23 May 2006

TNP Strikes Again

I will not traumatise the readers of this blog by copy-pasting the entire article from TNP. To summarise, the articles is yet another report on how gay men spread AIDS through clubs and saunas.

Another door next to the counter leads into the main premises. Through an opening on the door, we saw a few walking around topless with towels wrapped around their waists.

And notice, that TNP bolded the sensational statements - as if the fact that men walked around topless in towels was some unforgivable crime. Heard of locker rooms, anyone?

These illicit clubs advertise their services on the Internet. They also rely on members to bring in new patrons. Whenever a new club opens or an old one closes down, word gets around quickly, one member said...... One operator even proclaimed: 'We are an exclusive club! We don't need any publicity!'

Number one, these clubs are not illicit - they are registered businesses. And what exactly is incriminating about clubs not wanting to advertise?
But there are other health clubs and spas who do legitimate business. And these operators feel the shady joints give the industry a bad name.
The TNP seems to be implying that these gay clubs are the only ones with shady reputations. What about the hundreds of "massage parlours" which serve heterosexual male customers? Aren't these a bigger health risk than one or two gay saunas, at least by sheer numbers and ability to blend in with the legitimate businesses?

Andy said: 'It's always possible that one infected guy goes on to infect others in the club because he is angry and he wants to drag others in.'
It is possible, but not probable. Very few of these people exist - it is mostly an urban myth, of the needle inside the pay-phone, of the girls who hitchhike on motorbikes and give their riders a parting gift.

'If the Government can ban Nation and other gay parties because it thinks that they promote gay sex, how can it turn a blind eye to these men's clubs? The parties are held only once a year, but these clubs are open every day.'
Gay sex =/= promiscuous sex. Gay sex =/= AIDS

If the government can ban Nation and other gay parties because they think it spreads AIDS, why aren't they doing anything about the hundreds of Singaporeans who have paid sex with own girls, right here, around Orchard Towers and Geylang. Why isn't there anything done about Singaporeans travelling overseas and having paid sex with the girls there, in Batam, and other places?

I agree that HIV/AIDS is a real problem, and the gay population, as well as the straight population needs to be educated about the dangers of unprotected sex. But it does not help that papers like TNP run these articles to exploit the shock value, sensationalise the issue, and in the end, we are forced to take two steps back from where we are. Stop pointing fingers - it does not help anyone. Instead, start looking for ways to reach out to people and educate them, gay or straight, without bias. People at the MOH, stop being so darn homophobic and censor gay-affirming outreach programmes.

Until this can be done, they have no right to point fingers at gay men.


4 comments:

boon said...

I feel you're trying too hard to criticise TNP. I've not read the TNP report myself, but from your article, you seem to be nitpicking.

So here's a little nitpicking of my own:

1) Registered businesses can engage in illicit activities. If these services are not illegal or unlicensed, then how do they get shut down?

2) There's nothing "incriminating" about not needing/wanting to advertise. The point they are making is how fast the word spreads.

3) How is gay men with AIDS/STD knowingly having sex with other gay men an urban myth as you claimed? There are precendent cases.

4) Gay sex in health clubs with strangers definitely = promiscuous sex. Chances are it is unprotected sex as well - hard to imagine them using condoms while in the hot tubs.

In your eagerness to bash TNP, you've written a biased article.

pleinelune said...

"1) Registered businesses can engage in illicit activities. If these services are not illegal or unlicensed, then how do they get shut down?"

When I said they were registered, I did NOT say they would not engage in illegal activities. I was pointing out the misleading words of the TNP, in not being factually accurate.

"3) How is gay men with AIDS/STD knowingly having sex with other gay men an urban myth as you claimed? There are precendent cases."

Read my words carefully - what I was attacking was the common myth that has been around for a long time, about AIDS patients dragging other people into it, straight or gay. Yes, there have been precedents, but it is NOT commonplace, as the TNP would have you believe.

"4) Gay sex in health clubs with strangers definitely = promiscuous sex. Chances are it is unprotected sex as well - hard to imagine them using condoms while in the hot tubs."

For one, I was not referring the sex in saunas. I was referring to the daily activity gay men engage in, whether with strangers or with their boyfriends, and was asking the TNP to stop tarring all gay men with the same brush. What TNP said was that the government does not allow parties because it might "promote gay sex" - which I immediately clarified that not all gay sex is promiscuous, and not all gay sex leads to AIDS.

mister k said...

It is amazing how the media still sways the general public into believing that AIDS is a homosexual disease. No thanks to that minister...

Notice that "Andy" did not show any emotions despite being infected.

Read the TNP article http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/printfriendly/0,4139,107011,00.html

boon said...

hi mister k,

thanks for the link to TNP article. I thought Andy did show emotion:

1) "The bad news didn't hit me on the spot. It was only when I got home that I felt distressed. I never expected this to happen to me."
2) "Later, I felt angry. Now, I'm resigned to fate."
3) "end up a victim like myself"

I mean, it's AIDS and an uncurable disease. How could anyone not be affected by it?

Anyway, if TNP is going all out to sensationalise, then surely they would depict him as hysterical and emotional?

But yes, I would agreee that they are unfairly depicting AIDS as a homosexual disease.