Thursday, March 17, 2005

Think again 

Excerpt from a post by Wows at the Singapore Ink on the Oxford Singapore Forum.

A question also popped up about tolerance of homosexuals. Irene Ng gives the story of her change in attitudes from before and after she was an MP (these kinds of stories are always interesting … the many Vivian ones are just irresistible for instance). She has many gay friends, from the arts scene primarily. When she became an MP she wanted to fight for a more actively and openly tolerant stance by the govt. towards gays. Then she realised during dialogue sessions that many, many people were almost bitterly opposed to any change from the government.

Warren Fernandez then recounts how he used to run stories on gay hangouts. Not only does he receive angry callers (he is just that bit short of saying “religious”) who berate the paper for devoting space to such “deviant” elements of society, he receives calls from the higher-ups in the police. “Why do you want to run so many stories on gay hangouts. If only you don’t run them, then we don’t have so much pressure to crack down.” His belief is that perhaps a spotlight might not be the best way to foster a space for gays.
Off the top of my head, I can think of two problems that these two instances illustrate.

Firstly, people often think that others have the same views as them. Diversity of views is underestimated. As is conflict of interests.

Secondly, people often take or suggest actions that superficially forward their goals but don’t think through the second and third order effects. Think of backlash. Think of unintended consequences. Think of game theory.


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