PRESS RELEASE – 21 September 2012

We refer to the press release of MHA of 20 Sep 2012. MHA alleged that Function 8 is
disrespectful towards Archbishop Nicholas Chia of the Catholic Church. This is untrue. The
allegations have attempted to set F8 against the church. The Archbishop had withdrawn the letter sent to the organisers of the commemoration event of Operation Spectrum. To date, as far as we know, this letter has not surfaced in public. We have obviously respected the wishes of the head of the Catholic Church by not publicizing the contents of his letters.

In our response dated 1 June 2012 to the letter of withdrawal by His Grace, we sought his
clarifications over several questions: How did he come to the conclusion that there is an
ulterior motive to use his unsolicited letter outside of the event? Doesn’t justice require a
hearing from all sides? And should we copy our letter to the person who was copied in his
letter of withdrawal?

More than three months have passed and we have not heard from the Archbishop.

Out of respect for His Grace, we had voluntarily not publicized our letter of response to his
letter of withdrawal, and had hoped for the courtesy of a reply from him in due course. However, MHA’s unwarranted allegations have now forced us to show details of our letter to the Archbishop in order to clear the allegations against us. This letter is reluctantly attached with parts blacked out to protect the direct contents of the Archbishop’s original letter and the identity of the person who was copied in his letter of withdrawal.

MHA further claimed that Function 8 had publicised the matter through blogger Alex Au.
This is untrue. At no time did we engage Mr Au on this matter. To suggest that a seasoned
blogger like Mr Au was made use of, is an insult to him and to the freedom of internet
discourse.

We believe in the government’s sincerity to generate a meaningful national conversation at this time. MHA said that “government ministers meet regularly with religious leaders in Singapore”. We hope that they would also engage civil society groups for “frank exchange of views especially on sensitive subjects”. We hope this ‘national’ conversation can be conducted with dignity and civility over tea and certainly not through the national papers. We continue to request a meaningful dialogue with MHA and other affected parties away from the noise of what has turned into an ugly public dispute.

We wish to state categorically that we continue to applaud the Catholic Church for her good work carried out in our society to uphold social justice, caring for the poor and the weak. At no time will we allow ourselves to be set against the Church by inappropriate and unjustified allegations by any party.

Issued by
Function 8 Ltd

Letter to Nicholas Chia – portions blanked out

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About fn8org

For computers, it means to start again in safe mode. For us, we hope we can also start again in safe mode. But it's more like re-booting our systems and starting from much needed basics for democracy in Singapore.
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