Asian Humanism Conference 2019

Posted by Javan Poblador | Posted on July 13, 2019

Attending the Asian Humanism Conference (AHC) 2019 in Singapore of this month was my first ever formal experience in the world of humanism. I cannot help myself feeling immense pleasure to represent Humanist Alliance International Philippines (HAPI) and to be a part as a delegate in this event.

  

So what is the Asian Humanism Conference? AHC is an annual meeting of young humanists across Asia. This year’s event was attended by participants coming from India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and of course, Singapore. It is also intended to strengthen the network between these countries and humanist organizations in the Asian Working Group (AsWG), as well as offer training and capacity building to help groups be more effective.

The theme for this year is ‘InterBelief, InterActivity’ that highlights the need for people of varying identities- religions, faiths, belief systems, or worldviews, to find common ground for productive dialogue in order to tackle the challenges of the modern Asian society.

The first day of the three-day event, I was able to witness up close different humanist organizations when they gave their introductions and I also presented the impactful projects HAPI has been doing through the years. At the same time, I learned the struggles and challenges of these countries that even being an atheist out in public could already mean trouble. I cannot shake off the feeling of being amazed at some of these individual’s bravery but also remembering how privileged I am to be in a country that mandates the separation of church and state, well, supposedly anyway.

On the second day is when the real program happened. This is when the event was open to the public and has invited guest speakers.

The first speaker was Anthea Indira Ong on her talk “Starting from the Lowest Common Denominator” where she tells the reality of people’s diverse beliefs subscribing to different rules and following them to varying degrees where it can often be difficult to find common ground. Ong was, however, able to point out that humanity must eventually learn to find unity somehow despite differences.

“For me, my religion, my belief, my faith is love,” she ended her speech.

Due to not feeling very well, the second speaker, Siti Noor Mastura was not able to make it in person but a representative from Humanists Society Singapore read her talk to the audience. In her speech “It’s Not Easy Being a Girl,” emphasizes that the feminism movement has been split across multiple directions by various stakeholders and how are women being treated in today’s society.

“It’s not easy being a girl, it does not get easier when you’re being called a woman,” Mastura added.

Another segment in the program, the panel presentation, and discussion, women from humanists organizations were welcomed onstage and joined in as well by Nazhath Faheema, the founder of hash.peace and the General Manager of the Inter-Religious Organization.

This activity tried to explore the intersection of humanism, inter-belief, as well as secularism and discuss the relevance of such work in modern Asian society.

Concluding the program were two workshops led by Woon Chet Choon on his talk “Taking Offence” where it demonstrated examples of conflict resolution in a civilized and non-confrontational manner and talk on “Fake news, Media, and Communications” initiated by another humanist whose name cannot be disclosed due to security reasons.

As a humanist and a budding youth leader, it has been very beneficial on my part to be able to participate in events like this. I have met and learned from people of various backgrounds from different countries on endeavors involving humanism and a variety of approaches they are establishing to push for a secular society. We never hesitated to help each one another towards this goal. I understand that more work still needs to be done to get to the point where eventually, everyone places a great emphasis on human values and life. The good thing is we have made our move and we are getting there.

Other good reads...

You Haven’t Met Me Yet: HAPI Scholars Edition

You Haven’t Met Me Yet: HAPI Scholars Edition by Donna T. Darantinao Dumaguete City   “It’s like all my life everyone’s told me, “You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe!” Well, what if I don’t want to be a shoe? What if I wanna be a purse or a hat? No, I don’t […]

Suiting up the Aeta kids of Mt. Haduan!

Mutya Valenzuela Bulacan “Giving is not just about making a donation. It’s about making a difference.” When you have something that you are no longer using, please donate it to someone else. When I heard that the children from the Aeta community of Mt. Haduan were in need of uniforms, I posted about it in […]

The Life Story of Michael: A Beneficiary of HAPI Homes

Title: The Life Story of Michael: A Beneficiary of HAPI Homes By Edmar Toisa Traje April 28, 2019 Valladolid, Negros Occidental   Michael Magallanes is one of  beneficiaries of Build a Climate Change Resilient Decent Shelter Project or HAPI HOMES. He goes by the name of Mike. Mike was born in the Island of Molocaboc, some three […]

In Photos: The First HAPI General Assembly in Cebu, Philippines Feb. 21, 2016 – A history made

The HAPI Core Awarded the Humanist of the Year Award to Mr. Alvin Dizon of Cebu City Council: The Service Component The HAPI Executive Director, Jennifer Gutierrez with Mr. Alvin Dizon Students from a Cebu Provincial High School were invited to SHARE our mission and vision in HAPI A HAPI session and Strategic Planning Panel […]

HAPI-EVO Anti-Covid Campaign

Mutya Valenzuela Malolos, Bulacan HAPI-EVO Anti-Covid Campaign is just one of our HAPI events, to wit: “We cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that we can do.” Tricycle drivers, pedicab drivers and trolley operators are also frontliners. Everyday, they have to bring their passengers to […]

Five Amazing Years of Secular Humanism in the Philippines

First of all, happy New Year! This floating pale blue ark we’re on just completed an orbital travel, some 150 million kms. from the surface of the Sun. It’s been a safe 365-day journey humans, we made it! HAPI is five years now, who would have thought that a secular humanism would even have its […]

HAPI and UNU Collaborate on Researching Metro Manila’s Bodies of Water Valuation and Initiative Project.

Submitted to and Edited by Christopher Michael Barredo Last June 17 – 19, almost coinciding with the International Day of Water, Uzbek-Russian Dr. Shokhrukh Jalilov, Postdoc fellow d.Sc. (Tech), whose research interests cover water economics and policy, water, food and energy tradeoff and security issues, consulted HAPI Executive Director Jennifer C. Gutierrez, Environmental Science and Ecosystems Management consultant, for […]

About The Author

Javan Lev Poblador

Javan Lev is a staunch environmental advocate who either climbs mountains or free dives in the sea.

*Youth Head of HAPI

**President of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ), Social Media and Marketing Specialist of Lead Deliver Nurture (LDN) Consultancy Ltd and

**Director for Creatives and Graphics of Climat Educate Philippines.

***HAPI-Dumaguete Lead Convener

Scroll to Top