Sin­ga­pore screw

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Sin­ga­pore is se­ri­ously straight-laced. Pun in­tended, as this col­umn is all about how anti-gay a Sin­ga­pore judge was when faced with a unique case pre­sented by a gay cou­ple.

The story be­gins with the cou­ple think­ing of adopt­ing a child. But nat­u­rally, Sin­ga­pore pro­hibits (in prac­tice, but not by ac­tual statute, ap­par­ently) a gay cou­ple from adopt­ing (thank you for even won­der­ing whether the state could be depriv­ing an aban­doned child a po­ten­tially good home). And so, the gay cou­ple do the next best thing. Or what they think is the next best thing: one of the men de­cides to turn to sur­ro­gate mea­sures, so he can fa­ther his bi­o­log­i­cal child. (I think it's an even bet­ter thing!)

So off to Amer­ica, the ex­pec­tant fa­ther goes, and looks for a po­ten­tial mother. Months and US$200,000 later, a child is born. You would think the story ends there, and the cou­ple and their child live hap­pily ever af­ter, but no. This is where Sin­ga­pore's screwed up sense of val­ues ends up screw­ing ev­ery­one.

It turns out, be­cause the fa­ther was un­mar­ried, the child is il­le­git­i­mate un­der Sin­ga­porean law. And be­cause the child is il­le­git­i­mate and was born out­side the red dot, the child doesn't get Sin­ga­porean cit­i­zen­ship. (Al­though un­der the prin­ci­ple of jus soli, any­one born within US ter­ri­tory au­to­mat­i­cally be­comes a US cit­i­zen, so the child doesn't end up state­less).

So here comes the Sin­ga­porean fa­ther, want­ing to bring his child into his home coun­try. So he files a pe­ti­tion in his own courts to al­low him to adopt his very own blood child. (And he needed to do this since his child wasn't a cit­i­zen, and he needed to ap­ply for a per­mit for his own child to stay with him ev­ery freak­ing year.)

Easy-peasy piece of cake for the lawyers? Walk in the park for fa­ther dear? Slam dunk court case?

I would have thought so, but I didn't take into ac­count the prig­gish ju­di­cial en­vi­ron­ment that ex­ists in the trop­i­cal isle. The dear judge, aptly named Shobha Nair, ups and de­nies the pe­ti­tion for adop­tion.

The wo­man judge that was Madame Nair turned out to be a night­mare. She de­cides to shut the door against the kid. Not only does she do this, she even gets on her high horse to con­demn the cou­ple, judg­ing them for us­ing mul­lah to buy them­selves a child and for "walk­ing through the back door of the sys­tem when the front door was firmly shut."

Now, that rul­ing is a ma­jor shocker. The off­spring of a cit­i­zen, in a coun­try with low birth rates and where the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to get their cit­i­zens to go forth and pro­cre­ate like good bi­b­li­cal char­ac­ters, and that child with Sin­ga­porean blood and Sin­ga­porean DNA doesn't de­serve adop­tion?

In her se­ri­ously strained rea­son­ing, the judge says that the adop­tion would "not fur­ther the in­ter­est of the four year old child. A four year old child will thrive any­where in the hands of loving peo­ple". (Should I start a poll as to whether those "loving peo­ple" in­cluded the judge?)

Of course she says she is only there to "in­ter­pret the law and not make it", al­though, by the way, "the law mir­rors the moral­ity and wishes of the ma­jor­ity of Sin­ga­pore­ans." (I guess we don't need to spell out what she thinks the moral ma­jor­ity thinks about a gay per­son adopt­ing.)

One would have thought that as a wo­man, Judge Nair would have at least ex­er­cised a bit of compassion to­wards an in­no­cent child. I guess that's what you call stereo­typ­ing.

‘One would have thought that as a wo­man, Judge Nair would have at least ex­er­cised a bit of compassion to­wards

an in­no­cent child.’

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