It has been an amazing year for the Humanist Society (Singapore).
We have come a long way since we were gazetted as a society in October 2010. From the original founding 13, we have grown to more than 140 members. We have also organized some significant events such as the Winter Solstice, Darwin Day and the Humanist of the Year Award. Apart from these major events we have also successfully managed many smaller events such as Barbeque Night at the east coast, Evening at the Agora and Stargazing at Pulau Semakau.
While these events and activities are fun to organize, they serve other important functions as well. Holding social events allows many non-believers (atheists, agnostics, igtheists, skeptics, brights, freethinkers and what-have-you) to come together in a comfortable social surrounding, providing social and emotional support for those who may be in the process of leaving life-long dogmatic beliefs. It also provides a setting to discuss important issues which concerns all as humanist – social issues, philosophy and science.
The HSS interacts with the larger society. The HSS has been featured twice in the Straits Times and have had one of its letters published in the readers forum page. Many members also attended the Pink Dot event in June 2011. These interactions serve to educate and inform the public about humanists and humanism. The Straits Times reports show that there are people in Singapore who proudly display non-belief in religious dogmas. The letter written to the Strait Times was in response to a report that unfairly portrayed non-believers as being more susceptible to “gangsterism” than the religious. The letter generated many positive responses and enabled some who are not aware of humanism to see that morality is not the sole purview of the religious. The purpose of our attendance in the Pink Dot is to show our support for the LGBT community in Singapore and, more generally, to emphasize the stand of most humanists against any form of discrimination.
The HSS has also recently been accepted as a member of the IHEYO (The International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation) – a movement dedicated to promoting the spread of humanism among younger people.
While we have achieved a lot in the short time as a society , there are still many important goals to pursue. One of which is to ensure that society at large recognize that humanists are more than mere skeptics of religious dogma and superstitions. As humanists, we must remind everyone that a life free from the shackles of dogma can enable one to live a positive, ethical, meaningful and happy life. We plan to have a course for humanism for both adults and young children (pre- and early teens) that centers on ethics, morality and critical thinking. Recognizing that we are social beings and that celebrations and ceremonies play an important role, the HSS also intends to prepare some of our members to handle secular humanist ceremonies such baby namings, coming of age, marriages & affirmations and funerals.
So if you are of skeptical of dogmas and superstitions and feel that there is more to life than merely not believing in something, you should consider joining us!
I would like to end this message with a saying by one of the most prominent humanist of the 20th century, Bertrand Russell; a saying that has always been a source of inspiration for me:
The Good Life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
President Humanist Society Singapore (2010-2012)