Monday, May 30, 2005

Let them cry

It is natural that as parents, we want to shield our children from pain and suffering.

When they are learning to walk, we hold their hands to guide them and to prevent them from falling and hurting themselves. When they are hungry or thirsty, we supply them with food or water.

When we see teenagers playing football or basketball at the playground, we try to guide our children away from the balls or the rough play.

We try to prevent accidents from happening, and this is an essential part of our role as parents. After all, one mistake and we could be regretting our lack of vigilance for the rest of our lives.

Yet, it is important, experts say, that sometimes, we let our children cry. They believe that we shouldn't try to shield them entirely from reality.

Child development expert David Elkind has written about how parents and educators are trying to cocoon children from difficult experiences. But instead of doing the children a favour, such actions deprive the children of the necessary skills they need to survive the adult world.

In many ways, we try to protect our children; from disease, strangers who may have ill intentions, hurt, both physical and emotional.

It may seem like a small matter, but I think this is part of character-building. If we shield our children from negative experiences, they will not learn how to deal with disappointments and setbacks.

Yes, we want to shield our children from every little thing that could cause a blight in their young lives. Yet, to help them, we sometimes have to let them fall. To teach them, we have to let them learn from their mistakes. To help them mature, we need to allow them to face disappointment.

They need to fail in order to succeed and that's reality. If they don't know what pain and sorrow are, how can they know well-being and happiness? So, sometimes, we just have to let them cry.


This article appeared in the Sun a couple of weeks back. The full article, called "Let them cry" is here, but the above is basically the gist of it.

Truthfully, I can’t help but agree. Obviously, I am not a parent and I speak from the child’s point of view.

I believe my parents subscribe to the view that they should protect us children from all the bad things in the world. They often use the excuse, “You are our son no matter how old you are.” I am fine with that, but the way they treat us (my brother and I) has to change as we grow older.

Clearly, I would have much preferred them to say, "You are still our son no matter who you are and what you did. Even if you are gay."

As an illustration, my dad would always questions directed at us. When relatives or friends asked, “How are you doing in school?” he would immediately answer for me, saying things like, “Ok-lar, he did quite well for PMR, now have to study hard for SPM. Hopefully can good results too.”

Or, “You still taking taekwondo lessons? What belt are you?”

“Nothing one-lar, now he is red belt. Don’t care much about the belt, the lessons are for him to have some exercise and sweat a bit.”

As you can see, I didn’t have a chance at all to answer. And the things he said really did wonders for my self-esteem too.

The point is that he thought my brother and I couldn't answer simple questions. Even when we were seventeen.

I am not sure about your parents, but my parents seem to think they know a lot about me. They think they know what I like, my strengths, interests, etc. Actually they don’t. They are not even half right.

You might wonder why I don’t correct them. It doesn’t work. My dad likes to assume many things, and he always thinks he is right. Even if I am right, he thinks otherwise. Oh, and he also thinks that I can’t think, that I have a brain of a six year old.

So now, I just let whatever he says pass. I keep quiet and let him think whatever he wants. No prizes for guessing how is my relationship with him.

You wouldn’t believe the things he says. He tells my brother, “Remember to take off your contact lenses before you sleep, wash your hands before that.”

And “Remember to call the IT technician. Ask him when will the computer be repaired. Is it the hard drive or the monitor that is spoilt? I think is the monitor, as it turned off by itself when I was using it. Or maybe is the hard disk. Surely, you must have tinkered with it, simply download programs from the internet. If he said next week, ask him to hurry up. Find out how much does it cost to repair. If possible, ask for a lower price.”

Yup, he assumes, accuses and acts smart. Oh, and he likes to repeat himself.

In addition, do your parents worry a lot? They called when I was at a school camp, university camp, outstation trips, etc. Ok, perhaps these were justified.

But calling, like ten times, when I am out at night yam cha, watching movies, hanging out, having exams, at a friend’s house, to ask what am I doing and what time will I be home?

Besides that, there were a lot of, you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that. There are still a few. Things like:

“You know you can’t run, so don’t try to show off and over exert yourself.” – my school’s cross country

“You can’t swim well, so you better don’t go too far out from the beach.” – visit to Port Dickson

“You are not fit, and you want to go hiking?” – Mount Kinabalu Hike

“You can’t drive properly, so you better not use the car.”

As such, I don’t listen to them anymore. I think, subconsciously, sometimes I do things just to annoy them, like scuba-diving. There are occasions too that I thought that these rebellious streak in me, is the cause that I am gay. I might have, unconsciously, decided to be gay.

Yes, I have mentioned before that my personal view is that homosexuality is more nature than nurture. However, there is a school of thought which says that a person, already predisposed to homosexuality, might have chosen to be gay without himself knowing it.

Well, it could have happened and I can’t know for sure anyway.

Basically, I think they can’t accept the reality that their child has grown up and continue being protective. I have mentioned this to them before, that they can’t be around forever. I have to make my own mistakes and learn from them.

In short, I agree with the writer. That at some time, the parent has to stop being a parent. And be a friend instead. They have to let the child face the world.

Hopefully, I am right on this. I am reminded of another often used statement, "Wait-lar till you have your own children, then you'll understand how we feel."

However, things are changing. Slowly. Disagreements persist but there is hope yet that there will be a compromise one day.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Potluck dinner

I had to work half day yesterday. The good thing is that, I got to watch Madagascar after work at KLCC.

The queue was so long that it snaked out to Aunty Anne’s. But I have reserved tickets, so it was not a problem for me. If I had not, I wouldn’t even think of queuing, looking at the number of people. Furthermore, it’s the start of the school holidays.

My opinion of the movie is in the previous blog.

After the movie, I went home as I decided to get some rest before I go out again for a potluck dinner at KC’s house in Salak Selatan. I was supposed to meet Adrian at Midvalley and he would come pick me up to go for the dinner.

It took us quite a while to locate the condominium. We found all the other roads except for the one which leads to his condo. Finally, we managed to. If not, I wouldn’t have anything to tell, would I?

Adrian and I was kinda early, as there were about five other people who were already there. This was my first time joining their monthly coffee gathering and I was duely introduced to them – Dennis, Yu Gene, Robert. I knew Kelvin from the Bukit Buah hike.

Soon, more began to turn up. There were four people who obviously were there for the first time, but tended to stick amongst themselves. As for myself, I got to know a little more than the thirty people who were present.

As usual, there is always one colourful and outstanding personality in every party. Yesterday, it was Eric. Let’s just say, his mouth is pretty colourful and leave it at that.

In addition, there was an abundance of food and therefore, leftovers. Each and everyone of us brought something and the choices were good. There were pastries, sushi, nasi lemak with a difference (which I didn’t try), spaghetti, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, etc.

When almost everyone has eaten and were getting comfortable, they showed the recording of the 80’s party. I didn’t watch it as after all, I have watched it live. Furthermore, the living room doesn’t allow the opportunity for everyone to have a good view.

After the screening, we played a game called Big Fish, Small Fish. It was basically a game of concentration and quick thinking, as you have to coordinate incongruent action and speech. The game requires one to say small fish, but show the action of a big fish and vice versa.

For someone like me who has not so good speech-action coordination, I ended up as the fifth person to be penalised. And what was the penalty? Someone suggested the reenactment of a scene from Titanic. Though it was cliché, my very capable friend Adrian, who played Rose, managed to do a great job of it. He did such a great job that it was beyond resemblance to Titanic. I shall quote Noel here, “Was that gay porn or a tragic love story?”

But it was fun.

Anyway, we stayed almost till the end. Adrian and I left at half past eleven. Overall, it was a good gathering where everyone was just who they are, no pretenses.

In short, good clean fun gay friendship (OK, that was not short). Haha …


I found the movie to be good and enjoyable. My colleague told me to look out for the penguins, as they were really funny and cute. They were, but too bad they didn’t have enough screen time.

The movie was obviously targetted at children, unlike other animation movies which also appealed to adults, like Shark Tale and Robots. It used the cute factor a lot, especially in the animals and their antics. Even the songs were in a way kiddie, with repetitive words and catchy tune. To tell the truth, I can still hear the song in my head as I write this.

Somehow, I left the cinema feeling unsatisfied. It was unmemorable. Unlike Shrek, even though both were produced by Dreamworks Animation. I felt Shrek was a lot better than Madagascar.

The closest analogy which I could think of is having a meal at a good restaurant. You loved the appetiser, the main course was excellent and the wine was full bodied. For some unknown reason, the restaurant doesn't serve desserts. As such, you left feeling unsatisfied, like something was missing.

It would have been almost perfect, if the restaurant had served some dessert, say, tiramisu. Dessert is important too (though some might argue it is the most important), as it constitutes a part of the package. Without it, the package is incomplete.

Personally, I felt that Madagascar suffered from lack of a strong storyline and message. It was a lot of fun and more fun. On the other hand, a good example of a movie with those two qualities was The Incredibles. I may be biased, but I think Pixar produces better animation movies. Just look at A Bug’s Life, Toy Story and Finding Nemo.

Hopefully Cars will maintain Pixar’s reputation for great stories and ground-breaking animation. It was scheduled to be released this year, but postponed to June 2006.

As such, I give it a rating of 3.5 out of 5.0. It could have been a 4.0, but the dessert costs half a point.


Also, I have added two new links under Blog Links. One is amphibian, someone whom I feel has a strong character and knows what he wants. Another is pluboy. I found his writings interesting and his daily experiences eventful.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

My mom and I

Mom : I want to ask you something.

Me : Uh-huh, what is it this time?

Mom : How come you still don’t have a girlfriend?

Me : Busy with work. There’s exam to take also.

Mom : Do you even like girls?

(That was out of the blue. I was trembling by now. I remember telling myself “Must think fast.”)

Me : Of course. But there’s no time. I just started working anyway. Concentrate on my career first.

Mom : When you were in uni, did you find any girl attractive? Someone you would like to date?

Me : There was one or two.

Mom : So what kind of girls do you like? Tall? Straight hair?

Me : Erm … straight hair. Gentle. And err … feminine.

Mom : Ok. Just make sure you are normal and don’t do those abnormal stuff. You know, those gay stuff. You are an adult already, you can think for yourself.

This happened last year. A similar conversation happened this year.

I was reminded of this when I read someone else's blog.

I think my mom knows. After all, she is my mom. She’s a woman and you know what they say about a woman’s intuition. At the very least, I think she suspects. And I admit I am not a good liar.

Furthermore, when I was dating earlier this year and my boyfriend J was in Penang, we spent a lot of time on the phone. It was not difficult to notice, as I was spending a lot more time than usual in my room.

That obviously fuelled her suspicion. When she asked who I spoke to for so long on the phone, I said it was my best friend Vincent. Yes, I could be really stupid at times.

The first thing she said was, “Guy and guy got so much to talk about? You two dating ar?”

Yup, I was definitely in hot soup.

I replied, “No, he just has something to tell me. Some relationship problem that he has.”

No doubt that excuse can only work once. After that, I have to be careful when talking on the phone with J. I had to keep it short.

Another friend suggested the excuse of me being high maintenance. I should say that I have difficulties even paying for my own expenses, thus I shouldn’t incur more expenses by dating. Of course, for the reason to hold any water, I have to be quite a spendthrift. Which is not often.

I think most of us will go through this at least once. The experience of being asked awkward questions about your current dating status or future plans regarding it. It is even worse when you are near 30. Parents and relatives will be speculating for reasons or worse, set you up with potential partners.

On the other hand, parents might already know the reason their child is still single and doesn’t seem interested in marriage. They just pretend they don’t know and it becomes an unspoken truth. By not saying it out loud, they hope that one day the problem will resolve itself. This, I feel, is a very common reaction of parents.

Surprisingly, my mom doesn’t ask often. She only asks when she notices suspicious behaviour from me.

Why do I say it is surprising? Coz I am 24 and I haven’t dated any girls before (at least to their knowledge). I would think that in other families, this would definitely ring alarm bells. Perhaps the bells are ringing, but my mom is not panicking yet.

For one thing, my parents have never encourage me to be date when I was younger. It could be due to their thinking of focusing on studies first, which is not unlike other parents. At the moment, I believe their thinking has changed a little. They did mention once that, as I have reached my twenties, and if I should find someone suitable, it is OK.

I know of someone whose parents encouraged him to date even when he was in lower secondary. They encouraged verbally and explicitly. As such, my friend R did as he was told, happily of course. He even brought the girl back home quite often. And it was not for sex, in case you are wondering. His parents were usually at home.

Sometimes I do wonder, would I have turn out straight if my parents did likewise? And my own answer would be: I seriously doubt so.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Me bitter? Nah ...

I called Sam yesterday after he messaged me. Haven’t spoken to him for some time now.

One of the first things he asked me was whether I was seeing anyone. The more important question of how did I do for my exam came much later. Which I think implied how he actually thinks.

Oh, he even queried whether there were any cute guys during my exam. Seriously I don’t see how that is relevant. It was an exam. The exam should and does take precedent over everything else.

Later, he told me he will be taking Japanese classes next month and repeated his question of why didn’t I want to learn Japanese too. He also mentioned there is a really cute guy in his class.

And I thought I was sex obsessive.

For someone who declares that he is going to be celibate for the rest of his life, I find his behaviour contradictory. It even smacks of hypocrisy.

It goes to show that one’s identity is very much influenced by one’s sexuality. You can never run away from who you are.

I have asked whether he is suppressing his sexuality. He replied affirmative and admitted it is hard. He even corrected that it is not suppressing, but renouncing. Consciously going against a trait that is genetically imprinted and inborn, a quality that in no way is wrong or harmful to anyone.

I think I sound a little bitter. After all, he did reject my advances. *blush* Still, I think that a person should be consistent. If one has decided to not do something and openly said so, he has to be true to that.

Perhaps I am bitter. As he did mentioned that he will introduce guys to me. It hasn’t happen till now, except for once. When I asked him when is he going to do that, he claimed that I haven’t introduce anyone to him either. Hello, aren’t you the celibate one?

If he chooses to be celibate and not going to have a romantic relationship, why still seek out gay guys? Shouldn’t he be meeting anyone and everyone and not just gays?

This reminds me of one episode of Survivor: Amazon. It was the first time that the tribes were split based on sex. So there were the all-male and all-female tribes. Midway into the show, the members of the tribes were exchanged with each other. There was one lady who was almost giving up and looked exhausted as she kept complaining about how she felt like going home. That particular lady immediately perked up at the sight of the men approaching the campsite.

One word: sex. Sorry, two words: opposite sex. Or whatever sex(es) that one is attracted to.

Humans are social and sexual creatures. We can’t live without others or people that we are attracted too. Or at least, that applies to almost all of us. Though I am certain there are some who can, and for long periods even, like those who consciously decide to do so and not due to circumstances – priests and widows and widowers.

For most of us mere mortals, we can probably do it for some short periods, like when we are really busy with work and have no time to date. Other times, I think a lot of us singles (and some of those attached?) will think about relationships and finding the other half.

The environment further fuels the thought. For myself, I have a colleague who is getting married next month. On TV, there are shows like Wife Swap, The Bachelor, Outback Jack, For Love or Money, etc which are all about matchmaking and romance-themed. Of course, the actual content and selling point is sex, the rest is all fluff. But you get my point.

Obviously, I should be telling him this. Though somehow, I couldn’t do it on the phone as I was feeling annoyed and irritated. Moreover, it might turn ugly and I was not in the mood to have an argument over the phone.

It will be good if he reads this. Furthermore, he did say that I write better than I speak.

Oh well. I suppose it will have to wait till I meet up with him.

[P/S Sam, if you happen to read this, no offense intended. Do enlighten me and give me your usual logical explanation.]

Monday, May 23, 2005

At the walk, I spy with my little eye ...

This is related to the previous post.

Remember I mentioned buying candles from a stall?

The seller looked old at first glance. He looked as if he was one of the many “uncles” who were there, in his 30s. Upon a closer look, I was surprised that I know him. He was J, my first boyfriend back in 2003.

Then I remembered that he is a Buddhist and he was very active in his temple activities in Brickfields. Obviously, he is still active and belongs to the very same temple that organized this Wesak walk.

As my colleague bought the candles from him, I was standing less than two feet away and contemplating whether I should say hi. There were many people who thronged his stall to buy candles. I doubt I have the chance to say more than a few words. And I didn’t even know what those few words would be.

So I didn’t say anything. I observed and realized he was bald. That must be why I almost couldn’t recognize him earlier.

He still hadn’t seen me.

My colleague was done buying and lighting the candles. I was standing there for about five minutes, with his position eleven o’clock from me. I left without saying anything.

By the way, this was the second time I met him this year. The first was two months ago in Midvalley and he didn’t see me either, as he seemed to be in a rush getting somewhere.

I must admit I have completely forgotten about him. And it was a real shock to see him again. Another shock followed. I felt pain, psychologically of course.

Which brought up the question of why.

My relationship with him started off with him falling for A and A not reciprocating. That was how I knew him, through A (Coming Out Part 2). J often called to ask about A and ways to get A to like him. Somehow, he fell for me and vice versa.

As J was in Melaka at the time, we could only talk on the phone. For two weeks it was only phone calls as I was preparing for my professional exam at that time. After my exam, I went to Melaka to see him and even stayed with him for almost a week.

It was a week that revealed many things about him. Things which I couldn’t possibly know over the phone. Even though we shared many common interests, our thinking were just too different and we were incompatible in many ways.

After I came back to KL, the relationship was on a downhill. I met him for another two times. When we can’t meet, I would call but it was very hard to get him as he was very busy with his temple and youth organization activities. He didn’t return calls either. The relationship soon died a natural death.

A close friend has mentioned that it wasn’t even a relationship; it was more like a fling. A one week fling.

As such, what was the pain I felt? I am definitely over him, even though a lot of people say that one will never forget their first boyfriend or girlfriend.

I couldn’t explain either. Maybe seeing him reminded me of my current dating status.

I do realise that I feel lonely, especially after my exams. At Atmosphere, I could barely contain myself from reaching out and touching someone.

Yeah, I know I should get a grip on myself. After all, I did promise that I will choose wisely and take my own time.

Wesak Day march

I participated in the Wesak Day walk yesterday evening. My colleague who attended it last year said it was an interesting experience and fun too. Since I had no plans, I thought I would go and experience it for myself.

It was a ten kilometer walk, starting from the temple in Brickfields all the way to Pertama Complex. Along the way, we passed by Klang Bus Stand, the National Mosque, Bank Negara and Sogo. At the traffic lights at Pertama, the route U-turn and we retraced our steps back to the temple, but now on the other side of the road.

The plan was to have dinner at KL Sentral before going to the temple. While having dinner at McDonald’s, I had a feeling that some of the other customers there were going for the walk too, from the way they dressed.

We left Sentral at seven, as the walk was to start at half past seven. We didn’t actually go to the temple after that. It was almost impossible, as devotees had already taken their positions in the float. When we neared the temple, we could see the head of the float. The tail of the float would be where the temple is and I think it was at least a kilometer away.

However, my colleague wanted to go to the temple. So we waded through the hundreds of bodies, as we did have time anyway. We had another colleague who brought her friends too and they were leaving the temple at the time. In this crowd of thousands of people, we did meet them as they move forward to the front and us in the opposite direction.

At one junction of the road, there was a stall that sells pretty lotus shaped candles. These candles were carried by devotees during the march, while chanting. There were others who carried the normal long candles instead.

After buying the candles, we headed to the front of the procession. The float and the people have started to move.

The evening sky has turned dark. It was a beautiful sight to see people carrying candles, marching en masse, chanting. There were young and old people, couples holding hands, even foreigners joined in the march.

If only I have brought a camera. If only I could capture the moment.

There were people lining up the sideways, on the kerb. There were St John’s Ambulance members. Traffic policemen were there to control the traffic and to clear the roads. The roads had been closed for the march, no doubt causing inconvenience to others.

Yup, it was just like a National Day march.

I seldom go to events with thousands of people. The energy and the camaraderie were almost tangible. It was indeed an eye opening and interesting experience.

I will probably do it again next year.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

After the party

After the party ended, I went to Bukit Bintang to meet someone. His name is Shaun and he works in Bukit Bintang. I chatted with him on IRC a few weeks back.

He suggested that we meet in Starbucks, KL Plaza. I arrived there first and waited for some time. I was not sure what was wrong with my phone or perhaps it was the network problem, but I couldn’t call him to tell him that I was there.

Anyhow, I did manage to call him after trying for more than ten times. He is fair and tall. A six-footer. He looks good with his dyed and spiky hair. I might add he is quite hunky too.

I grabbed an ice-blended raspberry first. After I was seated, he went to order his. I took the newspaper and flipped through it while waiting for him to come back.

I was making most of the conversation. The usual stuff about work, what do you do in your free time, etc. He looked kinda bored. After less than five minutes, the barista came over and started to talk to him.

I was shocked. Can’t she see that Shaun was talking to me? To make things worse, Shaun asked her to sit down and they continue talking. Her name was Michelle. She said this was her last day working at Starbucks and she will be working in Desa Sari Hartamas, how the work sucks and the low pay, how she wasn’t getting enough sleep and has eye bags. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I wanted to give them the bored looked and go back to flipping the newspaper. Somehow I managed not to. I was being totally ignored. I kept looking at my watch. They didn’t get the hint. After more than five minutes of yakking, I asked her, “You are on your break now?” She replied no, but as it was her last day, she didn’t care. And she went back to talking.

Now, I was getting pissed. Deep breaths, I told myself. I was thinking what to say next to get rid of her. Shaun wasn’t even looking me, so I couldn’t signal him. And I began my sentence with “So ..", and stopped. I didn’t know how to continue.

They looked at me and asked, “I beg your pardon?”

“Er ... nothing. I just said so ..."

“So what?”

“Oh, I think I better get back to work.”

Yes, you should. Finally. She went to clear up a table nearby.

After that, I continued talking to Shaun. He didn’t talk much. I asked whether he was bored. He said no and explained that he usually doesn’t talk much on first meets. He also said that he preferred typing (as in texting), rather than talking. Ok, that would explain the impression of a cheery personality that I got from his messages. Which attracted me to meeting him and obviously I was fooled.

I had a feeling that this would be our first and last meet. At about half past eleven, he said that he wanted to leave as he has work tomorrow and he didn’t have enough sleep the day before. I was quite relieved when he said that.

As I walked to the monorail station with him, I asked him whether he still wanted to meet up. He said sure, why not? He also apologized again for not talking much earlier. Hmm…

Didn’t know how to read his actions. So while waiting for the train, I messaged him. It read “Hey, nice meeting you. You seem really tired, like a zombie. Get a good night’s sleep, yeah? Take care and see you next time. Nitez.”

He hasn’t replied until now. Or should I even be expecting one?

Not that it matters anyway.

The Ultimate 80's party at Atmosphere

I went for a fund raising party yesterday at Atmosphere. It was organized by LPG and the money will be used for The Straits Games 2005, which is a multi-sports event with participation from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong. The theme for the party was Ultimate 80’s.

Obviously, no one came dressed in 80’s costume. Except the performers.

I arrived there right on time at seven. That’s when the program was supposed to start but apparently no one can avoid the Malaysian-time mentally. The event finally started close to eight.

Anyway, while I was hanging outside Atmosphere waiting for my friends, I bumped into a few people I know. One was someone from the Bukit Buah hike and another was someone I knew when I was in university but didn’t keep in touch with. It was great catching up with them again. Coincidentally, both of them knew each other too as they worked in Cyberjaya with their workplaces adjacent to each other.

A while later, I met a friend who came with his Singaporean boyfriend. Excuse me while I gripe a bit. They are both equally good looking. Whatever happened to the notion that in a couple, one is always the better than the other? Yes, I think it is obvious that I find my friend cute. Sigh, life is so unfair.

Anyway, they have been together now for almost a year and my friend is going to Singapore to work soon so that he can be close to his boyfriend. Now, how sweet is that? Of course I wished him all the best. He is my friend after all and he deserves happiness.

As the program has yet to start, I continued to hang outside even though by now the place was filling up and soon all the good seats would be taken. That’s when I unexpectedly saw another familiar face, which I haven’t seen for seven years.

He was going into the gents. Without thinking I followed him into the toilet. When I went in, he was at the urinal. I looked at his back. What happened next is not what you think.

I left and waited for him outside the gents.

When he came out, he didn’t see me. He walked towards the road and again I followed him. This time, he saw me and recognized me.

He was actually a friend from secondary, whom I haven’t met since Form Five.

So we started talking and catch up with each other. He just resigned from Intel Penang and currently works for his father. (Why is it that the engineers I know work in Intel after graduation and then leave after a year?)

We exchanged numbers and continued chatting. Finding out from each other him what happened to who and who is doing what and so on.

I know since secondary school that he is straight. He didn’t set off my gaydar back then and even now, he doesn’t. And yes, the obvious question lingered at the back of my head. What is he doing here?

The question only got asked towards the end of the conversation. A female friend asked him to come for an AIDS fund raising event. With no plans for the evening and parents on holiday somewhere, he decided to come.

I was unsure whether to believe his typical blur straight guy act. But the uncertainty didn’t last long, as he whispered uneasily, “No offense, but why are there so many people dressed up very weirdly?” I wanted to laugh. That changed in a milisecond, to dread.

What was I supposed to say? “They are here to perform and this is actually a gay event.”

What I said was, “I think they are the performers.” And I changed the subject.

After that, he asked another awkward question. “Why are there so many guys here? In fact, almost all are guys. I came because I thought there would be some beautiful chicks around.”

I didn’t reply this time.

We went in soon after as the show was about to begin. It started with an all-male cheerleading team performing some (what else?) cheerleading stunts. Next, it was someone playing a character called Hokkien Lala. She was supposed to be at a wedding at Sheraton Imperial but somehow came to Twelve S.I. (Sheraton Imperial = S.I.)
It was a stand up comedy act. I found it pretty funny, but would be funnier if only I understood the Hokkien parts. My secondary school friend was standing next to me.

The awkward questions has not ended. Into the third performance, he asked, “Huh? This is a drag show?” What was playing on stage was men dressed up in women clothes lip-synching to 80’s songs by Kylie Minogue, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna.

The thing is, I knew it provided me a good opportunity to enlighten him on gay people. But I doubt I could do it at that time and at that place and leave him with a good impression. The drag shows on stage did not help.

I was enjoying the performances. When I turned around, he wasn’t next to me anymore and I couldn’t find him. Well, he did seem bored. Either that, or he saw two guys holding hands and he freaked out and left. That would be an expected reaction from him, which is another reason I didn’t tell him the truth.

I did think also that he might be extremely closeted that he just kept playing the straight guy act. After all, I did not see him with his female friend or the friends that he said were coming.

Oh well. I stayed on till it ended at about 10.30. I could have stayed on to party as the place was now opened to the public, but I didn’t.

I had other plans.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Exam is over; other thoughts take over

I just had my exam this morning. No, I am not a student. Technically, I am not, but I do take professional exams, which are held twice a year.

Am now mentally drained. It was my third time for the same paper. Really hope that it was my final goodbye. Though you won’t be missed, Exam M.

While I was outside the exam hall this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder when I recognised the many familiar faces. These are the people who are in the same boat as me. What keeps them coming back, time after time, failure after failure? What keeps ME coming back?

I started taking the professional exam at end of 2001. I passed the first paper. I took the second one end of 2002, but failed. On the second attempt in 2003, I passed. I had two papers under my belt. And so it has been ever since.

One of my friends jokingly asked, when should we change careers? She also has two papers so far. There are six more to go. Based on my record so far, it would probably be at least another eight years to complete.

The problem is not that I don’t like exams. Or even the subjects. It’s the price (opportunity costs?) I have to pay in time and effort. At this point, my parents would be quick to add that, it’s better to suffer now and then enjoy later. Which I do not disagree.

You know exams, right? It takes up a lot of time. I have been cooped up at home for the past two weeks. It used to be bearable. But now, I feel that it’s not worth it.

I came out of the exam hall feeling good. Which did not mean anything as the exam was relatively easier and thus passing mark should be higher. The results will be out early July.

The question which has been nagging me is, whether I should continue on this path or not.

On one hand, the end picture is good, if I do manage to pass all the papers. It’s more money that an average person can earn in a year. Besides that, employment would not be an issue anymore.

As I was doing my revision, my mind was thinking about other things (besides feeling sick of all the formulas). I want to do other things. To read, to learn. Not just the numbers and figures that I have been doing. (And by the way, I am not an accountant). I want stuff that stimulates me intellectually. There are so many books waiting for me to devour. I want to do things which I love to, like helping others. I have been thinking of volunteering for organisations like Befrienders or Pink Triangle, but it has remained just so – a thought.

I can’t do this when most, if not all, of my free time is devoted to studying for the exams.

Perhaps I want things too fast. Perhaps the time has yet to come. After all, self-actualisation is at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is true that I have yet to satisfy the other needs.

Still, I think this is an apt time to reflect on my career. I have been working for exactly one year. The job is good. Pay is above average. Work time is pretty much fixed with hardly any overtime. Furthermore, I have learnt a lot in the past year and there are many more opportunities to learn.

Yes, there are more plusses than minuses at my work place.

You might have guessed it. I work in a semi-government organisation. When I first joined, a colleague warned me against getting too comfortable and not wanting to leave.

Is that what is happening to me?

Anyhow, I am planning to apply to a few positions. Just to see what the job market is like now. It would probably help me decide what to do.

All these thoughts have been coming up for the past week. Must be due to me having only exams on my mind and away from work.

Perhaps it would all go away when I return to work tomorrow?

Nah, I will still apply anyway. It’ll probably do me good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Star Wars Episode III mania

Countdown to Star Wars Episode III: two days. The anticipation is reaching feverish pitch. Everywhere I look, there it is. The newspapers, television, top ten searches on the net. For goodness sakes, it’s even on the front page of the Star. One cannot hide from the Force.

Truth be told, I am not a fan and was never one.

Gasp! Yes, horror of horrors. How can I not be a fan? It’s like, the greatest story of good versus evil, ever. Perhaps the most popular sci-fi movie, set in a galaxy far, far away. The Jedis, Darth Vader, light sabers, Ewoks, how can you not like them? George Lucas?


I remember watching Episodes IV, V and VI on the small screen when I was younger. It was pretty cool, I have to admit that. But somehow it just didn’t strike a cord.

It’s not that I am not a sci-fi fan. I love Star Trek. One of my favourite movies is Contact.

That’s not my point though. I read in Malaysian Today (a new newspaper in the market) an article which echoed my sentiments. The writer said, “The anticipation for his (George Lucas) final installment is so intense that he could take a dump, film it, slap a Star Wars label on it and we would all still line up for hours, to watch it. It’s an unprecedented pop culture phenomenon”.

I couldn’t have put it better.

It’s just that I usually question the things that happen around me. Especially when the majority are doing it. Perhaps it is the rebel in me. I am not one to follow the herd mentality.

I attribute it to pop culture. One can never underestimate its power. On Saturday, my best friend called from the cinema and asked whether I wanted to get tickets for Star Wars. I replied no. Later that day, I enquired whether he got the tickets as I thought he might have invited other people. He did not get the tickets nor invited others.

He also admitted that he did not watch Episode I and II. Obviously, he is not a fan either. But while he was at Midvalley, he was tempted to watch Episode III. Which is entirely illogical. He was most probably caught up in the frenzy over Star Wars. If this isn’t an example of the influence of pop culture, I don’t know what is.

Imagine, people doing something just because almost everyone else is. Even my colleague is not spared as he planned to watch Episode III. I probed further and asked why. His reply was, “But how can you not watch it? Even if it’s bad, you have to watch it. It’s a must watch. Are you even a guy?” Or something to that effect. I don’t see how the last question was relevant.

The question though, is why. Why is it a must watch? I can understand if that person has watched all the previous episodes one hundred times each and can memorize the dialogue.

Episode III is not a standalone movie, it is part of a series. If one has not watched the earlier ones, why bother to watch the final episode? Just like I wouldn’t watch Matrix Revolutions or LOTR: The Return of the King if I hadn’t catch the prequels. So what causes non-followers to want to watch Episode III?

Blame it on the mass media and multi-million dollar promotions and advertising. The marketing machinery might have gotten people curious. Since almost everyone is watching the movie, I’ll watch too. Millions of people can’t be wrong. It has to be good.

Yes, let's be lemmings.

I know people will still go watch it. Go ahead and watch it if you want. You don’t actually need a reason.

Now, excuse me while I go hibernate, waiting for Madagascar. So sue me if I love animation movies instead.

Monday, May 16, 2005


This book is on the New York Time's list. The full title is Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. The publisher has this as their introduction:

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much heralded scholar who studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life -- from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing -- and whose conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. He usually begins with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives -- how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of ... well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a surfeit of obfuscation, complication, and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and -- if the right questions are asked -- is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Steven Levitt, through devilishly clever and clear-eyed thinking, shows how to see through all the clutter.

Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

I have read another book which is similar, which was Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. Basically, the authors of both books attempt to explain seemingly unconnected or exclusive events and show that there is a link. I vaguely remember how Gladwell showed that if graffiti was removed (like having a new paint of coat), it could reduce the number of breakins in an area. The connection was that graffiti indirectly implied that the housing area was not taken cared or managed properly by the residents, thus attracting potential robbers.

Okay, so that might not be the best example, but I can assure you that there were better ones in the book.

The authors of Freakomics are on the same endeavour, but they used economics instead as the supporting argument. There is even a blog, which coincidentally was listed on blogger too. I wasted no time clicking on it.

The blog extends the book's coverage and is somewhat a continuation. After all, it is easier to publish a blog than a book every time there is new material. I have included it in my links.

I am planning to get the book soon. Though it costs quite a bit. It's RM 99.90 in Kinokuniya. Or perhaps I should wait for the paperback?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Love and sorrow

Wow, another gay-related letter in The Sunday Star. Two weeks in a row. Could it be because of the first local coming out, shown on Astro last month?

Perhaps Thelma thought that Hopeless is only 20, as such advising him to be sure of his sexuality. Which is a very different response from the earlier letter. Though it is quite obvious that Hopeless is gay and can't accept it, due to years of society's conditioning of what is normal. Notice the words he used : disease, ashamed, normal relationship. Moreover, he did say that he tried to have a romantic relationship with a girl but couldn't.

What other signs do you need? The word "gay" taped to the forehead?

I might be a little hasty here to jump to conclusions. Knowing that you are gay is a truth that would change everything. Perhaps Thelma is wise to suggest prudence.

But still, how many straight guys you know who "keep on thinking about him day and night, and I even dream about him"?

There should really be a helpline to all those who need advice on the issue. Something like "Dial toll free 1 800 426 429 if you think you are gay". I know the numbers seem random, but they are not. ;P

I wish Hopeless all the best and that he will have the courage to face the truth. If he really isn't gay, then good for him.

Though we would have one less good looking guy. And smart too. Damn.

Love and sorrow

I AM 20 and studying in a private college in Kuala Lumpur. I don’t think I am good looking (although my friends say I am) but I’m good in my studies. The problem is, I like someone of the same gender. I first noticed this disease when I was in secondary school.

I feel really ashamed of myself and I don’t dare to think about my future. Will I get married? How am I going to tell my parents about this? I like girls, they are cute, but my feeling towards them is totally different than towards boys.

Recently, I was working in a company during my semester break and I got to know someone two years younger named X. At first, I treated him as a new friend, but later, I developed special feelings for him. I keep on thinking about him day and night, and I even dream about him.

When I heard others say that he had a girlfriend, it broke my heart. When he told me that he would be leaving the company, I felt like there was no more light in my life.

The moment I see him, I become moody. Sometimes, I catch him staring at me but the moment I look at him, he turns away. What is he thinking?

I may look like a strong and happy-go-lucky guy on the outside, but inside, I’m weak.

I don’t like this feeling. I have always hoped to have a normal relationship with a girl, but I can’t do it – I know, I’ve tried before. I can’t tell my family about my problems, as I’m the eldest son. They count on me.

I really love X but I hate myself at the same time. And what about my future? I have no chance to walk down the street holding hands with someone I love.


HOMOSEXUALITY is not a disease. However, don’t pressure yourself until you know if you are truly homosexual.

Unfortunately, I doubt that X shares your feelings and sexual inclination. He has a girlfriend and has never given you any encouragement sexually and emotionally. You are probably reading too much into the eye contact because of your own intensity.

Self-hatred, guilt and fear will not help you to set your life right. Worrying about what your parents will say, fear of facing disapproval on the streets for being with a guy, and getting all up-tight because you feel you should get married is a waste of time and imagination.

You need to know the real you. Feeling strongly for one guy and failing to have relationships with the opposite sex does not make you gay.

Until you get involved with someone emotionally, you will never know if you like the guys or the gals. Perhaps you haven’t found the right girl to love. Or you’re just insecure about your looks and find it easier to relate to guys. Feeling comfortable with your own sex does not make you a gay.

Give yourself time and opportunity before you decide on your sexual path. Be guided by your heart and mind, not your fears and insecurities. Have courage and do not be afraid to be yourself. Every one deserves true love and happiness. No one should belittle and ridicule another just because they do not conform to the rules and expectations of society.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Perfect guy with a dark secret

This was from last Sunday's lifestyle section, Dear Thelma.

I do think that it's not the best advice given, it is one of the better ones given. Furthermore, Trapped's predicament is very similar to my friend K (refer to Coming Out Part 1).

The most important thing is to be true to oneself. After all, there is only one of each of us in the world and no two is alike.

Star - Lifestyle,
Sunday May 8, 2005
Perfect guy with dark secret

FOR 27 years, I've toed the line of what a son should be. I could
well be the proverbial perfect guy – clean living; good, religious
image; wonderful career. I've had a few failed relationships with

But behind closed door, the devil is also in me – I harbour lust and
affection for guys. I've never been open about it because I've always
believed I could control this behaviour.

Lately, my career took a downturn and because of family pressure, I
became depressed. Since then, I have been increasingly open about my
dual sexuality. I socialise more with gays and, at times, follow
their lifestyle too.

Some weeks ago, I met a guy online and what was supposed to be just
another friendship developed into something further. I found myself
falling for him, even loving him now. I am "in" their world now.

But I'm not ready to swing to that side of the fence. I believe it
would be unfair to him as I would not be able to love him and offer
him my all. Is this just lust or a sign that I may be gay after all?
Am I taking advantage of my unhappiness to delve deeper into this

While I am extremely happy being with him, the reality of my life
hurts me. I have become increasingly bitter about who I am, what I
cannot change and what I hope I could be. I never thought I would
succumb to this dilemma and I think I'm reaching the end of the


MAYBE you have been trying so hard to be perfect that you are afraid of the truth within yourself. You dated women while you lusted for men. Although you believe that you are bisexual, you seem more comfortable with someone of your own sex.

Sort yourself out or you will always be confused and uncertain about love. Being Mr Perfect may place you on the pedestal that you want the world to see. But inside, you are just a fearful guy, who dreads your natural feelings and desires. You are so afraid that family, relatives and friends will see through your guise and be shocked and scandalised by the real you. You hide from yourself because you worry about the fall from grace and respectability.

It will be easier to identify your true sexual inclination when you stop running from yourself. Forget the image building and get real. When you lead a life of secrecy and stolen sex, it will confuse your needs. Get to know other women and men. Relax and allow yourself time and opportunity to explore your feelings and desire for either sex.

There are many homosexuals who are successful and happy. There are homosexuals who turned straight when they realised that they weren't truly gays. Bisexuals find it more difficult to develop long-term relationships because of the dual role they want to play. Frankly, it doesn't matter what you are because no one can live your life for you. Ultimately, you must come straight with yourself or you will find it hard to find true love and happiness.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Bukit Buah hike (Part 2)

Continue from part one ...

Before I continue, I would like to digress a little.

I, for one, who will complain and whine when things don’t go my way. It was raining heavily on the way up. My usual sour disposition would have taken over by now. On the contrary, I was pretty indifferent. Yes, even I myself was surprised. I remember muttering something about how this would be a good simulation for Kinabalu, if it were to rain too.

In an unlikely situation, I came to a realization about myself. That even though I don’t like something or a circumstance and I’ll be miserable and grumble, I’ll come to accept it sooner or later. Unless I really feel strongly against it, like hypocrisy and bigotry.

So, this line of thought led me to another, which is about relationships. I came to the conclusion that through thick and thin, good and bad, I will most probably stick it out with him. Which is good and scary at the same time. Good as that is how a relationship should be and how I want it to be. Scary as I would have to choose carefully who I date, for fear of choosing the wrong one. And be stuck with him and not realised it till it's too late.

Note to self : Important and need more time to think about it.

Anyway, back to the hike. We continued the climb, even though I did suggest that we turn back in this weather. No one bothered, so we trudged forward. At last, we were at the summit. It was plain, there was absolutely nothing there, not even a shelter. As it was still raining, the wisest move would be to go down again. Immediately.

Obviously, going down was easier and quicker. It almost seemed like running. Anyway, going downhill was more challenging too. Slopes were more slippery because of the rain. I had my fair share of falls. In a little over an hour, we were nearly out.

But then this was where the “killer” was. Remember when I said we went downhill at the very beginning of the trail? Now, we had to climb uphill to get out. Imagine, I was totally exhausted, wet and legs were feeling wobbly and shaky. It was almost like the light at the end of the tunnel. Pushing myself to reach the end, knowing the light is somewhere near yet so far.

At last, we were out of the jungle. I could have just sat there on the road and not move. It was another 45 minutes walk back to the car. I had no choice and started to walk. I was walking funny, my pace seemed inconsistent and one foot felt like going this way and the other foot that way. I felt like duck-walking.

After what seemed like an unbearably long time, we reached the car. We changed into dry clothing. Right at that moment, it started to drizzle. Behind us, the mist was rolling towards us. It was as if it was planned. I mean, it was sheer coincidence. We left just as the weather got worse. We were in the car for less than a minute before it turned into a downpour.

I took the LRT home from Gombak. I felt good, yet terribly tired. There was a sense of achievement. A feeling that no one can take away.

It was a day well spent.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

WWF Walkahunt 2005

After the extremely tiring hike, I would love nothing but to spend the day at home lazing around. But here I was, awaken before seven to join this treasure hunt on foot. What to do, I had agreed to join my colleagues in this WWF Walkahunt. And I was the team leader.

The start off point was the Dang Wangi LRT station. All participants were gathered there to be flagged off. I didn’t expect this many people to turn out for it. There were dads and moms, with their kids towed along. Some as young as six. The organizer was overwhelmed by the response, as they expected 200 teams but instead there were 240.

Something interesting happened during the briefing session. On this hunt, participants got free LRT rides. After all, it was somewhat an LRT hunt and Rapid KL was one of the co-oraganisers. When asked if anyone had any questions, someone asked whether we still get free rides AFTER the hunt. Haha .. talk about being opportunistic.

Didn’t expect to meet anyone else here. But I did. A senior of mine from high school. And a junior of mine from university. I gave them the usual courtesy greeting. I was actually feeling pretty hyped-up and excited. Which was a first actually, considering that I am not a morning person and haven’t recovered from my strenuous activity yesterday.

This was my second treasure hunt. The first was the one organized by my company last September. I was hoping that my experience earlier would have helped in this one. But it was not to be. This WWF hunt was much more difficult.

The route was from Dang Wangi to Masjid Jamek station by foot. We were supposed to take the LRT from Jamek to KLCC and exit to Avenue K. From there, we have to walk to Ampang Park, then take the LRT to Pasar Seni. Having disembarked from Pasar Seni, we were to scout for answers at Petaling Street and head to Plaza Rakyat station, which is next to Pudu bus station. (I have always thought that the person who named these stations is stupid. Pudu LRT station is not next to Pudu bus station, but Plaza Rakyat is.)

The LRT route from Plaza Rakyat is to Sultan Ismail. From Sultan Ismail station, we have to go to Maju Junction, which was the last point. Answers were to be submitted in Maju Junction and lunch was to be served at the food court.

I hope you can imagine all the walking needed. Sometimes, we have to retrace our steps to make sure we didn’t miss anything. All those walking was indeed tiring, but I hardly felt it. Probably it was the fun in doing it with colleagues. Or it could be the frustration of not finding the answers that kept my mind off the aches. This was clearly a case of mind over matter.

Having said that, my mind wasn’t working properly. My team and I had difficulty finding the answers, even when it was actually staring right at our faces. As an example, the clue was “Famous father of a legless creature.” The answer was Popular bookstore. Father = Pop. Legless creature = ular. Famous is another word for popular. The irony is that I often go to Popular during my lunch hour. Furthermore, the Popular signboard is huge and it’s impossible to miss at Petaling Street. Sigh …

At the closing and prize presentation ceremony at Maju Junction, the guest celebrity was Maya Karin. I have to admit that she is one beautiful woman. Tall and confident. Now, that is one lady you don’t wanna mess with.

Anyhow, my team got less than half the answers right. I was joking that if we had managed to solve the clues given, our company’s treasure hunt would be a piece of cake. So on the bright side, this WWF hunt was like a practice session for the company’s one. Is it not usually the case that trial exams are more difficult than the actual one, and therefore better results are achieved?

Another day well spent. ;P

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bukit Buah hike (Part 1)

I woke up today at six, on a non-working day for the purpose of the hike. This is part of the training in preparation for the Mount Kinabalu hike at the end of next month.

The plan was to gather at the Gombak LRT station at eight. There were nine of us and we fit into the two cars nicely. We arrived at the entrance, with a conspicuous sign, which says trespassers will be prosecuted, at about nine. Oh wait, I think it says trespassers will be shot as I remember seeing a picture of a person holding a gun. It is after all Uncle Lim’s private property and we needed to cross it in order to reach Bukit Buah.

The weather was bright and sunny. Our little crowd was in a cheerful mood as we walked the 45-minute distance to the foot of the hill. Simon was busy video recording and he provided voiceover too. As KC was leading and sometimes very much ahead of us, he took the opportunity of snapping our pictures.

There was an area which was shadowed by the mountains. As I walked from the sunlit path to the shaded area, there was a noticeable change in temperature from warm to cool. No, it wasn’t because of the presence of some other-worldly beings. It was quite acute and it caught me by surprise. It was like entering into a different climate altogether. That was pretty interesting.

KC, who has been here before, described some of the landmarks on the way. One of them is a small waterfall. To our disappointment, it is actually a pipe. With water pouring out. Apparently, someone fixed a pipe there and we no longer have a nice waterfall with gushing water. OK then …

Soon, we were at the foot of the hill. It was another disappointment, or at least for me, as it was totally indescript. I suppose I was expecting something like Bukit Gasing, with a little arch and a welcome sign.

As we marched in, it was a little curious that we were going downhill. Anyhow, I was too focused on the climb to think much of it. After that it was uphill. And downhill. It reminded me a lot Bukit Gasing. Just that this place is less often visited, therefore more pristine and untouched. Oh, I forgot to mention there were leaches too. Which we were told earlier there won’t be any by KC.

We took two hours to reach the midway point, instead of one as expected. We had a bite there at the rocky cliff, from which we could view the Genting hillsides and clouds. After that, we split into two groups, one which continued with the climb and the other decided to descend. I was in the going uphill group, as after all, I was here for the climb and that was what I was going to do.

The time was about 12.30. As luck would have it, as we were two thirds from the top, it started to rain. The rain didn’t falter. The five of us were soaking wet within minutes. To make things worse, there was a cold wind blowing. I was shivering to my bones.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Coming out (Part 2)

I find it interesting that people come out only when they have found love. I might be jumping to conclusion here, as my sample size is only my friend K and a university friend, A.

K came out after he found someone he likes. A came out to me exactly two years ago after he broke up with his boyfriend. The fact which surprises me is that I came out to them before they did.

Why didn’t my coming out make them do the same? Perhaps it was not dramatic or inspiring enough.

I suppose the answer is that everyone takes their own time to reach that point. Coming out is a personal decision. Everyone’s journey to that decision is different. As such, the timing would differ too. Some people do it when they feel they can’t take the burden of hiding anymore. Which was the case for me.

Others do it when they have fall in love, after having tasted the freedom of being true to oneself and the happiness that comes with it. To like someone of the right sex and know that’s the way it should be.

Another thing that I noticed is that the activities they indulged in. I am not judging, just commenting. It is indeed incredible that the closeted people had gone for saunas, massages and meeting people through IRC, whereas I have yet to visit these places. Except for IRC, of course. But that too only after I have come out. My friends who haven’t come out have done things which I should have been doing or have done.

It is not a case of envy. It’s irony.

I still remember my experience of coming out. It was in October 2002. I was with my best friend in Starbucks, Amcorp Mall. The words were difficult, but it was spoken. He wasn’t shocked or surprised. Well, not much anyway. I nearly cried when those words left my lips.

It was truly liberating. It was exhilarating. I felt very much alive. The burden has at last been lifted.

In the months to come, I was thinking and choosing who else to come out to. In about two months, I have come out to ten people. It’s like something which you can’t keep to yourself, like a juicy gossip which has to be shared with someone. The feeling was too good. The unmasking of the truth has to be known to as many as possible.

Of course I chose carefully the people who would know the truth. After all, not everyone deserved the privilege of this information. ;P Though some friends did advise caution on my actions.

Which was why I laughed when K came out to me. I could emphatise with the joy and relief of finally doing it. I was indeed happy for him.

However, life is not smooth sailing after coming out. There are still bigots and homophobes out there. Coming out makes life just a little bit easier. It gives a boost to the self-esteem and makes our outlook on life better.

Welcome to the other side. To our team. ;-)

March personality

I received this in the morning.

People who are born in March:

Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive.
Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity.
Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy.
Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others.
Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention.
Hasty decisions in choosing partners.
Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

I found one to be especially accurate. People who know me and my blog readers will know which one. *wink*

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Coming out (Part 1)

Something really interesting happened yesterday.

I posted my previous blog late afternoon and one of my friends happened to read it a few hours later. After reading it, he felt a sense of frustration and despair. I didn’t know the things I wrote could be so powerful and have such an effect on readers. Somehow, it touched a raw nerve in him.

He wanted to post a reply, but thought the better of it and decided to call me to meet up instead. So he came to my place and we went somewhere nearby for a drink.

Till then, I didn’t know he had read my blog. He confessed to having read it only after the drinks came. At first, I was glad he had read it. Second thought that came to me, was how did he find it, as I have not told him the website. Surely, Google is not that good, is it?

Alas, the truth spilled out.

My friend, K, has been browsing this gay personals website and he came across my personal. That’s how he found my blog. The next obvious question was, what was he doing browsing at that personals website? I could guess where this was heading and I was right.

He has just come out to me. I laughed. I felt happy, with a tinge of irony.

Though truthfully, it was not a surprise. I had suspected for some time, but since he has dated girls before, I thought I was wrong.

And now, here he was telling me. That I was right all along. I listened and this was what he told me.

K has always thought of himself as a bisexual. He thought that he could like a girl and treat her like a girlfriend, even with the feelings of attraction to males. He still thinks so. Oh, he even said he knew he is bisexual since he was six.

His family is conservative and has a traditional mindset. They have said to him (or perhaps a better word is warned) that he better not turn out gay, if not the consequences would be dire. K is not close to his brother. Not surprisingly, it is often that his brother is the one who brings the subject up. He would stir the hornet’s nest by asking K why he doesn’t have a girlfriend and followed by the gay subject.

Previously, K has let the subject pass. But now, his parents’ words seemed to sting. The words hurt. Things are different now as K likes a guy now. His first time of actually liking a guy. K cannot stop thinking of him. He is doubtful of himself, as he has always thought of himself to be independent. He doesn’t need to rely on anyone. He can spend the rest of his life by himself, if need be and he doesn’t need a partner. But he feels differently now. My blog has triggered some insecurities in him. Which is pretty cool actually. It is as if preordained.

In addition, by liking a guy, he felt that he is closing the door to the straight world. His only connection would be severed. This is a painful realization as he doesn’t think that he’s ready. He doesn’t want that door to close either.

I think I am going all over the place. Basically it comes down to one thing. It was time for him to come out of the closet. It is a scary thought to leave the comfort of the closet and step out to the reality of the world. What he needs now is someone to be there to listen.

Well, he made the right choice to come to me. After all, I had been there and done that. ;P

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It is only human to love and be loved

My parents celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary last week. Which obviously reminded me how old they were when they got married. My dad was 25 and my mom was two years younger. I am going to be 25 next year and fortunately so far, they haven’t been asking the dreaded M question.

On a similar note, this question was posted in one of the yahoogroups that I am in.

Why do we feel that happiness only comes through living as couples? Why do we feel so bad about living alone? It's surely not because we know of many happy couples, be they of different or same sex. Statistics tell us otherwise. Only a small minority of couples experience happiness. Why then spend so much time and energy in searching Mr. Right?

This is indeed a difficult question. Why do we feel that we need another, our so called other half, to feel complete? I suppose it’s similar to the nature and nurture issue of being gay. In this case, I would think that nurture has a stronger influence.

From the very moment we entered this world, we see a couple in our parents. As we grow older, we noticed that there are male and female and there are differences between them. The cartoons we watched portrayed that. Think Thundercats, Smurfs, Voltron, Care Bears (chuckle!), etc. Or for that matter, any TV shows. In kindergarten, girls wear different clothes from boys.

So in a way, we are program to think that we are supposed to be with someone of the opposite sex. For straight people, I suppose the main reason is to set up a family. They can’t do it alone, can they? And imagine, when the kids come into the picture, surely two pairs of hands are better than one pair.

For non-straight people, we can’t have the kids part. But still, we yearn for something similar. This can be attributed to the fact that the family institution has been an integral part of us growing up. Even the politicians stress the importance of family and the roles it plays in the fabric of society. As such, perhaps we want a family, but without the kids.

Though logically, the reason is none other than we are human. Humans are social creatures by nature. As Morrie said, when we were kids, we depended on other people for our needs. When we are old, we need help from other people. But the truth is, in between, we need others too. No man is an island.

For myself, I know that I wouldn’t want to grow old by myself. It is a scary thought. It is indeed more comforting if I have another person to share my life with. I can’t remember who said this, but it was something to the effect of our partner is our witness to our life. He or she is someone who truly knows us and appreciates us. You have to admit that it’s a nice feeling to mean the world to someone, right? And vice versa.

Yes, I admit I spend time looking for opportunities to meet and know other people in the hope that I find that special person. The question is, am I happy being alone? There are advantages to it, like I am not tied to someone else’s schedule and more money to spend on myself. Though there are times when I wished that I had someone special. Fortunately, it is not often and it doesn’t last long.

From my relationships so far, I have learnt to take things slow. I shouldn’t rush into one just because the opportunity is there. It is better to wait for that person, than to settle for whoever that comes along, don’t you think?

This is a quote from one Justin Hamlin, "When life gives you love, embrace it; take it in, make it every part of you, but don't be too hasty, for haste can scare love away. Take it slow and let everything happen as it will. True loves lies in the
future of those who follow this doctrine".

Let’s have a toast for singlehood. Cheers.