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The Social Policies Forum 2015 – Our Families will be held at Auditorium 2, University Town, NUS on the 19th of March (Thursday) from 7 – 10pm! Refreshments will be served!
Disclaimer: This forum does not support or endorse any particular group or type of family, Different groups have different views on what a family is or should be. This forum aims to allow for a healthy discussion on such matters, whatever one’s view or definition of a family is.
The Social Policies Forum is a platform for undergraduates from various tertiary institutions to share their perspectives on local social issues with political leaders or relevant social experts. The theme for this year’s is ‘Our Families’. The forum aims to explore the diversity of family structures in Singapore and what it really means to be pro-family, given popular discourse both from the government and grassroots on the family being the bedrock of our society.
Lately, there have been strings of contentious social issues regarding ‘the family’ that has sprung up over the past few months. This includes the annual pink dot at Hong Lim Park that is opposed by the wear white campaign as well as the recent saga regarding the pulping of books featuring alternative families.
At the recent Ask PM Lee forum on Channel NewsAsia, PM Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the “very strong difference in views” between gay activists and those who position themselves as “pro-family” in Singapore”. With recent controversies over the National Library Board’s pulping of apparently non pro-family children’s books, the Wear White movement by certain Christian and Muslim factions and the turnout of 26 000 supporters at Hong Lim Park for Pink Dot 2014, Singapore appears to have become embroiled in a culture war over the definition of the family. So what exactly constitutes a family? Can there be a middle ground between these groups? What is the Singapore that we want as a nation heading past our 50th year mark? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this forum.
Mr Baey Yam Keng is a full-time Member of Parliament of Tampines GRC. He is the Government Parliamentary Committees Chairman for Culture, Community and Youth as well as a Deputy Chairman for the Government Parliamentary Committee of communications and information.
Ms Jolene Tan is the Programmes and Communications Senior Manager at AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research). She was one of two mothers who organised the ‘Let’s Read!’ event at the National Library in July 2014, in response to the announcement that children’s books featuring same-sex relationships were to be destroyed. Her previous professional experience includes work in a UK penal reform organisation and practice as a corporate lawyer. She holds a B.A. in Law from Cambridge University and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
Mr Leow Yangfa is a registered social worker and the Deputy Executive Director of Oogachaga, a counselling, support and personal development agency for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, couples and families. In 2013, he edited the local anthology “I Will Survive: Personal LGBT stories in Singapore”. He has a BA (Hons) in Social Policy from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a Graduate Diploma in Social Work from NUS.
Dr Mathew Mathews
Mathew Mathews is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS. He leads the Society & Identity cluster at the institute which primarily looks at issues related to social cohesion and inclusion. Mathew also teaches Social Policy at the Department of Sociology, NUS. His recent family related research include single parenthood, family ideology among low income families, and three generational families. He is currently completing a book on marriage resilience and together with A/P Paulin Straughan, a book on marriage and parenthood trends.