Thursday, November 27, 2008

Please boycott DBS for funding anti-gay equality group!

Hey everyone,

I've found out that DBS has organised a Christmas promotion that sends money to Focus on the Family whenever people use their DBS cards. You can read more about it on this site.

The site describes FOTF as "a charity dedicated to helping children and families thrive". Well, that's not the whole story. The group, first founded by the Reverend James Dobson in the USA, has been actively involved in anti-gay initiatives since its inception. (Some source materials below.)

If you're a member of DBS and you support gay rights, I urge you to

1. Shift your account to another bank and cut up your DBS card. Since DBS has merged with POSB, POSB customers might want to do the same thing too. (If you can't afford to shift banks, at least stop using your DBS card till the end of the year, to show solidarity.)

2. Write to DBS to complain, using the following site: For added impact, send them a snail mail. The address is:

DBS Bank
6 Shenton Way, DBS Building Tower One
Singapore 068809

You may wish to use the following template:

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I am writing to inform you that I am considering closing my DBS account. This is in protest of your bank's recent Christmas promotion, in which DBS claims it will make donations to the organisation Focus on the Family for every set of teddy bears redeemed.

You may not be aware that Focus on the Family has played an active role in suppressing gay equality, both in Singapore and abroad. As a person who believes in gay equality, with many gay and lesbian friends, I object to the bank's support of such a bigoted organisation.

In Singapore, Focus on the Family has used its "counsellors" to spread misleading information in secondary schools, using a brochure called "Straight Talk" that spreads lies and negative stereotypes about gay and lesbian people and their "lifestyle". (See

Focus on the Family is also aligned with Choices, a group that attempts conversion of homosexuals - despite the fact that the American Psychological Association sees homosexuality as a normal condition, and sees deprogramming of gay people as more damaging than good. (See

In the United States, Focus on the Family has not only been involved in anti-gay propaganda and conversion efforts; they have also donated large sums of money against marriage rights - and the founder, James Dobson, has been accused by scientists of manipulating data to create statistics to back up his anti-gay prejudices. (See

DBS has tens of thousands of customers who are gay or who are friends and supporters of gay people. For your bank to donate to an anti-gay cause shows shocking insensitivity towards this section of your customer base. I am sure there are many other banks who would prefer our patronage.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name here).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Come see me act.

At 8pm next Friday and Saturday, 28 and 29 Nov, I'm doing a staged reading of filmmaker/Tisch Asia student Wee Li Lin's short play "The Tent".

I'll be playing a straight Eurasian schoolteacher. Patricia Toh will be playing the teacher I wanna schtup.

Come see me enter the wonderful world of pretending! It's free!

UPDATE: This version of the poster is cooler:

Friday, November 21, 2008

I has a new part-time job.

Doing oral history transcription for the National Archives of Singapore! It's boring grunt work, but it's still pretty fascinating.

(Wait, that's completely contradictory, while also being true.)

I'll also be finding out whether the results of the Singapore Literature Prize (why not just call it SLiP?) on the evening 3 December. I already have my evening dress picked out.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Seeking an Audience: A Symposium on Singapore Literature in English.

It's on this Friday at the National Library Pod. I'm gonna be doing a reading, as well as a panel discussion on Singapore Literature and Culture.

Obviously, I should've told everyone in time so you guys could register. But I was lazy. Sorry guys. Details from here.

UPDATE: Anyone can go, with no registration required, for the events from 5:30pm onwards. I'm doing my 15 min reading at 6:30ish.

Jointly organised by the National Library and Nanyang Technological University’s Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, this is a Symposium for all who promote and have an interest in Singapore Literature in English.

Representatives from all sectors involved in the creation, production, circulation, reading and study of Singapore literature – ranging from writers, publishers, booksellers, reviewers, academics and teachers to students – will be giving papers or engaged in discussion on various panels. The Symposium concludes with a panel of writers “Debating Singapore Literature”.

Lee Tzu Pheng and Robert Yeo will open the symposium with a dialogue about their experiences as writers, recalling the heady days of the sixties when they and the most promising poets/writers of their generation had their beginnings, and who are now established writers with substantial bodies of work. The Symposium will also feature the generation of writers who followed them. The day will end with a cocktail reception with poetry readings and a musical performance developed by Stella Kon, author of Emily of Emerald Hill.

The Symposium is being held in connection with the launch of Singapore Literature in English: an Annotated Bibliography compiled and edited by Prof. Koh Tai Ann in collaboration with the National Library.

Registration has closed on 24 October 2008 and all successful registrants have been notified. We regret that only confirmed registrants will be admitted. Thank you.

Detailed Programme

(All guests to be seated by 8.45am)

* Welcome Speech by Dr N. Varaprasad, Chief Executive, National Library Board
* Introduction & Address by Prof Koh Tai Ann, Professorial Fellow, Division of English, School of Humanities and Social Science, Nanyang Technological University
* Launch of "Singapore Literature in English: An Annotated Bibliography"
* Reading of excerpts from short story by Ashish Kumar, Bear Fruit (Creative Writing) Programme First Prize Winner for his "The Outsider"

Session 1: The Writers
"The Sixties: Being the Second Generation and Singapore Writers Now"
A dialogue between Lee Tzu Pheng and Robert Yeo.
Chair: Koh Tai Ann

Singapore Writers Now
* Neil Murphy, "Contemporary Singapore Poetry & the Search for a Centre"
* C.J. Wee Wan-ling, "Home Alone and Homesick: Fractured National Culture in the Plays of Alfian Sa'at"
Chair: Sim Wai Chew

Session 2: Producing the National Canon, Nurturing the Audience
* Gwee Li Sui, "The Anthology and Its Audience"
Commentator: Aaron Lee
Chair: Tamara Wagner

Singapore Literature in the School Curriculum
* Angelia Poon, "Making Space for the Cosmopolitan Subject, Teaching Literature in Singapore"
* Benedict Lin, "Literature for Language, Language for Literature: Deepening the Lang-Lit Connection in the Classrooom"
*Beatrice Ng and Goh Ziyi, "Students' Responses to Singapore Literature in English in the School Curriculum"
* Seah Ee Wei and Nicolette Tan, "Singapore Literature: Where Past Meets Present"
Chair: Warren Mark Liew

Session 3: Singapore Literature in English and Culture
Literary Culture: Facilitators and Resources
* Goh Eck Kheng (Publisher)
* Cyril Wong (e-journal founder, poet/critic)
* Stephanie Yap (Reviewer, print media)
* Cheng U Wen Lena (Founder, specialist bookshop)
* Jillian Lim (Librarian)
Chair: Kenny Leck (Books Actually)

Panel Discussion: Debating Singapore Literature
* Leong Liew Geok
* Ng Yi-Sheng
* Suchen Christine Lim
* Yeow Kai Chai
Chair: Eleanor Wong

Cocktail Reception at The POD, Level 16, National Library Building
* A musical performance by Stella Kon
* Reading by Ng Yi-Sheng and impromptu readings by others
* Readings by Joseph Prem Anand and Fam Wee Wei, from Bear Fruit (Creative Writing) Programme