At 9 a.m. this morning, more than 100 youths from different schools gathered at National Junior College to register for the OPMUN conference 2017 which is hosted by the local organisation “One People.SG
”. OPMUN has been held yearly since 2015, and this year’s attendance is reportedly thrice the attendance of the previous year.
To kick the event off, Guest of Honour Dr Janil PUTHUCHEARY who is the Senior Minister of State Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Communications and Information was invited to deliver an opening speech as well as to have an interactive session with the audience. The delegates were invited to step forward and pose questions relevant to the conference to Dr Janil, who tried his best to answer each question to the best of his abilities.
One question asked by a male delegate was about Mr Janil’s stance on Section 377A of the Penal Code, which is the law that prohibits sexual intercourse between mutually consenting adult men. Even though the guest of honour disagreed with the delegate’s statement and pointed out his lack of knowledge on the subject, he remained firm in his stand and stated that “This law tells the LGBT community that they are not entitled to love whoever they want to love.” The Guest of Honour dismissed the delegate’s question after that, displeased by his rudeness.
There were also many other questions which ranged from the differences between jokes and hate speech, to censorship of racist content.
Overall, the opening to this year’s OPMUN conference was both productive and relevant. I am confident that the delegates look forward to the next 3 days of the conference ahead.