By PN Balji
Vincent Wijeysingha’s story just does not gel. He said he was leaving the Singapore Democratic Party — and politics — because if he continued with party politics “marginal concerns such as those faced by the gay community” would be sidelined.
One of the rising stars of the party also said the discussions that followed his disclosure last month that he was gay show there is a misunderstanding of these issues, primarily because of a “lack of mainstream access to appropriate information.”
That access will be even more difficult with him now out of the political stage. Over the years, the attitude towards gayhood has improved. Goh Chok Tong went public about the decision to have gays in the civil service.
And when Vivian Balakrishnan hinted about Wijeysingha’s sexuality in the run-up to the 2011 General Election, PM Lee Hsien Loong came out quite clearly against such tactics.
The mainstream access to issues relating to gayhood has only increased, not decreased.
Thus, Wijeysingha’s reason doesn’t fit the reality.
Then there is his stated interest in not just issues involving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) rights, but also those surrounding civill liberties. Civil liberties cover a wide spectrum which Wijeysingha will find difficult to spread if he is out of the political process.
The battle is not going to be easy, of course. The conservative ground is still not sweet for politicians like him.
But why give up at this stage with elections three years away and the national mood changing?
So, we cannot but ask: Is there something more than meets the eye?
SDP’s statement that it was “disappointed” with Wijeysingha’s decision says a lot.
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