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Review: Taking Woodstock
Articles - Entertainment
Thursday, 15 October 2009 00:00



The original Woodstock Festival took place in 1969 and was later known as a pivotal cultural moment in history. It originated as a corporate venture that brought great artists together in front of a 500,000-strong audience. In 1970, a documentary was made about the music festival. Elliot Tiber, the man who offered the use of his family property to the festival’s organisers, published his story in 2007. Subsequently, Ang Lee (of Brokeback Mountain fame) based his movie Taking Woodstock on Elliot’s memoir.


This, of course, I learnt from Wikipedia. Yes, I am unfortunately quite bereft of music history knowledge and shockingly clueless about the hippie subculture. Fortunately for me, I found the movie quite accessible, and I think that Ang Lee was throwing the net wide, allowing those of us who may not know their pop culture history to have their heartstrings tugged by a simple, human story.


Taking Woodstock is, at heart, the timeless, tireless tale of a young man’s journey. While putting together the music festival, Elliot also finds freedom and courage, and we gradually get to know him, his family, the circumstances surrounding his life and what it could have been like for a gay man growing up in those times. Demetri Martin gives a believable, heartfelt performance as Elliot, so I was surprised to hear that he is mostly known for being a comedian. The entire cast delivers a stellar show, from the excellent Liev Schreiber as the crossdressing Vilma to Elliot’s inimitable parents. The storytelling is fairly well-paced, with a good mix of comedy and drama that keep the slower scenes at the beginning interesting.


With so much going on in the foreground, the actual music of Woodstock becomes mere backdrop. Ang Lee’s Woodstock is far from a documentary about the times, or even about Woodstock itself. I would prefer to call it a portrait of the emotional life of the times. The movie brings home the peripherals of Woodstock, personalising the environment and culture without trying to show what many would call the heart of it – the music. For me it was like a sepia photograph, giving a layer of reality to the sixties without taking the tint of nostalgia from it. This was perhaps the filmmaker’s recognition that no one could capture the grandeur of such a cultural icon.


As a portrait, I thought it was very successful. I caught a glimpse of a bohemian laissez-faire, an idealistic attitude to life that wasn’t afraid of being spiritual, trying new things, being different or just being. The movie shows us the beauty of an era that was ripening into a particular brand of individualism and an increased acceptance of LGBT people in the world.


Taking Woodstock clearly celebrates the hippie culture, although it does raise some possibly problematic issues such as drug and alcohol use. LGBT viewers may also be able to relate to Elliot’s closeted situation and the tug between familial obligation and being true to yourself.

I enjoyed the movie a lot for what it is, a sweet and funny confection that opens up a world of ambiguous promise.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:49
 
Review: “The Abomination of the Blue Hibiscus” by Ovidia Yu
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 11 October 2009 00:00

The Abomination of the Blue Hibiscus is a short story by Ovidia Yu, published in the Year’s Best Lesbian Fiction 2008 edited by Fran Walker. She requested that I review the story, whether or not I read the entire book.

Hibiscus is a short, heart-warming story about a lesbian woman and her partner, at her mother’s funeral. Clearly Ovidia seems to love this theme – story actually reminded me quite a bit of the story she wrote a couple of years ago and read at our Indignation event, Tall Tales and Short Stories, called Pierced Years. Personally, I much preferred Pierced Years to Hibiscus, though both are valuable contributions to the corpus of Singaporean lesbian literature.

But what makes this story different is the closetted homophobic maiden aunt character that is more central than the couple themselves. The character was quite obviously inspired by a “well-loved” persona, and quite hateable in her portrayal, but with a resigned acceptance of her place in the family. Having said that, I found the characterisation too much of a caricature, and perhaps it could have been toned down a little, made more subtle. I also much loved the way blue hibiscuses were used in the story.

Hibiscus stands out for its layered family relationships laced with shades of acceptance.  While not Ovidia’s best work, the story is readable. I had a chance to read some of the other stories at random (but not the entire book), and I can say the stories are not too bad – some of them are cliche and sometimes centres too much on the lesbian identity, but as a collection, it is worth having on your bookshelf.

Year’s Best Lesbian Fiction 2008 is available at Books Actually.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 March 2010 09:44
 
AWARE fundraiser (Singapore)
Articles - Announcements
Thursday, 08 October 2009 01:14

Have you booked your seats for The Blue Mansion?

The Blue Mansion

Don’t miss the special screening of Glen Goei’s latest film The Blue Mansion on 15th October. It’s a fundraising premiere and the net proceeds will go to AWARE.

Don’t miss the special screening of Glen Goei’s latest film The Blue Mansion on 15th October. It’s a fundraising premiere and the net proceeds will go to AWARE.

There will be a pre-movie cocktail reception where you can meet Glen and members of his cast. They include Lim Kay Siu, Adrian Pang, Neo Swee Lin, Emma Yong, Claire Wong, Tan Kheng Hua, and Huzir Sulaiman.

Remember to bring your business card because there will be a business card draw and you could win a 4-hour cruise valued at $3,000, with soft drinks and snacks, for 10 people on this yacht.

Buy a block of 20 seats and you will get:
A token of appreciation from Glen
A photo session with Glen and the cast members.
If your company buys blocks of 10 or 20 seats, we’ll put your company’s logo on our webpage and other material.

Get all the sponsorship details here.
Event details:
Date: Thursday 15th October
Venue: GV Grand 6, Great World City
(Cocktail reception at the Garden Terrace)
Time: 7.30pm

Price: Tickets are $50 each (Tax deductible)
Book your seats now – send email to bluemansion@aware.org.sg or call Rina at 6779-7137

 
Review 2: No More Daddy’s Little Girl
Articles - Entertainment
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Thursday, 01 October 2009 00:00

Note from the editors: In the recent weeks, we published a review of the book No More Daddy’s Little Girl by Karen Lee. That review generated much heated discussion by people on both sides of the camp about the merits of the book. In order to give our readers both sides of the story, we are a publishing a reader-submitted review offering a different view from the previous. Neither reviews are indicative of Sayoni’s official view in any way.

This guest writer goes by the name of Jane Jones.

Two weeks ago, a friend handed me No More Daddy’s Little Girl, after we had casually discussed the one official review posted so far and some negative opinions by our mutual acquaintances. I had not been inclined to read the book when I first heard of it, as I had the notion that autobiographies ought only to be written by people of special interest or distinction, with something important to address and educate others about. Coming out stories are a dime a dozen, and ordinary people tend not to write an entire autobiography on this selling point alone. Curiosity began to replace vague disinterest. Are the review and opinions accurate or justified? It was only fair that I read the book and decide for myself. And so over the weekend, I did.

From reading the blurb and proud declaration that it is the first local lesbian autobio, I had expected this book to illuminate me on how Karen discovered herself vis-a-vis her sexuality and came out in the end (no pun intended) triumphant over the obstacles in her way to lead a life with love and acceptance from her faith, family, friends and herself. I expected that most of the life experiences recounted in her book would be in respect of this, her discovery and journey of being lesbian. Unfortunately, I have to conclude that the book failed to deliver on these expectations.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:25
 
Taking Woodstock Fundraising Gala Premiere, Sep 30 (Singapore)
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 20 September 2009 01:22

 

 

Date: Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Time: 21:00 – 23:00

Location: Shaw Lido 1 (Shaw Centre, Scotts Road)

Fridae presents the Taking Woodstock Fundraising Gala Premiere in Singapore on Sep 30. 100% of ticket sales will go towards funding gay-related community projects.

Directed by Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (who brought us what were to become gay classics The Wedding Banquet and Brokeback Mountain), Taking Woodstock is based on the memoirs of a young gay man Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin). Tiber, then a struggling young interior designer in New York City, had recently returned to his parents’ rundown motel in the Catskill Mountains when he heard that a planned concert had lost its permit from the neighbouring town of Wallkill. He then called producer Michael Lang (Jonathan Groff) at Woodstock Ventures providing a much-needed performance permit and offering his motel as the production headquarters.

The 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, which attracted 500,000 people, turned out to be one of the most iconic events of the hippie generation and is today widely regarded to be one of the greatest and most pivotal moments in popular music history.

100% of ticketing proceeds will go towards funding gay-related community projects.

Since 2005, Fridae has organised six movie-fundraisers raising over S$60,000 in benefit of a variety of NGOs including Action for AIDS, AWARE, Cat Welfare Society; two independent short films by Boo Junfeng and Loo Zihan; and Indignation – which Fridae has financially and in other ways supported since it was first held in 2005. Pink Dot, the first-ever official LGBT public gathering held in May 2009 in Singapore, was also a beneficiary of Fridae’s Milk Fundraising Gala Premiere held earlier this year.

Date: 30 Sep 2009 (Wednesday)
Time: 8 pm (Reception for VIPs from 7 pm)
Venue: Shaw Lido 1 (Shaw Centre, Scotts Road)
Tickets: USS$7 (Zuji Promotion) / US$10 (Standard) / S$50 (VIP*)
* VIP Tickets include goodie bags, pre-show reception and premium seats.

Ticketing and more info: http://www.fridae.com/takingwoodstock/

 
Review: No More Daddy’s Little Girl
Articles - Coming Out
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 03 September 2009 03:43

“No More Daddy’s Little Girl”- a book by Karen Lee.

Before i read Karen Lee’s book, i received plenty of� comments pertaining to it.
Most of them were negative, criticizing aspects from grammar and style of writing to content.

I bought the book anyway, complete with her autograph on it. You never know till you read it, i thought to myself. Besides, i believe in supporting the first Singaporean lesbian autobiography. In the same train of thought [to support local queer writings], i bought the Chinese publication “tong lei” by OC. I finished the book in a couple of days, snatching moments before bedtime and during dinnertime.

The first half of the book touched on her early crushes, with a heavy emphasis on her involvement in Girls’ Brigade. Parts of the book provided information in somewhat random chunks. Sometimes the pieces were too brief to comprehend in detail. A characteristic, i surmised, as a result of length constraint. After sharing childhood memories, the story segued into her stints in Australia, Sweden and eventually Canada.

The greatest criticism was probably on content. Someone commented that the book is screwed up because Karen implied that she is gay as a result of being molested in her childhood. Indeed, in her coming out email to her parents, the uncanny pairing of the coming out declaration with the molest incident hinted at perceived causality. The person went on to say that the book gives fundies ammunition to target the lesbian population: you are gay because you are screwed up in your childhood. It was also pointed out that the book reflects badly on romantic relationships in the community. You can imagine a fundie going “look at how many flings Karen had! This is evidence that lesbian relationships are unstable.”

“She’s probably a screwed up lesbian,” was the concluding remark.
Coupled with Karen’s continuous struggles with reconciling her faith and sexuality throughout the book, it’s easy to see why some do not find the book uplifting.

But there were little entertaining bits here and there that amused me greatly. Karen’s ego and narcissism had me guffawing. Her confidence exuded from the very pages. She declared her own leadership, discipline and attractiveness. The audacity of demanding for someone’s girlfriend was appalling and amusing at the same time. In retort to any reader’s immediate question “how can you do that? She’s attached!”, Karen’s justification was one of standing up for her affections.

The book has several ingredients for a grabbing piece: horrifying incidents [e.g., lesbian almost-stabbing drama], the agony of being at odds with God, love, fleeting attractions, sex, eventual familial acceptance and so on. It’s certainly not a boring piece. No More Daddy’s Little Girl sent me through a torrent of emotions, ranging from exasperation to amusement. I raised my eyebrows, rolled my eyes, laughed and melted. I felt like i was sitting down with an acquaintance over coffee, listening to her life stories. Somewhat conversational [which might explain the writing style/grammar/sentence structure].

As i put the book down, sweetness overflowing from the last chapter on familial acceptance, i mulled over the merits and demerits of the book. Yes, i agree the book does not help the current negative stereotypes of lesbian women in Singapore. Yes, it is sad that people still attribute homosexuality to some childhood mishap. And certainly, it is rather sobering that some people cannot reconcile their sexuality and faith. But the book is about Karen’s working paradigm of her sexuality, spirituality and the world. Some lesbian women do think in such and such a way.

I define an autobiography as a life story worth a read.

As an autobiography, i think No More Daddy’s Little Girl has delivered.

————————————-

A short note from Karen:

“No More Daddy’s Little Girl” is an autobio written by Karen Lee. The book is available nationwide at most major bookstores such as Borders Whee Lock, Kinokuniya (Ngee Ann City & Bugis Junction), MPH (Novena, Robinson Road,Raffles City and CityLink mall), Select Books @ Tanglin Shopping Centre and Oohtique. Also 24 POPULAR bookstore branches. Do pick up a copy to support me! Thank you!

Editor’s Note: Please note that this review is the author’s personal opinion and does not reflect the official position of Sayoni in any way.

 
Review: No More Daddy’s Little Girl
Articles - Entertainment
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 03 September 2009 00:00

“No More Daddy’s Little Girl”- a book by Karen Lee.

Before i read Karen Lee’s book, i received plenty of comments pertaining to it.
Most of them were negative, criticizing aspects from grammar and style of writing to content.

I bought the book anyway, complete with her autograph on it. You never know till you read it, i thought to myself. Besides, i believe in supporting the first Singaporean lesbian autobiography. In the same train of thought [to support local queer writings], i bought the Chinese publication “tong lei” by OC. I finished the book in a couple of days, snatching moments before bedtime and during dinnertime.

The first half of the book touched on her early crushes, with a heavy emphasis on her involvement in Girls’ Brigade. Parts of the book provided information in somewhat random chunks. Sometimes the pieces were too brief to comprehend in detail. A characteristic, i surmised, as a result of length constraint. After sharing childhood memories, the story segued into her stints in Australia, Sweden and eventually Canada.

The greatest criticism was probably on content. Someone commented that the book is screwed up because Karen implied that she is gay as a result of being molested in her childhood. Indeed, in her coming out email to her parents, the uncanny pairing of the coming out declaration with the molest incident hinted at perceived causality. The person went on to say that the book gives fundies ammunition to target the lesbian population: you are gay because you are screwed up in your childhood. It was also pointed out that the book reflects badly on romantic relationships in the community. You can imagine a fundie going “look at how many flings Karen had! This is evidence that lesbian relationships are unstable.”

“She’s probably a screwed up lesbian,” was the concluding remark.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:24
 
Twittereport: “United We Fall, Divided We Stand?”
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 30 August 2009 00:00

Yesterday Sayoni organised a forum titled �United We Fall, Divided We Stand?� for Indignation. For those who could not make it, the event was covered live on our twitter. We reproduce the report here for you. We also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who made this event possible – photo/videographers, ushers, receptionists, logistics, voluntweers, and just anyone who helped out from the conception of the event to the execution.

Time Update
14:28:06 Sun is shining and time is ripe to start our event! #indigsg
14:51:22 Going to start soon! Indu chasing people to sit down #indigsg
14:54:26 Moderator: Sam Ho.. Panelists: Stuart Koe, Hui Yee, Jaime Low, Bryan Choong. #indigsg
14:51:38 SH: This debate will explore the issues concerning our LGBT community along the axis of gender. #indigsg
14:59:01 Topic of debate: Can our LGBT community actually work better if we stay divided instead of being united? Pro: SK & HY. Opp: JL & BC #indigsg
14:02:50 SK: Is the shared desire for same-sex relationships enough to keep us together? Fridae has tried to bring together men and women#indigsg
15:05:11 [Note: Proposition=> United We Fall, Divided We Stand; Opposition=> United We Stand, Divided We Fall] #indigsg
15:06:40 HY (2nd speaker of proposition): all of us grew up with heterosexual norms. But as LGBT people we need separate spaces… #indigsg
15:06:56 …to avoid falling back into those heterosexual norms #indigsg
15:08:00 If a lesbian walks into a gay-man dominated space, she may not feel that she can say what she wants. We need a space to … #indigsg
15:09:10 … find and nurture our own voice. 1 eg: Thru running WomensNite, a lesbian space, I’ve seen women grow in confidence #indigsg
15:10:42 Next speaker is Jaime Low from FCC #indigsg
15:11:48 JL(1st speaker of the opp): perhaps idealistic that we have to work together. How many of us work in a purely single-sex workplace#indigsg
15:12:38 it is not practical to work separately. there is limited experience if we segregate. #indigsg
15:14:02 integration also helps to eliminate stereotypes. we should work together to build stronger ties within the community #indigsg
15:16:13 let there be space for single genders, but to move the community ahead, we have to work together. #indigsg
15:16:46 BC (from OC): Has had little chance to understand women until 2005 when they did a workshop. 6/12 were women participants. #indigsg
15:19:09 … Realised when we break it down to the basics, we are all the same, beyond labels. Has wondered y women are particular… #indigsg
15:20:53 … people are actually different from what he was brought up to believe. Differences are impt, & org cannot continue if segregated #indigsg
15:22:23 … Why gay men should be concerned with AWARE too. Not a gay men thing, but because he sees himself as part of society #indigsg
15:22:36 … should cross the gender boundary to work together #indigsg
15:23:09 Now the Proposition and Opposition shall dialogue.
15:24:14 SK: In some contexts, appropriate to hv both genders together, and some not. Misogynistic world, men do dominate in many contexts #indigsg
15:25:00 … for women to earn that space, is something they fight for and that guys should respect. #indigsg
15:25:25 … At the end of the day, what brings us together is our humanity. Laws that treat both men and women differently. #indigsg
15:26:15 … But for social spaces, why should we insist that men and women should hang out together? #indigsg
15:28:08 BC: you can learn so much more by hanging out with a person of the opposite sex #indigsg
15:28:59 …that is how you build a relationship, by getting to know people as friends, in a close emotional relationship#indigsg
15:30:26 HY: agree that there is a common agenda, eg remove discrimination. but how we achieve that is different #indigsg
15:30:45 just by pulling in any random lesbian into a gay male project is tokenism#indigsg
15:32:54 JL: Dialogue should take place for understanding to happen. Can’t be tokenism. Start in social context,know each other as frens 1st #indigsg
15:33:14 if you don#indigsg
15:34:19 SH: Question for Prop – what does the community stand to lose if we work together? #indigsg
15:35:07 SK: our differences and our diversity is our strength. by becoming homogeneous we will weaken the community
15:36:06 BC: Prefers to say “diverse we stand”. (SH: But what would work in S’pore?) #indigsg
15:36:38 BC: Need to make conscious effort, create the space. #indigsg
15:37:07 JL: Younger generation doesn’t face this issue anymore (i.e. don’t want to wk with gay men). Gender divide will ultimately fall. #indigsg
15:37:50 Discussion has been opened to the floor. #indigsg
15:38:29 Floor: You don’t actually disagree with each other at all. What exactly is JL & BC’s point? Within FCC & OC, also women’s supp grps #indigsg
15:39:03 … we can work together while not ignoring the fact that we have differences. #indigsg
15:40:21 BC: OC and FCC have always had men and women working together for specific things. But more can be done. #indigsg
15:40:36 Floor: What is the diff between the 2 positions? #indigsg
15:41:24 JL: Differences are not that great. Gender stereotype if we talk abt fundamental differences. We can still work together. #indigsg
15:42:04 …also grp of people who are more comfortable with own spaces. But idea is to move them along – in soc we hv to mix with opp sex #indigsg
15:43:16 Floor: Definition of ‘divided’? Differing definitions. Recognition of diversity is not the same as pitting oneself against another #indigsg
15:43:48 … Grps out there interested in dividing us amongst ourselves. #indigsg
15:45:00 Floor: there are outside parties trying to use “wedge politics” to divide the community, ie divide and conquer #indigsg
15:46:42 HY: there is a need for intra-community dialogue, but each of us needs to stand up and speak out against false claims directed at us#indigsg
15:47:00 SK: Shouldn’t even have to debate on those grounds, of gay promiscuity, because it happens among straight people too. #indigsg
15:48:14 …religious conservatives are using this against gay men, but we should not defend ourselves. Or even if its nature or nurture. #indigsg
15:48:22 … It is about choice. #indigsg
15:48:42 HY: Promiscuity = stereotype? #indigsg
15:49:18 SK: More common for guys to divide sex from emotions. #indigsg
15:49:35 SH: Gender essentialist debate? Back to floor.#indigsg
15:50:09 Floor: An even more pressing reason for alliance/collaboration is it is important to sensitise us to internalised sexism #indigsg
15:51:06 … even in queer settings. E.g. Stewart mentioned TLA, called her speech schoolgirl with notecards. Belittling tone. #indigsg
15:51:42 … Bryan’s ref to what turns queer women on. This framing of women contributes to widespread sexism. #indigsg
15:52:03 … Even more important to use chances of collaboration to become more aware to combat these common habits of speech. #indigsg
15:52:38 BC: Not an attack upon women but recognition that she is female. #indigsg
15:53:15 HY: Misogynist society, misogynist terms come up all the time. Wrong to hold back from saying what’s on your mind – limiting #indigsg
15:53:53 … These terms of reference can be construed as sexist, and that should be the starting point of any debate. #indigsg
15:54:10 … We should recognise the sexual norms we are brought up in order to work together. #indigsg
15:54:45 BC: We should create a space where we can make mistakes together. #indigsg
15:55:13 SH: Is internal misogny the real problem here? #indigsg
15:55:40 Floor: We need a gender-specific space for women, because often it is too internalised. In mixed gender space, norms we hv #indigsg
15:55:56 … internalised act up #indigsg
15:56:18 HY: In Women’s Nite, women say they don’t know what women want! #indigsg
15:56:59 Floor: In Sg, we can be united over specific topics, in response to attacks. But when things are okay #indigsg
15:57:30 … we might be divided. Was expecting Stewart to emphasise how we do need to be divided. Need gay men to have their own stuff #indigsg
15:58:16 … The more separate we are, the more powerful we are. Rather have many grps than one big gay men/women group. #indigsg
15:59:46 … Not here to fight over heteronormativity. I don’t want to be with lesbians only. #indigsg
16:00:35 Floor: Thought we shld be divided to survive rather than staying apart from each other. What abt us and the larger community? #indigsg
16:02:02 SK: Forced into the position by the debate format. People are brought together by common goals. #indigsg
16:02:38 … Sometimes women and men can work together, sometimes it doesn’t happen, depends on the context. E.g. org what type of party. #indigsg
16:03:19 HY: Clarification – heterosexual norms meant the assumptions we make abt men and women, that men are assertive/women are demure. #indigsg
16:04:13 …heteronormativity doesn’t come in here #indigsg
16:05:18 Floor: Lesbians dont need gay men to speak for them, we can speak for ourselves, but we need to grow to a point to be able to do tt#indigsg
16:06:50 …we need to have separate groups to nurture and grow our voices before we can speak for ourselves #indigsg
16:07:40 having many groups is better than one single big group. many diff gay voices representing diff gay ppl makes us more powerful #indigsg
16:09:10 Floor: Division always occurs when there are differences. We tend to divide ourselves according to the constructs we live with. #indigsg
16:09:53 … But we can also choose to divide ourselves by norms we choose ourselves. Historically, people banded 2gether 2 face challenges. #indigsg
16:11:09 … Church grps are very organised. And we still have questions among ourselves. Are we divided? united? goal for this talk? #indigsg
16:11:50 … What history do we fall back on, leave behind? How can we move our community forward? Good to hv more grps, #indigsg
16:12:10 ways to develop ourselves individually and as a community. #indigsg
16:13:59 Floor: maybe the way to dialogue within the LGBT community is not so confrontationally but by having a platform #indigsg
16:14:54 But having many queer groups actually confuses those groups which are against the gay community #indigsg
16:15:16 Floor: where is the Transgendered community in this debate? #indigsg
16:15:59 Floor: how long will it take before men are allowed to attend Womens Nite? when will you know if women are confident enough to …#indigsg
16:16:15 …speak in front of men? #indigsg
16:17:06 Floor: When will women feel okay to let gay men into their spaces? e.g. Women’s Nite. #indigsg
16:18:45 SK: Even men didn’t want to care about the repeal of 377A, and it was the women who said we have to standup for human rights issues #indigsg
16:19:37 SK: We should ignore our differences and focus on what we have in common instead. #indigsg
16:20:21 HY: Women need safe space (wrt Women’s Nite). #indigsg
16:22:12 Floor: Surprised that people are talking about institutionalised sexism. Gay men might be afraid of lesbian women, #indigsg
16:22:45 … if we expect someone to change, we need to initiate that change, be friends with them first and educate them. #indigsg
16:23:37 … Danger of same-sex groups. Stop talking and do not interact, comfortable in their own spaces. Prevents greater understanding. #indigsg
16:24:26 … Although we have all these groups, we should also make the effort to interact with people,shouldn’t let our impressions stop us #indigsg
16:25:56 BC: OC has a male-dominated image so we always reinforce the fact that it is an all-sex group. #indigsg
16:30:04 Floor: Logical fallacy to saying that all women here seem so confident and therefore no need for safe spaces. #indigsg
16:31:09 … Education, yes, but it is also important for people outside the marginalised grp 2 be aware of blindness 2 their own privilege #indigsg
16:31:45 floor: vice versa, if we were to say that a sauna is open to women for a night, how many men will show up? #indigsg
16:32:36 Floor: if you (as a man) want to go to Women’s Nite, what will you be able to contribute? #indigsg
16:33:17 63 attendees at tonight’s event #indigsg
16:33:55 SK: We are all talking about the same thing. Ultimately, we all have differences & things we have in common, need to acknowledge tt #indigsg
16:34:52 SK: there are differences and each of us is unique; we need to embrace that and each be individuals, not all from same cookie-cutter#indigsg
16:36:53 HY: Not knowing is okay. We should be open to educating pple who don’t know. We can learn a lot by coming out of our comfort zones. #indigsg
16:37:45 JL: We should not let the differences stop us from working with one another. Focus on similarities. #indigsg
16:38:33 BC: Sometimes anger comes from being comfortable with yourself. If that common goal is removed, what bands us together? #indigsg
16:40:11 All the panelists and the moderator received flowers from sayoni. #indigsg
16:47:32 Thank you everyone for coming (and those reading), and to our esteemed organisers! #indigsg
 
Review: Are We There Yet?
Articles - Events
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:00

I attended a Sayoni forum last Saturday entitled “Are We There Yet?”*

The forum covered the many inequalities that queer women suffer in comparison to heterosexuals, with reference to the 2008 Sayoni Survey Report. The AWARE saga was mentioned fairly frequently and prompted many from the floor to speak up to buttress or disagree with the panellists’ ideas. There were words of encouragement, a discussion on what action we can and should take, the injunction to come out as gay; just to mention some issues that struck me most. The floor was very opinionated and passionate, with not a few male voices, including Alex Au’s.

At one juncture, there was a split between the pragmatic and the idealistic approach to gay activism (using the latter term in a broad sense). Someone opined that we need to teach teenagers how to differentiate real feelings of attraction from puppy love; that is, how to tell that her same-sex attraction is just a phase or not. Alex Au disagreed, saying that we should not need to discriminate in the first place, that there should be nothing wrong with experimentation. Another member of the floor argued that we need to be realistic about this.

After the forum, some of us got together. In the conversation that ensued, I had a strong sense of the difficulties that we face in our everyday lives. I think that each one of us, if we really go out and about, getting in touch with ground sentiment, are going to meet with a lot of resistance. That resistance is going to be hurtful. The environment we are in isn’t very kind or forgiving. (I believe that many will beg to differ on this point, and yes, it is relative.)

However, the impact others can have really depends on the individual’s tolerance level, and, secondarily, how we choose to react to an action. I’m not saying I need to be able to take abuse. The way sensitivity works, if we understand the root causes of an emotion and are able to step back sufficiently from our trapped, subjective selves and have an underlying source of security, I think we can achieve a certain amount of freedom from the worst of hurts.

I think we need to be clear of where we stand, that it is perfectly okay to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered: anything but heterosexual and cisgendered. Sure, the science is fuzzy, the religious texts are difficult, and most of the time, there is very little certainty. But that’s okay. We are not meant to understand life thoroughly and pin it down to basic principles. Science, too, cannot illuminate everything. We need to build rafts for ourselves and one another and create that connectedness and rationality.

Frankly, I may just be building bunkers against assaults or trying to erect a bridge in my head between the different approaches to advancement of the cause. In truth, different ways of regarding the topic are necessary and even fundamental to any kind of change, either top-down or bottom-up.

 
Indignation: United We Fall, Divided We Stand
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Monday, 24 August 2009 00:00

Date: Saturday, August 29, 2009
Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: 72-13 Theatreworks, Muhamad Sultan Road.

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RSVP on Facebook

LGBTQ � an umbrella term that seemingly unites us, in our diversity. We automatically assume that our non-heterosexuality means we are one community, with common goals and a common space. But are we really? Can men and women really work together in the gay rights movement? Are our differences too great, or are our common goals sufficient to keep us united?

A panel of men and women experienced in working with the community take on this question in a debate format, exploring the questions from different angles and perspectives. Expect a night where we confront the dust bunnies under our carpet, and hopefully emerge with a better understanding of where we can head.

 
Twittereport: “Are We There Yet?”
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 23 August 2009 00:00

Yesterday Sayoni organised a forum titled “Are We There Yet?” for Indignation. For those who could not make it, the event was covered live on our twitter. We reproduce the report here for you. We also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who made this event possible – photo/videographers, ushers, receptionists, logistics, voluntweers (ie the volunteer tweeters), and just anyone who helped out.

Time

Update

Sat Aug 22 19:32:54

Things are being set up for “Are We There
Yet”. This event is going to be reported live on twitter! #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 19:40:40

People are filing into the room rapidly #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 19:54:24

We haven’t started yet, but the crowd is 60 people
and counting! There look to be more coming. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:00:55

The panellists are taking their seats. We are about
to start “Are we there yet?” Kelly is welcoming everyone to the
Sayoni forum. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:03:07

The speakers are Alexandra Serrenti, Raqvind, Hui
Yee, Swee Jean, and Jean. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:04:32

Kelly: The first issue for the night is about the
AWARE saga. Many queer women voted against the new exco and rallied others.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:06:44

Alex is speaking on her concerns with the ex-new
exco. It only began an issue on sexuality later, after TSM appeared. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:08:02

Alex: Would like to thank TSM for getting her
involved in the community again. We as queer women need to speak up for
ourselves #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:08:52

Would like to encourage everyone to think abt their role
as gay people and their involvement in the community. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:10:01

Someone from the floor is saying that she identifies
as a woman first and then as a lesbian, therefore wld speak up #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:11:05

Jean: First impression was familiar names in AWARE
from letter-writing #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:11:51

Raqvind: The EGM was important in bringing up the
gay issue, in everyday life as well. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:14:30

Kelly has changed to a new PPT slide. New Exco’s
stand vs Old Guard.CSE,SpiderLilies/Old Guard included queer women direct
svcs etc #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:15:53

Floor: AWARE is neutral, simply tries to include all
aspects of ‘woman’. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:16:37

Kelly: Have your expectations shifted after the EGM?
Several hands raised.#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:17:24

Hui Yee: More about people, not just gay people, in
Singapore making their voices heard. AWARE not explicitly gay-friendly. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:18:33

Swee Jean (SJ): Should not downplay it; there were
in fact many gay women in grp, played a significant part in the reaction
& votes #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:19:29

SJ: Standing up for self as lesbian and as women. Deeply
disturbed that grp of unknowns wld do this. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:21:21

Jean (JC): How many were here at Constance Singam’s
talk? (Many hands raised) angry crowd of gay women etc. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:21:34

About 70 people in the room, including the speakers.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:23:22

Floor: Question abt whether it is a problem to
conflate sexuality and women’s issues #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:24:46

Floor: Abortion is never a lesbian issue? Sorry, but
we are a subgroup within women. There are still lesbians who are dealg
w/issue #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:25:26

Kelly (KT): In Constance’s talk, she felt that Aware
was doing enough by includg queer women. Not identity-based advocacy #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:26:03

KT: …but issues-based advocacy. Don’t queer women
have it pretty good already? some people ask. Will introduce the survey 2008
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:28:07

KT: … also doing a report related to CEDAW. Survey
findgs: (1) Education. Women experience attraction mostly in teenage yrs
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:29:45

KT: How did you relate to that (i.e. lesbianism
excluded from official sex education) in growing yrs? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:31:07

JC: No role models in youth-seen as deviance. Coping
w/shame,religion. Had wished for female role models. Instead, she had Alex Au
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:32:32

JC: Constance’s book abt history of women in Sg, did
not mention queer women. Does not blame her… Cannot wait for pple to do
this #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:33:35

Alex Au: First met her in Sept 1997 (around there),
when he was invited to give a talk at Substation. Constance was present.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:34:11

AA: …talk on basic sexual orientation. After the
talk, she approached him and said she didn’t know who to ask abt these
things. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:35:46

SJ: Comments on CSE – heartened to hear abt CSE,
difficult to hear that it has been withdrawn. Wld hv been wonderful in sec
sch. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:36:54

SJ: … to have been treated normally at that age if
u talked to a teacher/dressed tomboyishly. Hope tt it’ll become more
inclusive #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:39:00

HY: Had a qn once abt how 2 women have sex. We shld
forgive them for not knowing. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:40:36

HY: At Women’s Night, we focus on learning fr each
other. Focus on sharing. Be brave enough to share that bit of us. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:42:20

Floor: Heard a talk once where it was said that it
was immoral & unnatural.

#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:42:40

Floor: Tried to take a neutral stand in health edn.
Saddened for young pple in Sg. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:11

Floor: As someone who’s bisexual, told mother she
was attracted 2 women, was told it was a phase. At 22 realised cld not be
phase #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:30

Floor: …impt to teach women how to identify if the
attraction is real #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:44:54

Floor: Heterosexuals have support grps while gay
people do not. She got to know Sayoni by chance on FB. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:45:31

AA: (desperately needs to respond) The problem of knowing
when puppy love is phase or the real thing. But why is that impt? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:46:20

AA: …so what if it is a phase? Trying to
distinguish btw phasic love and non-phasic love (laughter)… #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:46:43

AA: …it means that if it is a phase, we will get
told it can’t be real & we need to change! So what if it is a phase?
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:48:05

Floor: They say it is a phase because no one wants
their kids to be gay! Even in
countries where gay rights r advanced, same prob #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:48:39

Floor: …Long way to go. Shld be positive and say
it’s okay. Not the most impt thing #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:49:34

AA: Why do we talk down experimentation? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:50:37

Floor: People can’t accept it now, need to push
people slowly along. We’re not there yet. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:51:39

KT: Topic (2) Identity and Media Representation.
Respondents thought sexuality was most impt aspect of identity, followed by gender
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:52:38

[Slide: fines and censorship by MDA for portrayal of
same-sex activity or rships as normal] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:53:26

Alex (AS): Within any self, there are multiple
identities. At some time, diff identities come to the fore due to
circumstances. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:56:09

AS: Impt we don’t lose sight of multiple
id–multiple racial id was similar to being gay, developd rsources fr being
racially mixed #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:57:04

AS: Many people have never seen a gay relationship.
Would be gd for more people to know #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 20:57:42

JC: Karen has just published an autobiography about
her life #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:00:00

KT: Maybe we can start by asking broadcasters to
stop censorship. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:02:05

Floor: Normal to have two mummies in certain parts.
Can’t censor whole world. I see
an earthquake buildg. At what pt will Sg stop? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:04:28

SJ: Mediacorp has limitations, limited budgets. Hard
to say when it will stop, but there are many more channels now. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:05:32

SJ: Just boycott any media outlets that seem
homophobic. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:06:26

[Slide: Workplace: 96% perceive some amt of
discrimination at work. Lack of recourse in event of discr. Only MNCs.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:07:30

Floor: Reveals to interviewer that she is gay. Your own
perception becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Depends on yr own ability.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:08:15

Floor: Can bring it up to MOM #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:08:30

KT: No dispute mechanism here #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:09:02

Floor: Over $1500, not covered by Employment Act
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:09:32

[Slide: 38% in monogamous rship, 10% dating, 44%
single] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:10:17

KT: How many of you would want to get married?
[About 50% raises hands.]

Sat Aug 22 21:12:12

[Slide: Marriage privileges -- Right to share family
name, property ownership. HDB subsidy. Medical rights, next of kin rights.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:14:39

[Slide: Employment benefits. Spousal or family violence.
Divorce or death of spouse. Travel. Parenting and adoption. Income tax.]
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:15:41

[Slide: Worrying signs from survey. Almost 1 in 4
had income < $20 000] #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:16:08

KT: What is to be done? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:17:41

Raqvind (RK): The more you normalise it, the less
fearful they are. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:20:01

HY: Don’t be limited by yr imagination 2 wat exists presently.
Many types feminism out there. Only 1 feminist org, can form more. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:20:31

Floor: Form sexual minorities org? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:21:57

HY: Find it within yourself to start new movements,
causes. New feminist orgs don’t even hv to be formerly affliated w/AWARE
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:24:22

Floor: Been with AWARE 4 many years. Never felt
discriminated against. EGM brought out +ve things. Totally for forming new
grps #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:25:58

Floor: …No real conflict between AWARE and
lesbians. Was amazed by EGM, J and K. Act of doing somethg is itself
empowering. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:26:52

Floor: …Many new women have come forward.
Sometimes more strategic to form a separate grp. Keep EGM spirit alive.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:29:10

AA: Once every 10 years, government sets censorship
guidelines. Censorship Review Committee has been set up. Media rep impt.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:30:32

Floor: Started 1st gay org in India. They never
thought change wld happen. July 2nd, verdict validated hard work 4 past 15
yrs. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:31:41

Floor: Stem cell technology — tech will become
mainstream. Once gay pple can reproduce, it becomes normative. Use economy,
etc. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:33:04

AS: One other type of censorship we don’t normally
talk abt–shld we tell our colleagues, parents? Diff when someone u know…
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:33:47

AS: …tells you. Not little perverts who are
sexually broken, diff in a fundamental way. Esp in Sg. “Conservative
Asian society”. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:34:07

AS: …need to show that homosexuality is at least
as much a part of our conservative Asian society #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:34:29

KT: Coming out had single largest impact on whether
they wld agree to same sex marriage. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:37:24

Floor: Visibility, period. Don’t hv to join grps for
that. Be visible as individuals. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:39:11

SJ: In answering qn what’s next, need 2 look at qn on diff lvls. Grassroots
lvl can’t be emphasised enough, comes bk 2 comng out. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:39:37

SJ: need to work on every front. All need to take more
resp. Participate in something you believe in. As simple as that. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:41:44

Floor:
One thing gay pple shld always rem. Be very gd in what you do. Work v
hard, be the boss if yr boss discriminates against u. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:42:48

Floor: …have to work on financial side. Coming
out, hv to take one more step. Don’t forget the burden u place on parents…
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:43:15

Floor: …when coming out to them. Work with
parents. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:44:39

AS: Other forms of coming out. Not event but
process. Sometimes took chances on cming out to ppl where they were
distraught… #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:45:20

AS: …slow consistent work.Extending the
hospitality of our rship to these people as well. Act of resp to the people u
come out to #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:45:32

AS: …take a chance on the hard cases. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:48:28

Floor: Very important to show people that we are out
there. When we forge ahead, we have to leave some history behind, next gen.
#indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:54:45

New youth grp for gay teens! Between ages of 16 and
21 — Young Out Here. #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:55:29

Sayoni will be conducting another event on 29th Aug.
United We Fall, Divided We Stand.

Common grd between gay men and women? #indigsg

Sat Aug 22 21:55:51

KT is thanking the panellists. Thank you for
reading! #indigsg

 
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