Mihailo is Austrian, but his roots are from Serbia. He is just 19, and every conversation we had would make me feel (1) old, because reality had erased whatever youthful idealism that was left of me, (2) guilty, because prior to speaking to Mihailo I had spoken to a couple of Germans who stay close to Konstanz, where I will be situated for the next year, and (3) fortunate, because Mihailo exudes positivity all-day and that has helped keep my mood in check. May I also add that emoticons – when correctly and skillfully combined – actually reflect a person’s personality? I feel like hugging him under the sheets each time we speak.

But of course I am cautious. He’s a great, great catch but I also like the stability and maturity of an older man. I have reduced significantly my visits to Planetromeo, and I have been brutally honest to guys who were way off my radar. But I don’t think I’m doing enough of him.

And then there’s the problem of “the chase.” I might just be a jerk..

Standard

Discordance

You probably don’t understand the struggle that I go through on a daily basis:

I wake up each morning feeling energized and spiritually anew.

Then I would take pride in tidying my look: running my waxed-coated fingers through my hair to make sure that I look sleek and professional; checking my collars to make sure that they are upright and well-pressed, and then looking into the mirror very closely to check if I have shaven what I needed to.

I head out with my Bose earphones plugged. And a chirpy song would be playing. The greenery and abundance of light helped perk me up even more. And as I walk I would make sure that my positive vibes would infect others – for gloominess must never start the day. I boarded the bus and made my way to the train station.

And then the train station. That’s where the things took a nosedive. I began to feel foreign as I penetrated the crowd of passengers: the number of Caucasians felt equal to the Filipinos. And then I would tell myself that it was globalization, and so I had to be fair…

And then the train shot towards the city center, and more Caucasians entered. More and more. And I chided myself for feeling uncomfortable. And then I see locals looking at these expats with awe; as if their own beauty do not compare with those blue or green eyes and blond hair.

And then I would see advertisements glide past the exterior of the train – white. I exited the train and sought to purge the poison as I walked to happy tunes, reminding myself that it’s globalization and colonialism was a thing of the past.

And then I would be confronted by billboards graced by Caucasians. And my eyes would desperately search for any Asians.

” Ah there it is!!!”

“Wait. He has big dole eyes and a pointy nose. And so does she… ”

And the burst of enthusiasm I woke up with soon dissolved into nothingness.

Colonialism hasn’t ended at all.

IMG_3458-2.JPG

Standard

IMG_3234.JPG

Foucault’s Panopticon

Image

IMG_1187.JPG

First image in Istanbul

Image

Al-Markaz

It was the kind of familiarity that I liked: pure, sacred, tranquil, and yet placed right next to rows of Peranakan shophouses, a shopping mall, and a majestic Mosque. That is Arab Street, the place where for the next couple of months I will continue Arabic language classes.

But of course, with the tiny Arab population that Singapore has, chances of spotting Arabs are slim. And the chances of catching the eye of a gay Arab is even slimmer – because the entire area has been “sanitized” and “sterilized” by the presence and significance of that Mosque. What you’d find are old Caucasians with young Filipinos, families, young tourists, or pious Muslims.//

I always lie that Arabs are beautiful ornaments whose beauty was meant to be envied, but not touched. //

Correction: Arab men are sexually impenetrable (they only engage in the act of penetration). These men of luscious lips and sizable endowments are also emotionally impenetrable. Of course I am generalizing. And of course, I am a hypocrite for I am being an Orientalist right here. But that is what I have been taught to think and feel: whenever an Arab sets his gaze at me, I would shut two sets of eyes – one on head, and one in my heart.

Appreciate these Arabs at a distance, and help them in whatever way you can. But do not fall for one. ///

What a disjointed post. But that’s how I am feeling now – so put together on the exterior, but so shattered within.

Standard

Acne

Sore,
And on the verge of eruption.
Plentiful,
But not enough to repulse.

I used to scour for these on the edge of his chin, and on his shoulders and chest.

He would giggle because he found the act embarrassing. But I would return him a smile of assurance.

He enjoyed these intermittent bursts of liberation, however perverse they might sound. I, too, bathed in his enjoyment.

Because his bliss was mine.

Standard

Random Stuff

So I was enjoying a conversation with a fellow queer Singaporean who had spent one year at the University of North Carolina. He is pretty much a greenhorn and has only bottomed twice… … and he has already decided that he’s a pure bottom. Me jelly./

It is comforting to know that there’s someone in college to whom you can talk to about sex, and relationships, and aspirations. Like myself, Ken was brought up in a single parent family. And also like myself, we are peasant children brought up in an urban and fast-developing country.//

A couple of years ago I met this American on a gay chatroom. His name is Mike, and he works as an investment banker here in Singapore. We quickly bonded and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s blasphemous sense of humour. It was a healthy relationship – more specifically, it was a friendship. Because Mike soon revealed that he was already married to woman./

As of now I cannot remember being wrecked by that news…. I might have gotten the facts in the wrong chronological order, but anyhow, I quickly ‘friend-zoned’ Mike, and carried on meeting others. If there’s one gift that my tumultuous and abusive childhood has bestowed upon me, it would be the ability to let go. I’m a master at that. /

So weeks later I met Rob, a Dutch working in an intergovernmental organization here in Singapore. Months later, Rob proposed that I be his boyfriend, and I accepted that offer. It was a decent relationship and we were both happy and contented. But when Mike learnt of this he was shattered. He told me that he was offended, and that he had always been loving me since we got on. Most interestingly, Mike said that he had too much love to share, and loving me would not take away from the love that he could have given his wife. I was – obviously – cynical. But he eventually proved me wrong. Cracks soon followed, but I shall leave that part to the next post… … Because it is bloody 2.30AM and I have to head to slumberland. ///

Bonne nuit.

Standard

Yearn

So it has been more than a month since I’ve returned to my home country. I have come back recharged spiritually and intellectually, but – unfortunately – not emotionally. I set out with an open mind when I left Singapore. Perhaps I could find someone abroad who would commit to a long distance relationship…. Or perhaps he would agree to date across thousands of miles? Nothing of that sort, no. I made a bunch of friends, had quite a number of sexual encounters, and bought tonnes of material rubbish.//

You are a white man in Asia. You have all the Asian men to choose from. You are in your sweet spot – places where Eurocentric definitions of beauty have prevailed. Or perhaps in the deep recesses of your mind you already feel that you are special or superior to these Third World beings. It isn’t just about Caucasian and Asian men, the city is also inundated with old white men with young Asian women, the latter willing to give up their youth for a “better life.” It is depressing and embarrassing. At times I despise them, while at other times I would emphatise. Have we not liberated ourselves from colonialism? No, we are all caged up mentally and even intellectually. Perhaps not us. Not me… But them. //

I shut them out whenever I walk pass them. I would not look into their eyes, and I refuse to validate their sense of superiority. Neither would I relegate myself to date those unambitious and uninspiring ones who think so little of themselves, and who belittle their value to this society and others as well. Yes, to each his own – let them be. Que sera sera.//

I work myself numb, both in the office and at the gym. At times I would deviate from work, and i would go on Skyscanner and check how much it would cost me to fly to London to see Aunt Judy, or to Istanbul to see Khalil at the Grand Bazaar… Truth is I have spent far too much in New York. And I don’t know whether I can materialise my student exchange to Germany. 8 months abroad. EIGHT. And you would think that I am a complete imbecile… … Because eight months would give me time to find someone to love.//

An absolute wreck I am.

Standard

A House is not a Home.

It has been 2 weeks since I have returned. My last few nights in New York had been rather tumultuous: I missed three trains from New Haven to Grand Central Station, laboured hard to get more than 100 kilos of baggage from New Haven to my friend’s vacant penthouse in Chelsea, and then, on the night before I left – lost my newly bought Macbook Air. I had wanted to conjure feelings of loss (of freedom to celebrate myself and all things unorthodox); rather, my mind was clouded by remorse over the loss of US$1749. It was an indescribably painful farewell/

Christian contacted me on Gaydar. When I saw his age I didn’t think much of him. Just another naive and amateur boy. But he appeared different – his intellect and maturity were far beyond his age of 17, and he was set for major success in the world of opera. He taught me to appreciate the art of opera, and he sang for me in one of the practice rooms in the Manhattan School of Music, his alma mater. For the first time I did not cringe when a date sang to me. I was mesmerised. My head was in the clouds, and I wished that moment would last, and that I would not have had to leave.

Days after I reached Singapore, cracks started to surface. Christian is 17. I am 24. He had quite the sheltered life. And I was brought up in an abusive and dysfunctional setting. He was eager for love, always showing affection but always wanting me to affirm my love for him. But there was no ‘love’ yet. We barely knew each other. And in a few days I grew annoyed at his persistent distrust or doubtful language. 

And we parted ways. 

And I realised how much his immaturity resembled my own. How unforgiving I was. How unfair I had been.//

 

I was excited to return home. I had missed Mom and good Asian food, and I could not wait to return to my job as a filial son. Surely I fitted back into my role as a good, hardworking, and ambitious son. I have also, unfortunately and cowardly, withdrawn into my closet. Yes, I have come out to 5-8 close friends of mine over the past two weeks. I have also come out to my British cousin and aunt. Great progress, objectively speaking – but I cannot help but feel engulfed in a conservatism and narrow-mindedness that have sucked out the excitement that I had felt in Turkey or the United States (even in Turkey I was openly gay).

And now I return to a life of bachelor, so eager to love and be loved, but so jaded by the cruel realities of Orientialism and the gay community here.//

 

Allow me to elaborate in the following post. It is now 1.02AM, and in 5 hours I have to be awake.

It is going to be another week of work, lessons, obsession with weight loss, and feelings of inadequacy.///

 

 

Standard

Coming Out.

I was awarded a scholarship at my home university in Singapore for being quite an activist on equal rights for all – be it sexuality, race, or religion – but I never grew the balls to confront social stigma. I would recede and I would conform. We all seek validation. So do I./

At the end of my two year residential program at the university I was approached by Professor Catelijne. She wanted to know how she could develop programs to engage the LGBTQ community and to educate the student community on respecting homosexuality. Anyhow, fast forward to a few months later the same professor wrote me an email and invited me to a Masters Tea by another Dutch professor. Vincent is gay, is an activist, and teaches and writes on a whole range of disciplines. Catelijne found it apt that I meet Vincent. Perhaps she wanted him to push me out of my comfort zone. Perhaps she wanted me to deliver what I had promised at the scholarship interview…/

Vincent and I were seated in an open space, surrounded by hoards and hoards of students. And we talked about gay stuff. Horrific it was. I had to simultaneously normalize the shame, and speak to him as if I did not feel embarrassed. Vincent reprimanded me for not doing more for the LGBT community. He found it ridiculous that I had planned the steps in which I would come out to society and my family. Vincent said confidently that I had to just do it – but I disagreed. Coming out can be planned in a measured way that minimizes emotional stress and societal backlash./

Fast forward to the present, I came out in Yale. To everyone. And I would heartily share my sexual and romantic encounters with the students in my program. There will always be judgment – but in such an intellectual and liberal environment one would feel much less inhibited. For once in my life I felt liberated enough to be myself and to not question how masculine my demeanor was or could be. /

But once I return to Singapore I would be confronted by close-mindedness and backward conservatism. And perhaps this time round I would be slightly more gutsy, slightly more confrontational.

Standard