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Transphobia, forests, and (possible) COVID-19 restrictions

Help me, I’ve got myself hooked on webtoons. I’m having such a hard time getting over the “New Year” holiday vibe and going back to work! 😫

Transphobia and the right to education

Over the past week, a Reddit post by an 18-year-old transgender student, Ashlee, went viral. In it, she detailed the problems she’d faced with her school — later identified as Millennia Institute — and the Ministry of Education. The school administration took issue with her hair length and insisted that she continue to wear the boys’ uniform, even suggesting that, if hormone therapy meant that she could no longer fit the boys’ uniform, she would be expelled.

In response, the Ministry of Education denied interfering with Ashlee’s hormone therapy, but came under fire for misgendering her throughout their post. They later followed up with another statement, this one jointly issued with the Institute of Mental Health, affirming that “final medical treatment decisions involving the use of hormonal therapy rest with clinicians and their patients” and that “schools work closely with IMH and the parents to support these students, and to maintain a conducive learning environment”. This, however, doesn’t address any of the points that Ashlee had brought up, and the mention of “home-based learning” for her drew questions about why she has to do home-based learning in the first place, when hormone therapy wouldn’t prevent her from physically going to school.

Also read this joint statement from civil society groups standing in solidarity with Ashlee, as well as this statement from Pink Dot. There’ll also be a guest-written issue of We, The Citizens coming up soon, so watch this space!

Save Dover Forest

The 33-hectare Dover Forest has been earmarked for residential development, leading to calls for it to be preserved instead. MP Christopher de Souza has filed an adjournment motion to save the forest. The Nature Society has produced a report calling for “the whole of the Dover/Ulu Pandan Forest to be designated a public-cum-nature park”, and a resident of Dover Estate has put up a petition.

If you’d like to find out more about the campaign to save Dover Forest, this linktree will make it a lot easier for you.

(Possible) COVID-19 restrictions, a tennis tournament, and the WEF

Community cases have been “creeping up”, possibly from more mingling during the Christmas/New Year period. With the Lunar New Year coming up, the authorities are concerned that more such intermingling could lead to more infections. From 26 January, households can only have eight distinct visitors a day. (Enforcement officers will do random spotchecks.)

There are even rules for lo hei: “Those who are dining out must avoid talking loudly during their meal. This means the Chinese New Year tradition of "lohei" should be conducted without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases…” I feel even more justified in buying yusheng to eat by myself at home now.

Singapore is also going to be hosting an ATP 250 tennis tournament next month. The authorities will be monitoring the Australian Open closely, since lots of players will be heading over from that. 72 players at the Australian Open have been quarantined after infections were found. It’s believed that four competitors tested positive for COVID-19.

Then there’s the World Economic Forum, which will be the first WEF held in Asia. Some are saying that this is a Bad Idea, while WEF itself insists it will be “safe and successful” (paywall).

Interrupting regular programming just to say… BYE BYE TRUMP

Researchers are looking for respondents for studies on image-based sexual abuse and online harms in Singapore — please help them get the word out! You can find more information here.


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