This is getting serious. If you weren’t already thinking of supporting the old ex-co’s impartial voice, now is the time to consider the consequences.

New exco wants to bring AWARE back to its “original cause”
By Cheryl Lim, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 24 April 2009 0150 hrs

SINGAPORE : Bringing Aware back to its “original cause” – that is what the new executive committee (exco) of advocacy group, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), is planning to do. 

In an emotionally-charged news conference on Thursday, the new guard said AWARE has lost its focus. 

They accused the old guard of steering AWARE into becoming a single purpose organisation. 

Drama erupted even before the news conference started with current Honorary Treasurer Chew I-Jin accusing the new guard of intentionally excluding her from their news conference. 

“I’m utterly disappointed and disgusted because I’m meant to do a presentation alongside you, Lois (Ng, Executive Committee member),” said Chew. 

During the one-and-a-half hour event, the group introduced well-known corporate lawyer Dr Thio Su Mien, as their so-called “feminist mentor”. 

Dr Thio is the Senior Executive Director of TSMP Law Corporation and mother of Nominated MP, Dr Thio Li Ann.

The new exco said AWARE had become a single purpose organisation overly concerned with promoting lesbianism.

They repeatedly raised examples, like how the old guard had backed a lesbian film screening in 2007 and organised a lesbian-friendly Mother’s Day event in 2006. And they wanted to bring the association back to what they say is its original noble cause. 

When contacted for comment, former AWARE president Margaret Thomas said those comments were ridiculous and not deserving of any comment. 

Dr Thio Su Mien also revealed that she had emailed several groups with her concerns about the direction the association was taking, which prompted reporters to ask if the takeover was orchestrated.

“It depends on what you mean by organising. It is kind of flattering in a way. I’m frustrated, I talk to people, I collect info, I send to different people. You want to join, (then) join. I will help you. We discover that networking helps,” said Dr Thio, adviser to the new AWARE exco. 

The new exco said none of them intend to step down, but revealed that taking up office has come with risks. 

Several members received death threats which have been reported to the police. 

“Each day, I fear for the physical safety of my children, my family. There’s even a blog site detailing my children’s names and which schools they go to,” said Josie Lau, AWARE’s president. 

The team will go ahead with the extraordinary general meeting planned for May 2 and is looking for a new venue to accommodate its burgeoning membership. It is now 880 and still growing. – CNA

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