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This article analyses how the ties between Singaporean exceptionalism and its Western colonial and neocolonial roots explain why the Singapore's legislature and judiciary have retained its anti-sodomy statute under s 377A of the Penal Code. After decolonisation, restrictive laws pertaining to sexual conduct, originally justified by colonial lawmakers as bringing superior Western moral order to the uncivilised Asian territories, evolved into an "Asian values" moral exceptionalism that distinguished Singapore from the overly liberal West. This exceptionalism, however, also illustrates an Oedipal angst of the Singaporean Government to overcome and overtake the old colonial father in its attempt to redefine itself as an authoritarian state father, which manifests in a Freudian cycle of repression of taboo and retreat to normative family structures. Rather than embrace the normativity found in families, this article suggests alternative strategies of subaltern counterpublics to effectuate gay rights in Singapore.

Publication Citation

46 Hong Kong L.J. 71 (2016).