Thursday 23 April 2015

IKEA to continue tie-up with magic show despite gay activists' opposition

By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh And Rachel Au-yong, The Straits Times, 22 Apr 2015

FURNITURE retailer IKEA Singapore will not pull out of a tie-up with a magic show that features a pastor known for his views against homosexuality.

Despite opposition from gay rights activists, IKEA Singapore said after a one-day review that it would continue to offer members of its loyalty programme discounted rates for Vision.

This is a magic show featuring pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church and his daughter Priscilla.

Mr Khong is known for his outspoken views against homosexuals and support for a controversial law that criminalises gay sex.

Dear IKEA fans, thanks for your patience while we took time to come to an informed decision on an issue that has raised...
Posted by IKEA Singapore on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The decision to continue the promotion comes after a thorough review, said IKEA Singapore in a statement yesterday.

It said: "We have spoken directly with the organisers, reviewed the content and confirmed that the Vision show offers high family entertainment value and, on that basis, we are continuing our promotional collaboration."

Vision will be held at the Esplanade in July.

IKEA Singapore spokesman Sandra Keasberry later told The Straits Times that the furniture retailer reviewed all the promotions under its membership programme, not just the one that offers a discount for Vision.

These include discounts for fengshui consultation, pest management services from Rentokill and tickets to theatre company Wild Rice's Public Enemy production.

"We stick by all our partners as they provide good value and good entertainment," she said.

In its statement, IKEA added that it respects the diversity and equality of all people in the community.

"We also respect that all individuals have a right to their opinions and personal choices, including the freedom to choose their preferred entertainment."

The company thanked customers for their patience as it deliberated over an issue that had "raised sensitivities in our community".

The decision drew both cheers and criticism on IKEA Singapore's Facebook page last night. There were netizens who applauded IKEA for "not bowing to pressure". But others were disappointed as the company, which is headquartered in Sweden, had said in the past that it prides itself on inclusivity.

Gateway Entertainment, the media arm of Mr Khong's church that is producing the show, said yesterday that it would not be responding to queries on the matter.

Furniture retailer IKEA Singapore has decided not to pull out of a tie-up with a show that features a pastor known for...
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"We have spoken directly with the organizers, reviewed the content and confirmed that the Vision show offers high family...
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Death of tolerance under guise of diversity

PASTOR Lawrence Khong has said that he does not believe in discriminating against anybody in terms of basic human rights ("'I told the minister to send me to jail' "; Sept 7, 2013).

He said in the 2013 report that more than half of the dancers for his magic show were living the homosexual lifestyle, and that it was not a problem as they were good dancers, but that he disagreed with the lifestyle.

The problem with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) debate lies with different communities' definition of diversity ("IKEA working on solution for magic show"; yesterday).

Gay activists imply that the definition of diversity is a diversity of human sexual behavioural patterns, contrary to the traditional view of a family. Never the twain shall meet, in this fundamental difference of definition.

Therefore, this is where our laws protect our freedom of speech in the name of tolerance.

However, tolerance has been sacrificed on the altar of hypocrisy. Tolerance means: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Tolerance is what IKEA is embodying, by recognising and promoting a magic show which offers high family entertainment value, regardless of the personal beliefs of its main performer.

The backlash from gay rights groups has revealed the double standard they hold in the name of diversity, through pressure tactics and emotional rhetoric which produces more heat than light.

This is detrimental behaviour which discourages civil dialogue and careful deliberation, which are key in a democratic society.

Thus, we ought to support IKEA's efforts and reject hypocrisy in the name of tolerance and protecting the true freedom of expression.

Loy Hwa Wei
ST Forum, 22 Apr 2015

"IKEA incorporated Mr Khong’s magic show as part of its loyalty programme of discounted rates for members. That, it...
Posted by Yahoo Singapore on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ideological conformity cannot exist in a truly inclusive society
Darius Lee, TODAY Voices, 22 Apr 2015

I refer to the criticism levelled at IKEA Singapore due to its tie-up with pastor Lawrence Khong’s magic show, Vision (“Flak from gay groups sees IKEA relook tie-up with pastor”, April 21)

The fundamental freedoms of speech and conscience are the lifeblood of a healthy democracy and the cornerstones of true tolerance and viewpoint diversity.

Though individuals may hold that their own views are true and those of their opponents are mistaken, they should still respect their opponents as persons and their corresponding right to express their views. True tolerance is summed up in the saying: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

While gay rights advocates have called for tolerance, imposing conformity of thought on others is a hegemonic inversion of true tolerance.

IKEA Singapore has also offered discounted rates for its loyalty programme members for Public Enemy, a production by W!ld Rice. The play’s synopsis states that it raises “thought-provoking questions about democracy and the freedom of expression” and what it means “to hold firmly to an unpopular opinion in a world where it’s easier to conform”.

Efforts to mark Mr Khong as a “public enemy” on account of his views on homosexuality are the opposite of what it means to live harmoniously in a pluralistic society.

To build a truly inclusive, tolerant and diverse Singapore, Singaporeans of all creeds and stripes should take a firm stand against such calls for ideological conformity. - After some netizens took to IKEA Singapore's Facebook page over the weekend to criticise its...
Posted by TODAY on Monday, April 20, 2015

IKEA working on solution for magic show
Activists had criticised its support for show staged by anti-gay pastor
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 21 Apr 2015

IKEA Singapore has responded to complaints from activists for its support of a magic show by a pastor known for his views against homosexuality, saying it is working to find an acceptable solution.

Gay rights activists were up in arms about a tie-up that allows members of IKEA Family - the retailer's loyalty programme - to obtain discounted rates for Vision, a magic show featuring pastor-magician Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church.

A spokesman for the furniture retailer told The Straits Times last night it recognises that "the promotional collaboration with Vision has raised sensitivities among members of the public".

"We have been in contact with the show's organisers today and hope to find a resolution that is agreeable to both parties."

Dear IKEA fans, we at IKEA Singapore recognise that the promotional collaboration with the Vision show has raised...
Posted by IKEA Singapore on Monday, April 20, 2015

IKEA Singapore said earlier that its management was assessing the situation. It also posted an apology on its Facebook page in response to an upset customer, saying: "We are really sorry for the unhappiness this has caused."

Among activists who spoke against IKEA's decision was Ms Jean Chong, co-founder of women's gay rights group Sayoni, who said she wanted to encourage the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community "not to patronise businesses that promote homophobia".

Ms Olivia Chiong, who blogs about same-sex parenting, said IKEA Singapore's support "contradicts the brand's public and global stand for diversity and equal rights over the last 20 years".

An IKEA spokesman told international LGBT news portal Gay Star News that while IKEA Family is promoting the show on its website, it is not funding it: "Vision is offering our Family members a discount on tickets to a theatrical illusion performance that offers high family entertainment value."

Vision's main sponsor, IPP Financial Advisors, defended its support for the show in July, which features Mr Khong and his daughter Priscilla. Its managing director for marketing and investments, Mr Albert Lam, said: "We sponsored the show because we are proud of our Singaporean talent, and this is a world-class show. What Lawrence Khong believes is not part of our criteria for good entertainment value."

Others also praised IKEA for supporting the show. Mr Thio Gim Hock, chief executive of real estate developer OUE Limited, thanked IKEA on Facebook, saying: "The normal family - man, woman and child - are in the majority and are the ones who need to buy furniture to start their home."

Mr Khong, 63, could not respond to queries by press time, said a spokesman for Gateway Entertainment, his church's media arm that is producing the show.

He has been outspoken against homosexuality. Last year, he pledged support for a campaign to "wear white" to protest against the LGBT picnic Pink Dot.

This is not the first time a company has come under fire for supporting certain organisations. In 2008, DBS Bank drew flak for picking Focus on the Family - seen by some as an anti-gay, anti-abortion organisation - as a target charity. The bank dropped the charity's name from its advertisements, but restored it later.

"Olivia Chiong, who co-parents a two-year-old daughter with her wife in Singapore and an Ikea customer for 20 years,...
Posted by Pink Dot SG on Sunday, April 19, 2015

Let's salute those who are strong enough to resist the IKEA Singapore meatballs and cheap furniture.
Posted by on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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