1. Interestingly, among all the people involved in the production of this magic show, some of them are actually homosexuals.

    This was used by Lawrence Khong to show that he is not anti-gay in his private capacity, but as a pastor, he sees the need to speak out on their lifestyles.

    I am curious, would you consider those homosexuals as “traitors”? Should they have quit their jobs there because of LK’s anti gay views?

    • Hi Kelvin, I am not in the position to judge anyone. I am sure there are people out there who work with Lawrence Khong. That is their own personal choice for whatever reasons and as long as they are comfortable and happy with their own choices, we should respect that.

      • Fair enough. My point was that capitalism has this wonderful result of promoting cooperation among people of different races and, in this case, sexual orientation.

        So in a sense, I find it ironic that some members of the LGBT community is giving IKEA a hard time over this. The free market itself ensures that, had LK tried to discriminate homosexuals in terms of hiring behavior, he can only do so by paying a price, either hire heterosexual people at higher wages, or do without them, which would probably hurt the quality of his show production.

        We should be more concerned about discriminatory behavior, rather than discriminatory speech, but that is only my opinion.

        • Brendon Fernandez

          Hi Kelvin,

          I work in theatre, so I think I can shed some light on some of the ideas you posted:

          1. “The free market itself ensures that, had LK tried to discriminate homosexuals in terms of hiring behavior, he can only do so by paying a price, either hire heterosexual people at higher wages, or do without them…”

          He can’t do his show without LGBTQ people. If he were to try to hire only cisgender heterosexuals:

          a) it would be a clear case of discriminatory hiring practices, and draw even more outrage than he already has from local and international civil rights groups, and

          b) the number of people in theatre who would consent to work for him would be very small indeed. As it is, the LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly people I know personally who currently work or have worked on his show tend to be deeply conflicted about being involved. However, it is work, and they are consummate professionals who will do their jobs, despite facing constant discrimination.

          To me, this shows Khong for the hypocrite and opportunist that he is. He’ll hire LGBTQ people because he knows he has to. And yet he’ll turn around and encourage discrimination against them because the dogma of FCBC is so thin that they cannot function without an enemy to hate.

          2. “he can only do so by paying a price, either hire heterosexual people at higher wages…”

          In the theatre industry, heterosexual people (like me) don’t automatically get paid higher wages. Part of the reason there seems to be a higher representation of LGBTQ in the scene is that Singapore theatre is one of the most egalitarian and progressive industries we have. There is a pervasive culture of respect, and of meritocracy regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is one of the things I am most proud of in my industry.

          3. “We should be more concerned about discriminatory behavior, rather than discriminatory speech…”

          Discriminatory behaviour (in your example, hiring practices) is denying someone employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. You’re right, this is deplorable. In many places, it is also illegal.

          Discriminatory speech is saying that someone’s very identify IS INVALID because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That their families are not families. That they are somehow less human.

          Between the two, the latter is clearly the more abominable crime.

          • Interesting that you think speech is worse, but I can certainly understand where you are coming from, in the light of the current debate about Amos Yee’s actions.

            If I am homosexual, and I hear someone saying words like that. I know I won’t be his friend. If I am a position to hire him for a job or do anything that would benefit him, I probably won’t. If I can do something that makes his life just a little bit harder, I would be strongly tempted to do so, and so on and so forth.

            What I won’t do is to call the government to arrest him or throw him into jail. The moment I do that, I am only going to expand the role of the government in society and, as a libertarian, we normally prefer to see as small a government as possible.

            Words I can ignore, but if I am unable to earn a living because I am a homosexual, that seems to me a far more serious threat. But we can agree to disagree.

  2. cate

    Thank you for bringing this out in the open. Like you said, if the show is meant as a sales funnel for the church, fine, just be open about it.

  3. Karl

    Nice one Olivia. You remind me of xiaxue with Gushcloud (err its a compliment!) and exposing a carefully-hidden lie. If it’s a church show, brand it as such. Don’t make it about magic and talk about Christ.

  4. anon

    I commented in your previous post and I do agree about the Christianity influence baked into the magic shows etc and yes Lawrence khong should be forth right about his intentions however where I still disagree is how this has blown out of proportion and it’s ridiculous because of the almost distant/no affiliation to LGBT. Yes freedom of choice, freedom of speech – but have we gone beyond limits to twist a simple intention/innocent sponsorship into hatred and linking to far fetched topics. Have things around us been so peaceful that we need to stir trouble? I would do nothing if I were IKEA. I reiterate that I have nothing against lgbt – i support the protests regarding NLB’s choice of books etc..however I’m afraid this now appears like a publicity stunt Olivia. And that statement on rainbow parents just affirms my belief that this is a publicity stunt. I am disappointed.

  5. From what I’ve read, I don’t think Olivia has really done any sort of attack pieces on IKEA. She seems to have been rather apparent of her fandom of IKEA in general. None of her statements have been harsh, just critical of a singular choice.

    This is common for people to point out repercussions of an act of a company. She isn’t calling for some sort of giant boycott of them. She’s pointing out that they have a relationship with something that isn’t completely inline with their over-arching corporate pronouncements. Then she primarily pointed out that as a franchise ran business, it often isn’t as influenced by a global corporate policy as another business might be.

    She’s simply expressing her disappointment, and presenting facts and asking people to be aware.

    Maybe since I’m from the US and see ‘crazy’ rabble rousing on a daily basis, this just seems rather benign to me, and not really something to get accusatory to her about.

    As for Olivia, I think you’ve handled this rather tastefully. The company itself isn’t practicing anti-(whateverlettersitistoday) stuff, just has an association they see as more non-agenda-wielding then you do.

    Calm activation > aggressive activism any day…

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