detainees of Operation Spectrum might be innocent, is it then far-fetched to see Archbishop Chia write them a letter of support, since it will also mean that the Church have abandoned their own back in 1987?