To feel so / ever /
slightly out of it
on the stage we call life

Samples of LGBTQ culture in Singapore.

1. PinkDot - Singapore’s annual Pride Festival.  PinkDot 2013 drew a record attendance of 21,000 supporters for gay rights.

2. Rainbow Flag hanging outside BackStage Bar - A bold sign of pride in culturally conservative Singapore.  Backstage Bar is a gay bar located in the heart of Singapore’s Chinatown District.

3. No Approvals - An art show put up in conjunction with Indignation 2013.  Indignation is Singapore’s Pride season, not unlike Pride Month in other countries around the World.

4. HQ Karaoke & Bar - A Lesbian Bar in Singapore.   Lesbian culture is far less obvious in Singapore, especially in the nightlife scene where locales for gay men greatly outnumber establishments for the local lesbian market.

5. Ann Siang Hill - Located in the heart of the Central Business District, one fact not well known about this area is that it is a cruising spot for gay men after dark.

All Photos are Copyrighted to Maria Lee, 2013.

Shot on a Canon EOS 1100D and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS5.1

To-Do Lists

I’ll admit, I’m a full-on listaholic.  I create lists for just about everything imaginable.  So today, with some spare time on my hands and a few new fonts to try out, I sat down in front of Illustrator.  This was the final result (which I have to, sadly, upload as a text post as Tumblr isn’t allowing me to upload it as an image).

Bear in mind that this a template.  I did create one with the name blank filled in for myself.  But anyway, this list has a nice box to write the date (or dates, if you’re gonna use it for multiple dates).   It also separates work and personal tasks, allowing you to write everything on the same sheet of paper.   Convenience, of course.  Enjoy!!

Copyright: Maria Lee, 2013

Random Thoughts #1

I walk through the train station, wielding tightly my copy of Peculiar Chris, the first LGBT-themed novel to be published in Singapore.  It’s famous among the Singaporean gay scene, making me feel ever-so-slightly-more self-conscious as I weave through the throng of people.  My mind wanders and I drift deep into thought, as often happens when I travel alone.  It was tough to get alone time at home after all.  I fear my book singling me out among the hundreds, no, thousands, of people around me.  In that moment, I understood why coming out is described as a never-ending process.  Just like it takes courage to come out to close friends and family, it takes courage to yield a symbol of LGBT pride in public; in a sense, by wielding my book through such heavy human traffic, I’m almost flaunting my sexuality and “coming out” in the public eye.

Singaporeans are an undeniably tolerant lot.  We’re taught from a young age to “put up or shut up”, and our culture is such that we value anonymity.  We are taught to assimilate, to never question and just go with the flow.  The education system teaches us to listen but never question whilst robbing us of our individuality.  We see loud teenagers in the streets and mutter insults under our breaths, while synchronously distancing ourselves from the scene at hand, failing to understand that it could just be their method of expressing themselves.  Tolerant, indeed, but hardly accepting; differences make one stand out and not in a good way.  Homophobia exists silently in this city-state.  Is it of any surprise then, that I did feel a sense of fear holding that book down the street?

Yet I did.  I held on to it tightly, treating it almost like an emotional crutch.  While it gave me a sense of fear, it validated my identity as a queer teenager in a hetero normative society.  Oftentimes, it felt like an extension of my being, serving as a reminder to myself that I am not alone.  A good book does that to you.  And with that, I’m embarking on a journey to re-immerse myself in the joys of literary fiction.

Just the Teenage Average: Growing up LGBTQ in Singapore

JUSTIN, SIN-YEE and AHMED look just like every other teenager. And the fact is, they are no different than every other teenager. Sure, Justin may not have the body fat distribution of the average boy, Sin-Yee loves Jessica and Ahmed hasn’t the first clue what his feelings for Hafiz mean, but at the end of the day, they’re still the same people. The same people who love their friends and families. The same people who compete in a breakneck education system, balancing co-curricular activities with an ever-increasing amount of homework. The same people who disagree with their friends sometimes, because everybody is different. The same people who wish that they could still be the same people, even though their differences are different from others.

Just the Teenage Average explores Teenage Sexuality and being LGBTQ in a traditionally conservative city-state, where “family” is defined as “one man and one woman, married with children”. It explores Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious societal culture, and examines its effects on the LGBTQ youth poopulation on Singapore.

A series of 2 infographics designed to bring awareness to Gender Identities and the Transgender Community in Singapore.  Done in Adobe Illustrator CS 5.1.

Designed by: Maria Lee.