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We're ready for the task, but why are some so angry with us?

I REFER to the report, 'Unknowns knock out veterans at Aware polls' (The Straits Times, April 10) and various letters and media articles that followed.

We are delighted in the renewed interest in the reinvigorated Aware and its democratically elected Executive Committee.

There are a few important factors that warrant making, which will lend clarity to the nature of the electoral process which sparked such intense attention.

First, outgoing president Constance Singam nominated Claire Nazar as successor. Nazar nominated six out of 11 new exco members with the Old Guard's support.

Ten of 12 positions were openly contested. Old Guard Chew I-Jin's position was not contested. The entire meeting lasted 3-1/2 hours as some 20 candidates gave electoral speeches and fielded questions from the floor.

As Mrs Singam noted at the AGM's beginning, Aware's recruitment drive had succeeded through its marketing efforts. From a high of 675 in 1998, ordinary membership plummeted to 253 in 2008. At last count, there are about 400 members, and membership continues to grow at an impressive rate.

The new exco members were eager to start work. However, there were repeated delays in convening the first exco meeting. Mrs Nazar kept re-scheduling the meeting.

The first meeting was held on April 7. On April 8, Mrs Nazar abruptly and unilaterally resigned by e-mail. This left us president-less. The Aware constitution requires seven days' notice to call exco meetings. We acted swiftly and called the second exco meeting on April 15. Josie Lau was named new president unopposed. A press release was immediately issued.

As president, I am disappointed that before the second exco meeting on April 15, a requisition for an EOGM for the apparent purpose of replacing the elected exco was handed to Aware on April 14. This contained 160 signatures. No more than five signatories were present at the March 28 AGM attended by 99 ordinary members and three associate members. Some 120 of the 160 signatories appear to have been recruited just after the AGM in time to swell support for the requisition.

In the face of intense media and cyber scrutiny, I must ask this question: Why have some people cast aspersions on our good intentions? Why are they so angry with us? We've only just begun.

We seek to improve the quality of life of women in Singapore. We are pro-women, pro-family and pro-Singapore. What is so objectionable about that? Does the old guard harbour an alternative agenda? If so, they should disclose their motives and objectives fully and honestly.

Aware is a secular organisation. Its members come from different races, walks of life and hold different belief systems. Our commitment to advancing the cause of women unites us. As a democratic society, we cherish viewpoint diversity.

I have full confidence in my new exco team. We know many challenges lie ahead but this team is ready for the task.

Josie Lau
President, Aware

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