Friday, October 26, 2007

To do a “Brokeback Mountain” on 377A: Understand the Homosexuals

Just as everyone is debating over the social, religious, moral aspects of the petition to repeal the 377A of the Penal Code and the hullabaloo created by the parliamentary speech made by NMP Thio Li-Ann, no matter which side you take, for or against the repeal, perhaps we should try to understand more about the lives of homosexuals. One good example to explain my point could be the triple Academy award-winning movie “Brokeback Mountain”. To quote Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote a review on the official movie website:

“So begins a sporadic and tormented affair in which the two meet once or twice a year for fishing trips on which no fish are caught. Jack urges that they forsake their marriages and set up a ranch together. But Ennis, haunted by a childhood memory of his father taking him to see the mutilated body of a rancher, tortured and beaten to death with a tire iron for living with another man, is immobilized by fear and shame.

Both Mr Ledger and Mr Gyllenhaal make this anguished love story physically palpable. Mr Ledger magically and mysteriously disappears beneath the skin of his lean, sinewy character. It is a great screen performance, as good as the best of Marlon Brando and Sean Penn. The pain and disappointment felt by Jack, who is softer, more self-aware and self-accepting, continually registers in Mr Gyllenhaal's sad, expectant silver-dollar eyes.”

The fact that this is a film about two men in a homosexual relationship will upset a lot of Christians to begin with. But my aim is not to challenge the Christian belief that homosexual life is wrong as I do not want to be seen as someone who is anti-Christian but I feel there seem a general misconception among some Singaporeans especially Christians to see gay relationships as no more than gay sex.

Director Ang Lee's portrayal of a secret passion between two men torn apart by societal norms and distance described the widespread non-acceptance of homosexuality in the 1960s. We do have something common with the characters in Brokeback Mountain: Jack and Ennis's constant battle to live differently within a culture that rejects their way of life. The ‘conservatives’ seem to be sterotyping homosexual lifestyles or relationships as being morally wrong that they will ultimately lead to promiscuity. Why are homosexuals being seen as ‘monsters with poisonous dicks’ and not individuals with feelings? What the conservatives should do now is to stop preaching on the wrongs of the homosexual life but to embrace diversity. Only then can we begin to share and build relationship with the gay community to allow a gradual acceptance of them into our society.

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