Like an overly zealous parent intent on embarrassing his/her offspring in public, the Singapore Government strikes again with its characteristic brand of paternalism.
Shortly after the conclusion of Pink Dot 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a warning that was as terse as it was ambiguous. "Foreign companies should not fund or support causes relating to domestic issues", the MHA chastised. The optics of billion dollar institutions such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan supporting the LGBT cause, it appears, has pricked the membrane-thin skin of our G.
However, no specific definition of foreign entities or foreign companies was provided. Does it extend to all companies incorporated in Singapore but operate under the umbrella of a foreign parent? What if the SG subsidiary is a partnership between home-grown firms and foreign giants seeking a share of the Singapore pie? The MHA is silent on this and such silence is understandable. Being pragmatic as they are, it is unlikely the G wants to throw the gauntlet squarely in the faces of MNCs which are both investors and "job-creators".
Now, I do wonder why is the G so hung up on Pink Dot? Why it is necessary to deploy police in plain clothes armed with cameras to infiltrate the crowd? What sort of infringements are they looking out for exactly? Or is this merely yet another classless act of intimidation our G shamelessly abuses to neuter its troublesome activists?
Could this be the influence of Christian elements serving in the higher echelons of the Civil Service and Political Service? For example, it is no secret that the former Head of Civil Service and current President of the GIC Lim Siong Guan is a staunch Christian. Lim is also the founder of Honor Singapore, a group whose senior board members are all part of a Christian group Full Gospel Business (FGB). Never mind that Jesus once berated merchants for turning His Father's house into a market. It apparently irked the meek Jesus so much that he actually flipped tables! If the Bible is to be treated as a work of non-fiction, that is. The point is, modern day Christianity and business are heavily intertwined. Just ask Kong Hee whose ill-fated Project CrossOver apparently did finally cross some criminal (not to mention ethical) lines.
More notably, according to at least one compiler - Christianity is disproportionately over-represented in Cabinet by about three times the national average (59% Christian in Cabinet compared to 20% Christian in general population). This is not to say that our morally unimpeachable Ministers (defamation is a real pain in SG) would put religious ethos before their duty to the people. Nonetheless, when laws like 377A are challenged, are we able to trust our Ministers to consider such matters without any bias?
To think so would require a leap of faith, something that atheists like myself are loathe to do.