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Save AWARE! Gender equality for all! – Petition
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 10:36

Save AWARE! Gender equality for all! – Petition

As Singaporeans overseas we are very concerned about the take-over of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) on 28 March 2009 by a group of people, whose values are opposed to what AWARE stands for. For nearly 25 years, AWARE has worked to advance gender equality for all women in Singapore, regardless of race, religion, or sexuality. Through its many contributions, AWARE has significantly enhanced women�s capacity to make informed choices over their bodies and their lives.

We support the Save AWARE Campaign ( on the following grounds:

1. Media reports indicate that the newcomers, now on AWARE�s new Executive Committee, are, at best, ignorant of AWARE�s mission and, at worst, ideologically opposed to this.

2. There are clear indications from media reports that the take-over was by a group with affiliations to known fundamentalist organisations � notably, Church of Our Saviour and Focus on the Family (as well as possibly Liberty League and Exodus International). As reported in the Straits Times (18 April 2009), six of the eleven current Ex-Co members attend the Church of Our Saviour, which has publicly stated its position on women�s role and status. In the document �God�s Order for the Family�, posted as a resource on the Church�s website , it is openly stated that �the wife is in subjection to her husband� and �women [are] to continually deny themselves and yield the rule to men�. This document states: �feminist movements�are not according to God’s order�. Rather, �His will for a young women is to do four things: (1) marry, (2) bear children, (3) guide the house, (4) not be a reproach to her husband.� It is highly unlikely, to say the least, that members of a church promoting such values would champion gender equality for all women in all spheres of life. Rather, it is more likely that this fundamentalist group would engage in an exercise of defining who qualifies as a �woman� and who does not. If so, this would be diametrically opposed to AWARE�s inclusion of all women as having the right to gender equality, be they gay or straight, married or unmarried, mothers or not, employed or not, Christian or not.

3. Various blog writers have pointed out that this hostile take-over is a warning sign of fundamentalist ambitions that may extend far beyond AWARE. The question has been raised several times why fundamentalists have been motivated to take over a secular organisation like AWARE. Is it to �confuse others into believing that these agendas are supported by an organisation which is concerned with women�s best interests from a feminist and humanist point of view, rather than a Christian fundamentalist point of view�? ( Is this the thin end of a wedge that may subsequently affect other secular civic organizations and perhaps even beyond?

4. The new Ex-Co has not communicated with the rank and file membership of AWARE, despite the public controversy that has broken out, leaving members to learn about AWARE from media reports. It has sacked all the current heads of the AWARE sub-committees, including the summary dismissal of Braema Mathi, Chairperson of AWARE�s CEDAW Committee. (CEDAW is the UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.) It has refused to disclose specific plans, despite repeated questioning by journalists. The recently elected President, Claire Nazar, resigned after 11 days, because of what she described as the new Ex-Co�s �Stormtrooper tactics� (The Straits Times, 19 April 2009). All these acts and omissions are symptomatic of the duplicity and disingenuousness that underlie this take-over by stealth.

5. This was confirmed in the recent letter to AWARE members written by the Immediate Past President, Constance Singam, who noted that �although the team [the new Ex-Co] had publicly said that they would honour Aware�s founders and build on the good work of past members, their private behaviour suggested otherwise.� �In private meetings, the exco showed a complete lack of respect for me, ignoring my advice and keeping me out of an exco meeting when I had the right to be there, as stated in the Constitution,� she wrote (The Straits Times 19 April 2009).

We, the undersigned, support the Save AWARE Campaign as a collective endeavour to reclaim AWARE as a vehicle to advance women�s rights to gender equality and individual choices.

We call on the fundamentalist group who have taken over to respect AWARE�s vision of �gender equality for all� and its mission �to identify areas for improvement in gender equality, encourage positive change; and support women in realizing their highest potential.� As reported by The Straits Times (10 April 2009), when this new group was asked at the recent Annual General Meeting if they believe in equality, �they kept repeating they were there to support women and to make sure they got ahead and got all the opportunities given to them.� We call on this group to quit AWARE as soon as possible, if they cannot uphold its foundational vision and mission.

We call on all Singaporeans and permanent residents concerned with the continuing existence of a secular civil society in Singapore to support the Save AWARE Campaign.

(Note: Signatories should be Singaporean citizens and permanent residents, of any gender. Please provide your name as stated in your NRIC with your NRIC number and your current country of residence.)

Save AWARE! Gender equality for all! – Petition

Sayoni Summer Camp: 3 Days Left to Sign up!
Articles - Sayoni Summer Camp
Written by sayoni   
Thursday, 09 April 2009 09:00

There are only 3 days left to register for Sayoni Summer Camp 2009! Prices start at only $270 inclusive of 2 way ferry tickets, 3D2N resort stay and all meals. If you are thinking of joining us this very special Labour Day weekend, please make sure that you sign up now!

Only 8 places left, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity for a fun-filled and meaningful vacation.

Visit and register immediately!

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 June 2010 08:22
Letters to Ling: Blurring the Lines
Articles - Advice Column
Written by ling   
Sunday, 29 March 2009 11:41


Facing a problem with your life, your sexuality, relationship, family et cetera? Write in to our advice columnist, Ling, with your problem. All emails are confidential and your anonymity will be preserved.

Dear Ling

I am in my mid-20s and have been heterosexual, or so I believe.

Recently, I took up a course and my teacher is a female. I wasn’t attracted to her initially, but over time, as I attended more lessons, I felt something. I like to chat with her, I like the way she laughs and smiles, I like her mannerisms. She is a sporty and tanned woman who is older than me by a few years. She has short hair and behaves quite like a tomboy.

We chat a lot during lessons, so over time, we got to know each other better. Both of us are pretty open so we chat about almost everything under the sun, from pets to family. She also gave me her number so that whenever I have queries about the course, I can text her and she would always reply. Sometimes we would make small talk over SMS as well.

During one of our chats, I decided to find out if she was attached. She paused for quite a while before telling me that she doesn’t intend to get married. She said that she prefers a carefree lifestyle and gave me a bunch of reasons why she was not suited to marriage life. At the end of the day, I failed to derive an answer and so am still unsure if she’s straight or gay.

Are there any tell-tale signs/ traits that would indicate to me that she’s not straight? Would I be able to hint to her about my feelings?

I’m also concerned that I may be barking up the wrong tree and offend her if I make any wrong assumptions. It would then affect our student-teacher relationship, which I do not hope to encroach. I still wish to complete the course under her guidance and supervision.

Confused Student

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 08:57
Review: The L Word Season 6
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 22 March 2009 09:00

So here it is. The end. The finale of the series that has alternately kept on the edge of our seats, swear in despair, rush to the nearest bar to get a drink at the end of 13 episodes only to wait for the next season to begin, cry, laugh and generally provide a good fodder for gossip and some good old-fashioned bitchfest.

The reason this season review is two weeks late, is because I had to consult a therapist for the acute and schizophrenic feelings of loss and relief. It is kinda like ending a very bad/abusive relationship that just gets worse by the day – you are so glad it has ended (and it certainly feels nice not to be beaten up all the time) but at the same time, you have been with the woman for 5 years and letting go is hard, and you miss being around her.

So, here’s a season review, as tough as it was to write.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

This season is quite possibly the worst season in the entire series. It is like Ilene Chaiken decided that this was the last season, they can throw everything out the window and write whatever crap they wanted, make it as bad as possible so that they can wean us off the show. It is a pity because it started off as a really good series, with witty, sharp, raw writing and likeable characters (of course it had its fair share of criticism, mostly to do with representation). Representation, however, became the least of its issues later as the writers got infected with the dreaded What Happened Yesterday Is Irrelevant (WHYII), characters were routinely transplanted with new personalities (hey, maybe that’s where Joss Whedon got the idea for Dollhouse), and in some cases, got abducted by aliens and were never spoken of again (anyone remember Mark? Papi? Yeah I didn’t think so).

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 01:21
The L Word Season 6: Viewer Reactions
Articles - Entertainment
Written by sayoni   
Thursday, 19 March 2009 09:00

Sice it is the final season, we are letting our faithful viewers of The L Word let loose on their emotions about the final season, as it progressed episode by episode [the entire thread can be found here]. A season review is forthcoming as soon as this writer recovers from the punch the series finale dealt her.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

Was it me or does Pam Grier’s contract read “limited lines only and must contain the phrase ‘baby girl’ at least 5 times per episode.”?


Get Dylan her hair cut back.
Get Max her facial hair cut back.
Stop putting ultra red lipstick on Bette.
Get Jenny killed. Faster.


I think, if not for the fact that I would rather kill myself than watch another episode of the L Word, the Shenny scenes are part of what makes the L Word a wee bit worth watching. It’s not really a drama without those two.

But I’d like to live a little longer, so I’d rather not watch the L Word


I will add the L Word as one of the 7 Wonders of the Lesbian World.

Wonder number 1: Why lesbians still watch The L Word when they always complain about how shitty the show is written along with bad acting from some characters (Max, Nikki Stevens, etc).

Anyways I’ve only just finished watching episode 4. And I want Dylan and Helena back together you may disagree all you want but the two of them are hot together. Ignore all the talking parts and fast forward to the good parts. (yes there are good parts on the L Word even though some say it’s just a myth).

Kudos to Shane for holding on to her sanity when she found her bedroom has been swallowed by Jenny’s brain and turned into Jenny’s very own f**ked-up-playground-crime-scene-for-another-bad-story-to-be-written-by-her. Shane finds herself in the worst place possible… Edgar Allan Poe’s story… no wait that is paradise.

The only way to save Max is to kill her. Let’s face it… Ilene has never been kind to Max. The moment Moira came in with her midwestern butchy-ness, she’s been made fun off. When she decided she wanted balls, she’s been made fun off. When Moira became Max he was made fun off. Even Alice was discriminating against transsexuals (WTF?). Max didn’t want to cut off his tits coz his gf helped get them to come to life. He had a bf. Got knocked up. Seriously just get random strangers to come up to him and beat the crap outta him. Kill him off. Nothing against transsexuals but give that dude some dignity.

Alice, Tasha and Jamie…. HOTTTTT! I like how the whole washing the dishes part is like a little foreplay for a threesome. The way jamie touched Tasha’s shoulder and Alice went over to kiss the other shoulder. Then Jamie hugged Alice then Tasha. The way Alice looks at Jamie and the way Tasha looks at Jamie. Jamie is like the missing link in the relationship.

Bette going back to galleries… hmm… back with her old love interest (we all know Bette likes to bang her co-workers)… Angelica needs children’s aid real soon.

Kit and Drag… They probably paid a lot of money for the Hit Club so they need to show that place no matter how small or how redundant the scene is. We get it… Kit swore off men. So she will sleep with a drag queen. Kit is into Drags… drag kings… queens… men, women… (remember papi?). See this is why alchoholics should not stop drinking. Their life will get f**ked up.

Bring Dawn Denbo back, put her in a wrestling ring, pour oil on her and throw Joyce in with her. Non-stop hot action (something that is lacking from this drama coz L Word is secretly a lesbian porn).


Dylan looks really ugly in this season!

I totally adore their love scene at helena’s beach house for the first time. Maybe in this episode they are trying to create the same fire but its just … so so! no doubt the chemistry is still there!


issit just me, or did this week’s episode of the l word hit new levels of crazy? the willy wonka baby shower was kinda creepy, and jenny really needs a straitjacket.


Yeah, they made us all voyeurs with Jamie taking off her clothes and Alice and Tasha having sex. Very kinky. Can anyone tell me why Jamie is sticking around them to this extent? But omg, that body.


Ep 7 left me so depressed that I think I need to call Jon Stewart and perform a personal re-enactment of the episode for me. I cried at the Tasha-Alice-Jamie bits, and I almost threw something at the TV when Bette and Tina’s birth mother didn’t arrive (though I kinda saw that coming)


I think it’s better than they don’t come up with last episode if it’s going to be like THAT!


So are they going to reveal how Jenny died?!


Event: Sayoni Summer Camp ‘09
Articles - Sayoni Summer Camp
Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 08 March 2009 09:00

Sayoni Summer Camp is a 3-day/2-nights camp specifically for queer women in or around Singapore. We will be having our first run on 1st-3rd May 2009.

We aim to provide a fun-filled and meaningful experience for all campers. Our goal is to promote self-development and growth, with a focus on encouraging campers’ self-exploration and understanding of their relationship with the world around them.

At SSC ‘09, expect to be transported to a beautiful beachside resort in Indonesia. Away from the bustle of city life, enjoy indoor and outdoor activities including workshops and water games. Challenge your body and engage your mind with a series of activities -- surrounded by a great bunch of queer women and Sayonites committed to your well-being.

For more information, please visit our website.

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 June 2010 08:24
Event: Sayoni Third Anniverary Party
Articles - Events
Written by sayoni   
Sunday, 01 March 2009 09:00

Letters to Ling: A Life Together
Articles - Advice Column
Written by ling   
Thursday, 26 February 2009 10:00



Facing a problem with your life, your sexuality, relationship, family et cetera? Write in to our advice columnist, Ling, with your problem. All emails are confidential and your anonymity will be preserved.

Dear Ling

I have been in a relationship of 2 years with another woman. She is a great woman, and I love being with her. However, before I met my current girlfriend, I was in a relationship with a woman for 4 years – and I was completely in love with her, and I saw myself spending the rest of my life with her. Our relationship ended because she had to move to Canada for work, and there wasn’t much chance she was going to come back, or me being able to move there with her, due to reasons like family and work.

After that, I met my current girlfriend, made myself move on and make a new life. However, I have never stopped loving my ex, and I still feel that I could spend my life with her. I love my current partner, but I don’t see us settling down long-term.

Recently, my ex returned from Canada for good. And we have been meeting up for coffee, and feeling the old feelings return. I have not cheated on my partner, and I will not, but I am thinking of leaving her. But she’s such a wonderful woman, and I don’t want to hurt her. But at the same time, I know I am in love with my ex, and will always be.

What should I do?



Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 08:58
Sean Penn and Penelope Cruz Wins Oscars in Queer roles
Articles - Entertainment
Written by sayoni   
Monday, 23 February 2009 09:00

Sean Penn was awarded the Best Actor award for playing gay politician Harvey Milk in San Francisco, in the hit movie Milk. (Read the review for Milk here) And Penelope Cruz was given Best Supporting Actress for playing a bisexual artist in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

We extend our congratulations to both artistes for winning these prestigious awards, and for lending visibility to our community. The other awardees can be found here.

Updates: The acceptance speech by Dustin Lance Black (the screenwriter for Milk) was completely censored by Mediacorp in Singapore, by STAR in Malaysia, and so was Sean Penn’s, partly. Watch the full acceptance speeches here and here, which we consider highly inspiring and touching.

We consider these acts of censorship both insulting and highly ironic – as the TV networks are propagating the very hate and ignorance the two artistes were trying to dispel.

Apparently, all references to Milk were also cut from the Indian broadcast – which is also highly ironic given an Indian film (Slumdog Millionaire) enjoyed center-stage in Hollywood for the first time, transcending the traditional discrimination against foreign films, and overcame racial and language boundaries to win 8 Oscars in a country it was not made in.

Wedding Photoshoot on The Streets In Beijing: Exclusive Interview
Articles - Chinese
Written by irene   
Saturday, 21 February 2009 09:00

For those of you who are well-acquainted with LGBT happenings around the world, you would know that some Beijing activists staged a mock wedding photo shoot on Valentine's Day. You can read more about it here.

Irene from Sayoni had the honour of interviewing one of the brides, Dana, about her thoughts and experiences.

Irene: Hello Dana. Could you tell us why you (and your friends) conceptualized this idea?

Dana: Actually, some of us have been giving out flowers on the streets on Valentine’s Day since 2007. Flyers urging support for gay marriage were wrapped around the roses. We organized a series of events in 2008 on top of giving out flowers, such as collecting thousands of signatures supporting legislation of same-sex marriage in China and staging a public exhibition of the signatures. We made it a month-long equality campaign, starting from Valentine’s Day to the annual meeting of China’s People’s Congress. Thus, this event in 2009 was not impromptu. It was the result of continuing what we had done over the past two years.

Irene: Are the two of you a couple? You two look really good together. :)

Dana: No, she is my good friend. We have our own respective partners.

Irene: I remember that you guys gave out roses on Wangfujing during Valentine's Day in 2007. Is there any particular reason why you chose Qianmen Dajie for this year's event?

Dana: We wanted to hold it in a downtown area because we would like to enhance the visibility of gay people. Furthermore, Qianmen is a landmark place which is very uniquely Beijng.

Irene: How did it feel to take the centre stage for this event? What were the reactions of the passer-bys?

Dana: The wedding gown is such a magical item. The sense of happiness from wearing it is indescribable. I think my other friends would have more to say about taking wedding pictures on the streets, as I was fully focused on my pose and actions. I had to be very careful because I was the focus of attention that day. Of course we had all kinds of reactions. Regardless of what the news reports or the CCTV poll say, I received much more blessings than disdain on that day itself.

Irene: Could you share with us any particularly interesting experiences with the public on that day?

Dana: A middle-aged man rushed up to give us his blessings. There was a woman in her fifties who praised us for being so courageous. Many people were fighting to give us flowers or take pictures with us. I didn't really see too many reactions as I was absorbed in the photo taking.

Irene: Did the news reports (including photos) in foreign media create any pressure for you? For example with family, friends or colleagues at work... Do you have any concerns about how they would react if they were to see them?

Dana: I am not too worried about the reports in foreign media as my family lives mainly in China. But there is some local media coverage such as the CCTV online poll, NetEase, Tencent, which my family and friends might surf. I have some concerns because I have no plans to come out to my family for the time being.

Irene: Was it difficult to look for the grooms and brides for this event?

Dana: The four of us were decided upon by our personal contacts. There are very few gay people who would face the media in public. Furthermore, we need to take care of the visual details, like whether the couples would look good together in front of the cameras. In this aspect, the selection process was not easy.

Irene: Do you have any other thoughts which you would like to share with the Singaporean friends?

Dana: We hope that we can help more people realize that love between same-sex couples are just as beautiful as heterosexual couples, and it shouldn't be demonized with all sorts of bad names. If we have inspired some people who are working in gay activism, that would be an additional bonus.

On a more personal note, wearing the wedding gown for the first time has left a profound impression on me. I believe any woman would feel very happy in it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 01:52
Going Home for the Chinese New Year
Articles - Coming Out
Written by Ebelle ( guest writer )   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 12:49

This article is written by our guest writer, Ebelle.

This Chinese New Year was an interesting experience for me and my girlfriend. Having dated for close to a year, it was about time that we had that 'meet the extended family' session with her family.

On my side, she has already met my aunties, uncles and much of my extended family including my grandma when I brought her to Jakarta for a visit. My grandma even lived with us for a month when she came to Singapore. So it was no surprise when my uncle assumed she would be joining us for reunion lunch by sending me a SMS with the details of the lunch and ending it with "Irene is coming right?" The only reason why she hasn't met my parents is because they both live on the other side of the world. If we are to visit, I am sure my mother will welcome Irene and ask her when we are going to give her grandchildren. As for my father, even though I'm not out to him, I will not hesitate to bring Irene to meet him if he comes to town.

Her family though, is another story.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 04:30
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