SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century
  • by Ng Yi-Sheng, published by Oogachaga, available from all major bookstores in Singapore and Fridae.com
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Jason Wee's Singapore Biennale talk

    Last minute post! Our editor, Jason Wee, is giving a talk with the Singapore Biennale this Friday evening. See Encounters 27: Secrets & Confessions: An Artist Talk by Donna Ong & Jason Wee for details and invites.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Singapore Dreaming

    I'm reposting this because I've realised this is the last week they'll be showing this movie. And it's good; the climax is really heartbreaking and it really captures what Singapore pressure is about. Go and get a ticket before Thursday!

    I haven't received the go-ahead to do a review of Singapore Dreaming for Fridae.com, so I'm going to post an advert here instead. We owe a lot to the filmmakers Colin Goh and Woo Yen Yen - as a straight couple, they wrote a really touching foreword for our book, and they also gave us a chance to sell a batch of the books one day after our launch, at their TalkingCock in Parliament event.

    The excerpt's lifted from young filmmaker Boo Junfeng's blog.

    This will probably be the last weekend to catch Singapore Dreaming! It is certainly the most moving and unpretentious Singapore film I have seen. Please do catch it if you haven't already!

    * * *

    "...the best movie this little red dot has produced in a decade." - Neil Humphreys, TODAY

    “Funny, moving, intelligent and true. Singapore Dreaming is the best Singapore movie I’ve seen.” - Ivan Heng

    “one solid movie about Singapore, about families, and about life in our little island.” - Mr. Brown

    “The most authentic and affecting Singaporean film I've ever watched.” - Alfian Sa’at

    “radiantly honest” - Catherine Lim

    “The most moving Singaporean film I’ve ever seen.” - Hong Minghua, Lianhe Zaobao

    “a terrific film... A must watch for Singaporeans.” - MovieXclusive.com

    “The film guarantees a lot of laughs as well as deeper, meaningful messages on love, life and relationships.” - ChannelNewsAsia.com

    “...one of Singapore’s best films ever.” - FiRST magazine

    “It is life in its reality.” - President S.R. Nathan

    * * *

    And here's the trailer of the movie that got banned because of overuse of Hokkien. Aiyah, what's Singapore coming to? Gay book they don't ban, lesbian scene by Royston they don't ban, straight couple movie project trailer then they ban...

    According to Colin and Yen Yen, the movie's has so far made more than ‘Be With Me’, ‘Love Story’, ‘Perth’ and ‘4.30’ combined. It has even overtaken critically-acclaimed Korean blockbuster ‘The Host’. This is a huge achievement for an indie, non-Raintree and non-Jack Neo film, and very encouraging for the film community in S'pore.

    So, please continue the strong support!

    Celebrity endorsement

    Hehehe. Found this on Jadeite's blog:

    "This is what I call good product display.

    In a local bookstore. I found Vincent Ng’s latest book - showing himself extremely cut and ripped and very half-naked - next to Ng Yi-Sheng’s anthology of stories about gay men in Singapore. I suppose the Vincent Ng will attract the right customers who will then notice the yellow book and hopefully purchase both. Hurhur.

    If anyone does buy SQ21 let me know? There are stories in there about personal friends of mine and I’d like to read them."

    Note: Jadeite's friends did indicate to her in the comments section that the book is meant to appeal to gay and bisexual women as much as to men. :)

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    QueerCast: Singapore's first gay radio show

    And a further plug: one of our interviewees, Nicholas Deroose, has set up an online gay-oriented podcast! Read below:

    Hey people

    the first esp of queercast is finally up! Well what is queercast, well it's Singapore's first and only gay radio show! YOu can go to www.queercast.blogspot.com to download the first esp on mp3 format! We'd love to hear from you too, you can e-mail us for any comments or suggestion. :)

    So go download the show and let the rainbow flow to your ears.

    Your friendly podcasters


    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Party politics

    Last Saturday night the participants of SQ21 got together at Clarence's house, where he treated us to delectable vegetable curry and gourmet mooncakes.

    And while we were carousing and exchanging dirty jokes, a question came up: What next? What can we do now for the community that can make an impact?

    Khoo Hoon Eng is starting SAFE, a group for family and friends of GLBT people. And most of the rest of us operate in different fragments of the community - HIV outreach, religious counselling, women's issues, the arts world. What do we do next?

    Comment if you can! In the meantime, some schmoozy photos of our supper.

      Posted by Picasa

    More books!!!

    Did you, perchance, arrive at a bookshop recently, only to discover all copies of SQ21 were sold out?

    Well, never fear! A second print run of 1,000 has been issued at the beginning of the week; it should be in the stores as we speak. (I rather enjoy how we're shelved in the "Culture" shelves of the Takashimaya Kinokuniya, together with all the World War II POW sagas. You'll have to check the far end of the shelves, though.)

    Furthermore, if you're ever in doubt that we have invisible friends at the National Library, just click on the below link:


    That's right. Three copies per library, including regional and community joints (except library@esplanade, since we're not a filmscript); almost all in transit and some already available for lending.

    And since there are 23 branches, they've bought precisely 69 books.

    That's right, go on and giggle. :-p I'm just happy they've become so openly accessible.

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Today, Weekend Edition, September 16-17, 2006, p38

    We've got a mention in this article by local poet Felix Cheong. I've got mixed feelings about how we're featured in the context of erotica, but you be the judge of the writeup yourself. It also mentions the play I'm writing for Toy Factory Theatre. :)

    P.S. It's also pretty cool that we've got a lesbian love scene on the pages of a national newspaper.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Penetrating Academia

    Another missive from Yangfa:

    hello hello

    as it turns out, looks like NUS Central Library has
    got copies of the book on hold (which means they are
    on order I think) -- see attached screenshot from the
    online catalogue.


    UPDATE: Dr Khoo reports that the book's already available at the NUS library - all copies are checked out and reserved for future reference, but happily, there's an extra copy with a red sticker in the Singapore/Malaysia reference section. Check it out, literally. B).

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    A few photos from our reading at Borders

      Posted by Picasa

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Check the Sunday Times today.

    It's in the books section, under Lifestyle.

    SQ21 is the Number 6 best-selling non-fiction title in this past week. We actually beat Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie!

    Our effervescent Yangfa had this to say in response:

    CONGRATULATIONS to everyone involved in the book (that's US!), which made it to no. 6 on the list this week.

    This was probably unexpected - who would have thought that it would be so well-received, & that we'd even be talking about a second print run/ edition? many of my straight friends & colleagues have said some very positive & encouraging things after reading our stories -- I certainly hope each of us have our own
    personal "SQ 21 anectdotes".

    my social work lecturer (to whom I gave a signed copy) liked how everyone, in their stories, shared their own ways of coping as they were coming out. she even asked
    for another copy for a colleague. I'm now even thinking of passing a copy to a friend who's brother is another newly-elected PAP MP. another straight friend sold his own copy to someone else, & wants me to sign a couple more for him & his friends.


    1. Ten by Vincent Ng
    2. Final Notes from a Great Island by Neil Humphreys
    3. Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires by Adam Khoo
    4. One Business 99 Lessons by Nanz Chong-Komo
    5. Freakonomics by Steven J. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    6. SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century by Ng Yi-Sheng
    7. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
    8. Marley & Me by John Grogan
    9. Making Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz
    10. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

    For the time being, my mum's taken away the page itself to scan it in. :)

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Running on empty...

    Yesterday, Clarence told us that the distributor only had 300 books left.

    No panic attacks, please. As much as I'm enjoying the idea of PLUs frantically bombarding Borders and Kino with demands for more of our Yellow Pages, you'll also have to remember that the distributor passes the books to the bookstores - and the bookstores still have a nice fat bundle of the tomes in their stock-rooms.

    In any case, we are quite seriously thinking of a second edition right now. With fewer grammatical errors (yet all of the colloquialisms!) and a few more footnotes for the puzzled non-Singlish speakers.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    Gay Teachers Unite!

    A little e-mail from Dominic Chua, a gay teacher who's featured in the book...

    Yi-Sheng - I really like the blog! It's got a fun, zippy vibe. Now all we need are downloadable SQ21 wallpapers. Kidding!!! :)

    I just wanted to share that there's been a lot of good energy surrounding SQ21 - and hopefully more good things emerging from that energy. [Name deleted] approached me with the idea of setting up a group for gay teachers, and we're going to have a first preliminary meeting next Saturday.

    If any of you guys are gay teachers, get in touch with the author/webmaster and he'll refer you to Dominic. B).

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    The Border Patrol!

    In other news, our Borders liaison sent us some good tidings:

    Hi Yi-Sheng,

    Hey you! Good news .... U are no.1 on our best seller non-fiction list! The sales of last weekend's event well performed even better than Neil Humphreys' new book :)


    In fact, a few evangelicals have already turned this to their advantage. We've been told by someone who was just reading SQ21 at the store that two guys came up to him and asked him if he'd like to go to their church on Sunday. He suspects that their Presbyterian church is targeting guys who're buying the book - no proof of course, but if it's true, it's a simple testament of the efficiency of Singapore's strategists. ;)

    Liberation at the Library

    One of my cool dyke librarian friends just sent me this message:

    just wanted to drop u a note of thx for writing (or as u mentioned
    "compiling") the book... i believe it's an very impt step forward
    btw it'll be in the libraries soon, saw it in our monthly list of sg titles
    on order, so hopefully it'll really get out to the masses..

    Not available yet but here's the catalogue record!
    Title SQ21 : Singapore queers in the 21st century / Ng Yi-Sheng ; edited
    by Jason Wee.
    Author Ng, Yi-Sheng, 1980-
    Publisher Singapore : Oogachaga Counseling & Support, c2006.
    Physical Description p. cm.
    Other Authors Wee, Jason, 1978-
    Search by Subjects Gays Singapore Biography.
    Homosexuality Singapore.

    I know this news might hurt sales, but I feel like it's worthy news - I've been approached by people who're worried that if they buy it, they won't be able to hide it from their parents. My advice to them was to use wrapping paper, but it's also important that the book should be accessible to all.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Sunday Times, 3 September 2006, Main Section p13

    Before you give your newspapers to the rag-and-bone man, check today's Sunday Times for the report "Support group started for those with gay children".

    Dr Khoo Hoon Eng is one of the contributors to our book and a straight mother of two gay sons. In the report (which we'll be scanning in soon), she explains how she's starting her new support group so that parents can put aside their prejudices and accept their gay children. People can get more info by writing to her at safesingapore@gmail.com.

    I'll be scanning in the article itself soon! In the meantime, here's the text, courtesy of saltwetfish.

    Support group started for those with gay children

    Sep 3, 2006
    By Sarah Ng

    WHEN her 15-year-old son told her that he was gay, Dr Khoo Hoon Eng wished she had guidance from other parents in similar situations.

    Now, 10 years later, she is starting an online support group for parents with gay children, providing a platform for them to share their stories, understand homosexuality better and discuss their experiences.

    With the help of friends from various non-profit organisations, she hopes to get it ready by the year end.

    She told The Sunday Times: ‘At that time, I would have liked it if there were other parents I could talk to so that I would have an idea of what to expect.’

    Dr Khoo’s story was recently documented in a new book called SQ21: Singapore Queers In The 21st Century. Her account of how she found out that both her sons were gay is one of 15 stories featured in the book.

    She said: ‘I want parents to know that it really does get easier to accept…as you think, read and talk more about it.’

    Dr Khoo, 55, a biochemistry lecturer and researcher at the National University of Singapore, says she is fairly liberal. When elder son Shin Ming told her he was gay, her immediate concern was that he might face a life of discrimination.

    Then, three years later, her second son Shin En, by then also 15, told her he too was gay.

    Dr Khoo learnt that their confessions did not mean they were sexually active. She also never wondered if she and her husband had caused their homosexuality.

    Her husband, however, did not react well. He continues to love and support them, said Dr Khoo, but he is also disappointed.

    When they separated three years ago, he told her: ‘Good. Now that I have the chance to marry another woman, maybe my future children will not be gay.’

    Dr Khoo stressed that their sons’ homosexuality was not the reason her 25-year marriage broke down.

    Her older son Shin Ming, now 25, graduated in philosophy from Stanford University and is currently reading law at Hastings Law School at the University of California in San Francisco. His brother Shin En, 22, is an undergraduate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

    With her support group, Dr Khoo hopes that other parents can put aside their prejudices and try to accept their gay children.

    As she wrote in the book: ‘Why be afraid of them? They really are still the same children you loved the day before they outed themselves.’

    To find out more about Dr Khoo’s support group, e-mail her at [e-mail not printed, to avoid mail harvesting on the web - click above to get her contact].


    Shameless plugs

    Thanks to everyone who turned up at Borders for our re-launch on Saturday! Phew, what a speaker feedback problem! (I'm talking about the sound system :))

    Anyway, I figured I'd advertise a couple of events. The editor of SQ21, Jason Wee, has his artwork exhibited at City Hall as part of the Singapore Biennale. And I'm having my poetry book launch with a bunch of other Singapore poets - a couple more of whom are gay and lesbian (guess which!) with a guest of honour who is utterly fabulous.

    FIRSTFRUITS Joint Book Launch

    Featuring 6 new titles by Eleanor Wong, Boey Kim Cheng, Paul
    Tan, Yeow Kai Chai, Cyril Wong and Ng Yi-Sheng, this firstfruits
    annual launch once again spotlights a dazzling chorus of incisive

    9 Sept (Sat) - 7.00pm - 9.00pm
    SAM Glass Hall

    Guest of Honour: Dr K K Seet

    "Earlier" by Eleanor Wong
    "After the fire" by Boey Kim Cheng
    "Pretend I'm not here" by Yeow Kai Chai
    "Like a seed with its singular purpose" by Cyril Wong
    "First meeting of hands' by Paul Tan
    "Last boy" by Ng Yi-Sheng

    For queries, kindly contact Enoch Ng.
    Singapore Art Museum(SAM) - 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555
    Organised by Singapore Art Museum
    and FIRSTFRUITS publications


    Saturday, September 02, 2006


    We've secured a time-slot next week to promote the book at Borders: Books and Music at Wheelock Place in Orchard Road.

    Come down and help us promote the book! The timing we've got right now is:

    Saturday, 2 September
    2pm (until about 2:45)
    Borders, near the DVD area

    The co-ordinator sounded pretty enthusiastic. All he wanted was more books, because they're been flying off the shelves so far, and an assurance that we could get publicity out and ensure that an audience of at least 10 people is present. Hope you'll be there - there'll be plenty of the contributors present, pens ready for autographs.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    More good news

    The books are in the stores! And it's not just Borders, Kino and Select - we are officially available in all major bookstores (i.e. if you don't find it at your favourite bookshop, you tell them to get it).