The first Humanist Society (Singapore) (HSS) get-together was held on the 28th of November, 2010, at Cashew Park Condominium. Despite the heavy downpour, around 40 eager members and interested participants came to meet fellow Humanists and to find out more about the HSS. Paul Tobin, President of the HSS, gave an overview of the society’s goals and objectives, emphasizing the role of the HSS in providing an organized platform for non-believers in Singapore. Future plans, which include participation in inter-religious forums and becoming a recognized member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) were also shared.
Participants enthusiastically shared suggestions ranging from having an online forum to welcoming new members (with the latter resulting in some spontaneous hugging!) In general, members wanted to see representation of non-believers in committees convened by the government to discuss moral issues (such as organ donation) and participation in organizations such as the Inter-Religious Organization (IRO). Participants also provided suggestions on how to increase numbers by reaching out to new members and increasing interaction between existing members through online forums.
Participants also shared their views on the role of the HSS in relation to the Singapore Humanist Meet-up Group (SHM). Mathia Lee, a regular attendee of events organized by SHM shared that she sees “SHM and HSS as two organizations having the same values and working towards the same goals… (but) setting about achieving these goals in different but complementary ways”.
Some other comments from participants:
Mathia: “I think it’s a great effort and what is being done is very well thought out and strategic. In particular I love that HSS is taking on a greater advocacy role in both ensuring a secular common space and in public education. I’m very excited about being part of this whole movement!”
Fouridine Ang: “I thought the presentation by Paul was really clear and informative. Looking forward to the next event”