The Day After 377A – A Post Mortem Analysis

October 27, 2007

Now that the dust has finally settled on the 377A debate – What are the lessons that can be learnt from it?  The first is people will always remain genuinely divided in the way they are members belonging to distinctly different groups. Values and beliefs remain deeply rooted in community, even if they should not be so rooted that they cannot migrate out of their traditional thinking. Regrettably, they remain deeply entrenched and in certain cases even woven into the community psyche. 

The second is that we all possess ‘Multiple Identities’– that a man will not just be gay, but gay and protestant and Singaporean. Or that a man may not hold any prejudices against gays per se, but he may still harbors reservations about gays teaching his children.


What emerges from the recent 377A debate is ALL these sentiments are genuine and they are very real. And if any progress is going to sensibly emerge, this must first be recognized as ‘A Priori’ condition precedent.


This naturally throws out the question: what’s the best way of accommodating this polyglot of cultural, ethical and belief identities? How do we find such a thing as common ground without running the risk of slighting one against another?


As much as I like to subscribe to the belief logic, rationality and common sense necessarily holds the key. I am reminded of the saying,


“Take the world for what it is, rather what you must believe it should be.”


Nowhere does this dictum ring truer than 377A. Resorting to metallic logic to find a way as noble as it sounds, remains only true, if we can all buy into the notion: when good and bad, right and wrong or any competing dichotomy is placed on the scale of life, the greater good can somehow triumph over the bad to win the day – it cannot, not in this case, at least.


As the 377A debate showed so clearly what constitutes ‘good’ – ‘appropriate’ – ‘acceptable’ – is at best ‘elusive.’ For one these terms are hardly even conceptually settled and what emerges is an understanding that the ‘value system’ that exist is one closer to some form of cultural cosmopolitanism than one that is monolithic, whole and homogeneous – it’s at best an ‘unknown quantity.’


Neither can we truly claim that such a ‘mental construct’ emerges solely from the thinking process alone. All too often what constitutes, ‘my, your or their values’ is essentially nothing more than the stuff associated with ‘rolling stones’ – the interpretative narrative of making sense of our world is picked up from our parents, schools, colleagues and the broader community. Under those conditions which one takes priority? Which one swallows up the rest? Is it the part where a man puts on his Sunday best or when he sits next to a gay man in the sauna, shuffling uncomfortably? Or should it be the one, when he feels a sense of impingement when he sees two gays displaying their affection in the public square?


Again shifting sands forms very much the backdrop in this dialogue.


Even if we all live in the same universe, one story about that universe just doesn’t do a very good job of fleshing our the narrative of the world as to how it should be and it would be foolhardy to assume one story about that universe must be right and the rest wrong – that I am reminded is why it’s so difficult to find common ground on a topic as derisive as homosexuality – it cuts deeper into just the superficiality of weighing right and wrong, good and evil, rights given and rights denied.


Rather it goes into the very fiber, right into the marrow that exposes the myth that society is necessarily one of the same thing to anyone of us!

Instead what 377A highlights in it’s most salient features is the various peaks and valleys that exist in our society. They are diverse, distinct even, each emerging from their respective intents and purposes, but all existing in very different universes.


Is it such a wonder that the ‘truth’ will for that matter always remain forever elusive?


Until we have a deeper understanding of how to bridge the divide that exist. The whole proposition of being able to hammer canons into ploughshares and forging lasting peace and harmony will always remain a task where each group deals with the world with their respective interpretative techniques. One thing remains certain there will always much to talk about even – the day after 377A.

(By Scimitar, Dotty, Sphgirl & Harphoon / Social Political – EP 99278291 – The Brotherhood Press 2007)

5 Responses to “The Day After 377A – A Post Mortem Analysis”

  1. loupargar said

    Hello all,

    Interesting and thought provoking article. Just to add, I don’t think it’s possible to bridge the divide. All we can aspire to do is to agree to disagree. Under the circumstances that’s really all, we can do.

    Even if 377A is repealed. I don’t believe it will change perceptions significantly. As you mentioned many of the beliefs concerning homosexuality is so entrenched and rooted within the respective community each belongs too.

    Glad to finally see the BP is opening up, it’s ranks to female writers. May I ask what was the reason for the shift?

    Reading through this article, I sense there is even a shift in strategy. Much shorter and less discursive, but nonetheless unmistakeably brotherhood.

    Well Done!

  2. jumanji said

    Great post! Glad to see, the BP is recruiting more lady writers.

  3. Dory said

    GM Dotty Dear,

    I am just wondering old gal. Is this a one off, or am I right to believe, the BP will be opening their ranks to gals? I hope so!

    I am just a tad curious, but what’s really behind this change of tack, may I ask? T

  4. anongal said

    Maybe, they ran out of brain juice, this time?

  5. anongal said

    Bro don’t care. If you can hit, they will let you bat. That’s one good point that even I have to concede.

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