A 25-year-old women’s rights organization in Singapore, the Association of Women And Research (AWARE), is in turmoil after being overtaken by new leadership. There is evidence that indicates the takeover was a planned coup according to several media reports .
According to We are AWARE “On March 28, AWARE was taken over by a group of newcomers who had only recently joined the organization. 102 people turned up for AWARE’s annual general meeting (AGM), which had been relatively less well-attended in the past. 80 of these attendants had only recently joined AWARE between January and March 2009. When the election of office bearers began, almost every position was challenged by a member of this group. 9 out of 12 of the executive committee memberships went to newcomers, who were voted in by wide majorities.” None of these newcomers had previously participated in any AWARE initiatives or committees.
160 members of AWARE have petitioned for a general meeting and a vote of no confidence in the executive board. Among the concerns expressed by ‘Old Guard’ members of AWARE are that the new executive committee “has terminated all the current heads of the AWARE sub-committees”, that new president Josie Lau was in charge of a charity drive that supported Focus on the Family, and that the new members did not make their views on religion and homosexuality known at the general meeting.