Re: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input

Harish Pillay <> Mon, 23 May 2016 14:38 UTC

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2016 22:38:24 +0800
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Subject: Re: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input
From: Harish Pillay <>
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On Mon, May 23, 2016 at 10:09 PM, Melinda Shore <> wrote:
> On 5/23/16 12:33 AM, Harish Pillay wrote:
>> For that matter, and this is something I brought up previously as well,
>> if there is indeed active prosecution, how would you explain
>> happening in Singapore year in, year out? It is a very public event and
>> no one was prosecuted. Zilch.
> I'm unclear on why this is a guarantee that, say, familial rights
> will be respected.  There were GLBT pride marches for decades in
> the US, Canada, England, and so on before that became the case.
> It used to be common in threat analytic frameworks to define the
> cost, or risk, of a particular threat as a function of the threat's
> likelihood and its impact.  That is to say, a low-likelihood threat
> that had potentially devastating impact was identified as a very
> high priority despite its unlikely occurrence, specifically
> because of the dire consequences if it did happen.
> The situation in Singapore is that bigotry has the force of law, and
> should a GLBT person run into that rare medical professional who has a
> particular animus towards gay people, or a cop who's having a bad day,
> or whatever, the law in Singapore does not provide protection against
> that bigotry - rather, the law is on the side of the bigot.  To say
> that the law is rarely enforced doesn't actually make things better -
> it introduces a level of uncertainty that may lead people who don't
> deal with these things to think everything's okay but still leaves the
> possibility for bad outcomes and high risk for GLBT people, as the
> power of the state is behind the bigots.

The view in the the preceding paragraph is coloured by the lenses of
your personal/national experience - which is very normal.

We do not (at least have not) had situations where the police officer
"on his bad day" did what you suggest. FWIW, and at the risk of
mixing examples, gun ownership is not what we have as a right in
Singapore. Although the police do carry weapons, it is very rarely
ever used. That is my world experience. When I travel to the US and
I see people carrying weapons, how am I supposed to react/respond?
It is very bizarre for me to see gun stores in malls in the US. I know
my two young sons were shocked to see the range of guns on sale
in the store in California. That is not the reality here. I have calibrated
my world view based on those experiences. [disclosure: I have done
my national service and using a weapon is not an alien thing.]

> It seems clear that there are two basic sub-threads here: 1) whether
> the situation in Singapore is actually a problem, and 2) what supporting
> "diversity" in the IETF means in practice.  I think it's pretty clear
> that yes, there's a problem in Singapore in that while it's unlikely
> that someone will run into conflict, the consequences if they do are
> potentially shattering.  As for what "diversity" means in the IETF,
> I dunno.  Pretty much every discussion of gender, GLBT issues, and so
> on gets diverted into a discussion of geography.

I hear your concerns. I hear your anxiety about medical situations.
I cannot guarantee that you won't have an issue, but my gut sense
is that this is being blown way out of proportion. Yes, it is a critical
issue and a big deal for you. All I can say is that you have to decide
for yourself what you should do. I would warmly welcome you to
Singapore, warmly assert that you won't have an issue, but in the
end, it is up to you.

Should the IETF, in making sure that there is "diversity" accommodate
all of the variations of expectations and worldviews of the IETF
community? In an ideal world, yes. We, however, do not live in an
ideal world. We have to make the best of what we have. We have
to weigh the pros and cons and take an action. Else it would be
paralysis and that cannot be a good thing.