Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mr. Otto Fong Comes Out (2)

I received a reply from the Headmaster of Raffles Institution to my letter of support for Mr. Otto Fong, a letter which also asked the school to allow the teacher to re-post his open letter on his blog. The background to this, and my first letter, may be read here.

I will not quote the reply from Bob Koh, the Headmaster, who signed off as Bob, since it is private correspondence, but I will give the gist of it in order to contextualize my follow-up letter. Mr. Koh's reply was very brief. It thanked me for sharing my views, and reassured me that the school would continue to focus on educating its students. It made no reference to my request for the school to allow Mr. Fong to re-post his letter.

I sent a follow-up letter to Mr. Koh today. The school's press statement cited by my letter was published in this New Paper article.

Dear Bob,

thank you for taking the time to write back. I understand your busy schedule may allow only a brief reply for the moment. But, at a time better for you, I would appreciate hearing your response to my request for the school to allow Mr. Otto Fong to re-post his open letter on his blog. If the school should decide to stick to its decision, I would appreciate knowing its reasons.

In the meantime, I am very disturbed by a school statement, made by an unnamed spokesperson, e-mailed to the New Paper. The statements said, the school is 'mindful of the views of (the school's) stakeholders, especially parents who would not be comfortable with placing their children under the charge of a teacher who advocates homosexuality.' I am disturbed because, in the statement, the school seems to be unduly swayed by those (unquantified number of) parents who may have expressed homophobic sentiments to the school, but seems not to have taken into account the views of other stakeholders (such as old boys), gay and straight, who want the school to take a stand against discrimination and censorship. Could you please clarify how the school ascertains whether these parents' discomfort with a gay teacher is rational and fair?

To be open with you, I wish you to know that I have posted my letters to you on my own blog because Mr. Otto Fong's situation is a matter of public interest and importance. I have not quoted your reply since it is private correpondence, but I have given the gist of it in order to contextualize my reply.

Auspicium Melioris Aevi.

Yours sincerely,

Koh Jee Leong
RI, Class of 1986; RJC, Class of 1988


SGDaily said...

Hi Jee Leong,

You have been featured in The Singapore Daily. Thank you for your support!

The Singapore Daily Team

greg said...

Hi Jee Leong. I appreciate that you continue expressing yourself publicly in this matter - it does me good to see it. Thanks,