Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Evilympics

I love this article about how evil the Beijing Olympics are:

"In the lead-up to Athens four years ago, the IOC got tough with Greek organizers when they didn't show progress on various issues such as stadium plans and security. Why hasn't it applied the same pressure over China's far more significant broken promises? A few stadium construction delays weren't acceptable, but apparently a hundred dead Tibetans are?"

And of course, whatever human rights media spotlight is on China in 2008 will be on Singapore when we host the Youth Olympics in 2010. That's gonna be very interesting.

(Gracias por el foto, Omar!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

I didn't get it the first time either. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Racist ads and pregnant dads

... you gotta love America. (And visit it while the dollar's low.)

The pregnant dad story is at the Advocate. Apparently, it's not all that uncommon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Death and Rebirth - NUS Lit Nite

Life, love and drama serials. This reading explores how temporal most things are in our lives and how new beginnings are just around the corner, just when we think things - as we know it have ended.

I didn't write that blurb, so I can't apologise for it. Anyhoo, that's the theme for the next reading I'm part of: part of the NUS Arts Festival, to be held this Sunday evening.

Details are as follows:

Date of event: Sunday, 23 March 2008
· Time of event: 6pm – 6.45pm
· Duration of event: 45 min (10 min reading)
· Venue: Theatre Foyer, University Cultural Centre, NUS

Also reading with me are David Leo and Shi Min.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Varför, Gud, varför???

I'm confused. Why do I have a Wikipedia entry in Swedish?

In fact, the only other sv.wikipedia seem to be politicians. Even Annabel Chong doesn't have an entry. I've never slept with a Swedish person, and while I do know a Swedish lesbian in China and a Canadian lesbian in Sweden, the former hasn't spoken to me for ages and I don't think the latter speaks Swedish. Mån mystär!

(I don't actually speak Swedish, but I just love the umlauts.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Consumer Rights Day

... which of course Singapore celebrates by arresting people.

Info on the Tak Boleh Tahan protest here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Go Buy Tickets to the Singapore International Film Festival

Now. They need your support. If by some chance you're a megarich tycoon, sponsor them. They've revived a moribund tradition of local cinema and have consistently struggled against censorship for the last 21 years. Just click on 'em. You'll find something you like.

One cool thing this year (from my admittedly tokenist perspective) is that the Singapore Panorama section includes a healthy proportion of non-Chinese directors. It's about fuckin' time! How can we claim P. Ramlee as a founding father if all our directors are munjens???

I don't actually like the following viral advert much, but it's by Royston Tan, so some of you will like it.

UPDATE: My friend Leon says:

Victric Thng's little clip is perhaps a little more effective, in promoting the festival.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Reading Wrong.

I'm supposed to be writing about Singapore development in 1984, occupation by the Japanese in 1942 and colonialism by the British in 1819. All of which will take disgusting amounts of research about their respective cultures.

But what am I actually reading about?


Seriously, it's dead interesting. Did you know that at the time of its conquest, the Incas had the biggest empire in the world - bigger than Ming China, Ivan the Great's Russia or Songhai? They never invented writing, so they employed thousands of men simply to remember administrative records (and inscribe them on knotted strings). And Pocahontas's rescue of John Smith from human sacrifice might have actually been a part of a ritual formally inducting John as a member of the tribe (first we threaten to kill you, then we embrace you) - after all, she was a priestess in training. And god, the thickness of population and sophistication of culture that existed across the Americas before an estimated 95% died from European diseases... all early Europeans were astounded by the high levels of activity and commerce and health and technology (their arrows shot further and more accurately than pistols, their huts kept out the rain better than English huts)...

And all of it got destroyed. Well, not all of it: there's a larger body of remnant texts in Nahuatl (Aztec) than in Classical Greek. But the incredible range of civilisations that existed across the Americas of which later settlers only saw disease-ravaged scattered tribes...

And I'm not even halfway through the book. Click here to check it out on Amazon, but you should be able to get it from anywhere. When I picked it up at Borders, my father said we had it already, 'cos he got 1491 mixed up with that incredible heap of malingering trash 1421. Typical.

(I also have gigantic stacks of writers from Hong Kong that I ended up buying. Some of them in fan ti zi. Yoiks.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hong Kong. (And Macau)

It'd take way too much time to describe the trip in detail, but I will eventually. For the moment, I've maxed out my Flickr account uploading stuff from the Festival (not including my own readings, which should take up another post).

Wanna see my pics (with comments)? Go here.

Here's a foretaste:

My hosts, the ex-British military officer Nigel Collett and his partner Austin Aloysius Tay from Singapore. They run a company managing the employment of Gurkhas in East Asia and have a home full of books and artefacts, boasting alphabetised collections of gay biography and South Asian studies. Nigel, who didn't come out till his 40s, has written a grammar of Baluchi and once laid a table for a formal army luncheon in the middle of Hong Kong rush hour traffic.

Y'know, just look at the damn photoset. Incomplete though it may be. (The real reason it's not on blogger is because the site keeps giving me so many damn errors when I upload multiple shots.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I'm scared to be optimistic, but you've gotta love the fact that the election results show that the traditional racial lines of voting have broken down. (Loads of Chinese and Indians supported even the PAS, the Islamic party - which is kinda scary, but it turns out it's partly because PAS candidates have become more sensitive to minority issues.)

The Internet also played a major part in mobilising the middle classes. Note that the majority of bloggers in Malaysia are women, too. It's rhizomatic, man. Age of Aquarius.

Read Malaysiakini for a real report. Maybe someday we'll be one big country again. Who knows? They could give us the gift of democracy....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Final Day in Hong Kong

Yo, E-Ching! Remember this?

Well, you wouldn't, 'cos it's been repainted. But perhaps you remember this guy:

He still looks the same after 20 fuckin' years!!!

For all of you kids in the dark: this is Mr Kann, who taught my sis in primary school in Hong Kong. Thassaright: Quarry Bay School, that British international school where the two of us picked up our weird-ass accent from 1987-89.

And it's still there. Same building, though done over with pastels and with a slightly more variegated staff. Same multicoloured upper-crust expat kids who approach you in strangely crisp English asking whose parent you are (actually, in one case the 7 year-old addressed me first in Cantonese, then later confided in me his discomfort in his part in the school play) - and all are flabbergasted at the thought that anyone could have attended their school TWENTY YEARS AGO.

Twenty years is a lifetime to these kids. Hell, it's a lifetime to me. But these kids were BORN in 2001. For them the War on Terror has always been happening.

But enough digression. The uniform's changed a little, and most of the old guard left in a mass exodus a couple years back, due to retirement, I think - our dear old principal Mr Harrison is now finally a gardener as he's always wanted to be. (Oh Christ, I sound like an Etonian.) Odd that so many of them stuck it out after the '97 Handover - my two main teachers were Mrs Pauling and Mrs Gately. The first based her Masters Thesis on tape recordings of me then became principal of a school in Cambridge; we visited her in '95. The second died of cancer ages ago.

I was, however, personally taught by Miss Hardy (who's been Mrs O'Rorke for the last fershugginen years, which rather confused me at reception). She taught us music, including many melodious hymns and carols which primed me somewhat for my unfortunate and temporary conversion to Christianity. Neither she nor Mr Kann seems terribly fazed to know I'm writing for, though - they're more chuffed that one of their ex-students is actually a writer, because everyone else becomes a doctor or a lawyer or a banker. If I'd stopped by earlier I could have been an invited guest for show-and-tell.

Here's the courtyard. I shot this during recess. Children are strange animals; I'd love to have them someday but I'm not sure what to feed them. Coincidentally, my QBS recess years were when my queerness first exhibited itself... but that's another story.

Will add further photos when my computer's being less temperamental.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Sixth day in Hong Kong

..been having Internet trouble. Day after I landed my tush in the house of my hosts, their connection went kaput, kablooey, kattam-shud.

I obviously have far too much to tell, but for the moment I'll reveal that I'm in this spanking new mall that's sprung up where I used to live in HK from 1986 to 1988. I tried to track back the footsteps of old to little avail (my father gave very unhelpful advice for finding the place), so I ducked into the Pacfifc Coffee Club and googled the name of my condo.

And get this: Willow Mansion, Taikoo Shing is not only mentioned in Wikipedia. The area has entries in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Wenyuanwen.

Will log off presently and try to find the condo in meatspace. In other news, last night's reading at Joyce Is Not Here went rather well, except for the fact that I hadn't realised we had to bring our own books to sell (I'd already turned over all of mine to the Festival), and due to miscalculations I sold my only reading copy to someone at less than cost price.

Tonight should go more smoothly. Also, I'm spendin' two nights at the Excelsior. Viva el bling!!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I Has A New Book!

And it lookz lyk dis:

Itz mai commisshunned book 4 ACS (Indiependunt)! Da tytle iz "On His Wings: ...soaring twenty years on", it costs $25ive dollarz, and dere is evun a foto of me insidez! L00k!!!1!!

Plz commisshun me 4 more stuf kthxbye.

And for all you ACS boys out there, Happy Founders' Day. Oldham Dauntless Hero didn't come for nuthin', yknow.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

February 2008 texts

Woo weet!

+Nicanor Parra’s “Antipoems: How to Look Better and Feel Great”
Danton Remoto’s “Skin Voices Faces”
+Alan Spence’s “Seasons of the Heart”

+Christine Suchen Lim’s “The Lies That Build a Marriage”
+Patrick Süskind’s “Perfume”
+Goh Poh Seng’s “Dream of White Clouds”
+Ian Fleming’s “For Your Eyes Only”

+Christopher Marlowe’s “Dr Faust”
Thomas Lovell Beddoes’s “Death’s Jest-Book”
+Richard Sheridan’s “The School for Scandal”
+Ezra Pound and Ernest Fenollosa’s “The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan”
Paul Zindel’s “Every Seventeen Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy!”

+Ben Slater’s “Kinda Hot”
+Andrew Robinson’s “The Story of Writing”
+Raphael Millet’s “Singapore Cinema”
+Tim Bowden’s “Changi Photographer: George Aspinall’s Record of Captivity”
+“The National Museum Guide”
Roger J. Davies and Osamu Ikeno’s “The Japanese Mind”

+Lat’s “Lat Was Here”
+"Futurama Comics: The Time Bender Trilogy"

Toy Factory’s “Shanghai Blues”
+National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center & Edward Lam Dance Theatre’s “What Is Man”
Lim Giong's “The Sound Seed Project”
+Ivana Muller’s “While We Were Holding It Together”
+Dream Academy’s “Dim Sum Dollies: The History of Singapore”
George Chua’s “SPARKS 5: He Is Not An Imposter”

Hazel Lim and Alan Butler’s “Flat Earth Society 0.2 (Singapore)”
+Kumari Nahappan’s “Woven in Time”
Jason Lim’s “Still/Life”
Tan Teng Teng, Singapore Boys’ Home and Singapore Girls’ Home’s “Celebration of Reunion Community Project”
+Miguel Chew and Haslinda Abdul Rahman’s “Translating Perception”
+Andrew Chew’s “Borderlines: Life in a Chinese Village”
The National Heritage Board’s “Memories At Bukit Chandu”
+Tan Ngiap Heng’s “Dance Me Through the Dark”
+The Asian Civilisations Museum's "The Nalanda Trail"
+The National Museum’s “Bedazzled: Sequined Costumes of Cantonese Opera”
Fringe Festival’s “Masa Lalu - Masa Lupa”
Miguel Chew’s “Perception Is a Delusion”

+Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster”
+John Cameron Mitchell’s “Shortbus”
most of Philip J. Bartell’s “Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds”
+Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later”
+Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”
+Jason Reitman’s “Juno”
Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis”

Not quite sure whether I should mention that I visited Haw Par Villa again with Omar: entry's now free, the Chinese-culture-is-compulsory-propaganda has now become chipped and ironic, and it's basically really really fun now. Take your foreign visitors there at the slightest opportunity.

In other news, I've concluded that I'm not quite in a bout of depression, but in a mild funk: little things like lack of sleep, apparent abandonment, or reading of Japanese Noh plays make me lose faith in life. To ensure that I remain chipper and psychologically healthy, I am sleeping in, restricting my dates to ones with Platonic friends (and warning them in no uncertain terms of the psychological consequences of them standing me up), and restricting my literary dramatic diet to Neil Simon.