I was very taken aback to read that one of the reasons apparently that led to concerns leading to the takeover of the AWARE Exco was because of the screening of a movie, Spider Lilies. I haven't seen the film, and when I did a bit more reading up, it turned out that it was a charity gala.
Now in a charity gala, this is usually what happens. Someone approaches you (a group, the film company, etc) and suggests that they raise funds for you by screening a movie. They'll choose the movie, and put the tickets up for sale. Then the profits go to the charity. This seems to be the case for AWARE.
Having a charity gala held FOR you, and 'sponsoring' something are two entirely different things obviously. In one, you are the beneficiary. In the other, you are the active party.
It's the same as someone having a dinner for you (as a volunteer did for CWS), or even someone selling bookmarks or t-shirts and sending you the donations. It does not mean you vetted, supported or even knew what the contents were.
I bring this up because CWS had a charity gala held for us too - and the films were supposed to be about a romance between two women (I have to admit I didn't actually watch the movies). Most charities don't have the option of vetting or choosing films unless you are a huge charity - neither of which AWARE or CWS are.
Most charities are also just grateful if someone raises funds because that's how we keep charities afloat.
I would not even bring this up if the CWS Committee that was around then hadn't changed hands because goodness knows, CWS might be then accused of deviating from their original agenda leading to problems for the new committee. However with an almost completely new committee, I'm pretty sure they're safe :)
Incidentally, when I was in University, we held a charity gala then too and the movie happened to be about a hostage taker. I can assure you my classmates and I had no desire to promote hostage taking nor did we harbour a pro-hostage taker agenda.
Also one other issue I was surprised that was being raised was the fact that the AWARE AGMs are not well attended. From what I've heard and seen, MOST charity NGOs are not well attended. Try getting people to attend - people are often so busy and have so many other things to do. The issue isn't necessarily that people aren't happy with the existing comm - sometimes it's the exact opposite. People are happy with the state of affairs and see no reason to then attend.
Incidentally I was also on a panel with Alex Au about animal welfare and civil society. As far as I can recall, that is the single time I met him and he seemed like a perfectly nice man. Civil society in Singapore is still small enough that most active volunteers either are acquainted with each other or know someone who is. We also get invited to a lot of the same civil society events to speak on panels and the like.
One other thing I have to mention about AWARE - when the SARS crisis happened, some AWARE members came forward to offer us their moral support. They felt that active volunteers involved in civil society should help each other out. If you'd like find out what you can do, go to We Are Aware.