November 1999

Shit, shit, shit!!! It's 9:00 Saturday evening, and I was supposed to turn in this article by this weekend. Hell, I don't even know if Jeff here's gonna even print it. It's the time zones messing with my head... see, I live in Singapore (somewhere in Asia... go look at a map) and I thought I could give myself an extra day. Oh well... so...

WHO THE HELL AM I? Ok, I'm just a kid from New Jersey living in Singapore. I don't know why I'm here. My family just suddenly picked up and left Boston... ok, Wellesley, Massachusetts, this little suburb outside Boston and moved here, to this malarial hellhole. And I'm stuck here until I can find a way out. My real name's Michael but everyone calls me Mike (or Mikeypoo, or sometimes stupid... aw, c'mon, laugh at my dumb jokes, dammit!). I'm 14 (yeah, a little freshman) and I'm Asian-American, but people always tell me I'm not the stereotypical Asian, or the stereotypical gay for that matter. I'm not a music, math, or science prodigy, I don't want to be a music, math, or science prodigy, and I'm not studious. And, as far as gaiety goes, I don't (this might anger some people) I don't dress in tight clothing, go clubbing, have a lisp, snap my fingers after every sentence, or swing my hips while walking. Seriously, I am the person my parents warned me about -- they think I'm a freak -- a pacifistic, non-conformist, non-drinker, non-smoker, pagan, poet, philosopher and writer and way too opinionated for my own good... oh yeah, I'm gay too (duh) and some say quirky and cute, but hell, who am I to tell you that. I listen to punk, punk-ska, folk, rave, trip, trance, trip-hop, and some metal, and most of the time I have to wear this stupid white and blue uniform for my school (I HATE NAVY BLUE DAMMIT! WE HAVE TO WEAR NAVY BLUE! I HATE NAVY BLUE!) so I can't choose my clothes anyway.

Lately I've come across a lot of intolerance, and I really don't mean to be bitchy here, but -- when I came out to all my friends (at 13!!! thought I'd brag) last Christmas (in Wellesley, MA) they all took it really, really well, they're really accepting people. All of them. And anybody else at my old school could've cared less whether I was gay or not, they live in their own little separate worlds ('Nevermind. You return to your world, and I'll return to mine.'-was that some episode of Daria? MTV Asia sucks, they don't have Daria here, dammit!) Then I came to Singapore... here, it's entirely different.

Fag is the single-most common insult, gay is used to describe anything that looks (excuse me for a sec, gotta put a hot towel on my face to 'open up those pores'... got a zit on my nose the size of a small child...) Ok, where was I? Ok, the word 'gay' is used to describe anything you don't like... I was in the locker room the other day and I overheard this little pearl of schoolboy wit: 'What? You have a girlfriend? That's so gay!? I guess it's what you'd call culture shock... the other day I came out to my new best friend (I guess)... well, not really come out to him (not really, I told him I was bi and that I leaned towards girls) and he like flipped out. I guess I just got tired of him saying 'fag' all the time... (Ok, are you getting really really annoyed with all of these little ellipses, y'know, the dot-dot-dots? well, it's because I'm nervous, and I pause a lot when I'm nervous, and I write like I talk, and... yeah, you get the picture)

When I told him that the word fag is just as bad as the n-word to describe blacks, he responded with something along the lines of 'Well, fags can help being gay, you can't help being black.' Yeah, right, sure, whatever. The other day in Western Civ. we read part of Plato's Symposium, and for all of you who don't know (I'm guessing most people) that book is just Plato (that horny little bastard!) describing a symposium, which was just an ancient gathering of half-naked men to talk about politics and have an orgy. Well, anyway, we found out that it was perfectly acceptable in ancient Greece for men to be gay. Fact is, gay men were found to be 'more virile, and better politicians.' Whether that's a good thing or not, I don't know, but the fact is, it was acceptable. WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?!

Now I'm getting REALLY self-conscious because 1) all the other little columns, and 2) the stuff I've gone through is like ant-sized in comparison to what everybody else has, and 3) the thought of people reading what I wrote at something like 10:00 at night after a really, really, really, really, really long day with no caffeine or sugar. Yes, it's 10:00 now. If this essay sounds at all choppy, it's because my parents keep walking into the @#!$ing computer room, and I'm not out to them yet (courage only goes so far!!!!!!!).

Ok, onto bigger and worse things: the other day I woke up to this wonderful article in The Straits Times, the crappy, government-owned Singapore paper (of course, if the government finds out I said that, they'll probably take out that old cane of theirs and whack my ass to little shreds... and no, that's not a little kinky game) what the hell was I saying? I keep getting off track; that's why my English teachers always end up hating me, because my essays are always too fucking hard to grade.

Anyway, here was the article in the paper: 'Homosexuality abnormal, court in Beijing rules.' That just made my day *sarcasm*. Being ethnically Chinese (but in fact despising China and all of it's sweatshops), I was really shocked. Not because I'm Chinese, and now I don't have a homeland (Chinese from China already hate us 'Americanized' Chinese people), but because this nation, which has got like what, one-fifth of the world's population, has outlawed gays. See, here was the court case: some guy named Fang Gang (what a shitty name!) wrote a book called 'Homosexuals In China,' which described this guy, the manager of a dance hall, as gay, and the guy who was described sued him for 60,000 yuan, which is like $7,000 bucks U.S. (doesn't Chinese currency suck?!). The judge then, a woman in her thirties with yet another crappy name (Zhang Lihua) said this in her judgement: 'Homosexuality in China today is considered abnormal sexual behavior and is not acceptable to the public. Therefore, by describing the plaintiff as a homosexual without any proof, Fang caused him depression and psychological pain and affected his life and work, damaging his reputation.'

Geez, and you thought the South was bad. Ok, ok, so the South IS bad about homosexuality, but at least gays in the South can protest against it! In China they'd probably like shoot up your ass in the middle of fucking Tiananmen Square... sad, sad stuff. I mean, gays have come a long, long way in the past 20 years as far as rights go, but it's like a reminder that we still have a long, long journey ahead of us. Well, I'm tired as all hell, I'm going to bed. I had to wake up at like 7:00... on a weekend!!! So shitty!!! So, g'night everyone, signing off


Saturday, October 23, 1999, Orchard City, Singapore


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