The other day, my best friend (yep, the one with my long-awaited god-child!!! =D ) looked at me in great frustration.
“What are you doing all this for? What’s the point? I don’t see why you have to offend half of Singapore, why can’t you just be normal and watch TV?! All these things that you activists do are just useless yelling — at the end of the day, the poor still remain poor, and you still go home to your air-con room!”
I gave her words serious thought, because this was someone who said this to me out of genuine concern rather than spite.
And because I gave it thought, I realised that all our yelling & offending, was NOT useless at the end of the day. It might take a lot longer to see results, than say, a teacher’s job or a doctor’s job. But there are results. The feminist movement that started in the 1800s offended lots of people too, and even today, it continues to. Yet the results 200 years after the feminist movement began is so stark and apparent.
Women today get to study and work, because of these feminists yellings 200 years ago. Think about your family (or the average family). Think about how much your family income comes from your mother, or daughter or sister. If you’re a working woman, think about how you can decide on how you want to spend your money and when, rather than how you need to beg your husband for money. It might have taken 200 years, but all that yelling was necessary, and useful.
Looking closer, at what we’re yelling about today, in Singapore, we also see the effectiveness of our yelling.
I’m talking in particular about activists for HIV Awareness and fair treatment, today being World AIDS Day.
In Singapore, we’ve come from a place where no subsidised treatment is given to HIV patients, to today, where MOH is deliberating which drugs to subsidise.
We’ve come from a place of ignorance and prejudice, from moralistic uprighteousness, to today, where HPB is addressing the myths and misconceptions. Where even HPB, a public non-religious agency, recognises the need for love and compassion
We’ve come from a place of riducule and voyeurism in the media, to a positive dignified campaign on Singapore Idol
We’re not 100% there yet, but we’re moving forward, our yelling is being heard, and we need to continue and perservere in our efforts. We need to aim for that 100%
In the words of my friend who, together with his wife, are infected with HIV and travel to Bangkok to get more affordable treatment
“ I am living a very good life now with the cheaper Anti Viral drugs,
I could actually forget about that I am even a sufferer but even that
I practiced safe sex with my wife.
I hope one day the government in Singapore consider us sufferers who work
and pay taxes to them and they in turn help us the way Thai Government do
and it is only a small percentage of us here compared in Thailand they have
over a Million sufferers and still the government was able to assist some way
or another to prevent many from dieing because they could not get the
PS. For people who need help with HIV treatment, subsidies are not yet available. However, there are financial support schemes made possible by generous individuals, so hope is not lost. The medical social workers at hospitals here are quite understanding and will help you. You can approach Action for Aids too www.afa.org.sg Or you can write to me anonymously and I’ll try to link you up to people who can help.