Saturday, April 25, 2009

What've i been doing in Zurich?

Eating too much chocolate!!!!!

Seriously, I finished the entire Easter bunny tonight. It was 35% Ecuadorian chocolate. Sadly, it was hollow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm rather astounded.

The AWARE saga got Boingboinged.

At first I was terribly confused, 'cos my straight feminist friends were urging me to join the group so they wouldn't lose their 25 years of strong social programming while my gay friends believed we should treat the new, Evangelical Christian-influenced exco like pariahs. However, there now appears to be a happy consensus (see this website): women members of AWARE are gathering for a vote of no confidence in the new exco.

To tell the truth, I'm not sure if the "hijacking" was actually planned.

UPDATE: Dr Thio Su Mien's confession and these recently leaked e-mails seem to indicate otherwise. But let the record stand (below) that I at least gave these guys a chance.

You see, outgoing President Constance Singam invited Claire Nazar to be the next President, knowing fully that Claire had links with a conservative church and wasn't too crazy about supporting queer rights. (Problematic from the perspective of us gays, but you could also see it as a step towards inclusiveness. After all, evangelical Christians often do care about issues of poverty, rape and foreign workers' rights, which affect a larger number of people collectively than gay rights.)

It's possible to assume that Nazar's friends from church decided to join AWARE without any clear plans to wrest power from the old guard - they may have just felt like they could make a positive change in the name of their own agenda. (People have encouraged queer people to join AWARE for the same reason.)

And then some of these new members decided to run for elections, without really believing they could make a clean sweep of the committee. But they told their friends to join and turn up, and since the spirit of community in the church is that strong, when the day came, so many of their friends came that they were voted in. And they would hardly decline when that happened.

And so Claire Nazar finds herself surrounded by people who come from a similar religious background as her, but who don't feel the same way about the purpose of AWARE. And she's being attacked by AWARE members who think she orchestrated a coup. She decides she can't handle the situation, and drops out.

And the new committee members find themselves demonised by journalists and much of the public. This, while they're still juggling their own jobs and church duties and families. Not easy for them.

I'm just trying to play devil's advocate here, because people like Alex Au say that it's impossible that the "hijacking" wasn't premeditated. But I think it's just about possible. It's way too easy to caricature people who believe in different values from you as evil maniacs.

Still, my above theory doesn't explain the chilling way the new committee members seemed to have pre-rehearsed and co-ordinated their response of refusing to reveal their positions. That smacks of organisation.

Just thinking aloud here. You lot in Singapore know better than I.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Haven't been updating much recently

Partly because the Internet over at Martin's place is so spotty.

Martin's a former rent-boy who's hosting me for free at his apartment. His story is... well, it makes me like I've lived a terribly boring life.

How're things in Singapore? I keep dreaming that I'm back there.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Items of interest

A rant on grammar.

And a happy little love story abouts exhibitionists:

And the fact that I've finally found got a room of my own in Zürich. Woohoo!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'm going to Zurich to work on a book about rent-boys.

I'll be gone until 11 May; then on 13 May I'm flying off again to the States for my brother's graduation. I'll only be back in Singapore for a respectable time from 6 June onwards. So don't call my cellphone.

I have of course set up a blog as a diary for my voyage, but it won't be open to the public to read. I'll put up little excerpts occasionally, or maybe I won't. This is the first sentence I've written:

I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m fucking scared.

Complete the short story with the sentence, with emphasis on correct grammar and spelling. (25%)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Theatre Idols!

If you wanna support new emerging playwrights, go watch this and give them critical feedback! (E.g. that they misspelt the word "dramedy".)

Seriously, it's one of the better platforms for English playwrights in Singapore to become noticed these days. (In fact, it's where I first had "The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles" staged!) This time, my friend Aik Wee (Streetwalkers) is having his play up. Go watch leh!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sell Out!

Just saw this very teeheesome Malaysian movie musical as part of a preview for the Singapore International Film Festival.

Unfortunately tickets are sold out, but it'll be showing in Malaysia later this year and there's a number of other shows with tickets available... come on, support the fest! (Six films in it have been cut so far, from what I hear.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I've just filed my taxes for the first time!

$71.62, if I'm not mistaken. :) I feel so adult.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Poet X Poet X Photos!

That's me squirming while Prof Lee read my early adolescent juvenilia. I eventually retaliated by performing "Prospect of a Drowning" in Singlish.

Ooh, did I mention we had an audience?

They stuck around for two hours - some of them standing! - while we gabbed about each other's poetry (with brief anecdotal excursions about our personal lives, and those of others, for which I sincerely apologise). Very good response, according to Kenny: someone said it was the best Singapore lit event s/he'd been to in a long time.

This was thanks in no small part to our moderator, Gwee Li Sui. (Edwin Thumboo also interjected a fair number of times. He's being hidden by the stack of plastic cups.)

And really, it was a gorgeous place to have the event:

Photos courtesy of Alvin Pang.

While we're at it, why not some photos from the Life! Theatre Awards? Here's Wong Chee Wai/Ng Tze Wei getting his Best Set Design for "The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles".

And here's the crowd: (from left to right: Brian Gothong Tan, members of ZingO Drum Group, Fran Borgia, Elizabeth Tan, K Rajagopal):

And our (unnervingly precocious) entertainment:

Now that they've scaled it back to a nominees-only ceremony, it's unlikely that I'll be invited back next year. Ah well, I've decided to concentrate on books rather than drama this year, and there's a price for every venture. (More on that in a later post.)

Now to file my taxes.

Friday, April 03, 2009

“Poet x Poet” series

Session No. 1: Lee Tzu Pheng x Ng Yi-Sheng
Moderated by Dr. Gwee Li Sui


Date // 3 April, Friday
Time // 7 pm
Venue // BooksActually (No. 5 Ann Siang Road. T / 6221 1170)

Poet x Poet is a dialogue session where two well-known poets are invited to read and critique each other's works. This is a first in Singapore where poets from different generations and practice engage in intellectual critical dialogue regarding their craft. The audience is welcome to pose any questions and/or participate in the dialogue. Moderated by Dr. Gwee Li Sui. Organized by BooksActually.

Lee Tzu Pheng was born (May 13, 1946) and educated in Singapore. She has a Ph.D in English from the University of Singapore from where she has recently retired as a Senior Lecturer in its English Department. She has four volumes of poems to her name; of these, the first three, Prospects of a Drowning(1980), Against the Next Wave, (1988) and The Brink of An Amen(1991) were winners of the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) Award. Aside from literary studies, her other interests include children's literature and church work.

Ng Yi-Sheng (b. 1980) is a Singaporean writer. He has published a collection of his poems entitled Last Boy (2006) and SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century (2006). He won the Singapore Literature Prize in English in 2008.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Texts March 2009

+Anya Achtenberg’s “The Stone of Language”
+Allan Ahlberg’s “Collected Poems”
+John Agard’s “We Brits”
+“Double Skin”, ed. Alvin Pang and Tiziano Fratus

+Joyce Carol Oates’s “Beasts”
+Sarah Waters’s “The Night Watch”

Ben Jonson’s “The Devil is an Ass”
+John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt: A Parable”

+Justin Chin’s “Burden of Ashes”
+Vita Sackville-West’s “Let Us Now Praise Famous Gardens”x
+Philip French and Julian Petley’s “Censoring the Moving Image”

*WTF? *
+Djuna Barnes’s “Ladies’ Almanack”
+Paul Pereira’s “Vontinuum”

+Daniel H. Pink and Rob Ten Pas’s “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko”
Dean Koontz and Queenie Chan’s “In Odd We Trust”
+Gerald Gardner’s “Who’s In Charge Here? 1984”
+Hergé’s “Tintin Au Congo”

Hwa Chong Junior College’s “Drama Feste”
+ NUS Stage and NUS Chinese Drama’s “Sun Day”
+the Indigo Girls at the Esplanade Mosaic Festival
+LaSalle Musical Theatre’s “Nine”
+W!ld Rice’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”
Teater Ekamatra’s “Projek Suitcase”, consisting of “Uncle” and +“Kkenang”
+Taki Rua Productions’ “Strange Resting Places”

+NUS Museum’s “Jendela”
The Peranakan Museum's "Serenity in Stone: The Qingzhou Discovery"
Marisa Keller, Kelly Reedy & Julia Roberts’s “Moving”
+Castello di Rivoli’s “Permanent Collection” and “Thomas Ruff”
+Reggia di Venaria Reale
The Substation Gallery’s “Manifold”

Rick King’s “Voices in Wartime”
+Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire"
+Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath’s “Madagascar: Back 2 Africa”
+Baz Luhrmann’s “Strictly Ballroom”
+Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”
+Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen”