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, October 18, 2006

    The final frontier???

    KNN!!! We've been invited to read at the Bras Basah Popular books.
    I had to blog about this as soon as I heard about it because Popular bookstore isn't known for stocking a wide variety of literature or for doing authors' readings - they're more known as a family thrift bookstore where you can buy your stationery and exercise books before the school semester begins. So for SQ21 to read there is a terrific signal of acceptance. It means that gay people in Singapore are as normal as pencil sharpeners.

    (Seriously though; Popular is a really nice locally-owned store with materials at very affordable prices. Go there.)

    In other news, we've also been hearing a bunch of criticism from within the gay community recently. (Obviously the conservative straight community's saying a few things too, but we're not hearing about it... though we'd love to know.)

    There's been a point made about how the people in the book have become "accidental heroes". That's completely true; our real heroes are long-standing queer activists like Alex Au, Eileena Lee and Kelvin Wong, who weren't featured in the book - those guys are the real heroes we should be paying homage to, the ones who fought for gay rights back when the issue was truly taboo.

    The book's trying to capture the experiences of ordinary people who've come out - and there are lots of people in Singapore like that. We didn't expect the book to be this successful, but it is, and the 16 of us have become sort-of-famous because of that.

    We're not trying to be heroes, but some of us are trying to do some good. Which is why I'm so glad that Dominic's putting together a queer teachers' group, Hoon Eng's doing a friends and family of gay people's group, and Nicholas has started his gay podcast - being in the book may have given them a little kick-start to their future work. Some of us, like Cyrus, Petrina and Yangfa, have been involved in activism and social work already. Some of the rest of us will just get on with our lives - why shouldn't we? We haven't all become Mother Theresa.

    I'd also like to underscore the fact that most of us in the book did not know each beforehand - we weren't a gang of friends who tried to promote ourselves with a single text. We're in part a rather random group of different people brought together by a certain project. A lot of us have just made friends afterwards. :)

    And as for the criticism that the book's lacking in something - that we didn't feature enough of a certain type of people, or that we're not really breaking new ground with our stories, or documenting enough of our gay history - well, okay! Write your own book! Seriously, we need more books about gay identity from different perspectives in Singapore!

    You can even convince your publisher that it'll be a best-seller by pointing to SQ21's success. Go ahead. No-one's stopping you. ;)


    • At 11:35 AM, Blogger Eirin AI said…

      when will it be? hopefully it's at night this time round. lol. jus kidding. :)



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