Saturday, August 26, 2006

Queer books

Singapore's National Day is celebrated in August, which is why their version of Pride is held in the same month. This time, it was called IndigNation and it was held from 1st till 24th August.

You can read some of the write-ups to the events at the official website.

I managed to attend two out of the over twenty events lined up. I was there during the launch, where Alex Au of Yawning Bread fame had a forum on the Singapore Elections held in May.

You might be wondering what election has got to do with homosexuality, right? The significance is that the gay issue was brought up for the first time in the election, where candidates were asked what their views were on homosexuality.

Apparently, one of the reporters even asked "If your son told you one day he was gay, what would you do?" to the election candidates during one of the forums.

The answers were interesting. Some of them were clearly uncomfortable or fearful and it showed in their replies.

I find this a gem. Taken from here.

When asked "Do you know any gays? How would you include them in your politics?" Ellen Lee: "I have a handful of gay friends. I do not think there is a special need for me to represent them because many of them are already very articulate and can do it themselves. But if they want to help me in my election campaign, I would not have objections. Their private lives will not be an issue."

I won't scratch your back, but please scratch mine if you want to.

Just classic, aint it?

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The secone event which I went to was the launch of SQ21: Singapore's Queers's in the 21st century, which was on Wednesday.

It contains stories of how a gay youth won his mum over, a young man who came out on national TV, two women who got married in an anti-gay church, a mother who is proud of her two gay sons and the challenges and triumphs of a hearing impaired gay man, among other inspirational accounts. - taken from Fridae

You might think that it's a nameless book, where the owners' of the stories did not reveal names. But they did, with photographs included.

That is indeed a milestone, not just in Singapore but in Asia.

They are teachers, students, in the army, consultants, etc.

Almost all of the people featured in the book were present and they read excerpts from the book. I wasn't interested in buying it initially, but after the mother with two gay sons told her story, I decided to buy it.

These people lead such open lives to their families, colleagues and themselves; that the people around them are so accepting that I wonder why aren't there more people like them?

Because it's not easy. It takes courage to withstand taunts of faggot and gay in school. It requires a strong person mentally and emotionally to withstand the whispers and the finger-pointing. To simply not belong.

On the other hand, there are those who will be supportive and admire your conviction in being true to yourself in public.

I am not one for inspirational stories like Chicken Soup for the Soul kinda thing, but it is very uplifting to know there are people like that out there, living the kind of life I have always wanted.

Ultimately, it is a collection of stories about love - parents loving their children regardless of sexuality and loving the people we know for the basic reason that they're living, breathing creatures like us too, with dreams and aspirations.

I might post excerpts from the book which I find interesting.


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Two days before the SQ21 launch, a Malaysian currently based in the U.S. launched his own coming out book, titled Is Present the Future? - An Asian Gay Man's Coming Out Journey in Kuala Lumpur. The book is in Mandarin.

This might be the more interesting one as he's a columnist, who married and then divorced and currently with his boyfriend Angel.

For more information, please go here.


3 comments:

FamezGAY said...

how i wish malaysia can have its own gay pride too! uhmnn

It seems singapore is slowly accepting gay!

savante said...

I heard about that malaysian author too!\

Paul

Chee Kam said...

I was there during the launch, and I enjoyed the evening very much though I wish the host could shut up and give more airtime to the people who have the courage to come out in the public.