Friday, April 24, 2009

AWARE - the fight continues

Ramblings from a post to YoungRepublic mailing list:


as far as the news reports are concerned, the constitution has no fixed rules on how to remove a sitting ExCo. Given the understanding most Singaporeans have and care towards the letter of the law, it is very possible the constitution of AWARE has been pretty simple and just 'borrowed' from the Registrar of Societies' simplified template.

This is a big wake-up call to other bodies to review their own constitutions and sort out their act.

As for the issues XXXX raised:

1. This is true democracy at work.
Sure, not all the stakeholders showed up at the original AGM. Most democratic societies do NOT have the rule of compulsory voting. You can either have a holiday on voting day or turn out and vote. (South Africa's recent high turnout is a rarity, then again, its a very young democracy and a counrty which now seeks equality because democracy actually ended apartheid. [Good for them!])

Most AGMs are processional. Nobody really cares except those who cared. The 'takeover' clearly shows 'democracy' in action, i.e., those who cared enough came forward and executed a 'hostile takeover'.

Now, the fight back, whither led by only 6 who attended, or 144 new members who only signed up after, or whatever, is another example of democracy in action. If you care enough, you rally the others who were ambivalent and 'fight back' against the takeover.

Will the EGM solve anything? As I have mentioned, the constitution is probably too weak in its lettering to evict a sitting ExCo. However, a sitting quorate could table a motion to cancel the previous election outcome and hold fresh elections. What is possible? Who knows. The lawyers who are signing up for the fight should know better what is possible.

2. Varying rights of membership
Now turn around and ask yourself? are you just echoing what MM1's philosophy of one many many votes? What is ordinary membership? Who can hold office? How long must they be have been members before they can hold office ? 21? can someone be president from day one or must they serve sitting positions in other committee positions (Direct to PM? Thaksin?)

Again these are issues that the organization has to resolve within itself. When is equality equal?
Comes back again to the quality of the organization's constitution. Has it been written with thought towards its depth of complexity? is it something that all members agree to?

Come again, how many people here have ever read the constitutions of the various student bodies they have belonged to? Compulsory or otherwise? Did those make sense? Uniformed groups?

We're kept unaware (oh the pun!) or uneducated on what it means to be a body of people. Deliberately. No thought is given from childhood about teaching children what their various childhood bodies are about. They just exist. No thought is given towards teaching the young where/why these bodies have come from, nor its history. They just exist. No education is deliberately carried out on just how one can attempt to redirect a body or organization at a diferent direction democratically. Just by fiat by the ruling entity. or the ??

The AWARE 'spat' is good. it is awakening the people towards the idea that cohesive action can have an outcome. The S377A appeal failed, even though it followed all the proper steps in the SG constitution to bring the issue up for consideration. Is that the amount of respect we have for our word of law?

Pithy I am male. Nothing I can do vote-wise to affect the outcome, since AWARE is so afraid of male dominance that males cannot be anything more than associate members with no voting rights. (too much feministic tendencies at its setup? or as they said, an organization for women by women only?)

Should be fun. And signal that the body is still growing towards a better understanding of what it means to be a body, and what rules there are in this body and how to change them. When will it reach the House on the banks of the river?


quoted (names removed)

if YR cannot even serve as a forum for a relatively civilized
discussion of something as big as this, it really doesn't bear
sustaining, quite frankly. lets fix that.

i am not familiar with aware's constitution but is it possible to
gather enough people to call an EGM and reverse this takeover? likely
the vote only succeeded because not all the stakeholders in aware
attend aware's AGMs - a matter confounded by the fact that voting
rights are not adjusted for length of familiarity with aware and other
such factors. This is not a corporation - the constiution should not
allow the theoretical "buying of common stock" by swamping aware with
new members, and thus facilitating a hostile takeover.

i dont see any end result to this other than my suggestion above.. the
last thing we want is the government stepping in to dictate social
issues (oh, the irony)

Thanks for posting this xxx.  I wasn't going to raise this on YR but I'm glad someone did.

And now they've completely and utterly lost the plot:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting, to see, what people can actually accomplish, when they actually bother to get organized.

7:25 PM  

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