Friday, August 31, 2007

fuck us on family

You know how bad it is? Last Saturday morning, I was at Newton MRT and a secondary school girl was fulfilling her compulsory charity work by collecting money for this:

She approached me to give money and I told her that while Focus on Family does undoubtedly conduct some positive affirming programmes, asking me as a gay man to donate was like asking a Jew to donate to the Neo-Nazis.

I'm not sure if I should be more disturbed by the fact that she had no idea that she was collecting for an anti-gay organisation, or by the fact that her friend knew and was collecting anyway.

Of course, the main point is that an actively bigoted group is able to receive funding through Ministry of Education programmes like this. Big heave.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I mish my shishter.

She's flown off to do her PhD at Yale, leaving me as the only one in my generation left in the family. Which is just great.

Before she left, our auntie Rose Oh stopped by and delivered these cheongsams she'd made for her (she's a tailor, you see:)

Disgruntlement in white and gold.

Levitation in red and gold.


We also went crazy and took some R-rated shots which I'll have to get approval for before I upload. My mum was very intrigued by the visual possibilities of the slits.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gua eh didi wu chia

My brother's gone back to Virginia. :(

He wrote us this e-mail:

Dear family,

I am now a proud owner of a Chrysler sebring 2002 gun metal blue 4 doored sedan. I'm trying to find a good name for it, but its either "shiok" or "chio bu". I think chio bu is a good name.

It cost a total of about 11,000 USD for the car and for insurance. Insurance was 545 USD for 6 months. Based on mom's directive to go to a respectable car dealer, I went down to Carmax, the auto superstore near my roommate's place. I already planned to buy a Chrevolet Malibu 2003 at 9,998USD, and saw it. Wah, really lor, it looked very "value" and sad. Everything was "value" about it, and it was quite sad to look at. Plus safety wise, the thing was even sadder. Had no ABS brakes (which is quite uncommon for a "newer" car). Forget about power steering too. Then i saw its cousin, a Acura, which was built a few years later than the Malibu, and cost a good 2,000USD cheaper. And wasn't all that different really. So i was quite set on buying that 7,998 USD car.

But while looking at the sad cars, my room mate brendt went walking around, and came back with a very broad grin on his face, and beckoned me to come.

And then i met Chio Bu. Chio Bu was the most attractive car under 10,000USD in the entire lot. And she's still pleasing to the eye without looking at the price tag. But when I opened the car door, FWAH! Got leather xia! And got nice dashboard! And the windows are electrically powered! And the seats are LEATHER! (oops, did I mention that already) PLus the car did not stink, unlike the other 2.

But what mattered the most, were its amenities. Good airbags, and ABS brakes, and powersteering make me a happy man. Then I brought it on a test drive, and wah! The car doesn't like to go slow. Probably a result of its V6 engine. (most pok kai cars have 4 cylinders, this one got 6 man!) Once you drive to 50miles per hour, the "chio bu" don't want to slow down.

Oh yes. So i was quite set on buying chio bu already. Since a) price wise, it was competitive. b) I couldn't believe i could get that good a deal on a car below 10k that looked decent. c) the alternatives were really a bit sad. d) shiok shiok shiok.

So i happily said "lets get it", and was introduced to the "sian'ness" of the american "shopping experience". Took ages to buy the car. Insurance (which is damn exp. since I'm a college guy under 26yrs of age) took a big chunk, and the stupid dealer who listed the car wrongly in terms of category. (which I managed to catch while jet lagged and sick)

But I walked out with chiobu, which was all waxed and washed before I got her. And thereafter chiobu and I had our first adventure. Brendt drives like a crazy man. That is for certain. Trying to keep up with him on the freeway was do'able, since chio bu and I have a very close bond. But a pickup cut brendt off from me, and I ended up following another car which was the same color as brendt's honda to god know's where, and was stuck waiting on a gravel road for brendt to find me. Luckily he did, and chio bu and i continued to follow crazy black man brendt. (he drives like he's in the video game grand theft auto)

It was interesting following him, since I actually drive pretty responsibly. Sagely advise from my US driving instructor to obey the driving rules makes sense, since in the US when u accelerate from one traffic light to another, you'll just end up getting stuck in the next light. But when you have to follow a mad man, you have no choice but to be double'y mad to stick to his tail. The joker basically floors the accelerator once the lights turn green. Amusingly, he remarked that I had "skills" for keeping up with him.

I have resolved to not follow mad men again. Chio bu doesn't like it.

I will be driving down to charlottesville tomorrow. It should be a nice pleasant drive. Of which i will be a "guai" singaporean and follow the road rules.

Oh, and ah pa. Yes the TT went through. Funnily, I owe them 15 USD, of which i will pay via check.

Oh and ah ma and ah pa, don't worry. I will drive safe and responsibly. Must keep chio bu safe and pretty and not give her an "extreme makeover".


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Socratic Dialogue in Progress

Plenty to write about, but no time, so for appearances' sake I'll upload a pic from David Chew and Vince Ong's farewell party. That's David looking philosopher and me looking like an obedient disciple.

Friday, August 17, 2007

z0mg "881" r0xx0rz!!1!1!

Just came back after a family film outing to Royston Tan's new movie "881"... my mum (CEO), father (retired financial consultant) and big sister (forthcoming PhD student with focus in Old English linguistics) were ALL singing along to the Hokkien songs in the getai. And so were a whole bunch of other people in the audience (not too loudly, but audibly enough to make me realise what an impact this show is having just by *recognising* that getai is valuable cultural art form).

There are some films that exoticise Singapore for foreign audiences (cf. Chicken Rice Wars), and our automatic response to that as artists is to push for films that represent Singapore as it really is (cf. Singapore Dreaming).

Royston's picked up on a new route - he doesn't care about the reality of Singapore; he'll glamourise us above and beyond believability to give a Singapore audience what it wants (and never really knew it wanted) - a soul-swinging, heart-wringing, singalong smorgasbord of light and colour and campy costume.

I super<3 Royston now; he can have my ass anytime he wants (unless I have Arabic or capoeira class, in which case I have to reschedule).

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I've stolen some photos of ContraDiction III from the IndigNation website - probably taken by Alex Au himself. Looking back, I'm gladder than ever about how it went (it may be the first time that I've been put in charge of curating a literary reading too, which makes me feel all grown-up, teehee).

That's Qian Xi and me, opening the evening with our poems (we were sacrificial lambs lah)

Chan Sze-Wei had a brief play-reading by SRT Young Company and read two poems (she said it's her virgin reading some more!)

Next up were Zhuang Yisa and Yak Aik Wee (who did a combination of music and text).

This is a shot from the back of the stage (where the sexually suggestive snacks table was) so you can get an idea of the setup.

Jonathan Lim and Jasmine Seah made an astonishingly good pair - they alternated their pieces, and Jonathan read all these sultry, sexual poems whereas Jasmine read poems of detached sensation and restraint. Camp men and stone women on love - very nice how the gender parity of the evening worked out too.

Could I just show off my rainbow dhoti again? Along with Indu's amazing cheongsam? Indu read from her blog (very powerful rendition; the piece we picked was nice and rhythmic). Maia Lee and Lee Gwo Yinn also did blog entry readings (see below).

And Amannda Teee (I'm misspelling her name to reduce googlabilty, since she's still in JC) was a really good performer - guitarist and songwriter. Hope she doesn't give up music; she wowed the crowd.

And can I just boast that thanks to Stephanie Yap, we were the only IndigNation event to get press coverage without getting banned first? She couldn't mention it was queer, though. It must be tough being a mainstream arts reporter in a Renaissance city - all the artists are queer except Raphael.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ich bin ein Media Hur

I'm in the papers again. Tuesday August 14, "Fluid body: envelope stuffing and nude dancing get message across", Life! p10 - June Cheong's dance review of Jochen Roller's "Perform Performing".

Honestly, I didn't volunteer immediately. I looked around, saw that no-one else had the courage to be an entertainer, and then plunged in (despite having very sore muscles). $10 for 3 min of boogie - wouldn't you do it? Why derive a moral about the incestuousness of the arts community because I'm naturally hyperactive? Grump grump grump.

Monday, August 13, 2007

ContraDiction aftermath and Pink Run

Phew! About 100 people turned up for ContraDiction (maybe more; we ran out of seats!). Iris had an inflamed throat so we had a replacement singer, I lost my peanut butter cookies and Tupperware on the bus, our reader for Johann S. Lee's novel extract couldn't make it, and Maia Lee lost her way... but it all turned out extremely well! Great mix of voices! Will upload photos once people send them to me!

In the meantime, here's a photo by Ian Lee of the Pink Run on Saturday morning... I'm fourth fom the right in the back row. 37 people in the photo, not counting the ones who turned up late, and not counting the 10 plainclothes police officers who advised us to cancel the run (we cancelled it, took the group photo, and allowed everyone to run in a non-organised fashion if we chose... and most of us did choose to).

I ran 4km, did my Cold Storage Shopping, watched Ovidia Yu's "Hitting (on) Women", attended my capoeira class and then went to watch Jochen Roller's "Perform Performing", in which I volunteered to go onstage to dance for 3 minutes in exchange for S$10 to demonstrate the economic opportunity cost of art.

So on Sunday morning my ass was very sore indeed. Sex is overrated as a full-body workout.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

ContraDiction 3: A Queer Literary Evening

An evening of queer writing - including poetry, drama, blog entries and songs. Readers will include myself, Teng Qian Xi, Chan Sze-Wei, Zhuang Yisa and Maia Lee. Also featured will be original music composed and performed by Iris Judotter and Yak Aik Wee.

Licence from MDA approved. Rated R18.

Date: Sunday, 12 August 2007
Time: 7:30 - 9:30 pm
Venue: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

Let's talk about love

The third ContraDiction event will focus on lesser-known poets and musicians.

Ftw! Stephanie Yap actually managed to get ContraDiction 3 advertised in the Sunday Times! 12 August 2007, L25. Sappy headline, but that's ST branding apparently. :P

Love will take centrestage at poetry and music event ContraDiction – including its myriad joys and heartbreaks.

Now in its third year, the annual event celebrating gender and sexuality will be held at arts venue 72-13 this Sunday.

Curating the event this year is poet and playwright Ng Yi-sheng, whose recently staged works include the musical Georgette and the play 251.

Ng, 27, who participated as a reader in previous years, says that this year's event differs from past ones due to its even gender distribution.

While five women and five men will be performing on Sunday, including STOMP star blogger Maia Lee, Ng says the event was testosterone-driven in previous years.

"There are more published writers and poets who are male than female, so I'm glad we've got more women readers this time," says Ng, himself a published writer who will read from his debut poetry collection, Last Boy.

Another change this year is the absence of established writers like Cyril Wong and Alfiaan Sa'at, who both participated in previous readings.

Says Ng: "I want the focus to be on lesser-known artists, as well as people not traditionally considered writers."

Thus, he has rounded up budding poets like Foyle Young Poet Teng Qianxi, musicians like singer-songwriter Iris Judotter, and even bloggers like Maia Lee and Lee Gwo Yinn.

Another participant is civil servant Chan Sze Wei, who works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chan, 27, will be reading "two little love poems" – one about falling
in love and the other about breaking up.

An extract from a play she wrote last year with the Singapore Repertory Theatre Young Company, about teenage depression, will also be performed.

She hopes the audience will be touched by the stories they hear: "I hope that for each audience member, there will be something in the stories and ideas that will resonate with them, something that they'll take away with them as a new gift."

ContraDiction is on this Sunday at 7:30pm at TheatreWorks, 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road. Admission is free. Rated R-18.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Pink Picnic!!!

I went today. There were over 100 of us there! Not including the plainclothes policemen!

And this is what I wore. (The T-shirt is pale pink... doesn't come out so well in photos).

For more photos by Saltwetfish, click here!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Think our National Day is spectacular?... well, just check out our Communist inspirations

Interestingly enough, Faithless has an alternate video set in Brazil. See here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Your BBQ is illegal.

UPDATE 07/08/07: Turns out these events are not as cancelled as they appear. ;)

The National Parks Board has just told us that the Pink Run (an athletic run around the Botanical Gardens) and the In the Pink picnic on National Day have both been banned. Probably some homophobe wrote in to them to complain.

It's staggering to me that they could do that - all we were going to do was turn up in pink and eat food and talk cock and run - it's not a rally or parade at all (if we were that organised, then we'd either have legal recognition or be exiled to Sentosa by now).

The Illegal Assemblies Act has never struck home so hard before. Every meeting of - four, five, what? - people, even to roast chicken wings or study or pray, is against the law without a permit. We are living in a police state - they can arrest us for so many things (and God knows, they don't even need a reason to lawfully detain us).

Very upset. Oh, and the "Tall Tales and Short Stories" reading went fine, thank you.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Lee Low Tar aftermath.

Yay! My banned short story "Lee Low Tar" got Tomorrowed. For better or worse, many people think it's a genuine letter from the MDA... fail English compre already!

This is me at MDA. The posters in the background warn that if you let children watch violent and sexy movies, they'll become axe-wielding serial killer kids who have oral sex in the classroom.

I was at their office today to pick up our completely approved licence for ContraDiction 3, our queer literary reading. I met Veronica Looi, who's a small, very nice-looking woman with a big smile, long hair, and a black scarf. I gave her a print-out copy of "Lee Low Tar", telling her she'd probably be offended by it, but since her name was being used in the censorship of so many things, I thought she should know what it was she was censoring. She smiled, apparently without pretense, and said she'd read it.

It's also of interest that I have a good friend who actually works at MDA - Leon Lim, who's in Strategic Planning (not any censorship board; he likes culture too much for that). We were in French class together back in secondary school. Watched Toy Factory's "Big Fool Lee" with him tonight and we agreed that it was a mediocrely written idol-worshipping paean to a Chinese cultural centrist that was more suited to TV or film than the stage.

I suppose my point is that as fun as it is to joke about MDA - how it seems to use its authority to deprive us of rather than to develop media - no institution is homogenous, and the corporation that kicks you in the knickers will very often contain people who are very nice but uninformed, or who are actually sympathetic to your cause but not yet in positions of influence.

Have plenty to say at the talk I'm giving on Sunday in lieu of the short story reading. Seeya there.


Thursday, August 02, 2007


For the short story that MDA banned, please click here - Alex Au's posted it on Yawning Bread.

I wrote it for the "Tall Tales and Short Stories" event on Sunday. I won't be able to read it at this point, but come anyway - Ovidia Yu will be reading from her story "Pierced Years" and I'll be giving a talk, because indoor talks do not require a licence.

"Tall Tales and Short Stories"
Organised by
Sunday, 5 August

72-13, Mohamed Sultan Road

Below is the rejection letter we received:

CC: Amy TSANG <>, Liane LOO <>,
Norsabariah TUBI <>
Subject: Arts Entertainment licence - "Tall Tales and Short Stories"
From: Veronica Vivien LOOI <>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 14:25:02 +0800

Dear Ms Chong

Your application for a story reading session, entitled "Tall Tales and Short Stories", has been approved on condition that the reading of Lee Low Tar is taken out

The content of Lee Low Tar has been disallowed as it had gone beyond good taste and decency in taking a disparaging and disrespectful view of public officers.



There's a small parallel case here of Tan Tarn How's play "The Lady of Soul and the Ultimate S-Machine", which was not permitted to be staged for some time because (among various reasons) its main character was a male civil servant who was having an affair with a male Minister-of-State.

But it's a different Singapore now. The arts scene has progressed to an extent where people (including journalists) are interested in the cases of censored work, and the Internet's technologies allow banned texts to be distributed freely (go watch Royston Tan's "Cut" on, or Martyn See's "Zahari's 17 Years" on googlevideo, or Tan Pin Pin's "Lurve Me Now" on her university's site).

And while a filmmaker or stage director will suffer large financial setbacks if his/her work is banned for screening/performance - a writer loses very little. Isn't that odd? (Authorities may now try and prove me wrong by making it difficult for me to have future works staged - maybe they'll claim "Georgette" espouses Marxist values?)

This being said, "Lee Low Tar" is an amateur piece of writing - I am not an experienced short story author, after all. And the entire setup is, on a certain level, a wanky artistic gesture, an attention-getting device (compare with the works of Lim Tzay Chuen). And it may hurt the gay movement or the socially-engaged arts community in the long run. I don't know.

But I do like how it works in testing the bureaucratic systems of censorship we have in this country - they are such strange, antiquated, self-sabotaging entities, like warthogs on Pulau Tekong, that it seems to be vital to engage with them before they go extinct (which they will, dear children, they will - someday they'll set up the artist-run system of self-appraisal based on ratings systems rather than muzzling, just like FOCAS suggested).

You see, yes, censorship is violent and stupid.

But it is possible to dance with violent and stupid people.

I gave MDA a test, and they failed it. I'm not the victim. They are.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

INDIGNATION 2007!!! (already one event kena banned!) UPDATE: My story kena banned too!

Heya! I'm involved in two events for IndigNation, our Queer Pride Festival- doing a short story reading with Ovidia Yu on Sunday 5th August and organising/curating ContraDiction, a poetry/literary/music performance on Sunday 12 August, both at 7:30pm at 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road.

MDA licences pending. And really, we can't take anything for granted - they just banned Alex Au's Kissing Project photo display, according to the calendar. Not unexpected - the point for us is to keep on pushing the limits, to keep on challenging the unjustified rules until they change.

UPDATE (31/7.07): Jean Chong of Sayoni, who's the organiser, got a call from Veronica Looi at MDA saying that my short story was not approved for licensing. (Poor Veronica, she's only an Admin Assistant but she has to deliver the dirty news with all her boss, Deputy Director Amy Tsang - and she never even gets to read the things she bans.)

July 2007 texts

Oy vey. Can't list the plays or things we watched during World Interplay - too many, and it'd be dangerous to judge my friends.

All the same, it's clear I had quite an appetite for drama and non-fic this month.

Min Lim's “Mining for the Light”
Carol Ann Duffy's “Rapture”
+Christina Rosetti's “Goblin Market and Other Poems”

Michel Houellebecq's “Lanzarote”
+Monique Truong's “The Book of Salt”

Edward Albee's “The Goat, or, Who is Sylvia?”
“Contemporary Australian Plays", including +Hannie Rayson's "Hotel Sorrento", David Williamson's "Dead White Males", +Ron Elisha's "Two", +Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman's "The 7 Stages of Grieving", and Keith Robinson and Tony Taylor's "The Popular Mechanicals"
+David Hare's “The Permanent Way”
+Jeff Mellemans and Bert Appermont's "Zaad van Satan"
Elangovan's "Talaq"

+Anne Bogart's “A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art in Theatre”
+Clarissa Oon's “Theatre Life: A History of English-Language Theatre in Singapore Through The Straits Times (1958-2000)"
+Kwok Kian Woon and Teo Han Wue's “Kuo Pao Kun: And Love the Wind and Rain”
+Chuck Palahniuk's “Non-Fiction”
+Iris Chang's “The Rape of Nanking”

+Royal Shakespeare Company's "King Lear"
+W!ld Rice's "Happy Endings: Asian Boys Volume 3"
+Dramabox's "Trick or Threat"

Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett's "The History Boys"
Clint Eastwood's "Letters from Iwo Jima"
Steve Anderson's "Meet the Robinsons"
+Satoshi Kon's "Paprika"
+Tan Pin Pin's "Lurve Me Now"
+Wee Li Lin's "Gone Shopping"

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery's "Ailan Currents: Contemporary Printmaking from the Torres Strait", "Soundscapes" and +"Thinkin Quinkan: The Secrets of Cape York"
Tang Mun Kit's "Hibernated Works Re-Engineered +33%"
+National Museums of Singapore and Taiwan's "A Banquet in Stone"
Zainudin bin Samsuri's "Rowing Boat"
Stephanie Cheng, Kenny Lim, Eudora Rusli,Calvin Tan, Tan Seow Wei and Tan Taitien's "Because It's Happy Chaos"
+Singapore Tyler Print Institute's "BMW Young Asian Artists Series: Diversity in Print"
+NUS Museum's "WE" and "Our Way, Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Lockhart River"