I attended the extraordinary meeting (EGM) of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) yesterday.
I was very surprised by the huge turn out of nearly 3000 people. Singaporeans are a passive bunch who usually do not bother to stand out and be counted. In this instance, maybe the saga had fired up raw nerves as it involved the personal, touchy issues of sexuality and religion.
I arrived at Suntec at around 1.30pm with Rachel who was there to cover the event. There was already a long snaking queue all the way from the entrance at the fourth floor, down the stairs to the third floor! Interestingly, there’s also a Qin Shan (青山) Mother’s Day concert on the sixth floor – there were a lot of confused aunties and grandmothers concert-goers who got mixed up in the AWARE queue. The two very different group of ladies provided an interesting contrast.
To get into the conference hall, you have sign up as an AWARE member for S$40. I did not sign up as I did not want to pay. Hence I headed to the library at Esplanade to wait for Rachel. However, I did manage to get in at around 5.30pm when I got hold of one of the admission stickers.
The hall was only half filled when I got in and the AWARE new guards ex-co, led by Ms Josie Lau, the president were bombarded with fiery and piercing questions from the floor one after another. It was clear to me that the new guards’ supporters had left them in the lurch, unwilling to speak up for them, though willing to cast their votes and be counted.
Dr. Thio Su Mien, the “Feminist Mentor” who orchestrated the new guard takeover was public enemy number one last night. Whenever her name was mentioned, there will be loud jeering and booing. It was impossible for her to speak as the angry crowd will drown out her voice whenever she takes the mic.
Video recording of Dr. Thio Su Mien’s speech, via sqpixels:
The result were out at 8pm. A vote of no confidence to axe out the entire new guard ex-co passed by a margin of 1,414 to 761 votes. The new guards were given 5 minutes to consider their immediate resignation, but they only came back at 9.15pm. Nonetheless, the entire team resigned.
A new ex-co, led by Ms Dana Lam, the freshly minted AWARE president was elected by 9.30pm, thereafter the EGM was closed proper.
Frankly, I was quite taken aback.
I always thought the ones with the most extreme beliefs will be able to mobilise the largest support, given the level of fanatical extremes they will go to just to meet their objectives. The liberals and the moderates on the other hand, tend to be less confrontational and take a back seat to events.
This AWARE saga proved my perception wrong and I am quite heartened this is so.
In any case, the good thing that came out of this whole saga is that most Singaporeans are now aware of AWARE, bringing an obscure civil society into national stardom. Hopefully, the freshly minted ex-co members will be able to leverage on this new-found level of awareness and brings AWARE to greater heights, not forgetting the fundamental principles of extending help and relief to all Singaporean women, regardless of race, language or religion.
Technorati Tags: singapore aware, we are aware, aware new guard, aware old guard, dr thio su mien, thio su mien, ms josie lau, josie lau, singapore women, aware egm, aware egm at suntec, aware extraordinary meeting, siew kum hong, dana lam, feminist mentor, suntec city hall 402, claire nazar, sally ang, zaibun siraj, constance singam, lois ng, margaret thomas, jenica chua, irene yee, maureen ong, charlotte wong, peggy leong, tan joo hymn, hafizah osman, chew i-jin, nancy griffins, nicole tan, martha lee, yap ching wi, lim seow yuin, joanna d’cruz, aware new exco, singapore civil society
13 thoughts on “Alvinology goes to the AWARE EGM”
er, i think the lady with the blue tinted hair is not claire nazar…?
yes, that is not claire nazar. re-caption.
Thanks, updated. 🙂
Very well taken pictures and a very good coverage!
They seemed like they just won WW2. But i know how it feels like.
Great pics and coverage..i only saw you much much later..Had to rush off to eat (before I faint) so didn’t come by to greet u.
For a while, i was confused when i saw this huge group of aunties and uncles rushing up the escalator! i was wondering initially whether they were attending the EGOM!
do you know that the male toilets at Suntec Conv were all usurped by the ladies? *grin*
I don’t think Darth Thio is gone for good. You can see she and her Josie gang are so fervent that they are really doing the right thing you can bet they will be back. That COOS pastor also did not issue a clear apology. “I stand corrected” is not an apology at all and not an admission of his error.
Angelia: I saw you too! 🙂 But you were seated too far away for me to call out, but ya, Rachel and I rushed off after that too as we were starving. The EGM really overshot for way too long man.
i don’t know what happened before this election this.
the new guards, i don’t support.
“IM ON PAGE 73, RESPECT ME”
“SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN”
“RESPECT YOUR ELDERS” crowd goes”EARN THAT RESPECT:
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN LADIES AND GENTLEMEN LADIES AND GENTLEMEN LADIES AND GENTLEMEN LADIES AND GENTLE MEN …….”
i’m still waiting to read an entry that’s not too biased. curious to hear what irene ang threw at the new guards. if i’m not wrong, she’s of the group with “extreme beliefs” and she’s gay (?). i’m not here to flame or be flamed. just really would like to know if anyone with the info cares to tell me. thanks.
Wonder why nobody says anything about the rather unseemly rowdiness of the pro-old-guard crowd?
I mean, it should be plain common politeness to listen through speeches, even if the speeches ARE crap and/or the speaker isn’t polite. Be the bigger person, that kinda thing?