Category: City: Singapore

Miak, Pastor, Singapore

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Miak, in his own words: “When I was growing up, I always wanted an older brother. I was the elder of two children, and I usually took the flak for anything that went wrong. I was the one who had to figure out what life has in store first – and then teach it to my sister. I wanted an older brother who would be the one who blazes the trail. Now that I look back, I wondered how that would turn out since I am gay.

My gayness makes me who I am. If I am straight, I would be married with kids, pretty high up the corporate ladder, and probably be someone who doesn’t give two hoots about other people. Because of my experiences growing up gay, being ostracized and discriminated against, as well as struggling with who I am, I developed a greater sensitivity to discrimination, injustices and other people’s suffering. I cannot help but get involved, and participate in what Adrienne Rich describes in her poem – to “reconstitute the world.”

(With regards to challenges and successes) Finding myself. Knowing myself. Overcoming myself. I won’t call it a success yet. Ask me again on my death bed :)

(With regards to coming out) I have many coming out stories – I am still coming out. I guess the most significant one is the one to my mom.

It was 1998 and I was in Finland on an exchange programme, and she sent me a letter with a clipping from the Chinese newspaper. I was interviewed by a friend who was a journalist and he wrote about people who were studying overseas. He ended the part about the article saying that what I found hardest to leave behind was my 爱人 (beloved one). She asked why was it beloved one and not “girlfriend.” I wrote a letter back to her in Chinese to come out to her.

She wrestled with it for quite a while – I was in Finland for half a year – and she still wrestled with it after I came back. Of course my parents embrace who I am now, and I cannot do the work I do without their support.

I don’t think there is a definitive description of the gay community in Singapore – I hesitate to generalize. In some ways we are very similar to gay communities worldwide, and in some ways we are different. The same issues that plague gay communities globally like drugs, racism, ageism also plague us. But we are also a very young community – there is much we can do to shape the future of what it looks like.

(Advice I’d give my younger self) From where I am now, I don’t want an older brother, or an older self telling me what I should or should not do. My mistakes, my failures, my hopes, my dreams, my joys, my despair all make me who I am. Perhaps just one thing – forgive myself a little bit more.”

Nathan, Nurse, Singapore

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Nathan, in his own words: “Being gay to me means being human and being happy. I think the only thing that is different about ever being gay is that we love people from the same gender. But other than that we breathe and live just the same as anybody else.

Being gay is a process of life. You grow, you learn and you make your decisions. It ultimately means I am who I am and nothing in the world is ever going to change that.

When I was young I was always teased for being different. It came to a point where I started doubting myself and even concluded that I was an abomination. But over time when you get to meet people from various walks of life and of course upon coming out, I realized what a fool I have been. All those self-inflicting mental torture was not necessary.

I am also a nurse. I take pride in that now and look forward to assisting people as much as I can. I think one of my biggest achievements would be volunteering with The Purple Alliance in their health sectors. It’s because of such voluntary work that I have come to love what I do even more.

I believe I had to come out multiple times in my life. The first was when I was in polytechnic during my final year in nursing school. I used to get questions of whether I was dating a girl etc. I get very nervous when I lied but I still played along with my group of friends, until I realized whom am I kidding. So one day whilst waiting for the train ride back with my group of close friends I just blurted “I am gay”. What shocked me was their non-reaction. They were totally cool with it. We actually started being even closer after that.

My second time coming out was to some of my family. I just told the mom one day as she was asking if I had any girlfriends yet again. She started crying, but eventually she reassured me that she loves me no matter what. Well I guess that was what I was looking forward from her. As for the rest of my family I told and some took it well, some didn’t. But well! YOLO!

The gay community in Singapore is vibrant. You really get to meet many different kinds of people here. There may be some hate within the minority groups itself, but I believe with a little bit of love any form of boundary can be broken. There are many forms of stereotypes formed by the supposed main stream society in Singapore but I thing as a community we are breaking these stereotypes one by one. Who would have thought years ago that we would have our very own gay parade of sorts called Pink Dot. I think as a community, we allow each generation to grow thus making life a little bit welcoming and happier for the next generation.

I would definitely tell my (younger self) not to doubt myself and not to subject myself through whatever I did previously. I would definitely tell myself that it would get better each day and that everything will be alright. Life is too precious and beautiful to let negativity come in its way.”