Saturday, October 31, 2009

Marriage will save your soul!

Listen up single mothers of Kelantan! Were you left in lurch by your previous husband or maybe he's even dead? Are you now poor and unable to support your family as well? Have no fear, for the Malaysian government is here!

According to The Star, when asked on how the government plans to reduce the number of divorce cases and provide support for single mothers, one brilliant suggestion was put forward:

Kelantan Women, Family and Health committee chairman Wan Ubaidah Omar suggested that awards be given to assemblymen for marrying single mothers should they decide to take another wife.

Her suggestion drew support from backbenchers -- all of them men -- who started thumping their palms on the table at the Kelantan State Assembly on Wednesday.

She said the assemblymen could increase their quota to help single mothers with young children and it would help greatly if the assemblymen assisted by marrying them.

Yes. What would we do about these silly women who have no source of income and drain the state of RM2 million a year? Instead of helping these women become self-reliant and providing a support system for them, how about we sell them off to men like chattel instead?

In turn, the men who marry these burdens of the state would be honoured for their magnanimous hearts and made to look like role models! Hurrah hurrah!

Malaysian blogger Tropic Temper said it best when she wrote:

These women are in trouble because men had children by them and then walked out and refused to pay child support. So do we believe in going after these men to pay their debts? Nope. We think the wife should find herself another magnificent specimen of manhood - someone who will marry her if you pay him enough.

And before you use this as a platform to go on an anti-Malaysian bashing, may I remind you that our little red dot of an island isn't much better. Here, single mothers are punished by the government for spreading their legs without having a ring on their finger.

The best example? Single women currently only have two months of maternity leave which paid for by the employer compared to the four months that married mothers receive. Why? Because the third and fourth months are paid for by the government. As part of the Marriage and Parenthood Package, the other two months are supposed to be "an incentive for married couples".

So sluts like single mothers don't qualify, geddit?

In explaining the government's position of not extending the baby bonus to single unwed mothers, Mrs Yu-Foo (Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports) said, "The Marriage and Parenthood Package is not a financial assistance scheme for children. The government cannot and should not be the surrogate father."

The government will instead focus on encouraging more Singaporeans to settle down and get married.

Yes, let's ignore the real situation of Singaporeans to push for an idealised future of the 'father-mother-1.2kids' system that may or may not happen instead.

What bullshit.

Friday, October 30, 2009

...two steps back?

Forget beauty pageants. Hell, forget the Formula 1 "grid girls", the scantily-clad purveyors of cheap tequila shots or even the skin-tight pleather-clad automobile accessories at car shows.


So Singapore is hosting this year's APEC Summit and we have chosen to welcome the foreign delegates with a launch party featuring "slim" and "attractive" girls in "body-hugging mini tube dresses". Said girls have been informed that this event is BYOB (that's Bring Your Own Boots, yo). Girls to turn up at casting call dressed "appropriately", ideally in a bikini.

The mind, it boggles. Did I miss the memo? Because to me, this is shows a total lack of a sense of occasion. Did something happen and suddenly an APEC Summit becomes a reason to conduct a female flesh parade? Say it ain't so.

This is completely ludicrous. Someone please hand me (and maybe the older delegates while you're at it) a defibrillator.

Update by the Magical Chicken: The plot, it thickens here.

You're Not a Feminist, But... BUT WHAT?!

I love the bit of the day where the sun has a deep yellow tinge and the shadows gradually get longer, but only when you’re not looking. Just yesterday I was sharing a bottle of crisp white with some friends to celebrate the late afternoon (uninterrupted by mosquitoes, would you believe?) when the topic of this blog came up.
”Nah, I’m not a Feminist”
Immediately my eyebrows raised and drew together. What a rude way to crash into my sun-soaked wine-haze. What do you mean – not a feminist? You mean you don’t believe in gender equality? You think it’s ok that women are disproportionately affected by poverty, unemployment and poor access to medical services? Are you cool with the fact that violence against women is normalized in most media and that it’s consistently used as a weapon of war? No problems with the devaluation of work traditionally done by women? Utterly happy with the glass ceiling, the wage gap and the comparatively high cost (both monetary and physical) of looking “professional” in the workplace?

Uh huh.

I continued to look at her with what I hope was a skeptical expression (but may have had elements of contempt, I didn’t have a mirror handy) hoping to shame her into a qualification like “but it’s sure swell that I was allowed to have an education”. She got the hint and followed up with
”Well, maybe feminism is ok but I’m not a dyke. I ain’t shaving off all this hair. I just got it done.”
Wait, whut?

Pointedly running my hands through my hair (cut and styled less than a week ago, natch) I said, “I’m a feminist and I don’t quite understand why you would have a problem with dykes.” She shook her head, “Nah, I’m not a dyke,” and looked away. Just like that the conversation was over. I’m still not sure the exchange made any sense.

I understand that the term “Feminism” is loaded with many scary connotations thanks to the alarming amount of backlash the movement has endured since its infancy (which I suppose is a testament to just how threatening a paradigm shift would be to the patriarchal overlords). But to conflate it with lesbianism just so you can also take advantage of assumed homophobia is rather despicable, even for someone who isn’t comfortable marching lockstep with our combat boots and Birkenstocks. Here’s a few examples, couched in appropriately infantilizing language (so as to be non-threatening, y’know) of just what we can thank the feminist movement for.

Not a feminist? What an idiot.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

too brown for this town

This spectral turkey went shopping the other day and was not impressed. Though considered "white meat", it must be said that The Poultrygeist is more a glorious shade of brown. A bit like teh tarik if you will. However, even us spectral turkeys have to look professional on a day to day basis.

But enough of the third person narrative.

I started attempting to use make-up at the ripe old age of 19. Since then, i've scoured the country for a foundation suitable for my skin tone. Each suitable shade has since been discontinued - because it's "too dark, so not popular". I've noticed that stores (all, save one) here don't stock foundation or concealer for the darker skinned. In fact, they are blissfully unaware that darker shades even exist, to the point that they pig-headedly (sorry!) insist that a particular popular brand does not manufacture that dark a shade. Yes, they do you guys! They're just not stocked in Singapore.

Now mind you, i'm not even that dark, in the grand scheme of things. But what exactly is our society's obsession with being fair-skinned? The very fact that I am not quite on the right side of beige automatically makes me a target for peddlers of "instant skin whitening" products. Isn't there something wrong with the ideal that's being projected all over Singapore in the form of advertisements, television shows and even celebrity endorsements? Just once, I'd like to see our racial minorities cast in mainstream television as something other than the usual stereotypical policemen, makciks and overly protective wide-girthed mothers with a flair for the melodramatic.

The ideal of beauty has taken the form of a thin, pale complexioned straight-haired mannequin of homogenised chinese/japanese/korean descent. And so i get repeatedly asked if i'd like to tame my stubborn curls with a re-bonding treatment; or if i'd like a skin whitening facial; or informed peremptorily that i need to lose 15 kilograms.

The irony is that it is only in Singapore, the place I grew up in, and which purports to be my "home" that I have felt conscious about my appearance and the colour of my skin. We are repeatedly reminded during the annual build up to the 9th of August that it is Singapore's diversity that makes her unique.

Save for those 2 months out of a year, I see very little celebration of this allegedly revered "diversity".

The world as we know it

The world as we know it is entirely dependent on oppression: of the poor and the disenfranchised, of those whose bodies don't fit the prevailing cultural ideal, of those who suffer ill health including addictions, of women, of LGBTQI people, of those of different (usually darker) skin colour from those in power, of those who come from elsewhere, of those who speak differently, of those who worship differently, of those who learn differently.

The world as we know it is dependent on their oppression.

You can respond to this realisation by deciding that oppression is therefore necessary and just (and you can celebrate this decision or you can lament it).

Or you can decide that the world must change. And act.

Your Underlying Assumptions are Showing - I Don't Like Them

Via the No to Rape blog comes this frankly appalling article from The New Paper.
What the article is implying is that when it comes to the issue of marital rape, some consideration has to be given to those who are sex addicts and therefore are unable to restrain themselves. The article reports (if that is a word one can use in when referencing the particular brand of journalism The New Paper is known for) on Lili, a woman who was manipulated back into a marriage with a man she had fallen out of love with like this:
When she left the marital home, he called her repeatedly to cajole her to return home.
“He said he wanted me to come home to look after the children.
I told him that I would come home only if we had no more relations as husband and wife. He said okay,” she said.
Seriously. “Cajole”? How about emotional blackmail? How about using the children as ransom? How about not something any decent human being would do? Cajoling is something you do to get a cat you’ve never met before to come to you to receive some pets. Not something you do to another human being you’ve hurt enough that they’ve made the decision to leave their family. Have we got that right? Thanks. Just had to get that out of the way.

Of course once she returned, he raped her repeatedly. The rest of the article is a discussion of people who are sex addicts, treatments and diagnoses. My question is, if this article is intended to raise awareness of sex addiction, why set it against the backdrop of marital rape, why call the frigging article “Evil Hubby or Sex Addict”? First off, that’s just sloppy writing. Second, the dichotomy is irrelevant in the case of marital rape. Third, calling rapists (even marital rapists) evil doesn’t help the dialogue surrounding the perception of rape as it makes it something “decent” people don’t do. In this rape culture that we live in, rape is committed not by people who are “evil” implying obvious malicious intent, but rather by people who accept the idea that as men, they are entitled to sex from the women they are with – who by virtue of being women are now obliged to service them in exchange for the attention they receive. Until that idea is firmly centred in the public discourse, more substantial discussion cannot proceed (for more examples the fallout wrought by this kind of flawed thinking, see the Magical Chicken’s earlier headdesk).

The main issue I have with the spurious article is the question of the criminality of marital rape in instances where the perpetrator is a sex addict. Sure it was never mentioned outright in the article, but if you open an article describing sex addiction in a rather sympathetic light with a story of an abused wife (and then casting doubt on her judgement with a few rhetorical questions at the close of her story) then what you’re basically saying (given the backdrop of the rather public No To Rape campaign) is that you really shouldn’t criminalize marital rape because there may be sex addicts.

We live in a country where the death penalty is meted out for possessing a week’s supply of hard drugs. Maybe we shouldn’t, because of drug addiction. (As an aside: I do oppose the harsh penalties the Singapore courts deal out for drug offenses, and the death penalty in general, but that’s a whole other post.) You know what is illegal in most countries in the world? Theft. But there are kleptomaniacs out there! Maybe we should stop prosecuting thieves. I am not making these arguments to minimize drug addicts or kleptomaniacs or even sex addicts. These are populations with issues that require professional intervention and will have more difficulty operating in this world whose gatekeepers (although, anthropomorphising the kyriarchy does feed into some misconceptions that hamper the dialogue around oppression, for more see this post from the now dead ProcrastinatioNation) fiercely police the boundaries of what is acceptable and who wields power. That being said, the actions committed by any member of those populations as a result of their condition cause hurt and harm to real people, some more so than others. That cannot be waved away and it isn’t waved away for the arguably lesser crimes of drug abuse and petty theft.

The bottom line is: Marital rape is inexcusable. Regardless of your personal addictions or your sympathies toward addicts (who are not undeserving of those sympathies, mind), forcing another, autonomous human being to relinquish control and ownership of their own bodies is wrong. That’s all there is to it and it’s a simple concept. To oppose the No To Rape campaign is to deny that women are autonomous human beings with a right to the bodies they inhabit and that’s what we need to be focusing on. Too long has the discussion of rape given rapists the benefit of the doubt. Let’s start talking about getting rapists to understand that rape is never acceptable. To see what flipping the dialogue looks like, go here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

VJ Myanmar Through the Lens

On 10 and 11 November, MARUAH is holding screenings of documentaries from inside Burma. (Burma is the name preferred by the democratic oppositon, although the country's name was officially changed to Myanmar by the ruling military dictatorship in 1989.) The films are rated NC16 and although admission is free, you have to register with MARUAH.

This is the synopsis of one of the films:
When foreign TV crews have no access to Burma, it is the courageous young citizens who risk torture and imprisonment to document events in their country, and then to smuggle their footage out. While single event clips have been seen around the world, this award-winning documentary has put the images together to tell a much bigger story. Compiled from material shot by undercover reporters, with some elements of the film reconstructed in close collaboration with the actual persons involved, Burma VJ, under the direction of acclaimed filmmakers Anders Østergaard and Jan Krogsgaard, is a testimony to the courage and passion of video journalists. Armed with little more than small handy cams, they provide a thorough documentation of dissent, and of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when Buddhist monks started marching.
Here is an example of what the military regime did to one of these monks:

Barely 18 months later, Singapore named an orchid after junta leader Thein Sein.

The wages of sin, it seems, are flowers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I don't think you've tested that

Few things shock me. I mean, think about it: I'm a blogging Chicken which is also Magical. I'm so implausible that I'm probably imaginary. So nothing mere humans come up with should surprise me anymore.

Nevertheless, some of the gems on this thread at Temasek Review gave me pause. The No To Rape campaign quite sensibly argues that being married shouldn't legitimise rape, and cites one particular case:
Ten years ago, in the case of PP v N, a man tied up his wife, gagged her, slapped her, and forced her to have sex with him. No charges could be brought for rape, only for much lesser offences. The law has been tweaked slightly since, but today the outcome would be the same.
Buried amongst the epic fail in the comments is this contribution from one 'btan':
The case of the husband tying up and beating the wife, don’t you think that the beating is worse than the sex part??
Inquiring minds wish to know: has 'btan' tested this proposition? Has 'btan' ever been tied up and slapped? Has 'btan' ever been raped? Has 'btan' surveyed a large sample of women - or even a small one - to ask them about their preferences as between (a) being tied up and slapped and (b) having a penis repeatedly inserted into their vagina against their wishes, and found an overwhelming response in favour of (b)?

Heck, while we're at it, has 'btan' consulted a sample of men, and discovered that they would choose having a penis inserted into them against their wishes over being tied up and slapped?

Or is it possible that 'btan' is quite simply making shit up so as to restate an unsupported prejudice: namely that rape isn't that bad because having penises put in them is what women are for?

A thought which makes even this hardened Chicken sick to her Magical core.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fat Fashion is a Feminist Issue

Rendering populations invisible is a powerful silencing tool. It is a very handy way to make voices illegitimate, an easy way to discount the powerful truths being uttered by mouths you don’t even have to acknowledge are speaking.

The inestimable Melissa McEwan at Shakesville has written a post about shopping while fat and it resonated deeply with me. Not being able to find clothes that fit is a frustrating and energy consuming and demoralizing experience. Just recently I was trying to find a bridesmaids dress (the only criteria was that it had to be purple) in a shopping centre three-blocks-big that has been hailed since its grand opening as the fashion capital of Victoria. At 95kg and 167cm (I think that’s about right, I don’t make a habit of weighing myself) I can usually fit into the largest sizes stocked by straight-sized stores and the smallest sizes stocked by plus-sized stores. You know what though? Through the whole mall there was only one plus-sized store and it was stocked with only 2 items: strapless empire-waisted colour block dresses (to create an optical illusion, y’know) and shapeless over-large tunics (to hide your awful body, y’know). All the other stores from emergent designers to the names that draw celebrities to front-row seats at New York/Paris/Milan fashion week didn’t have clothes I could even try on. As in the garments were so small there was no chance of it making it past my substantial chest, or over my generous hips – even fully unzipped.

I’m not even that fat.

The bigger department stores embedded in the mall did carry formal wear in larger sizes (16-24) but you know what? They were so sombre and boring and tent-like that even my 72 year-old grandmother would eschew those styles for something that “wasn’t so old”. The message was clear – if you have to wear something you fatty-fat-fat-fat at least have the decency to wear something that hides your fat. It will make you look larger overall, but at least we won’t have to see any offensive jiggle-flesh or whatever it is you actually look like, because we designers actually don’t like to look all that closely. I’m not even inferring this from the styles available in the meagre selection us “bigger folk” get to paw through on our shopping trips. For reference, a quick Google of Karl Lagerfeld’s opinions of fat people (which I will neither quote nor link to, thank you very much) or Anna Wintour’s fabled disdain of fat (ditto).

Hiding us fat people away in sloppy garments is a way to make us invisible. Denying us vibrant colours (black is so slimming, y’know) is removing our visibility. Withholding from us the near-universal experience of a shopping day with friends by turning it into a day fraught with mental-health-minefields limits our social activities.

If you’ve ever sat next to a fat person on a plane or on public transport you would have seen them try desperately to make themselves narrower by folding their arms and pressing their legs together in an effort to not take up too much room – the psychological fallout from the constant messages that we need to hide, be hidden away, that we are taking up more space than we should really be allowed to. Maybe you haven’t noticed. Maybe you’re one of those people that look at the fat person on the chair and think “oh god ewww, I hope I won’t have to touch that if I sit down next to it” and not realise at all that we don’t much want to have our thighs touch yours either, thanks very much. (As an aside, I find the biggest offenders in the you-take-up-more-public-space-than-you-should are the men who sit with legs spread far apart. I’ve always wondered if it makes them feel like they have big penises. If any of you are reading this now, let me just say that it’s not fooling anyone.)

Sure the oppressions fat people face in their daily lives cannot solely be attributed to the dearth of flattering clothing in appropriate sizes. But it’s just one more thing we have to deal with and it’s one more way we’re made to feel invisible, less-than, not worthy of public space.

For more discussion of fat, fashion and being fat at the public, head on over and read the (highly recommended) folks at Fatshionista.

World Day Against Death Penalty Forum.

A forum for Singapore's observation of the World Day Against Death Penalty, 10 October 2009, was held in conjunction with the clemency call for death row prisoner, Yong Vui Kong, who some years ago was caught as a drug mule. Video footage from the forum have recently been made available, so I'm posting them below.

Moderated by local poet/playwright, Alfian Sa'at, the main speakers of the event are:

M. Ravi, Human Rights lawyer
Agnes Chia, Social worker
Breama Mathi, Maruah Singapore
Alex Au, Yawning Bread

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Feminist Walks into a Pole...

...and says, "Ouch".

One of my best friends is getting married soon and as part of her Hen's celebrations a few of us trooped into an introductory pole dancing class.

Certainly this post could be a dissection of how our festivities involved honouring the male gaze and how the men's (so-much-more flatteringly named Stag's night) involved some rather misogynistic undertones (multiple strippers descending on the Buck with the aim of "humiliating" him) but I'd rather focus on what was done amazingly right.

I braced myself before entering the class. For one thing, I'm fat so I'm already being told in many small ways daily that there's no possible way anyone would want to see me in any context approximating sex. For another, I'm a feminist. I didn't know if I could safely withstand 90 minutes of flinging myself at a hard phallic object with the goal of titillating some generalized male stereotype.

Amazingly, it wasn't like that.

The first thing that blew me away was that the instructor unobtrusively left out the gender of the assumed audience. She always spoke of "the person you are dancing for". As in "make sure you stand right in front of the person you are dancing for so your bum is in their face when you bend over". No gendered pronouns, no awkward linguistic acrobatics to get around it. Also, the hypothetical audience was only referenced in the lap dancing portion of the class - i.e. where it was strictly relevant. Dropping the gaze (male or otherwise) from her patter took the element of sexual objectification out of the moves we were doing.

The other was that there was no body shaming at all. She never talked about toned bodies (even though there was a heavy focus on fitness, more on that later). She tried to stay with moves that most bodies that have a normal range of motion can do. When she ventured into harder territory (for example for moves that required far stronger core muscles than this fat cat possesses) she took pains to ensure that these were moves typically tackled in later weeks of classes and to not be bothered if we were unable to execute them perfectly. She even offered alternative moves to the ones she was demonstrating so we could all finish the routine she was teaching us when it came time. We all had fun and revelled in the movements our bodies could make, which is important (but sadly lacking) in any fitness class. Most of all, she was liberal with her compliments (never singling out any one person) and she sounded sincere the whole time.

Where she did foray into talking about "looking sexy", she made it all about the way you held your body. She demonstrated the quintessential look-at-me look (shoulders back, boobs out, knees cocked so that the bum is primed) and said, "standing this way radiates confidence, and that's hot". Sure it fell a little bit into 90's era GIRL POWER! but since there was no mention of how the actual body in question needed to look the idea was anyone could be that hot. It was inclusive. Something I certainly did not expect it to be.

The pole-dancing-as-a-workout fad has been around for several years and since this class was designed to be a sampler for all the classes offered at the centre, there was some talk of fitness. The instructor never once ventured into "reduce and tone" territory, however and spoke mainly the muscle groups that are key to pole dancing. Again, greatly body positive.

I do have some problems with the pole-dancing-as-a-workout, mainly that it feeds into the larger porn culture that is ultimately hurtful (bikini waxes, sapphic tendencies [Ed: what I meant was girl-on-girl action with the focus on a male audience and not that lesbians/bisexuals enjoying their sexuality are automatically part of porn culture. Phrase redacted due to ambiguity.], etc.). The idea that keeping "healthy" is a moral obligation in tandem with the increased pressure on women of all ages to be sexaaay has given women an excuse to be "hot and slutty" via pole dancing without having to worry about actually being slut-shamed. Framing pole dancing as something even YOU can do is tangled in all kinds of gendered messes including the issues surrounding professional pole dancers, the restrictions of performative gender/sexuality and the norming of sexual objectification (see here for more). Oh and of course there's the kiddie stripper poles. Acknowledging these issues does not a discussion make, but these issues have been hashed over by people more eloquent than I and I intended this piece to be a way to demonstrate how even mired in of all these issues - Pole Dancing Class, UR DOIN IT RITE. So I'll leave it at that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mmm, bullshit waffles

My badly drawn friend is right. When you are dealing with the question of whether one group of humans are inferiors who deserve subjugation and contempt, "balance" is bullshit. (And we on the farm know bullshit when we smell it.)

"I am not pro-gay or anti-gay, I am just--" Stop right there.

Gay people ask for nothing more than to be treated like human beings. Why they desire this, when everyone knows the pinnacle of earthly luxury is found in Magical Chickenhood, I do not know, but hey, different folks, etc.

Since gay people just want to be treated like people who happen to be gay, rather than like shameful and disgusting burdens to society, we can readily translate your triangulation like so:

"Pro-gay" --> "I believe gay people are human beings of equal value to others. They must not be subject to subjugation and contempt."

"Anti-gay" --> "I do not believe that gay people are human beings of equal value to others. It's OK if they are subject to subjugation and contempt; and for extra gold stars I also think maintaining Family Valuez/Dude in the Sky/my fragile sense of self-worth demands we all witter noisily about their inferiority, especially when they go all acting gay and all."

Now between them, these people pretty much got the whole intellectual terrain covered. Either it's OK to subjugate gay people for being gay (and it might even be morally compulsory), or it's not. If you're "neutral", basically you think gay people might not really be human beings of equal value to others; their status as people is all so very murky and unclear, and it miiiiight be okay to denigrate them, because, you know, they're all GAY!! and stuff.

Guess what? You already accept that being gay is a basis for uncertainty about someone's humanity. That means you don't think gay people are human beings of equal value to others. That makes you anti-gay. And being anti-gay sucks. Hope I cleared that up for you.

Our state of best interest.

I was thinking more about my last entry on the censoring of "Paper Hearts", when I realised something quite startling: the reflexive reaction I had with the cutting of Teh Gayz was to accuse the latter of something deplorable, like talking about "sticking straws into nostrils or something", which I think speaks of the power of the censorship veil--that it has been normalised to suggest that it only beneficially covers and hides what is necessarily detrimentally sordid and immoral. Even if we don't know the content that's been smothered, we are prone and trained to automatically assume the worst, and exercise faith that a few people on our censorship board have done what is to be considered in our best interest.

explicit violence,
foul language,
explicit sex,
the abject grotesque:
human shitting,
human pissing,
human birthing,
anti-government sentiments, which in Singapore parlance,
political oppositional parties,

Singapore's stand is that homosexual content can only be presented in our local media in a "balanced" manner, entailing both 'yes' and 'no' arguments. For every argument that homosexuality is genetic, we must argue that nature is not morally deterministic. For every argument that there's little difference between homosex and heterosex, we have to talk about the high incident rates of gay men acquiring HIV, even if they forget that gay women exist too. We are led to believe that this act of balancing is to prevent Singapore's seemingly tenuous family bonds and values from being disturbed by the forces of homosexuality.

But in our search for balance, do we demand that anti-gay sentiments be balanced with positive portrayal of gay people?


Because this "balance" that we espouse is one born of anti-gay sentiments. In a society where anti-sodomy laws are maintained as symbolic gesturing of our societal disapproval, the balance of our status quo is default negativity towards gay people. In that light, we are mistaken to believe that positive portrayal of homosexuality will be the countervailing influence that we need, since Singapore's need for balance hinges on a untraditional definition that tips the scales to a specific side.

So we can't have a couple talking quite casually about how they fell in love, decided to set themselves in a committed relationship--not unlike a straight marriage, and suggest that they'll live happily ever after without ever planning to destroy our (straight) family values or turn your children gay.

In a piece that wants such punishing "balance", we are supposed to accept that the censor's cuts are indeed the force of balance, insofar as in removing this encounter of a perfectly functional and traditional gay couple, we are returned to our state of best interest in hate, fear and ignorance towards gay people.

I regret that even I, a gay male unfeminist pig, have internalised this homophobia so seamlessly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The Magical Chicken is so rare that most reported sightings are met with disbelief. But I can confirm my own continued existence, at least, by pecking away at this keyboard.

Some of my fellow (once-)living things are not so lucky. We have stunning photographic evidence that they did once appear on our earth, but that may be all that is left. I raise a wing in sad salute to the Baiji dolphin, the Western black rhino, the golden toad, the Hawaiian crow, the snail Pachnodus velutinus, the St Helena Redwood, the Po'o-uli, the scimitar-horned oryx, the Spix's macaw (also a fellow bird brain), and the Wood's cycad: all believed to have become extinct in this decade.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Paper Heart" - Teh Gayz = Singapore's "Paper Heart".

(Original image from Reel Movie Critic.)

So occasionally this badly drawn, gay male unfeminist pig ventures out of this lovely barn and into the city--not unlike the original pig in the city, Babe. I did it a week ago to watch Paper Heart, a mockumentary about people falling and staying in love. From the internet reviews, I learnt that film involves the central character, Charlyne Yi, interviewing friends, bikers, lawyers, scientists and even a gay couple on their respective definition or experience of love.

People talking about love sounds harmless enough, I thought. Except when I trotted to the cinema did I realise that the movie was rated NC-16.

"Oh dear," I thought, "them gays must have talked about sticking straws into nostrils or something." Little did I realise that it was worse than that, because throughout the movie, there was no gay couple at all! The censors had to eradicate the entire segment, yet stuck an NC-16 rating for reasons unbeknownst to me.

Just what was so offensive about the gay people in the movie?

My cursory research reveals Teh Horraz: they "plug for gay marriage... are also white and male"; in their interview, "the word "sex" goes unmentioned"; the two are "long committed... [though one of them] has an "urn containing the ashes of [his] late boyfriend (referred to as an “ex in a box”)"; he actually "describes the death of [that] boyfriend, his voice breaking as he attempts to lighten the moment with a quip"; the film also doesn't "dramatise the romance of [the] two burly gay New Yorkers the same way" other interviewees were in a puppet-theatre setup mastered by Yi (see picture below).

(Picture from Paper Heart Official Website)

So this is just how we roll in conservatism-loving Singapore.

Two years ago, when an NTU research on Singaporean receptivity of media representation of gay people in the media surfaced in the Straits Times, with the findings that "68.6per cent of respondents 'generally held negative attitudes', 22.9per cent had positive attitudes and 8.5per cent were neutral", these results were used to justify Singapore not repealing its anti-sodomy law, Penal Code Section 377A. The rationale, which a lot of people used, hinged on the findings obtained from this study, suggesting that Singaporeans were far too conservative to accept homosexuals content on their television, much less in real-life.

Well and good, except for the question of just how much gay representation does the average Singaporean receive in our local media in the first place? Accounting the fact that the media authorities exercise such a heavy-hand at not only preventing positive homosexual content from appearing, but also quick to penalise the media providers who rock the boat with a hefty fine.

People obviously need to be shielded from the terrorising images of gay people because of their homosexual lifestyle and agenda. Just read this subversive description of an average day in gay-agenda manoeuvring undertaken by this gay man:
I work my ass off at an unfulfilling job. I pay my bills. I pay my taxes. I do my best to keep my house in order. I try to be a good citizen. I try to be a good neighbor. I worry about the future of the planet. I recycle. I'm usually in bed by 10:00 PM. I give to charity. I help others in need. I just want to have a comforting home. I feed the cat. I visit with the elderly. I go to Mass. I work in my garden. I argue with my spouse. I support high school sports. I just want to have a few good friends who understand and appreciate me. And on the weekend, I watch a film, drink a few beers, and go to bed. (Source.)
Appalling, simply appalling!!!

Clearly, Singaporeans' negative reactions to homosexual content--however imagined--supports the case of continuing the status quo, because we all know that positive or neutral representation of homosexuals in the media will not actually help to educate people's image of gay people. We are after all moving away from a conservative society, where the idea of open and accepted homosexuality is simply new to a lot of people and wrought with misconceptions--like all new things, get old and familiar with time, to a Conservative society, where the idea of open and accepted homosexuality must actively be kept new and wrought with misconceptions for its people--eternally other, never familiar.

So that's why Teh Gayz had to go in the movie. Flying Spaghetti Monsters forbid that we might actually uncover the essential point that makes gay people gay: the heart, which strangely enough isn't so different as it is similar to the average, straight Singaporean.

Whose Right Is It Anyway?

Making A Commitment 2009 (Singapore) from PC on Vimeo.

United Nations Youth Association of Singapore and Maruah, Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, with the support of Wee Kim Wee Centre, SMU, are holding a youth workshop on human rights:
Whose Right Is It Anyway?

date: 31st October 2009, Saturday
time: 0900hrs-1730hrs
Seminar Room 2.5
Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Singapore Managment University
50 Stamford Road

Addresses + Plenary discussion/ presentation: (0930hrs-1130hrs)

Natalya Twohill: “Youth and Human Rights”
Alex Au: “The Rights History”
Sumi Dhanarajan: “Business and Rights – where do the two meet?”
Braema Mathi: “The Rights Way Forward”

(moderated by Siew Kum Hong)

This male unfeminist pig certainly thinks human rights is a big topic on which Singapore and her people are still very behind. One of the reasons this is so is that the concept of human rights is comparatively new, which also means that people of certain generations may very well miss its imperative.

If the young'uns are not encouraged at a younger age to understand human rights as essential to an egalitarian society, then we're likely going to fail to absorb fully that every person is, can, and should be equal in standing and possess inviolable rights.

If that happens, then well, we'll have status quo. The belief that human rights is a foreign concept that white people have concocted to obliterate our good old, traditional, conservative Asian family values. Because you know, the right to freedom of speech, to not be discriminated against and our own bodily control and safety is something only an angmoh will want.

We, Asians, prefer to be oppressed, provided we don't actually know how to identify oppression and have every right to oppress others given the opportunity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Don't fuck children

Is this so hard to grasp?
COURT proceedings to decide on sentencing for a 37-year-old tutor, convicted of allowing a nine-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him on five occasions, took an unusual turn yesterday.

The focus turned to the boy, as details emerged in court about his fixation with sex and how he had made advances to his tutor.

The tutor's lawyer, Mr Denis Tan, gave a disturbing picture of a child who harboured sexual fantasies, performed lewd acts and exposed himself to others.

Arguing that the case was not a typical one in which a predatory adult victimises a child, Mr Tan fought for his client to be placed on probation.

The prosecution did not dispute that the child had issues with sex.

A government child psychiatrist who saw the boy said he had a 'definitive mindset' about sexual matters and showed 'hyper-sexualised behaviour'.
The law doesn't say, "Adults, don't initiate fucking with children." It says, "Adults, don't fuck children."

A child may be able to perform physical acts without understanding their significance, or without being emotionally mature enough to assess their consequences. There is also a significant differential in social status between and adult and a child, who is legally and economically dependent, substantially less socially experienced, politically relatively powerless, and who has been conditioned all his or her life to think of adults - particularly those in a childcare or educational position - as authority figures. For these reasons, the burden must be on adults to prevent any sexual activity between them and children, to avoid the manipulation or exploitation of children's vulnerabilities.

This is not a difficult burden to meet. Just don't fuck the child. If the child tries to fuck you, refuse to participate. Push them away. Nine-year-old's tend not to be champion heavyweight wrestlers.

Unless the boy in question physically held this man down and forced the act upon him, the man is responsible for what happened: a "predatory adult [victimising] a child".

Don't fuck children. Regardless of how they behave. Whether they are boys or girls. And however rich and famous you are. Just don't do it.

And they're not even Magical

The human police might not do their jobs, but the Chicken Police will show no such incompetence. And they're not even Magical!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Too much

Sometimes I'm told that women "have" "too much" gender equality these days. This is confusing. My bird-brained instinct is to think that either there is gender equality in society, or there isn't. If there isn't, then nobody "has" it; and if there is, then - it being, you know, "equality" and all - women and men "have" it to the same degree.

But things became clear when I considered a shocking example: the oppressive power of the family-busting feminist state is so immense, I hear, that you can't even hit your wife anymore.

Unless, that is, she comes back home late, cares about her job, wears a short skirt, or doesn't wait until the third (or fourth, or fifth) incident to complain about being beaten. In those cases, one member of the police told Associate Professor Narayanan Ganapathy of NUS, we might cut you a little slack. Confronted with a woman who says, "My husband hit me", officers might take into consideration:
whether she was wearing a short skirt, trying to flirt or look ‘‘bitchy’’, like want to fuck around, comes back home late, cannot be bothered about the house or her family, just want to make money, too career-minded – I tell you this is the cause of much violence in the house. . . this type of women will even sleep around or fuck around with their male colleagues to get to places. . . Then there is another type of woman, one who takes care of the family, comes back home early after work to look after her children and husband, cooks for the family, keeps the family and house in order, devoted to her husband, honest, very careful about her behaviour, doesn’t want to make a mountain out of a mole even when the husband sometimes whack her a bit. . . First type of women call the police, I tell my men, just show your face, second type, I will be a bit more interested. . . sometimes, there have been cases where I personally talk to the husband to take care of his wife and family because the wife is so good to him already. . .

- Ganapathy, Narayanan (2002) 'Rethinking the Problem of Policing Marital Violence: A Singapore Perspective', Policing and Society, 12:3, 173 — 190
So the meaning of "too much" gender equality is that authorities have to make any effort to respond to wife-beating at all. That's how extreme things have become: officers might have to "show [their] face" and some radical feminist zealots in the police force even nobly take it upon themselves to tell a violent man, "Hey, that's not very nice."

Who knows how far it will go in the future? In some perverted world, maybe they'll have to treat punching your wife (or raping her) like an actual crime which you investigate and prosecute and everything - even if she's a career-minded slut who didn't vacuum the flat that morning. Maybe all police officers will be told, as part of compulsory training, that protecting people from violence is their job, which they have to do regardless of any asinine gender stereotypes they hold.

What a frightening prospect.

#16 Hottest World Leader.

BREAKING NEWS: Lee Hsien Loong is #16 Hottest World Leader

The List
1. Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine
2. Jens Stoltenberg, Norway
3. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bhutan
4. Joseph Kabila, Democratic Republic of Congo
5. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina
6. Rafael Correa, Ecuador
7. Henri, Grand Duek of Luxembourg
8. Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica
9. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Philippines
10. Bamir Topi, Albania
11. Michelle Bachelet, Chile
12. Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus
13. Xanana Gusmao, East Timor
14. Mohamed Nasheed, Maldives
15. Barack Obama, USA
16. Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore
17. Mauricio Funes, El Salvador
18. Vladimir Putin, Russia
19. Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi
20. Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania

In Singapore's neverending quest to get itself ranked favourably, AsiaOne reports that this list is presented by the authoritative website "Hottest Heads of States", which conducts its work in "a scientific and unbiased" manner. The survey aims to "heighten voter awareness of [suffering under the tyranny of unattractive leaders] and shame the citizens of countries with unattractive leaders into rising up and staging coups or something."

Who needs benevolent and working policies to enact better healthcare, human rights laws, assistance for single parents, fair housing policies, legal acceptance of homosexuality and good education programmes when you give good face right?

Though, to be fair, this gay male unfeminist pig does indeed think of PM Mr Lee as dishy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Petition to Improve Foreign Workers' Housing.

Petition to Improve Foreign Workers' Housing.

Following Farmer Plantalot's entry below, this gay male unfeminist pig is reminded of the Petition to Improve Foreign Workers' Housing, started by two inspired final-year social work majors at NUS, Kah Yoke and Grace.

The two lovely people are calling for support to urge the government to reform migrant worker housing; from the petition:
1) Ensure more dormitories with decent living standards are built. The dormitories should be hygienic, have adequate living space, are well ventilated, and equipped with the necessary amenities to cater to the workers' day to day needs.

2) Step up investigations and checks by conducting a nation wide operation to identify areas where workers are being housed in sub standard living conditions and arrange for their re-settlement.

3) Increase the penalties of employers who house workers poorly
For a quick insight into how male migrant workers are housed, see Samuel He's "Nothing to Hide" or Stephanie Chok's "Is Singapore Really Slum Free?". You can learn more at Kah Yoke and Grace's blog--rather unfortunately echoing President Obama's "Yes We Can" campaign tag--Yes We Care.

This petition ends in December 2009, and will be submitted to the Ministry of Manpower.

More links on migrant worker activism in Singapore:

1 - Humanitarian Organisation for Migrant Economics
2 - Migrant Workers Singapore
3 - Transient Workers Count Too
4 - Day-off Campaign

"I do/n't."

Before I forget, please watch this, then support the No To Rape campaign against Singapore's marital rape immunity by signing the online petition.

(via Badly Drawn Pig.)

This is your farmer speaking.

Why hello there, stranger!

Welcome to Barnyard Chorus's blog, the little cosy place where my genetically engineered, erudite livestock will claim the soapbox to neigh, cluck, quack, oink, moo, cackle, gobble and baa discerningly about important and unimportant things.

The declining value of a good pet and the rising cost of quality feed are just fine examples of topics that may or may not be discussed.

Apart from planting rice in my padi fields, my job here is also to ensure that things run smoothly here so that these really adorable creatures can do their thing.

Well, I had better get back to work then. This barn sure isn't going to build itself!