Mona Kee Kee, in her own words: “I find that being gay adds an intensity and a depth to what I do as a drag queen. Because I share so many common experiences with my mostly gay audiences, I am all too familiar with the beautiful and poignant stories of our lives. This shared narrative reads very clearly when I am on stage; gay men respond to my performances because, as they are entertained, they realize that we, as gay men, share the same scars that map our common histories.
In my job as an international relocation professional, I help expatriates move into and out of Asia. It is a very demanding and time-sensitive role, and there are days when the tasks really take their toll on my personal life. I find it a triumph that, even with these demands on my personal time, I can become the drag queen that I want to be at the end of the day. (In a corporate environment that values blending in and not rocking the boat, it can be interesting how a flaming, high-heeled drag queen can hold a highly visible and professional post.)
While I have been living in Singapore for around 5 years now, I am originally from the Philippines. In our culture, we are not very comfortable with confrontations; I guess this is one of the reasons why my parents and I never really talked about me being gay. We just went on with our lives (having the occasional passive-aggressive jabs at what we think about my sexuality), until, one day, we just found ourselves chatting for hours about my partner and which sequined dress will go well with my Shirley Bassey number.
The Singapore gay community is in the pink of health; the diversity of the community here, I feel, vibrates pretty much like the gay communities in any other cosmopolitan environment. There are unmistakable groups of twinks, muscle Marys, bears, young professionals, drag queens, etc.; there are, of course, hordes of others who shuttle across and through these spectrums. Singapore society, like many of its neighbors in conservative Asia, is maturing very quickly in understanding the global landscapes of being gay.
Given the chance to speak with my younger self, I would say, “Skip that additional order of fried chicken; your skin-tight dresses will thank you when you become a drag queen in your thirties. Have a lot of sex, and stay safe. You will eventually find the man with whom you will spend the rest of your life, and you will be glad you stayed healthy all this time.”