Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Office pornitics

Straight Boss (SB) was talking to another colleague of mine, WS.

SB: Tomorrow I would bring it for you (WS).
Me: What are you bringing for him?
SB: Porn. You want ar?
Me: Haiya, always say only but never bring also. I'll believe it when I see it.
SB: Ok, I would bring. What type of porn you like?
Me: (Shit, what kind of straight porn there is? Are they the same as gay ones?)
Me: Anything la ...
SB: Gay porn you want or not?
Me: (Like yeah! That's the only kind I watch anyway!)

Trying not to snicker at the irony of the situation and putting on my straightest face, I said, "I am very open-minded."

SB: I have watched it before. Eeew ... made me wanna puke.

I kept quiet.

SB: But it's not that bad lar ...

SB turned to another colleague and asked, "SN, you want gay porn or not?"

The conversation ended there as SB's phone was ringing and he went off to answer it.

An observation which I have made is that straight guys seldom, almost never, to openly admit watching straight porn. Or is it just the guys I know?

Gay guys will openly say that they download porn. I have been asked countless times what types of porn I watched and vice versa when I meet people for the first time.

Feel free to comment. ;P

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The week that was

Been really busy with after-work activities till I have no time for myself, or even to blog.

Monday: Watched The Banquet with my colleague. Visually pleasing, but story and plot are non-existent. The sets were elaborate, but borders on artificial extravagance. And they don't seem very Chinese to me.

Characters were hard to relate to and their actions were difficult to comprehend. No one to ogle at, as Daniel Wu wasn't the main character. ;P His character was weak and seem to lack purpose but merely to move the story along.

Overall, 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday: A Malaysian friend called up last minute to have dinner. I didn't know where to go, so I asked a colleague and she suggested Pasta Cafe at Takashimaya. Food was OK, nothing great about it. The restaurant serves Italian food, but with a local twist like Sambal Seafood Spaghetti.

The friend, who is also a blogger, shall remain unidentified. I was glad to know him a little better. We've met and spoken twice before, but didn't have much chance to talk. He's a really nice person with a wonderful boyfriend.

I took a picture of the dessert. It looks better than it taste though.

Wednesday: Had lunch at a Thai restaurant near my work place, as I was being adventurous. I ordered the Tom Yam and it was OK. Nothing memorable and definitely not worth the $7. Five dollars maybe.

It doesn't look very apetising, does it?

Thursday: Went for taichi class.

Friday: Watched the most hyped and successful local musical production of the year, Forbidden City: Portrait of an Empress.

The set was really good, the main character was excellent, the songs were great. There were betrayal, treachery, humour and drama. The actors and actresses played their roles really well.

It was my first time at the Esplanade Theatre and I must admit it is a really nice hall. It is like the Petronas MPO. Much better than Pentas 2 at KLPac.

I thoroughly enojoyed the musical.

And today, I watched The Host.

Although it is a monster movie, it is not a run-of-the-mill type. There were lots of humour, a little too much for my liking as the situations that the characters were in were serious and life-threatening.

It's a quirky movie; my friend found it strange. It's a movie with lots of heart and drama, about a father's never-ending search for his daughter who was taken away by the monster. Very realistic and gritty.

There is also an underlying theme of the failure of the government to do what it is supposed to do, which is to serve its people. And the obstacles of bureaucracy.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I am running in the rain ...

Or to be more precise, I was running in the rain this morning. It was for the Terry Fox run. There was one in Kuala Lumpur too and I hope they had clear weather.

I got up at six when the sky was not even light and was quite excited about the whole thing, as it would be my first run in Singapore.

As we were queieng at the bus interchange to get to Sentosa, the island where the run was to be held, there was a light drizzle. It got worse when we arrived there.

Oh, I was there with my colleague WS and his friend, and his friend's friend.

As we alighted from the bus and walked towareds the starting point, I left my colleague and friends and joined another friend, LP, who was waiting with a female friend, under a shelter.

To cut a long story short, I am not thrilled about getting myself wet in the rain. The usual warnings came to mind, like getting ill, slipping on the wet surface and falling. Other downsides appeared too, like I didn't bring a change of clothes, my shoes and socks were going to be wet (which is different from a wet shirt, because the moist feeling around the feet is just ... well, different and I can't possibly walk bare-footed but bare-chested is OK, geddit?)

The race started anyway and WS and his friends ran.

So there I was, wondering what should I do?

On one hand, LP and his friend have decided to not run, unless the rain becomes a drizzle. And it didn't look like that was going to happen anytime soon.

On the other, there were like so many others who ran and it did look kinda fun to run in the rain. I mean, running in the rain has not killed or hurt anybody, right?

Besides, I have never done this before. At least, I don't remember having done it. And it is consistent with my motto of "Do everything once."

So I found myself joining the other runners.

The rain did not let up and at the end of the race, I was completely soaked from head to toe.

That was the first significant thing.

The second was, I managed to complete the race! Not that 9km is a daunting distance or anything like that, but I have only started to run again last month. I have stopped for the eight months, as the scar from the surgery still hurts sometimes.

Traning was like 5 kilometers a week, for the past three weeks.

Even though I walked for the last kilometer because of a cramp in my butt upper thigh, I still finished the whole thing in slightly more than an hour. It's not excellent timing, but according to WL, it's quite commendable based on the traning I have done.

Yay, so proud!

Now, I just gotta pray that tomorrow I don't fall ill or hobble like I have been fucked.

Last but not least, there were like so many hotties around! I can tell that quite a number are real runners, as in they regularly take part in marathons and triathlons, from the way they run and their slim legs. Runners aren't too muscular and usually tanned (heck, many male specimens here are tanned! LOL), so they were perfect eye-candy all the way from the starting to finishing line.

I thought we were going to have breakfast after the run, but nope, WL and friends wanted to go back home.

On a related note, I bought a pair of shoes yesterday. A pair of New Balance running shoes, which cost SGD146 (RM340). I was just searching online for a picture of it and I came across the price.

The cheapest I saw is USD120, which is about SGD190, from a site that listed the lowest to the highest price available online. Highest is USD135.

Another yay, for the good deal I got!

If I was still working in KL, the shoes would have cost me about 15% of my salary, or more, and that would be the only shopping done for the month.

In case some of you are scoffing at my choice for New Balance instead of Nike or Adidas, there is a very good reason. Singapore is has a lot of people who are into healthy living and exercise, especially running. There are more amenities here for running than in KL.

From what I have heard, the leading running shoes brand are Asics and New Balance. This was confirmed by the shoe salesman too. I was WS yesterday and he bought a pair of Asics running shoes for his upcoming marathon in December.

Running is a very high impact sport, thus getting the right pair of shoes with the right cushioning and stability are important.

Anyway, this is the pair that I bought, the M1222SG, which apparently is a new model with many high-tech features and is selling pretty well.

I am going to wear it the next time I run ;P

As I finished typing this, the rain has just stopped.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Out in the office

Being out in the workplace is never a good idea. Still, I have always harboured the hope of coming out at work because once a person is out, it's quite difficult to go back into the closet.

But from the looks of it, it can never happen. Or at least, not in my current workplace.

Now, most sometimes I am quite gayish and all, but I am just being me and doing things that are comfortable for myself.

For example, I wear sneakers to work and change into leather shoes when I arrive at the office. It's more comfortable to walk in the former as there is quite a bit of walking to get to work and back.

When someone saw me changing into my leather shoes, the person said "Like a girl only."

Just today, I was chatting with my colleagues and one of them mentioned he wanted to go to Siam Reap, where the Angkor Wat is located. One of them asked me whether I would go as I don't look like the type which can rough it out.

Which reminded me of this incident last year.

Anyway, I said I love to do things I have never done.

"Would you go bungee jump or skydiving?"

"I would like to, even though at the last second, I may be rooted on the platform and needed someone to kick from behind to fall off the edge."

"I like to do everything once."

One of them laughed out loud and pretended to be afraid, while giving me a leer said, "I am scared yer ... "

Now, this guy has always teased me about female-related characteristics, like he would asked whether I wanted to hold his hands or not, or go to the bathroom together, that sort of thing.

By the way, he's married. And kinda cute and fair.

Obviously, I asked him what did he find so funny.

He replied, "You said you would do anything once, would you sleep with a guy?"

In my mind, I was like "I would and I already do and it won't be just once and you don't know what you've been missing."

So I said, "You think I would do it with you? Don't flatter yourself."

He continued, "No, but even with other guys .... that's just gross. Ee yer ..."

I wanted to roll my eyes, but that would be such a give-away, no?

Just yesterday, another colleague was saying that she has a friend who can dance very well and quite good looking. Too bad he is gay.

My response was, what's so bad about it? You mean you would have dated him if he was straight?

She said yeah.

Needless to say, out of all the people in the office, she seems most OK with gays. Which is not saying much, as she is a Charismatic (I have always thought that it means a personal quality) Christian and is not very open either.

Oh well.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Brotherly love

Usually, the letters written in to Big Bro (advice column / aunt agony column for teenagers and youth in the Star) concern matters of the heart. Out of three letters, probably two are like these:

"Do you think he/she likes me?"

"What does that smile mean? Does she like me?"

"He/she always says hi to me and send me messages. He/she thinks I am funny too. Does it mean he/she likes me?"

"Every time I see her/him, I don't know what to say. I think she has pretty eyes / he has a cute laugh. Do you think I am falling in love?"

NOT that I am trivialising those growing-up pains and confusion and the blossoming of crushes and loves, but it can get pretty tiring after a while.

So here is a refreshing change instead. As I am going to put it up here, you can bet that it's gay-related ;P

Worried for brother

MY BROTHER and I are orphans – we lost our parents in an accident years ago. My brother is intelligent, good-looking and has a good attitude. A complete package any girl could ask for. My mother used to support us, working part-time, and we used to do odd jobs.

I did fairly well in my studies while my brother obtained a full scholarship to do his course.

My brother is gay and he has been in a relationship with K, a Japanese guy who lives near us, for nearly seven years.

Recently, I noticed that my brother has changed a lot. He no longer smiles or laughs out loud but seems sad and distant.

I know that there’s a problem between him and K. I secretly read his diary (Derek: This is wrong, but I can totally understand why he did it.) and found that K is going to Japan to further his studies and he has asked my brother to go along. I confronted my brother, and he broke down and said that he has no intention of going. It’s a lie since my brother has applied to study in Japan.

I confronted K and he said it’s because of the possibility that his parents want him to marry some relative of his. I think that’s what made my brother heartbroken.

How do I console my brother? I am worried for him and I know these guys love each other. How do I support my brother without making things worse? I can’t just keep quiet. – Worried and Desperate

Dear Worried and Desperate,

Your brother is lucky to have you around. You’ve shown an incredible maturity for someone so young.

Often we can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. But in your brother’s case, it could be that he doesn’t know how to ask for help or to talk about what it is that he’s going through, especially when the kind of relationship that he’s in is one that’s not condoned, accepted or recognised. He also may not know how you feel to be comfortable enough to share much of what he’s going through.

Find an appropriate time to talk to him. Reassure him that your love for him will not change. So be caring and supportive but at the same time give him the space that he needs to work some things out for himself.

In many ways, he and K must figure out what they want for themselves. And they must both agree on it because there is nothing else to hold them together beyond their mutual consent. No law recognises this union. It’s no wonder that it’s called “the love that dares not speak its name.”

How I wished I have a brother like that. And I meant the older one ;P

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Learning life's lessons

I found resonance in this article from Malaysiakini, an online news portal. The parts which I like are in italic. Not that it brings up anything new, but it does make me appreciate myself and the journey I have taken or unknowingly led on to become who am I today.

My keen interest in people and life itself is to understand how society and everything around me works. Why are people treated differently because of race, religion, beliefs, sexual orientation? Whoever came up with these differences anyway? Are they something inate or learnt?

I am a pragmatic person. I would rather learn from others than to do something by myself and then learn from it. Call it lazy or selfish, but sometimes it saves the effort and pain. There are so many things to learn in this world, how can I possibly learn life's lessons by making all the mistakes?

People's thoughts and actions fascinate me. I like meeting people and talking to them. Questions to be answered, questions to quench my curiosity.

Which is why I read a lot. Though I hope I am not too busy reading and not living enough.


Citizens one and all
JJ Ray
Sep 4, 06 11:48am

At its core, issues affecting lesbians and gays are not about race or creed but of individual liberty, the very liberty supposedly protected by our constitution.

Sadly, the price homosexuals pay for the enjoyment of their own liberty is the recognition that heterosexuals may not want to be identified with them, although all have equal right to the same liberty.

This right has never been duly accorded to lesbians and gays.

But Malaysian writer Ouyang Wen Feng, who recently came out, could not have been more correct when he said "they (homosexuals) must first accept and recognise themselves before persuading society to accept them".

No need to crack one's head as to why this 36-year-old had kept his sexual orientation secret from family and friends for 30 years - it all boils down to society's prejudice and refusal to accept homosexuals as equal members.

Ouyang had American pastor Rev Pat Bumgardner to thank for support and acceptance. To Bumgardner, his move was nothing short of a courageous action that also honoured his family.

She said his decision would encourage the younger generation to be true to themselves and to build an inclusive community. Her hope in seeing a just future for homosexuals, while worthy of respect, sadly has found little acceptance in today's world.

Persistent discrimination

Society, largely comprising heterosexuals, is not willing to accept homosexuals as equal members of the community.

The degradation faced by lesbians and gays is heart wrenching and there is no telling when the discrimination will end. India, for example, is in denial over the fact that she is also home to lesbians and gays.

In Malaysia, the government has made it clear that lesbians and gays are not to be tolerated, much less accepted, hence the stand to criminalise same sex practices.

To criminalise people because of their sexual orientation is a crude instrument of social policy, a policy which serves no purpose in any society other than to preserve the heterosexual privilege which least affects the social or moral common life.

The government has no qualms about closing an eye when it comes to securing votes from homosexuals in the electorate.

It would do the 'straight' beings good to realise that hiding homosexuality is a surrender of freedom, of identity and ultimately of life itself. Such a move results in misery for homosexuals.

Prejudice, prejudice, prejudice

Although the American Psychiatric Association has clarified that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, the public has clutched stubbornly to the belief that this is unnatural, or a sign of stunted emotional maturity, lack of self-control and a disgusting form of sexual activity without any affectional content.

To assume that homosexuals are sexual predators and incapable of establishing lasting, loving relationships is akin to making the assumption that marriages are made in heaven.

The enlightened ones know that sexual orientation goes beyond sex, as it involves not only the physical self but also the heart, mind and soul. Sexual orientation includes the intimate associations that individuals form and that can help give meaning and richness to life.

To consistently and categorically deny the basic civil rights of lesbians and gays sends the message that the lives of homosexuals are less valuable than that of heterosexuals.

When someone like Ouyang reveals his sexual orientation, it might draw unwanted reaction. But for the less exposed, 'coming out' is more than an acknowledgment - it is acceptance of one's fundamental worth or announcement of one's sexual identity.

'Coming out' represents an act of compassion towards oneself, a compassion sadly never shown by one's own family and friends, let alone society.

Lesbians and gay men must think about family, morality, nature, choice, freedom and responsibility in ways that most people do not have to. Prejudice may remain but once homosexuals find their authentic self, they will not want to lose it under any circumstances.

It is necessary to repeat that what lesbians and gays seek is not new, special or privileged rights but rather the extension of existing rights guaranteed to all citizens by a nation's constitution.

Honour gay existence

The lesbians and gay community comprises women and men who have arrived, by very different paths, at the same self-knowledge. The feelings that prompt ordinary people to go against the grain of convention and love members of their own gender and honour those feelings are different for every person.

And unlike heterosexual individuals who hardly have to think about the fundamental ground of privacy - because it is already secure for them - homosexuals find themselves deprived of privacy.

Privacy means that people make choices other people must learn to respect. No government has any business meddling with the choices that lesbians and gays make to express their sexual orientation.

Until and unless such privacy is accorded to homosexuals, they will remain a group bereft of just protection as provided by the law. By extension, lesbians and gays will always be one step behind in accessing the privileges of citizenship.

The Serenity Prayer comes to mind, when one looks at the myriad challenges that lesbians and gays face. It should bring much-needed hope and courage for those sailing rough seas:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it,
Trusting that He will make all things right, if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

JJ RAY started her career with a mainstream publication. A non-conformist, she soon saw the barriers that went up whenever, through her writing, she tried to make the world a home for one and all.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Meaningless meandering

I have wanted to do a Merdeka post, but somehow it didn't turn out right as the sentiment and feelings have dissipated.

Since coming back from KL last weekend, I have been so caught up with work and stuff that I didn't have the energy to blog. Which was why I didn't even know my blog was somehow "deleted" for the past few days.

Life here has been getting better. I have things to do on weekends which keep my time occupied. Like waking up at 6.30 this morning to jog. Then having vegetarian brunch with some friends.

Oh, and I was introduced to this word last week from a neighbour - tunch, meaning tea and lunch, a meal before tea but after lunch.

I was like WTF and trying hard to keep a straight face.

Since when we have tea time (excluding the "tea time" in government offices)? And can't a meal at three in the afternoon just be lunch, a late one at that?

Anyway, I digress.

Basically, I am getting comfortable here. Which is not what I want. I don't want to feel so comfortable till I don't want to leave.

There are actually things to do here which I have always wanted to do but didn't. The lifestyle is very active, as in sports and outdoor activities. I have never seen so many people of all ages get up so early on a Sunday morning to jog / cycle / roller-blade / picnic.

And I like that. I have even signed up for the Terry Fox run in two weeks time.

It has been four months already that I am here. Things have turned out quite alright so far and with some cautious optimism, I can say that life can only get better.