Friday, March 31, 2006


Sigh, talking with my orger friends last night about libidinality, we got to thinking about having another good ol' round of sexy scrabble... the rules being that every word you lay down has to have something to do with sex... dirty minds take precedence over dictionaries here. Ergo "PANTYOFF" is a perfectly legitimate word, as is "BONKU", either as a verb or Japanese onomatopoeia .

This one's from a game Don and I played over a year ago. Another example's visible at

We must do something similarly perverse soon.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

extract from "Founders"

(dinnertime in an Orang Laut boat, February 1819. Wa Hakim, a 15 year-old boy, has been clearing land for the British)

Wa Hakim: But Mak, Pak, you should have seen them! Eh, sis, pass the ikan bilis ok? They wear clothes, not just sarong and songkok, all over their body, down to here! (gestures at the wrist) And their hair is different colours! Yellow, red, white, blue…

Sister: I don’t know why you like them so much.

Wa Hakim: But they gave us so many things! Rice! Clothes! This thing!

(Sister puts it into her mouth, spits it out)

Sister: Yuck, what is it?

Wa Hakim: Nice right? It’s called tobacco. Remember the time we went to eat at the big wedding? When they had that thing that I never tried before? And I said, what is this thing? Like seagull, or bird-of-paradise? And they laughed at me. They said, Orang Laut so ulu, only eat fish. They said the thing was called chicken. You want to be so stupid forever?

Sister: No. I want to find out about the world. They come in boats. We also live in a boat. We eat and sleep in this boat.

Wa Hakim: Adik, you don’t worry. We can just move to the land, and the orang putih will teach us everything we want to know.

Sister: I don’t want to stay anywhere forever. I want to keep moving. (She jumps)

Wa Hakim: Sis! You wait before you swim! Later sure kena stomach cramps!


Well, yesterday was a rather interesting day:

1. At 5 am I finished a short school play about the founding of Singapore from the perspective of the orang laut, named "Founders".

2. At 6pm after working out I met Jason and his adopted son Owen, ostensibly to review edits of my manuscript; Jason told me it was impossible because Owen had tampered with his other adoptive father's alarm clock making him miss his flight to Bahrain, so I ended up carrying Owen all over the place and reading dinosaur books to him and singing the Numa Numa song together with dance actions and having him explain deconstruction and pacifism to me (Owen is 4 years old, btw).

3. My brother called me in the evening, to tell me he'd got into the University of Virginia.

4. I had deep-fried Mars bars with chocolate ice cream at Far East Plaza.

5. I met up with three of my old JC friends (a bi guy, a straight guy and straight girl) and we talked about the best and worst sexual experiences we'd ever had in our lives.

Pretty intense. Oh, and I installed AIM and googletalk on my brother's computer, cos it won't work on mine.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Since the middle of last month, I have read the following. I know because one of my English friends wanted something to correspond about, so I suggested making lists of the cultural texts we'd absorbed each week. Such is the lassitude of unemployment.


Eleanor Wong's and Madeleine Lee's "y grec"
Christian Bok's "Crystallography"
U.A. Fanthorpe's "Christmas Poems"
"Women Poets of China", translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung
"The Essential Rumi", translated by Coleman Barks
Bamba Suso and Banna Kanute's "Sunjata"
Pablo Neruda's "Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion de desesperacion"
Carol Ann Duffy's "Selected Poems"

Suchen Christine Lim's "A Fistful of Colours"
Hwee Hwee Tan's "Mammon Inc."
Anthony Burgess's "M/F"
Willa Cather's "My Mortal Enemy"

Elangovan's "Buang Suay and Other Plays"
David Hare's "Plenty"

* Non-Fiction*
William Hazlitt's "On the Pleasure of Hating
Dan Savage's "The Kid: What Happened After Me and My Boyfriend Decided to Get Pregnant"
Sun Tzu's "Art of War"
Irshad Manji's "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in her Faith"

*Graphic Novels*
Alan Moore's "Tom Strong Volume 3"
Alan Moore's "Promethea Book 5"
Sidney Harris's "Einstein Atomized"
"Yao de gu shi" (okay, this was a children's book, but give me credit, it was in Chinese)

...and I've watched the following.

*Live Performance*
William Yang's "Objects for Meditation"
Action Theatre’s "Confessions of 300 Unmarried Men"
TNS's "Rosnah"
Amrita Arts's "The Glass Box/Photographs from S-21"
TTRP’s “The Secret Souk”
Dog Down Theatre’s “Sea Peach”
I-Theatre's "The Secret of Laughter"

*Recorded Performance*
“Chris Rock Unplugged"
Steven Spielberg's ‘Munich
Lee Ang's ”Brokeback Mountain
Derek Jarman's "The Last of England"
The complete "Goodness Gracious Me" DVD set
Yasmin Ahmad’s “Sepet”
“Underworld: Evolution” (actually I walked out because killing vampires is boring)
Ridley Scott’s "Alien"
Stephen Frears's "Mrs Henderson Presents"

Saturday, March 11, 2006


So yesterday I finish watching Mrs Henderson Presents, and I'm feeling a) unemployable because my SPH interviewers didn't seem riveted by me, and dredged up my gay stuff too, b) defeated at the hopeless prospect of romantic love - gay or straight - ever having the potential to engender lifetime fulfilment (I'd also just finished reading Willa Cather's "My Mortal Enemy", named for the address of the protagonist to her devoted husband at the end of many years of self-sacrificing marriage).

I message Amran for a lark. Amran's a cute NSPF I bumped into at Towel Club. (More vigorous bumping was done with his friend, but Amran wanted to talk about Agatha Christie and Rumi Jalaluddin.) Amran gives me long litanies on his lost love, a marathon runner he met by crising in the street, who always knew the exact right thing to say until the day he announced he wasn't looking for an LTR. He still sees him in his neighbourhood in his bicycle shorts now and then, and that sends a spear of ice through his heart, alas.

I meet Amran at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, where he's in front of the Madonna , asking her to intercede. (Amran wants to convert to Catholicism and learn Latin. He'll be teaching me Arabic. Woo-hoo.) I gripe to him about my woes, he gripes on his, I make a comment on how the Cathedral features a sign saying "Come Meet Mary" and is located on Queen Street.

We end up eating supermarket sushi and attending a free talk at the Substation by Joanna Wong Quee Heng, the Cantonese opera star. I realise after a while that Amran's more captivated than I am because he hasn't grown jaded to grandmothers watching endless DVDs of drag kings delivering recitative wearing cockroach antennae (see below diagram)
Mrs Joanna Wong in Warriors of Yang Family
Ms Wong's story is rather sad. She's speaking on behalf of women in the arts for International Women's Day, but the only reason she hasn't quit showbiz is because her husband won't let her. He just throws her resignation letter into the dustbin until she remembers the value of her passion. And she laments how many lost Mercedes, how many landed properties, how many yers as Registrar at NUS she lost because she was acting as Madam White Snake and not Homo Economicus.

She can't get younger bums in seats. She's tried performance in street clothing and singing in English, which the kids actually prefer, but the older generation won't stand for it, and they're her bread and butter. She's tried haranguing NAC for moneys to do a Canto opera version of whatever Shakespearean literature text is up for that year, but they wouldn't open their fists, her mainland Chinese scriptwriter even refused the indignity of translating when he could write his own damn story, and even she admits she's only doing it to get bums in seats, not out of artistic investigation. She's been invited to perform in Beijing, Berlin, Shanghai, Tokyo, Cairo, and even Guangzhou, because they wanted their university's foreign language majors to hear what an English language wayang sounded like (and apparently even the Cantonese undergradds haven't watched opera in Cantonese). She's been invited to Oakland to stand on a Singapore parade float in the middle of winter, mock-ups from 7pm the night before to the showcase till 1pm the next day, chilled to the bone, her painted face cracking in the dry air, the SIA girls waving on the float treating her to instant noodles in the limousine. She's been invited to Vienna by Ong Ken Sen to teach his blonde actresses getai movement for his production of the Caucasian Chalk Circle. She recognises the value of such crossover, but she can't keep the purity itself going, the adult amateurs are called home to their children locked out of the house, and the children amateurs all have to study by secondary school. Even today's operatics of fame refuse to allow their children to follow in their footsteps, because you just can't make money.

When I was 16 at a Creative Arts camp, I was coerced by a certain Mr Chua Soo Pong (see above diagram) into performing a Chinese opera sketch. This involved loads of makeup, expensive costume, and absolutely no personal creative intiative on my part. I cursed his name and wished I could have been inducted into the Australian mime artist's component (which in the end delivered a rather dull skit, as well). Right now I can't figure out what division, what branch of Chinese opera he was teaching us. I can only hope he was as oppressed as Ms Wong was back in his field.

Sigh. Yeah, I'm vindictive. Amran probably won't understand, but Chinese opera's like kinky sex. A lot of people aren't into it, and anyone who imposes it on anyone against their will should be subjected to capital punishment.

Hahahahaha! Yes, I'm sorry. Today I got the final rejection e-mail from SPH. I'm inclined to be sadistic when hurt.

Friday, March 10, 2006

more of the cousinettes!

They were mega-munchie monsters, these girls. Needed to stop for their snacks before we got to South Asian artefacts. Conversations tended to go like this:

YS: This statue is over 1,500 years old.

Shanice: Don't bluff! (puts sweaty hands all over potentially corroded statue)

YS: Yaaaaak!!!!

But after seeing the Arabic calligraphy, little Shanice actually got a yen for Chinese painting, which they were demonstrating downstairs. The fascist vertical-transmission schoolgirl instructors told them they had to copy extant model paintings of lotuses and lilies, and even guided their hands in the case of 6 year-old Shermaine.
However, as may be seen if you look closer, the little girls took the initiative to start drawing hearts and stars on their paintings, which was not a fundamental motif of the Wu Tao-Suan school of painting. Superflat 4eva!!! Posted by Picasa

Bringing the cousinettes to the Asian Civilisations Museum!

We took my godmother's granddaughters to the Asian Civ last month! Great Sunday visit, and they actually appreciated some of the ancient artwork!

This is my little brother Yi-Xian (who just ORDed today!) holding Shanice and Shermaine. All three of the kids demanded to be carried a lot.
And here they are doing fertility boy-god drag.
And here they are looking colicky. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Afternoon, walking on the roof of the Milano Dom

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Hostel breakfast, Barcelona

I made the Catalonian flag out of toast, peach preserves and strawberry jam. Father calls this jia ba ka eng. Posted by Picasa

Cute homeless guy, Brussels

Uls Nisson lives on the streets of Brussels. He's 20 years old. I met him coming out of a gay sauna at midnight. I bought him a durum, which is basically a Moroccan burrito. He ate that and told me it was his first meal in two days, that he had gotten the highest grades in his university in Novosibirsk at the age of 15 and been the pride of his businessman father and telejournalist mother, gone to Paris to be a rock star and made loads of great friends, then been informed of his parents' sudden death, been abandoned by said friends when his money ran out, and knowing his avaricious uncles and aunts had stolen all the inheritance, and nothing to do but sleep in shelters and do black-market construction jobs and spare-change in the streets. Interestingly, no-one in the street he bummed a cigarette from refused him, so he was able to ruin his lungs even while he was starving.

I eventually also bought him a beer, because he explained he needed to keep out the bad dreams of the sky crushing him. He recited a slam poem describing himself. His English was very good, and of course he spoke French and Russian as well. I left him discussing civics with a Moroccan man with three fingers on one hand. It was only when I turned the corner that I realised he was a figure from a Chinese folktale I had always loved, of the eighth immortal, Lan Caihe, the precocious and sexless youth who was orphaned and thrown out by his stepmother and earned a living selling songs on the street. Uls had done that too, but his guitar had been ruined when he was going home with a girl and a gang fo Arab youths had sprung him. He could have waited to get enough money to get it fixed, but the sound of a broken guitar broke his heart so much that he just pawned it for enough money for a night in a hotel. I told him that he could sleep in the gay sauna for cheaper. I wonder if I've started him on the path of gay prostitution. I doubt it, though. He probably won't be able to remember the address of the place.

Siberia. God love it. Posted by Picasa

Chocolate pretzel, Köln

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authentic gazpacho, Madrid

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Old trick, Wien

Mathieu (Mart) Henri: tall, blond, athletic and 24 years old. From Marseilles, studying in Vienna. We met in a Parisian bathhouse and he has a thing for Asians. Only East Asians though. Doesn't like the hot Arab boys or the African boys that populate his native streets. Is also politically conservative (no headscarves!), insensitive (what do you mean, you're mad because I stood you up for an foursome?) and bad in bed (exclusively a top, no real technique, tends to roll over and snooze if he's tired in spite of whether you've come yet or not). Has a heavy accent that's cute if you know him and annoying if you don't. Currently finishing engineering degree, possibly visiting Pyongyang for the third time, incommunicado with me because of hissy fits on both sides (the photos are before and after the hissy fits) and considering settling down with a woman because being an older gay guy is too hard. I pity the woman. Especially when his belly is getting a little less firm. :-p Posted by Picasa

sunset, walking on the roof of the Milano Dom

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