After years of activism, Section 377A of the penal code, a law banning sex between men, will be dropped in Singapore. Times have changed, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as he announced the repeal.
The archaic law, introduced under British colonial rule, had died a slow death. Parliament records show 185 convictions under the rule between 1997 and 2006. Authorities said in 2007 that the rule will not be actively enforced. The courts said in February 2022 that Section 377A cannot be used in prosecution.
LGBTQ+ groups sense a bittersweet win. Along with the repeal came a promise to protect heterosexual marriage through constitutional changes. This is more material for same-sex couples, with potential ramifications for them when getting public housing, adopting children and receiving family insurance benefits.
The other buzzword this month? Greenwashing. Businesses are getting into the sustainability game, but how and how much they sell their credentials before it gets rubbished is a slippery tightrope. DBS bank got flak for calling itself an "eco-warrior" for its pledge to phase out coal by 2039, which critics say is far too late. Journalists aren't happy about getting dubious pitches on green solutions.
Actually, who are firms selling the green message to? If it is anything to go by, one survey shows that consumers aren’t playing ball, with purchasing habits still very much business-as-usual.
Emphasising "purposeful consumption" might seem like a sure way for retailers to hook young buyers, but many in Singapore have signalled they will not fork out extra for purportedly green goods. Unless businesses address this cost concern and work towards removing the "green premium", this attitude is likely to stay.