Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Multiculturalism today

April 30, 2008: Queen's Day in the Netherlands; Walpurgis Night in various European countries; Reunification Day in Vietnam.

Via Wikipedia.

A fruity interlude...

That little girl at 0:44 - whoo, she's as slutty as I am. (Yeah, I tried having a sex with a banana when I was in JC 2. Unfortunately, it was overripe, which was messy.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

They're arresting people at saunas again.

They haven't done this since kind of thing since 2001. Time to seriously consider migrating.

UPDATE: I'm compiling a list of accounts of the night. Some contradict each other. 

From 1-7 newsletter

Dear members,

Our water supply was turned off at 10pm on the 25th April 2008, Saturday. (typo?) When we opened the back door to investigate amd turn it back on, a few plain-clothed officers from the CID rushed in. Sam immediately tried to stop them and demanded to know what was going on. They told him that they were conducting a 'spot-check'. When asked what they were checking for, they simply repeated 'spot-check'. the officers refused to specify what they were checking for despite repeated demands. Sam also asked if they had a warrant toc ehck the premises. Yhey refused to reply.

At this point in time, we turned on all the lights upstairs and downstairs to alert the members that a check was going on. None of the memebers were stopped from dressing or leaving, nor were they searched or any particulars taken.

When a female officer tried to enter, Sam repeatedly shouted that she was not allowed to enter as we are a private men's club and insisted taht she leave. Thereupon, the supervising officer threw sam to the ground and twisted his arms behind hsi back to handcuff him. Because of this, sam sustained cuts to his wrist and bruises on his left rib, for which he was later brought to the Singapore General Hospital for treatment.

The officers only removed several DVDs and Sam was arrested and spent the night in jail. He has been charged with assaulting (pushing) the officer that handcuffed him despite never having laid hands upon him. Sam is 74 years old. The officer was about 40.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will give a free return visit to anyone who was here when the incident occured - just tell the front desk.

We are open for business as usual for our 8TH YEAR from 11:30am to 11:30pm on wekdays and from 11:30am till 7am the followign day on fridays and Saturdays.

Club One Seven.

From Forums

1) Both as an eye witness of some of the events, as well as having snippets of informaton from a broad category of people who claimed to have been present at the scene, this is probably as accurate a sketch of the incident. At about 6 pm, one of the bar counter members thought the water from the taps at the counter was conspicuously drying up precariously towards just a trickle. Alarmed that the rush hour could then precipitate a crisis for water, he then informed Sam concerning the strange occurrence.

Sam then decided that the best temporary measure was to go outside towards the back of the premises at 17, and so opened up the back door. However, before it was completely opened, men in plain clothes, but with tags prominently displayed on their chests which were thrust towards Sam's attention, proclaimed that there was to be a CID raid. Thereupon, these men, about four or six of them, including one woman rushed into the premises.

By then, however, the rather tumultous commotion at the back of the premises at 17 was already heard throughout the whole gay spa. The emergency lights were immediately switched on to "Full"

No one but a complete, and indeed congenital, overweening idiot would have hesistated for two moments subsequently, upon receiving that message; the upshot of that signal was unambiguous as it was immediately obvious that a police raid was upon 17. Seldom was a scene of pandemonium could be re -enacted, as that afternoon at 17 ; a mad scramble by virtually all spa members then ensued in a blitzkreig manner to the extent that fist fights, and assaults occurred at the locker area as members hurriedly gathered thueir belonginings in haste to dress up and make a strategic retreat from the premises of 17

MEANWHILE, the CID raid was already fully in operation. As entry from the back without a warrant seemed improper, Sam resisted their approaches as being wrong. However, the members of the CID appeared not to be out done. In fact, a sort of shuffle then occurred at the back entrance beween Sam and one of the CID officers. As this minor altercation continued apace, police squad cars also arrived on the scene, totally about four of such vehicles, this time in front of the Circular Road entrance.

With such a massive police presence however, the whole building was soon swarming about with the "men in blue" almost universally about the building. As to what was the source or cause for such a sudden and inexplicable gratituous intrusion seems most odd No apparent reason could be vouchsafed except that all that was being required was for the spa members, of those who had been rather inexpediently caught as they were left behind on the premises, despite the other swifter members, who then made a remarkable and convenient dispora from the area of No 17. To those who were present however, photographs as well as their personal confidential particulars were taken down. No sooner than the efficient CID officers were roaming about 17, than that the officers also scooped about looking about the premises, presumably for something that was also amiss.

Reports keep filtering in that Sam's altercation with an officer of the law could have resulted in some form of misdemeanour being committed by Sam It could have been that although he may have been perfectly and unassailably correct in his legal right that the officers did not have a warrant, the encounter with the CID at the back entrance which involved an element of pugilistic demonstration on Sam's part was viewed rather dimly by the CID officers


2)OneSeven, the currently popular (open to discussion) sauna in singapore, was raided by the (vice? CID?) tonite 25apr@2145hrs.

I was one of the patrons who was busy in the cubicle room when the all the lights suddenly turned on. Beginning, there was a slight confusion as to what was happening, but whispers around the crowds was that it is a police raid. guys was all rushing, luckily no stampede in the hallway areas..

naked guys from the darkroom areas (lighted now!), exiting the plastic partition curtains, grabbing their towels from the shower area, going down the stairs in a hurry. mass exodus from 2nd floor to the ground floor.

standing by the door on top of the stairs i can hear the caucasian owner, yelling to the police officer. what is he doing here? checking on wat? no search warrant! you never showed me any warrant!
listening and hearing his shouting, i wish one of his employee would calm him down.

later, me and my friend while waiting at the locker area, watching all the happenings. he (the owner) was still being loud and complaining about the officers. plus they have 2 female police officers in the locker area now. as he was shooing out the female officer, saying this is a men's sauna, women are not allowed. i guess he must had touched/pushed one of the female officer. he was handcuffed then, and sat facing the water fountain.

a japanese guy identity was checked. passport sighted and photocopied also. the police seems to be very much interested in him. i wonder why?

a caucasian tourist was also asked for identification, but he couldn't or wouldn't show any identification. wonder what happened to him too..

eventhough handcuffed, the owner was still making lots of noise shouting. i guess things got a bit hot for the senior officer (i guess so), he instructed his men to have all identities recorded and screened. he also instructed video recording of everything/everyone. due to the owners loud and kwailan attitude.

i thinks there was about 20 of us still in the locker areas, all dressed and waiting to leave.
u should see the mess left behind by all the towels strewn on the floor of the locker areas. plus a few bottles of poppers too....(is poppers really illegal in singapore? anyone care to comment..)

this is my personal view regards to the situation.
first of all, the owners should not be too aggressive to the police.
i know i will get brickbats for this remark but things are kinda handled very differently here.

the police officers actually wasn't harassing us (patrons) in any ways. they were just walking/looking around, searching and not exactly looking at us directly. one of the officers who was holding the video cam, was even pointing the video-cam to the floor when he passed by me on the 2nd floor. in my mind maybe there was a tip-off regards to illegal drugs etc...

to be a very loud westerner, screaming of equal rights and proper official procedures, doesn't apply here. an actual fact is that the police, can enter any premises without any warrant (letter). their warrant card is the warrant letter and it also backs them up legally. if an illegal item is openly displayed/seen, then the officer can action an arrest.
to search any individual lockers or open up any drawers, for items not within view, THEN they would need a search warrant. plus the search warrant would have to be clearly stated as to what is the illegal items they are searching for and to seize.

i understand that the owners is pissed that his weekend business is disrupted and in-order to show his displeasure, he shouts and rants to the officer. but could he had handled it differently?

(i know i was totally pissed too!! i just only got into a cubicle with a cute chub/fleshy guy when the lights came on. if u are reading this, contact me please... hahahaha)

firstly, for his costumers sake, couldn't he had waited until all his customers left the building, before showing his displeasure to the police?
to the hundreds that had left earlier (yup, busy night!), they didn't have to show their identity cards to the police, to be noted and screened.
(perhaps it is worthwhile to be kiasi for a change.) only after he was handcuffed (arrested?), the senior officer got pissed and asked everyone to be recorded and screened.

i do appreciate his show of standing for persons individual rights but that moment it wasn't handled correctly at all. he did shouted to the police if he could call his lawyer, his shouts was ignored. to the police he is being a nuisance so communication lines between the owner and officer is closed. to me, if the owner wants to go by the rules, have his lawyer on speed-dial. once the police wants to enter the premises, let them in. if no warrant of intent is issued, slowly discreetly call the lawyer. get the lawyer there, to attend to the police. but then it is expensive to have a lawyer on retainer. police officers do have knowledge of the law, however, they will not dispute or argue with a court officer.

to the patrons tonite.... what are your views regard to this situations.
feedbacks are appreciated....

There was also apparently an earlier raid at Raw, another sauna:

3) I was at Raw when the 'raid' happened. I wont go as far as to call it a 'raid', more like a look-see look-see. It certainly didnt feel like a raid at all that Friday night at Raw. I was at the TV room engrossed in the programme (I think the telly was showing Crime Watch) when I realised that the area at the back (the barrack area when one have to pay extra for the room) was suddenly very bright. I thought the staff was being hardworking and was probably doing some area cleaning and so paid no heed to it. Soon more people trooped in and I couldnt ignore the urgent whispers and my ear pricked up when I heard the word 'ma tah' or police being tossed around. Apparently they were in the premises conducting some search. We waited for minutes for the police to appear but it seemed they were not the least interested in us all. So I went down to the reception area and saw a couple of male officers and a female officer as well (I later learned that there were two female officers) standing near the entrance looking towards the gym area. My immediate guess is that they were after the DVD guy. I stood there for a while and none of them turned and looked at me at all. I went down to the shower and waited out for a while before I went up again. The sense of unease didnt go away. By then, the officers were all gone and the DVD guy was calmly smoking his cigarette. When I went up to the tv room again I saw Max, the owner, giggling as he related to his 'friends' about the incident. There were few variations to the story. Some said they were after the massage guys after a tip-off. Some just said it's just a routine check. Whatever it is, I was glad I was at Raw that night rather than at the more-happening OS. It was certainly happening at OS but not in a good way.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My days with Jeff

This is Jeffrey Mishler.

I met him in Columbia. My history with him is complex. Those of you who know what I'm like will immediately know what I'm talking about.

Anyhow, he's quit his white-collar number-crunching job in New York so he can study to become an alternative fuels researcher, and in the interim he's studying Mandarin in Taiwan. (He was gonna do it in China, but I explained to him over chat why those plans were pissing off his Taiwanese boyfriend so much.)

Anyhoo, since he was in the Eastern Hemisphere, I extended an invitation for him to come and visit Singapore. Or perhaps he invited himself. In any case, I was definitely the one who urged him to stay in my house.

So I took him to Arab Street...

(This was his first mosque! Not that surprising, considering he's a Westchester Jew.)

Fortunately/unfortunately, the Muslim bookstore next door was one of the cool enlightened ones that stocks handbooks explaining comparative religions rather than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Also took him to the Esplanade...

...the National Museum...

... Clarke Quay...

... and the Night Safari.

Many of these photos are from his Picasa set rather than mine.  As you may have guessed, we share a similar sense of irony.

And no, we didn't sleep together.  Not that I didn't want to bonk him with every sinew of my body.

I've been a skank ho before and I'm a skank ho now, but a Millsian utilitarian calculus appraisal indicated that all I'd be getting would be momentary pleasure whereas he'd be wrecking a twenty-month relationship, so it'd have been extremely selfish of me to push him.

Besides, he really is a faithful boy.  He says things about his bf that make you go, damn, that kid's lucky (I use the word "kid" figuratively; his boyfriend's a few years older than him - Jeff's of a generation that simply hasn't heard about the ol' quasi-colonial gay SPG dynamic).

The amazing thing, though, is that we really do have great chemistry in eccentric conversation, and he says things that imply I'm not in fact unattractive to him, and I've realised that while there are some guys who are so attractive they make me feel unattractive just standing next to them, he's not one of them.

The long and short of it is that I believe, in a parallel universe, we could've been boyfriends.  Nice, stable boyfriends of the type that's purely theoretical to my consciousness.

And so in the darkness of the Night Safari, when I'm longing to wrestle him down into the heaps of giraffe dung and eat out his Discovery Channel, I realise that I'm somehow feeling utterly satisfied with the way things are.

He's a swell guy to have as a friend, and that's great.

I feel desire.  I feel contentment.

Isn't that what love is supposed to be like?

Anyway, the highlight of his visit was probably Jurong Bird Park.  

Don't we look cute together? He loves birds, absolutely loves them.  Who knew?  I sure didn't in Columbia.

So we got a gander at all the cliches:

(In case you can't see the sign properly, it says: "THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS CREATURE: Homo sapiens").

We also got some cheap thrills.

No, I don't know why they have a white rooster among the scarlet ibises.

But as we gay men know, cock attracts cock.

These little babies are called the Victoria Crowned Pigeons.  They're native to New Guinea, both Papua and Timor Leste, and they're utterly unafraid of mankind.

Doncha love the look of childlike wonder in his eyes?

I, on the other hand, transform every moment into farce.

Ooh, and these rainbow-coloured anomalies are called lories.

If you ask me, somewhere in Australasia, God kind of gave up on trying to make his creations look believable.

Naturally, I didn't just take Jeff places.  I force-fed him local delights, including D-24 durian, which he found unsmelly but way too rich:

And wasabi-flavoured Japanese soft serve.

I also took him to watch the Mandarin musical "The Soldier and His Virtuous Wife". Brought my niece Kimberlyn along, hoping that maybe it'll teach her not to be intimidated by angmoh men when she's older. During dinner at Bugis Market, she pressed him to try Katong laksa. He loved it. Even drank up all the gravy.

Saturday he was on his own. So he went with his friends to Pulau Ubin...


...and the Merlion.

In the meantime, I missed him horribly. I watched Lucky Seven and went to the Books Actually Re-Opening and Dance Dance Dance and consistently felt like shit.

He was home when I got back. I would be visiting graves for Qing Ming the next morning, so I wouldn't be able to see him off. I made him take a few more photos.

Just to provide myself with evidence that he was in my home.

I got up the next morning, and took one last photo of him before I left the house.

And this is the last photo he took in my house.

The odd thing is, I don't miss him anymore.  Sure, I still think he's gorgeous and I'd still love to schtup him and have rainbow babies with him someday, but right now he's quite comfortably... absent.  The utilitarian calculus was right. Better not to have slept with him. Yes, I believe it.

I've actually decided to visit New York in June/July, not to visit him but to visit someone quite different. I have unfinished business with the city.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shocker!!! Fags in the Singapore Army!!!

My friend's going into the army later this month. Direct intake. Combat-fit. And he's gay.

According to him, the Medical Officer DID NOT ASK HIM IF HE WAS HOMOSEXUAL during the pre-enlistment medical check-up. They didn't get him to pull down his underpants and cough, either.

This was part of the old ritual, part of my and many other men's coming out experiences, for chrissakes. When I confessed I was gay, they made me wait in the clinic with all the other boys in their underwear and monitored me for signs of arousal (I was too full of angst to get a hard-on).

Now they don't even have a waiting-room full of boys in underwear. Guys are allowed to wear shorts. (Exposing the skin isn't just so doctors can check vital stats more easily, it's also to reveal gangster tattoos.)

My friend got checked up by the army first in 2005 (they asked him the gay question, and he denied everything), and is now being treated to a different standard operating procedure in 2008. So in between, something must have changed.

So are they okay with gay, lesbian and bisexual officers now then? Does the category 302 even exist anymore? Or is it reserved for pre-op transsexuals? (There was one in my camp, and she was gorgeous.)

And - for the sake of my categorising mind - when the hell did this change get made?

Very very clever of the government men, to do it so quietly, so the fundies wouldn't get pissed off. Still shocked. Still shocked.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

What's Coming Up?

A bunch of things!

First off, I'll be doing a reading together with a bunch of Singapore and Australian poets in Perth, to launch "Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia". I'll be going with Ethos publishers.

15 May: Launch at Poetry Park, Perth at 5pm

Then I'll be attending WordStorm, a writers' festival in Darwin.

16 May: Poetry Slam at Vodka Bar, Darwin, 8:30pm
17 May: Out There - A Tiger Connection at 1:15pm
Pride Event at Books Absolutely at 2:30pm

Then in August, I'll be organising a queer poetry reading in Singapore:

5 August: ContraDiction IV at 72-13, (part of the IndigNation Festival)

And having two plays go up:

13-17 August: The Final Temptation of Stamford Raffles by W!ld Rice, directed by Christina Sergeant, at the Drama Centre Theatre (part of the Singapore Theatre Festival)
28-30 August: Reservoir by Theatreworks, directed by Choy Ka Fai, at 72-13.

Just fyi!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Over the Rainbow

I did a Fridae article about the closing of Mox Bar, one of the nicest gay bars-cum-community centres we've had in town over the years. So of course I had to go for the closing party.

Ain't it pretty? The sequinned dress is $30 from the Salvation Army. The shawl is from a market in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The theme for the night had been "Over the Rainbow", and we were commanded to wear colourful things. How dare all the other pretty boys disobey?

Someone told me I looked like Benazir Bhutto. So he suggested that I strike a pose depicting her "one second after the explosion".

I also brought kiddies.

Poet Alvin Pang, got these babies from Dunman High School after he did a poetry workshop there. They're matching Dunman boy and Dunman girl dolls, and obviously we tried them in all sorts of combinations.

Here's the full story: Alfian and I had just come from judging the ACS (Independent) Centrestage competition, which was, quite frankly, mostly very bad. Loads of talent, but only one group out of four managed to pull it all together.

I was going for the party anyway, so I actually changed into the costume during judging, and was prepared to deliver comments while dressed in finery. (Hey, the kids would've loved it, and Dr Ong would've finally got payback for having banned cross-dressing in ACS Drama Club back when I was the only kid in school willing to play the tragic leading ladies.)

The prefect was kinda squeamish as he observed me stripping down and zipping up in the Board Room, but he was perfectly civil. It was my old drama club teacher (who coulda fought back harder, back in the old day) who saw me emerging in my sparklies and applied all her moral force to make me change back into my shirt and pants before facing the boys. And ah well, it would've been kinda rude of me, really. And heaven knows, there'd been more than enough drag by the boys themselves that evening. I contented myself with a big congratulation to them all for flouting the official rules against Singlish.

Weird evening, really. And traipsing around in a Guatemalan shawl got very hot very fast. I traded it for one of Yangfa's feather boas in the end:

Someone uploaded this on Facebook and my 9 year-old niece saw it. She was very much amused. :)

It's weird doing drag at a party like that. You know you have to do it because of the joy it brings yourself and people. But you know that almost any good looking boy who sees you like that is never gonna want to date you.

Always that choice: be loved, or be yourself. Someday, they tell me. Someday I'll meet someone who loves me for what I am.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Writing Workshop with Kaylene Tan!

... aka the lady who got the NUS FASS-Arts House Fellowship instead of me. :) This is her:

She deserved it, actually. She gave them a great proposal: do an artistic audiotour of the Arts House building, a la Desire Paths/National Museum Guide. Hell, I'd have picked her over me. Plus she's shown years of commitment to inventive theatremaking - much more than I have.

But part of the job that goes with the Fellowship is giving a free workshop to prospective writers. Which is where we came in:

Kaylene sent out a call for applications for her week-long writing workshop, maximum capacity ten. On the first day, only eight people turned up; by the last day there were only four of us. (Not sure why; people just didn't seem able to commit.)

I was the only male: the girls on top are Rashidah, Isabella and Yingying.

We did odd stuff, like being assigned to wander through the city, collecting objects and impressions:

And then returning back to the cafe, where we shared our found objects (we had to bring back something live):

I decided to be hero by bringing back an entire palm frond:

A couple weeks later I tried a similar exercise at the ACS (Independent) GEP Enrichment camp. The boys were kinda nonplussed, but responded very enthusiastically when I told them swear words were acceptable in their poetry.

Mostly Kaylene had us do research at the Library and the National Archives, though. We came up with site-specific performances about lost items of Singapore history.

The final day included a presentation. We actually had an audience!

They were mostly Arts House staff lah. This was Isabella's Merlion Monologue:

And this was us watching Isabella's Merlion Monologue.

Unfortunately I have no shots of my monologue performance about Singapore's lost system of tramlines and trolleybuses.

In lieu of a satisfying image to conclude this journal entry, I'll just add a mural from the Arts House Writers Festival:

Yup. I've already contacted the Speak Good English Campaign. :) G'nite everybody!