Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just reminding everyone: the launch for GASPP is tomorrow!!!

Fri 29 Oct, 8-9:30pm, Play Club, Singapore
With readings by Alfian Sa'at, Chrystal Wang, Irfan Kasban, Michael Corbidge, Jason Wee and Tania de Rozario.

Updates at This is what our cover looks like:

Works by Johann S. Lee, X’Ho, Ovidia Yu, Alfian Sa’at, Cyril Wong, Jason Wee, Lee Yew Leong, Ng How Wee (黄浩威), Adrianna Tan, Koh Jee Leong, Wang Zi Si (王子思), Jasmine Seah, O Thiam Chin, Zhuang Yusa, Ng Yi-Sheng, Michael Lee, Selwyn Lee, Irfan Kasban, Andrew Cheah, Michael Corbidge, Desmond Kon, Johann Loh, Chrystal Wang, Ash Lim, Geraldine Toh, Jabir Yusoff, Mint Hong (思敏), Grace Chua, Nicholas Deroose, Tata So, Dominic Chua, Tania de Rozario and a little someone called Anonymous.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hantuween @ Post-Museum, Sat 8pm onwards

I've just been invited to read at this year's Hantuween, a fundraising event to feed the hungry by Food #03 and Post-Museum!

Post-Museum invites you to its very first Hantuween Party!

Join us for a Halloween celebration with a distinctly Southeast Asian flavour.

Come frolic under our Banyan tree with the Little Nonya’s rotting corpse, Ah Meng’s spirit, a semi-retired bomoh and more.

Take this chance to learn more about the myths and historical figures from our region. Come dressed as your favourite character and have a freaky good time with cabaret-style performances and Southeast Asian beats going on all night!

For More info:
tel: 6396 7980

* Entrance $25 with 2 drinks

* We are having an open call for our cabaret-style open mic session, so please get in touch with your performance ideas.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

GASPP at Seksualiti Merdeka

This is a basically a cut-and-paste of the blog entry I put up at my GASPP site. But I do want to reiterate what I said about KL (yeah, I'm self-quoting):

"Now I understand why Alfian and The Necessary Stage people love to go up there so much: because there's this young, idealistic community of activists and intellectuals and artists who can't afford to take for granted the values that Singaporeans are utterly blasé about: secularism, racial harmony, non-corruption, and the right to even heterosexual romance."

Unfortunately, my own photos of the Seksualiti Merdeka festival are lousy. So I'll have to rely on everyone else's photos of our event.

For instance, here's us at the Queer As Books event at 2pm, Sunday 17 Oct in the Annexe!

Remember, this was a joint launch (for us, technically a pre-launch event) of three books. So from left to right: Matahari Books publisher Amir Muhammad, Diana Dirani and Azwan Ismail, co-editors of the Malaysian Malay language queer anthology Orang Macam Kita; Alfian Sa'at, playwright of the Asian Boys Trilogy; and myself, Ng Yi-Sheng, co-editor of GASPP.

(The photographer is our own publisher, Fong Hoe Fang of The Literary Centre/Ethos Books.)

And here's GASPP itself:

We had a promotion going on: for every copy of GASPP or Collected Plays Two: The Asian Boys Trilogy we sold, you got a free copy of Charlene Rajendran's Taxi Tales. (No, she's not gay herself. But she's supportive!)

The launch was actually a private event, hence the low levels of publicity. Folks were afraid of attracting undue attention to Orang Macam Kita, a real danger since the queer Malaysian English language anthology, Body2Body, recently got pulled from the shelves after a complaint.

But still, we had readings from the contirbutors, such as Nizam Zakaria (wish my Bahasa Melayu was good enough to follow what was going on) before I goaded Alfian to go up and read something from our own book: Irfan Kasban's short prose work Dua Lelaki.

Yes, that is an expression of consternation on Alf's face. Dua Lelaki is kinda provocative.

Here's a shot of me reading from my short story Lee Low Tar, gleaned from the Facebook album of Dib Jual Kata. Yeah, we sure established ourselves as unsavoury types.

Adrianna Tan was originally supposed to come too, but she had to cancel suddenly for health reasons, so the event really ended up being quite a sausagefest. Hopefully this won't be the case for our Singapore launch!

This last shot's by Malaysian artist Jun Kit. At one point during the Q&A, I got asked whether we'd be able to sell the book openly on the shelves in Singapore. And I had to admit, well, actually, things are much easier for us in Singapore than in KL. Yes, we complain about censorship, but that hardly ever happens to books (only when important government figures get directly insulted) and what happens to plays is R-ratings and funding cuts and text changes: the whole production does not get shut down.

When we compare ourselves to London or New York or Stockholm, our freedom of speech record is lousy. But we're in a better situation than Malaysia, and we should remember that.

Plus, we should buy their books. Orang Macam Kita can be bought from Matahari Books by mail or from Amazon. Alfian's book should be available in all major Singapore bookstores, and if it's not, demand it.

And as for us, we're coming soon... :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Petition appeals for release of British journalist Alan Shadrake

Reporters Without Borders/Reporters sans frontières
22 October 2010

Français :,38646.html

Reporters Without Borders today launched an international petition calling for the release of British author and journalist Alan Shadrake who is facing two years in prison for writing a book about the death penalty in Singapore.

The petition, which is addressed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, can be found on the organisation’s website:,38642.html

Alan Shadrake, who is aged 75, has been charged with “contempt of court” and the verdict in his case is expected on 26 October. At his trial which opened on 18 October, the prosecutor accused the journalist of making comments “against the independence and integrity of the Singapore judiciary” in his book "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock". Hema Subramanian, a lawyer from the Attorney General’s Chambers, said that Shadrake’s book contained "baseless, unwarranted attacks…that directly attacked the Singapore judiciary”. She termed the allegations in the book as “outrageous, offensive and irresponsible”.

The journalist’s lawyer, M Ravi, argued that the book was well documented and backed up by evidence. It was a “serious-minded and compassionate examination of the death penalty in Singapore”.

Reporters Without Borders urges the Singapore judiciary to accept Alan Shadrake’s innocence and allow him to leave the country. In fact, the book contains no defamatory remarks, no personal attacks or verbal assaults aimed at undermining the operation of the justice system. Given that it is simply a critical analysis of the institution and its methods as a result of a rigorous and well documented investigation, this work cannot constitute contempt of court.

We would like to stress the fact that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Singapore is a founding member, is a protector of basic freedoms. The Singaporean government in July 1993 joined other member states in supporting the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights 1993 that calls on countries to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees freedom of expression.

Shadrake has been forced to stay on in Singapore since July in very difficult circumstances. His passport has been confiscated and his health has deteriorated badly since his arrest in July. He has serious heart problems and recently suffered an internal haemorrhage.

The British journalist is also virtually without resources and suffering serious financial problems.

For more information see:,37975.html

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hey! My official photos from Youth Olympic Games torchbearing are up!

(C) Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Click here and here for the originals on Flickr.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's in print...

Copies were just delivered to the publishers at 5:30pm today. We caught it at Yeng Pway Ngon's book launch at the Arts House at 7pm.

Whoa. None of us can believe it's here. But it is! And it looks good.

Selling for $25 - less if you happen to be at a special event.

Now I'm catching a bus to Kuala Lumpur for the Seksualiti Merdeka festival!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taste the Rainbow!

Occasionally, when I'm hungry and bored and have no means of securing immediate food and entertainment, I start to fantasise about food. And I'm not talking about your standard gustatory fantasies, starring visions of doughnuts and fried chicken (as palatable as they are). What I'm envisioning is an epic sequence of feasts, in which every food is the same colour.

It's an idea I first happened to see in Hakim Bey's TAZ: Temporary Autonomous Zone, again referred to in a modern-day fairy tale in the anthology Snow White, Blood Red, and most recently spied again in Steven Leavitt's The Lost Language of Cranes.

People all over the world are having this fantasy. But if I were the head chef, what would I feature? Here goes:

Menu for a violet meal.

Appetiser: Boiled red octopus with beetroot.
Main course: Raw liver with raw red onions with a side of purple cabbage and kohlrabi. Unpolished purple rice porridge with red dates. Roasted eggplant.
Dessert: Yam pudding with red grapes, figs and purple dragonfruit. Violet creams. Lavender drops.
Drink: Purple carrot juice and burgundy wine.

Menu for a blue brunch.

Appetiser: Blue potato chips and blue corn, with a side of blue cheese.
Main course: Nasi kerabu dyed with blue pea blossoms. Flower crab, river shrimp and oysters, all to be eaten uncooked.
Dessert: Blueberries, huckleberries and elderberries.
Drink: Curacao liqueur.

Menu for a green dinner.

Appetiser: Edamame with nori strips and arugula salad. Green cheese with chopped green olives, green chili and fried green tomatoes.
Main course: Green turtle stewed in green curry with cilantro. Spinach tagliatelle with pesto sauce, garden peas, asparagus spears and broccoli florets. Green mango with wasabi. Sliced cucumber and celery.
Kale chips with guacamole. Boiled kailan.
Dessert: Green tea ice cream, topped with organic mint leaf, pistachio nuts, gooseberries. Pandan chiffon cake with kaya. Green bean soup. Key lime pie topped with kiwifruit.
Drink: Sugarcane juice with absinthe.

Menu for a yellow tea.

Appetiser: Buttered corn on the cob.
Egg drop soup.
Yellow peppers au gratin. Garlic bread without the crusts.
Main course: Poached chicken in turmeric curry with saffron-infused briyani, garnished with golden sultanas and bits of quince. Battered dory with french fries and baked yellow squash, dijon mustard on the side. Elbow macaroni and cheese. Omelette. Polenta and farofa with ginkgo nuts. One saucer of dhal and another of applesauce.
Dessert: Durian custard gateau with slices of starfruit, golden kiwifruit and ripe mango. Portuguese egg tarts. A chunk of raw honeycomb. Mysore pak.
Drink: Calamansi-banana-pineapple smoothie with a twist of lemon. Earl Grey tea strewn with chrysanthemum petals. Sparkling champagne.
Tiger beer.

Menu for an orange tiffin.

Appetiser: Pumpkin soup with diced carrots and orange peppers.
Main course: Deep-fried chicken, chili crab, drunken prawns, mussels in laksa soup, otak-otak and fish fingers. Paired with mee goreng, sweet potato mash, dried apricots and baked beans. All sprinkled with shrimp roe and crumbled salted duck yolks.
Dessert: Medley of tangerine and persimmon wedges with diced papaya and honeydew meat and candied orange peel. Mooncakes. Cheezels.
Drink: Orange crush.

Menu for a red banquet.

Appetiser: Selection of char siew pork slices, tandoori chicken bites, buffalo wings, lak cheong and tuna sashimi.
Main course: Rare beefsteak with lingonberry sauce and ketchup. Red rice, fried in red palm oil. Roasted red peppers and chili salsa on the side.
Dessert: Red velvet cake garnished with fresh strawberries, redcurrants, blood orange pips, craisins, pomegranate arils and maraschino cherries. Haw flakes and ba kwa. Ang ku kueh stuffed with azuki beans.
Drink: Claret, Shirley Temple and hibiscus tea.

Menu for a pink picnic.

Appetiser: Prosciutto and smoked salmon with grapefruit flesh, rhubarb stems and pink ginger.
Main course: Steamed red snapper with jambu and ama ebi garnish. Alaskan king crab legs. Honey-baked ham, corned beef and seared spam on beet bread.
Dessert: Candy floss and slices of peach. Watermelon sorbet. Beng kueh.
Drink: Raspberry soda, guava juice, pink lemonade, rosé wine and bandung.

Menu for a white buffet.

Appetiser: Calamari and boiled fishballs with slices of raw white onion and white truffles. Clam chowder with croutons of unbuttered popcorn.
Main course: Grilled cod seasoned with white pepper and kosher salt. Mantou, white rice, oatmeal and udon. Egg white omelette stuffed with tofu, daikon, taugeh, bamboo shoots, bonito flakes, blanched asparagus, cauliflower and paneer. Sour cream and lotus nuts on the side.
Dessert: Almond jelly with longans, lychees, white fungus, custard apple, segments of mangosteen and dessicated coconut. White chocolate meringues topped with whipped cream, mini marshmallows and minced macadamias.
Drink: Whole milk or s
oursop juice.

Menu for a transparent repast.

Appetiser: Bird's nest in clear fish broth.
Main course: Lobster sashimi with glass beehoon, wrapped in Vietnamese spring roll skins.
Dessert: Aloe vera, attap chee, konnyaku and agar-agar on shaved ice.
Drink: Soda water and vodka. 7-Up on the rocks.

Menu for a brown luncheon.

Appetiser: Lotus root soup with pork ribs and ground nuts.
Main course: Roast beef with caramelized onions. Duck stewed with chestnuts and button mushrooms. Teriyaki eel. Roasted jacket potatoes. Lamb korma. Tempeh. Seitan with mole sauce.
Toasted whole wheat bread with a choice of spreads, including peanut butter, seared goose liver and pork pate and Nutella.
Dessert: Belgian chocolate gelato with walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, dried longans, chopped dates and wafers, powdered with cinnamon. Pecan pie drizzled with gula melaka.
Drink: Milo dinosaur and teh tarik.

Menu for a black supper.

Appetiser: Miniature squid ink pizza, topped with black olives, black garlic and beluga caviar.
Main course: Blood pudding and black chicken with buah keluak, served with black rice and dark soya sauce. Frijoles negros, century eggs and shitake mushrooms boiled in port with star anise and black truffle oil. Black hair fungus and fried scorpions.
Dessert: Compote of dark plums, blackberries, black cherries, black raspberries and blackcurrants, drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with crumbled vanilla pods, Oreo cookies and bits of liquorice sticks.
Drink: Soyabean milk coloured with black sesame seeds. Guinness stout. Root beer. Coca-cola. Black coffee.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Launch of Translated Poems of Yeng Pway Ngon

I'm promoting this 'cos it's a project by The Literary Centre, the same folks who're publishing GASPP: a Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry and Prose. The launch is this Friday night at the Arts House Play Den - come if you can!

The Literary Centre (Singapore) cordially invites you to the launch of Yeng Pway Ngon's Poems 1 [Rebellion] at The Arts House.

Poems 1 [Rebellion] is a translated selection of Yeng Pway Ngon's works published between 1967 and 1970, a period in which his poetry openly confronts issues of urban modernity, consumerism and apathy, social decadence and cultural decay, moral hypocrisy, and the corruption of power. This is the first of a series of chapbooks in translation which will explore the range of Yeng's poetry from the 1960s to the present.

Born in 1947, Yeng Pway Ngon is a poet, novelist, playwright and critic who has published 24 volumes of poetry, essays, fiction, plays and literary criticism in the Chinese language. He has previously been translated into English, Malay and Dutch. He is also the recipient of Singapore's 2003 Cultural Medallion for Literature.

Date: Friday, 15 October 2010
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Venue: Play Den, The Arts House

Featuring: Mr Yeng, and translators Alvin Pang & Goh Beng Choo

Monday, October 11, 2010

Singapore MRT Maps, Old and New

This is what I grew up with:

This is what is what we've got now:

This is what's been planned:

This is what's been rumoured to be planned:

It's a map dated to a July 2008 upload on Kong Wen Bin's blog, and the Downtown Line names are all wrong. But who'd go to so much trouble to forge something so realistic? (Well, many an Internet nerd, I guess.)

But that person really thought it would be a good idea to have an LRT station named Kling? (It's JS9.) And whoever it was seriously running out of names. S/he just started naming important figures at random: Winsemius, Parameswara, Sang Nila Utama, all the dead Presidents... And Mayflower? Tavistock???

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

GASPP: A Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry and Prose

You may remember me calling for entries for this collection a while back. It's an anthology of writing by queer Singapore citizens and residents that I've edited together with Dominic Chua, Jasmine Seah and Irene Oh. And it's coming out this month!!!

Oh, and of course I've set up a blog about it: This is what our cover looks like:

It's a photo by Lin Weidong, augmented by designer David Lee.

I should list our contributors, too: Johann S. Lee, X’Ho, Ovidia Yu, Alfian Sa’at, Cyril Wong, Jason Wee, Lee Yew Leong, Ng How Wee (黄浩威), Adrianna Tan, Koh Jee Leong, Wang Zi Si (王子思), Jasmine Seah, O Thiam Chin, Zhuang Yusa, Ng Yi-Sheng, Michael Lee, Selwyn Lee, Irfan Kasban, Andrew Cheah, Michael Corbidge, Desmond Kon, Johann Loh, Chrystal Wang, Ash Lim, Geraldine Toh, Jabir Yusoff, Mint Hong (思敏), Grace Chua, Nicholas Deroose, Tata So, Dominic Chua, Tania de Rozario and a little someone called Anonymous.

Our launch dates are:

Sun 17 Oct, 2pm, Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
QUEER AS BOOKS (part of the Seksualiti Merdeka Festival)
This is a pre-launch release. Two other books will be launched at the event: the Malay-language Malaysian queer anthology Orang Macam Kita and Singaporean playwright Alfian Sa'at's Collected Plays Two. There'll also be a panel discussion at 3pm on Queer Writing in Singapore and Malaysia.

Fri 29 Oct, 8-9:30pm, Play Club, Singapore
This is the big one! We're planning a festive evening of readings (plus a Q&A) at one of most popular gay clubs in the city, showcasing the voices of queer Singapore writers from different generations. Free entry, of course. :)

More details as the dates draw closer!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Whoa! A bunch of my favourite films won stuff!

Re: Civic Life short film competition. Click here for the results.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Civic Life 90-second Film Competition! Vote now...

Seriously, there's some good stuff. 20 finalists here, and the deadline's this Sunday. You can only vote once, so vote wisely.

Here are a few of my faves:

When the day begins... from Prashant S on Vimeo.

Miniature Town : Potong Pasir from togusa chan on Vimeo.

Corridor from Isazaly Mohd Isa on Vimeo.

The Neighbourhood Shops are Where the Heart Is from edwin s on Vimeo.

from Esna Ong on Vimeo.

Texts Sep 2010

Finally finished with my deadlines! Will get some real reading done soon. And maybe actually watch some more movies.

+Paul Theroux’s “The Mosquito Coast”
+Suchen Christine Lim’s “Gift From the Gods”
+Miguel Ángel Asturias’s “Men of Maize”
+Zee Edgell’s “Beka Lamb”

=Kee Thuan Chye’s “The Big Purge”

+Joan Didion’s “Salvador”
+Amir Muhammad’s “120 Malay Movies”
+Suchen Christine Lim’s “Hua Song: Stories of the Chinese Diaspora”
=Alan Shadrake’s “Once a Jolly Hangman”
+Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon’s “iCon: Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business”

+Amir Muhammad’s “120 Malay Movies”

+Boo Junfeng's "Sandcastle"

=The Finger Players’ “Poop”
LaSalle’s =“Eurydice” and +“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”
Play Den Productions’ “Someday, Samsara”
TTRP’s “Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral”
=Singapore Repertory Theatre’s “Blackbird”
=Echo Philharmonic Society’s “Yellow River Cantata”
=one:lab’s “When the World Was Green”
=Young & W!ld’s “Unlike Some People”

=Choy Ka Fai’s “Lan Fang Chronicles”
+Terra Bajraghosa’s “Pixel X Pieces”
=Singapore Art Museum’s “Digital Nights @ SAM” and “Cheong Soo Pieng: Bridging Worlds”
+Debbie Ding’s “Singapore River as a Psychogeographical Faultline”