"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Transgendered people and National Service

Transgender woman facing military service as a man can stay in UK

"A transgender woman has been granted sanctuary in the UK to protect her from doing compulsory military service as a man in Singapore.

In the first case of its kind, two judges ruled that she should not be forcibly returned to her home country, where she would be forced to do two weeks of military service a year for the next eight years...

She completed military service as a man in Singapore between December 2001 and June 2004 and has said she felt uncomfortable when serving with men.

Women in Singapore, including transgender women who have undergone reassignment surgery, are not expected to participate in military service. The student has been living as a woman for the past 10 years but has decided against having the full gender reassignment procedure and would therefore face calls to serve."

There was a trans gendered person in my camp. The person was PES E and got to stay out.

They give gay guys PES C and they get to stay out too - for similar reasons.

This is to protect transgendered and gay men from the other soldiers, rather than vice versa.

Interesting question: would it be good to make gay men do full NS? Today gay men are not downgraded unless they declare that they are gay, so gay men actually have the best of both worlds.

"She completed military service as a man in Singapore between December 2001 and June 2004 and has said she felt uncomfortable when serving with men"

If I am uncomfortable when serving with Malays, or uncomfortable sharing a toilet with a transgendered person, what would people say?

A Doctor who has served in the SAF: There are several factors involved.

There is some evidence that in all-male fighting units, the presence of a homosexual has a negative effect on unit morale. This directly affects combat effectiveness.

Further, as noted, a lot of them suffer from social rejection which leads to a much higher risk of psychological issues. A risky proposition for people handling weaponry.

As Gabriel noted, there is also significant risk of teasing. Not only might this lead to psychological distress, it might also result in the dreaded Complaint Letter or even Parents' Complaint Letter


Previously, a lower court had ruled (regarding this person) that there was no evidence of systematic discrimination against LGBTs in Singapore.

The later judgment seemed to revolve around national service - not the environment for LGBTs in general in Singapore.

No UK asylum for cross-dressing Singaporean

"It was noted that since 2004, he had presented himself, behaved and socialised as a female in Britain. In 2009, the man, who considers himself a "transgendered lesbian", changed his name by a legal deed poll to a female one, which he used in his most recent 2012 Singapore passport...

He had argued that under Singapore law, he could not officially change his gender to female because he had not undergone a sex change and did not plan to.

And that could subject him to "inhumane and degrading treatment", as he would not be able to live openly as a woman because his identity documents would show he is male. He would also have to serve his reservist obligations, despite finding his national service (NS) between 2001 and 2004 very distressing.

The Singaporean produced a "legal opinion" by lawyer M. Ravi which painted Singapore as "a comparatively conservative country"...

Judge White, while agreeing that the appellant would be unable to live officially as a woman in Singapore, said there were laws here to protect the person from harassment.

He pointed out that no direct evidence of the Singaporean's friends being abused or assaulted because of gender bias, or of any systematic discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in general, was presented.

He also noted that there was a possible gradual change in attitudes in Singapore towards the LGBT community, which was "not entirely underground".

As for the man's claim that he would not be able to marry as a female to another woman, Judge White pointed out that "many, if not most, of the countries in the world do not give official recognition to same-sex unions".

Judge White accepted the Singaporean's problems with NS and that the two weeks of reservist training each year would also be "distressing and difficult".

On the other hand, the man had given evidence of how some of his own friends and acquaintances were able to "stick it out" during reservist training.

"It had not, in other words, been so harsh for them as to be unendurable," said Judge White.

He ruled that the man failed to show he was at risk of such a level of harm or prejudice that would entitle him to asylum in Britain."
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