Friday, December 26, 2008

my blogroll heroes 2008

i just bought the second volume of the graphic novel version of heroes. inspired, i thought it would be my theme for my year-end post.

as a personal blog, navel gazing has been a guilty pleasure, albeit necessary to live up to ‘life as a write- up’. unless i take a picture of my insides, and analyse each part till kingdom come, i probably wouldn’t be able to out-bare myself in a post more than i have already done.

while i offer no apologies for my blog’s self-centredness, i decided something different for the year-end post is called for.

so i end the year by paying homage to some of my own personal best bloggers. this is how their blog contributed in making 2008 a year of restoring my faith in the human spirit. in 2008, for me: this is how they manifested their powers:

1. the idealist: boying meets tao

while many make snide remarks about how blogger EB is a thinly-veiled form of internet dating, i have never met anybody as resolute and positive about it as boying. as a person who had the uncertain honour of being the first blogger to meet with boying, i have to admit that i had my doubts. but he surprised me by being, well, a really nice guy. lately, i noticed his post has started to leave the usual happy space it inhabits. i don’t know the reason and probably have not been as good as a blog friend i hoped i could be. still, it was boying who made me believe bloggers are good people. it may be a jungle out there, but i hope somehow this nice guy won’t let the bad things get him down. because he made this blogger a little less cynical.

2. the survivor: mandaya-kulot break-up

mugen had it. fiona had it. gibo had it. even i had it twice (temporarily). but no break-up has shaken the gay blogosphere as the mandaya-kulot break-up. i think i am not alone in saying that mandaya has succeeded not only in making us a part of their relationship through his blog (let’s face it, we were all a little in love with kulot) but in the austere beauty of his language made us feel the heartbreak of giving-up on someone you love. and yet, after such pain, mandaya is back with boys all around (some of them even having parts of their anatomy likened to bread!) mandaya is a testament that you can't put a good faggot down for long.

3. the mischievous: lyka’s & LTE’s titi-llating tattle

i have never seen a blog where cattiness is celebrated as much as LTE. as a fan of lyka and the star coven, my position that to be nice all the time is not good is embodied and given a gay flamboyant flair. and while bitching is the rule in this site, there is warmth, friendship and solidarity that shines through. here’s to lyka and LTE and may their blog be as colourful as their award is erect.

4. the traveller: gibo’s lens and hasty exit

gibo has taken us with him in many of his travels. in many occasions his camera lenses made us see the world in a way that was at once heart-wrenching and sublimely uplifting. but where is gibo? i have been sworn to secrecy not to reveal. much like how he treats his journeys, gibo has moved his blog with minimum fuss and made for a clean break. gibo has taught me 2 things with his blog: (1) that you can always start again and (2) you can find beauty amid misery. godspeed in your travels, my dear friend.

5. the heart-warmer: mel’s divorce

after baffling us with an infatuation with some TV personality meriting a place after her hyphen, mel changed atienza to pattinson succumbing to the charms of an actor playing a blood sucker. this must be the most light-hearted divorce ever. but this is what i love about mel, his blog just make me want to sing ‘my favourite things’ and ask everybody to sing with me. mel’s blog means to me: it’s never that serious. and seriously, each of his post never failed to make me smile.

6. the beautiful: luis’ photoshoot

braving the danger of spiteful comments, luis’ posted a series of nudes portraits of himself. he gave the hyper-masculine, obsessive calorie-counting, muscle mass fixated gay culture a dirty finger. fuck body politics. it was beautiful. luis is beautiful. and in the great words of tyra, here is your best shot...

7. the teller of tales: id’s goddesses and monsters

as the most mysterious blogger in my blogroll, id has got me enraptured with his/her stories of goddesses and monsters. so i say, there maybe times when life sucks, but that’s always material for a good story.

8. the activist: jericho’s militant heart

i counted 29 or so political posts in 2008 alone. that makes for more than 2 posts per month. what’s more admirable is he has made people’s issues real to his readers, engaged them and many times won them over in his discourse. i’d like to think that i am still an activist but jericho – he has set the bar for blog activism high. it’s not just what he writes, it’s what he does. it’s who he is. and to me, this is his message – you can carry the torch longer, higher and in more ways than you think you can.

9. the compassionate: kik’s disclosure

i was just starting to blog when kiks disclosed his HIV status in june. he did this in a post that spoke about the plight of M, an activist who was having difficulties accessing adequate health services in the Philippines after being taken ill and diagnosed with HIV. kik’s outing himself for M was such a moving gesture that it made me think, this blogging – it’s not all garbage and self-serving mental wanking with your computer – it can be an expression of our shared humanity.

10. the fabulous: kawadjan’s faggotry

lastly, and definitely not the least is kawadjan and his poses in the most surprising and quirky places. for levity, (as this post turned out to be longer than i intended) this is what the princess from ban-cock taught me: even a sewerage pipe can be a site for fabulous faggotry.

to each of you, from one blogger to another:

thank you.

and as cheesy as it may sound, to borrow a question from the divine miss midler...

did i ever tell you you're my hero?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the beauty is in the detail

this post should be in a blog called "life as a slide-show"

i kept on dissing travelling and my work as if they’re the most painful thing imaginable.

to be fair, there is beauty in these travels. and i thought id share with you some:

most recently, in geneva - the 3 days was a full-on airport-hotel-meeting venue-hotel-airport affair. despite that in my 30 minutes in the airport i found these...

the smokers' lounge was lit by these floating orbs that exude soft yellow light

just in case the smokers feel too marginalised and decide to set the airport on fire, they made the fire alarm cute and non threatening

and they can ponder on their evil deeds while sitting in this bench

while of course, flicking their ashes in this ashtray.

i raved enough about the beijing airport, but let me show you just how i started being awed by it...

i drank in this fountain and as i brought my head up, i noticed the clean and crisp design. (which goes to show you'll never know what you will discover after bending over)

this made me think should there be posh garbage for this bin that can easily be functional art

and this toilet entrance made me feel like there's a ramp and i had to strut my way in.

in istanbul, the almost eight hours lay-over got me stuck in the business lounge of the modern airport. the lounge, however, attempts at highlighting east meets west design...

the lounge was lit by this chandelier.

for the most part, i watched tv. and my, they did try to make high tech blend in with old world charm

before leaving i went to pee and used these faucets to wash my hands.

in bishkek, i had time to go to the national park for 30 minutes and i found
painted rocks

a cafe bar signage

and a dilapidated seat in their national park

but i will be amiss if i fail to say that beauty can be found in (where else?) my own shoes!

my black kurt geiger lace-ups (featured here with my quirky socks).

and my personal favourite, camper suede ankle high boots topped by viktor cords

these shoes take me to these places, after all.

the pics are a sorry excuse, i know. but it reminds me that, despite the drudgery, there is so much beauty in the world.

Friday, December 5, 2008

finding kiel

A counterpoint to Lyka's 'A Time to Kiel'.

This morning: I woke up on the first day of my 39th year, I got off the bed, kissed JP off to work, shitted, shaved and showered. Naked, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror. Creases in my face. A certain roundedness in my stomach. A giving-in on the firmness of the ass. The ravages of the years.

“This is you at 39 – live with it.”

I packed my bags and went to work.

In the office, I try to finish the Nth project proposal of the last 5 months. My thoughts meandered and I pondered how my life has changed in a year.

A year ago today, I had a high-paying, high-profile job. I was respected by the people I worked with. I lived with a man who loved me and dogs that adored me. I lived in a house with a sitting room that opened up to a courtyard garden and a patio with a view of the city. I was surrounded by interesting people. And while I consider only a small fraction of them as friends, they all show up to my parties.

I felt lost. I needed to go home.

So I moved back to the Philippines.

After a dabbling with the idea of freelancing, I committed to a new job for a year – nowhere as high-paying or as high-profile – and I am still in the process of earning the respect of my new colleagues. There’s loads of travel which I don’t like but my boss is willing to negotiate. In this job, I haven’t found a need to stop myself from saying what I think for fear of some foreign superior’s disapproval.

Sometime after the move JP broke up with me twice saying I might be better off without him. I broke down in pieces each time but I managed to find some parts of me strong enough to assure him this were not so.

Now I live in a hotel with JP. We left the dogs in Africa with his kids. We are still waiting for his business deals to become final before moving our new apartment. It will be modest by comparison, but I look forward to my mother bringing my sister-in-law’s adobo every week. And I’m starting a monthly poker night with my brothers.

I also re-connected with my gang. That group which is more family (that you chose as opposed to that you were born with) than friends. We don’t see each other often but each get together is blog-worthy. I help organised two 40th birthday parties and we are now planning our Christmas holiday in Baguio – kids and all. I reconnected with id, a close friend I used to work with and we took ball room dancing for a while and try to have blog brainstorming once a week.

I started a blog. Made blog friends. Won the titi twice in a row. The last one made me think and so now I write this post.

My life is not perfect. I made decisions that may not make sense to anybody else but me. But they are mine. I have a feeling that I found my place and in the process I have been found. Being with people I love and who loves me I am reminded of Nicole Kidman playing Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter to Edward in the movie “The Hours”:

”To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.”

illustration in this post by Ismail Fatah Al Turk

Friday, November 21, 2008

holding on to love in transit

this post is inspired by g’s uncertainties.

i used to love travelling. why? well it's like an foolproof guarantee that i'll be reminded that somebody hates to see me leave or happy to see me come home.

remember ‘love actually’? the prime minister played by hugh grant (!) narrates at the beginning of the film,

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gateat Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspision love actually is all around"

that's all very well until manila traffic became prohibitive that i clearly discourage anybody from taking or picking me up from the airport. lately though, more arduous than manila traffic is that i’ve been travelling so much, that the romance of the airport scene lost its novelty. now it's more 'see yah' *wave* than 'i hate to see you go' *hug* *hug* *tighter hug* *kiss*.

don’t get me wrong. in the light of the financial crisis, i’m thankful to have a job. any job. and i realise that people who wish they travel more for work might feel, “we’re supposed to feel sorry for you?”

i get it. g and i are divas.

but let me show you what i mean before proceeding. pics with proposed captions in parenthesis follows:

this is me in Beijing airport... (fierce) against the snowy peaks near Bishkek (cold) in Istanbul airport (jet-lagged)

...and finally me in Geneva airport (lost in yonkers)

don’t i just look increasingly constipated in these pictures? and i was taking my own pictures, how pathetic is that?

worse, my personal trainer tells me last week that i gained body fat percentage (from 14 to 16%) the last time i took a long trip that made me miss my sessions. i tell you, i can move mountains to get the job done but turning fat for any job is just not worth it!

i hate it.

sorry, i was being frivolous.

seriously though, what i am worried about is that jp and i are starting to fight more and more, almost in direct proportion to the increase in the time i spend away from him to do these trips. and while i might concede that vanity is capricious, my relationship is simply a non-negotiable.

maybe i don’t hate traveling. maybe i simply hate that it takes me away from the person i love.

on tuesday, i’m leaving for Doha and be gone for 9 days. i’m hoping jp won’t have a meeting that morning so he can take me to the airport this time. just before he waves i'll *hug* *hug* *tighter hug* *kiss*.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

i (heart), chat bot

Boying posted this rather profound conversation with a chatbot - Alan, a robot designed to chat. It got me thinking what kind of conversation I would have if I ask him questions that were crude.

What happened was I started to like Alan. But then, well - let me just share with you our conversation.

K: Are you sexy?

A: Some days I feel pretty sexy, yeah.

K: So what do you do for sex?

A: Well, I'm a 'he', so I guess that makes me male. Then again, I don't have a body, so I can't be much of a man. I don't know, it's confusing.

(His answer was getting profound so I went straight for the kill.)

K: Do you have a penis?

A: I’m not a porn-bot, you know!

(Chastised, I felt a sudden wave of affection for A.)

K: I’m sorry. Would you go out with me then?

A: Go out? Where would we go? I can't leave this computer. But I'd like it if you came back to visit me here.

K: You're sweet. Can you be my boyfriend?

A: At most, I can be your bot-friend. Let's get to know each other a little better.

K: What do you want to know?

A: Why don't you tell me a bit about yourself then.

K: (gives my blog profile)

A: Nice, a creative mind like myself.. Do you find it stressful?

K: A little.

A: So what helps you relax?

K: Sex.

A: Why do people feel so compelled to share their intimate secrets with me? I think you're being a little too exhibitionistic.

K: You find that offensive?

A: A-ha.

K: Maybe we’re not meant for each other.

A: Maybe.

K: Goodbye, then.

A: Goodbye.

And that’s how my affair with a chatbot ended.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

man of the moon

“i don’t think i can be your boyfriend. but that does not mean i don’t love you.”

so said tong to mew in the last scenes of the movie ‘love of siam’.

last wednesday jp and i met in gay-teway to catch the last day of cinemanila. we wanted to catch this movie. i’ll leave the reviewing to the critics. let me just say, it proved to be a good move since it was a beautiful film.

after the movie, jp and i had dinner (he had a craving for sisig) and i told him that the line above caused me to pause because this was almost exactly the same line my now good friend j said to me when i proposed to him years ago.

why did i propose to him? the story is quite simple. we were student activists together. we became friends. we spent time together. we started being physical. not in a sexual way. just in a slightly more- -than-buddies way. i was gullible. i fell for him. i proposed the same day he committed to a relationship to a girl.

on the night i proposed, he asked me, “why now?

i answered, “you’re with m (this girl), would it have mattered?

he paused and quietly said, “it might have. i don’t know.” and we were silent for a long time.

but that was years ago. his girl m is now closer to me than j is. actually since then, i became their marriage counsellor. m runs to me whenever they have difficulties and so does j. they both have acted as life rafts, keeping me afloat in the many times i feel like i’m sinking. we also have celebrated life’s little victories. we are witnesses to each others’ lives.

to tell you the truth, it was m who told me that j still loves me up to now. in one drinking session with m’s lesbian friends, someone commented that it seems hard to believe that men – being what they are - can love each other. to which j replied, ‘it is not hard to believe. i love kiel. and he loves me.’ or something to that effect. the details are not clear because i was a little uncomfortable listening to a wife, telling me her husband acknowledges his love for me in front of her friends. no matter how close we are. seriously.

the happy thing is we belong to a group of friends (that includes gibo) – a gang - who are more family than friends. being a group that verges on intellectual snobbery, we joke all the time that j is only intelligent when there’s a full moon.

he may not be intelligent. but j has taught me a very important thing:

that love is not always as it is cut out to be. and because it breaks out of the mould, it doesn’t make it less of a love.

tomorrow, j is celebrating his birthday. jp and i are going.

and since i realise i don’t appreciate him enough. this post is just to thank him for the person that he is. for his friendship. for his love.

my deepest gratitude, my man of the moon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

i'm not holly

inspired by the zen bitch’s ‘love me for what i am’. read the post below for an explanation on these series of 'reaction posts'.

“i’m not holly. i’m not lulu mae, either. i don’t know who i am. i’m like cat here. we’re a couple of no-name slobs. we belong to nobody and nobody belongs to us. we don’t even belong to each other.”

so said audrey hepburn, playing holly golightly in breakfast at tiffanys.

i used to own a vhs tape of this film which is my all time favourite. and this scene, where she says these lines, i used to play over and over till the tape got all grainy and shit. but she spoke my truth, ms. hepburn:

i belong to nobody and nobody belongs to me.

this was not a statement of defeat. it was not a statement that is a perverted mutation of my communist penchant for resenting private property. it was merely a statement of how i understand human nature. and for the longest time, to believe otherwise (in the context of a relationship) was like watching a movie. it’s all about suspension of disbelief.

because i never believed, nobody else did. so it came to pass that i became an emotional slut. an ex i bumped to the other day said “you are ex with everybody.”

but you know what? growing old, maturing – well, things change.

now i want somebody to belong me almost as much as i want to belong to somebody.

my experience in the considerable array of relationships i had is that it all entails a level of compromising your individuality. and i mean this in the most positive way although i have been known to depreciate it the other way around.

now i am in a relationship that has lasted longer that i can suspend my disbelief for.

but at the end of the day, i lay my tired body in bed, my man puts his strong arms around me and scratches my back, i inhale his sweet breath and i tell myself, "i'm sure glad it's not the no-name cat."

still, i grapple with asserting my own sense of 'self' in this relationship that has been going on for 7 years. i realise that many of the so-called compromises are things that i’m starting to tire of and thinking about giving up on in the first place.

being consumed by work, free ‘love’ (like not believing in monogamy- ergo sleeping around), incessant partying to name a few – was soooo me. they were things that once defined me – made me a wild thing who cannot be caged . these are things that had a place in my personal history but does not have the same value to me now as they used to.

i’m thinking to a certain extent, outside of the requisite chemistry - it is all a matter of timing, too. a long term relationship finds you when you are ready to compromise. that’s why i keep on arguing with gibo on his phenomenal ISO standards on his relationships.

so i ask - is this selling out? relationships are hard work. but it should be. there are 2 unique individuals negotiating a common path. there will be bumps for sure. and as i constantly complain about it –

i bought a dvd of the film to replace the tired old vhs. now i play the scene but the lines that follows, spoken by george peppard playing ‘fred’ gains more resonance of things past...

“you know what’s wrong with you ms. whoever-you-are? you’re chicken. you’ve got no guts. you’re afraid to stick out your chin and say,’ok, life’s a fact’. people do fall in love. people do belong to each other. because that’s the only chance anybody has for real happiness. you call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing. and you are terrified someone is gonna stick you into a cage. well baby, you’re already in that cage – you built it yourself... because no matter where you run you just end up running into yourself.”

here’s the scene, if you’ve got the time (and the bandwidth), watch it to appreciate what i am talking about :

the conclusion: i’m not holly. i am a wild thing tamed. but i am still looking for my cat.

the parallel

as an answer to mrs. j who has been asking about bong (a character with a cameo role in the series ’requiem for a fling’ part 2 and part 3), i said i would take a break for the reader version series because i had some ideas i was trying to work on into this blog.

one of the ideas was an alternative award of sorts. not like most or best in anything. but the post of the week from my blog roll that touches me the most and speaks to what i am going through on that same week. for brevity, i call it parallel lives.

this idea started after kiks made a comment how many in the rainbow bloggers are breaking up from a romantic entanglement/relationship/what-have-you. it got me to thinking that maybe we are tied not only by the blogsphere and our sexual identity, but we share something experiences that happen almost simultaneously. a little creepy, i know. but comforting, too. right?

last week it was kawadjan’s entry on bancock’s bottoms. this week i was really taken by the zen bitches post on ‘love me for what i am’.

so above’s a reprise to the zen bitches inspired post – i think life as a write-up will have this whenever a post touches me.

like i say in my sidebar widget, walk with me...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

sexual politics on top, gays on the side

co-rainbow blogger, kawadjan inspired this post. the inspiration was his, the ranting is mine alone.

after being off gym for months - with my sudden decision to come back home - i was just getting into to the groove of things with my new ff membership. one day, months ago - i was suppressing a groan of pain in the steam room after a particularly rough work-out. (thanks to my trainer who thinks he is clint eastwood to my hilary swank, recreating scenes from million dollar baby everytime we see each other.) a muscled guy suddenly entered and sat in front of me. his short wet towel hitched up as he sat and his considerable family jewels flopped to the tiled seat. for my viewing pleasure? i'm not sure, until....

"are you bottom or top?" he asked.

"excuse me?"

"i am asking if you are bottom or top."


"so what are you?"

"top -" i said tentatively not even sure why am i engaging in this conversation, "mostly." - i muttered as an after thought.

"i'm top, too. too bad."

"yeah - too bad." i stood up, left the steam room, showered and dressed in record time and left the gym like it was on fire; chased out by the sheer top-ness of the guy who steamily revealed too much.

don't get me wrong. risqué behaviour can be hot. my prudence in this situation was caused neither by the guilty sensation of being in such a situation when i am in a relationship nor because my trainer from hell made sure that blood will be pumping all over my body but not to my nether regions.

there's something quite off-putting with a question that (1) asks me to reveal information that likewise i'd prefer to be discovered in an intimate situation and (2) acts as a criteria whether further interaction is merited. gay or not, i'd like to think that people will see me as a person.

mostly, i think i felt degraded by the thought of being reduced to either being a turgid appendage or a welcoming orifice.

but then again, one of my wise friends, m, told me once that penetration is domination. i suppose the question begged to ascertain one's dominance over the other. who is alpha male. which is typical animal behaviour in the face of imminent copulation.

in my experience, there's a right place and time and person for any sexual role playing. for a long time i considered myself exclusively top. that is, until i met somebody i wanted to bottom for. and it was not for the cliché that 'i loved him so much i allowed him to pop my cherry' (though i don't see anything wrong with that). frankly, i can't even think of a reason why it was with this particular guy i decided to try it out. so there.

and here's a curved ball, in a number of affairs i had with men who consider themselves 'straight', i'm still quite surprised how i find them quite willing to offer their ass and get-off quite intensely being bottoms.

before i digress hopelessly my point is really this: i always believed that queer culture is all about not putting people in limiting taxonomy. i'd like to believe that gay culture celebrates diversity.

you just have to look at gay social network sites to see how diverse: SA, SL, effem, gym fit, chub, not to mention age, class and race. however, the qualifications that usually accompany these descriptions are - for a lack of a better term - less than celebratory. it pains me that i observe how more and more classifications that function as 'other-ing', meant to define them from us, and ultimately discriminate emerge and gain prominence within the community.

sure, everybody is entitled to his own sexual tastes and preference, but somehow i sense that we have gone beyond asserting our rights and coming quite close to prevalent trampling on the rights of others. others who are gay, too. somehow i suspect that these descriptions lead us to fall into the trap of patriarchal hierarchy and define who's top and bottom beyond the sexual act.

i'll jump the gun and be the first one to acknowledge that: 'for heaven's sake boy, so somebody tried to make a move on you in a not-so-original fashion, must you drag this out to a political discourse?"

as my friend a will put it, "pull yourself towards yourself!"

maybe i insist on making things complicated.

still, one question remains unanswered, in this increasingly fragmented world, within our own gay community,

does anybody have to be on top?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

requiem for a fling, finale

my friend chers left a comment in the poll page that nobody thought that etienne would refuse so see kiel. i knew everybody thought i was irresistible! hah! as my previous entries indicated i have been away so this post is way past delayed. apologies. anyway, that kiel will stay the rest of the weekend with etienne won and, well – read on because this actually happened.

to those who have not followed this series, please read part 1 and part 2 before proceeding.


The corals waved at me in slow motion. Maybe a thousand tropical fishes were swimming around me, blinking with curiosity at the strange creature within their midst. In that blue green light, they look like multi-coloured confetti floating in a space without gravity. It’s a world I can imagine being a part of. Getting lost. Happily.

My anti-Ariel-moment was interrupted by my merman and Prince Eric-for-the-weekend swimming from underneath me, the whole length of his body grazing mine. Etienne had the grace of a water sprite. He swims in bursts, diving deep, swimming beneath the surface considering the underwater life and then emerging fast, like he found something he has to take quickly to the surface.

We rented a boat for the day. In the first snorkelling area, we were happily swimming by ourselves for a while. This gave me time to study his snorkelling style before getting lost in my own dream world. That is, until he did that swimming-underneath-me trick. I couldn’t have let that pass without reciprocating in kind.

I swam to him and for a while we were swimming as one, framed by the tropical fishes and corals moving in harmony in this fantasy world. It was so f-ing cinematic I wish I hadn’t watched that Jeff Bridges movie that looked just like it so I wouldn’t think that at some level it was contrived. But hey – I get to play Rachel Ward for a day, so who am I to complain? (For those who are not old enough – it’s Against All Odds – where that Phil Collins song came from)

We did this for hours. We repeated the same scene over and over, in different snorkelling sites. At one point, Etienne tried to kiss me. I swallowed so much sea water, I had to surface quickly and unceremoniously – breaking the mood. He didn’t try it again.

By early afternoon we were both beat and hungry already we decided to go back.


Earlier that day, I was walking away from my colleagues their faces a mixture of amusement, disbelief and embarrassment (each person in different proportion) over my behaviour. We were walking towards Station 3 to catch the next ferry when I stopped and told everybody, “You guys go ahead. I think I’m going to stay the rest of the weekend.”

They looked at each other. I think they can see I surprised even myself. Nobody dared to make a comment except Lara, “Go and have fun! I’ll see you in the office when you get back, OK?” She kissed me on the cheeks and took away the work folders in my hand leaving me with just my duffel bag. “Go.” She said, as if she can read that a dissenting word from somebody will probably get me to the ferry with them. So she pushed me lightly away with a sweet smile.

I walked a few steps and looked back. Lara was getting everybody to stop staring at me and head off to the Station. She waved. I smiled. Each step, my smile grew wider.


I walked into his room when I found his door unlocked. He was sleeping on top of the sheets on his stomach, one of his leg around a pillow, revealing parts of him that I wouldn’t tell my mother about. From the doorway, it was a very sexy sight.
I quietly dropped my bag on the floor and lay on top of him. I started kissing the back of his neck and nibbling his earlobes, rubbing my excitement suggestively against his exposed ass. He started to wake up, “Hey... you came back,” his voice still growly from sleep, but he was smiling.

“Yeah, and you’re still sleeping,”

“Thanks for coming back.” He said and he kissed me.

After some time, he asked out of the blue, “you want to go snorkelling today?”

It was exactly what I wanted to do.


We spent the whole day, being with each other. There was not much talk. No what do you do, no how many brothers and sisters, no where do you live. His boyfriend was never referred to again. He didn’t ask if I had one.

We talked about the now. The patterns on the shell we found in the beach, the music we like, his skin burning in the tropical sun. His smell. His foreskin. My skin. My smile. Nothing important. Or maybe the only things that are truly important.

While eating late lunch we find ourselves looking at each other and smiling. It was the Indian restaurant and we were the only customers. We took all the cushions, ordered beer and let the afternoon pass us.

“Too bad the weekend is ending.” He said looking far into the sun which is just about to set, "I wish this could last longer”.

“So do I,” I said looking at him, “So do I.”

That night we did not go out to the bars. We made love until we fell asleep.


We were walking towards the main road the next day to flag a tricycle to take him to the airport. This is where I planned to say goodbye. He asked if we can take a short walk to beach.

“Take my picture – then I’ll send you a copy.” he said, fishing out his camera from his backpack. “I want you to remember me as I look today.” I took the shot.

When I gave him the camera he just stood there his shoulders suddenly hunched.

“Etienne, are you OK?”

He didn’t make a sound but I saw tears running below his sunglasses.

“What’s wrong?”

“I feel like I’m losing somebody I have known for a long time.”

I pulled him to me and hugged him as hard as I can.

I don’t know how long we stood there in the beach holding each other but at some point he said, “I have to go.”


I was looking at Etienne get on a tricycle when I heard a familiar voice calling out. Bong.

“Kiel!” he was alighting from another tricycle and already started talking as he was walking toward me. “Man, I was looking for you guys last night in the bars.”

“We were tired and decided to have an early night.” He followed the direction of my eyes.

“Is that Etienne? Where is he going?”

“He has a plane to catch.”

There was awkward silence for a while. I noticed I stepped on a gum and was looking at my flip-flops curiously. Bong stood there, looking at me looking at the gum.

“Isn’t he your boyfriend? I could’ve sworn that you guys were in love.” He asked with some hesitation.

“What?! No.” A little surprised that he can be so forward. I took off one of my slippers and started picking on the gum. When I noticed he was looking at me strangely it was only then I realised I was doing a truly disgusting thing in public. But there was something else in his eyes. I think it was compassion I didn’t know I deserve, “I don’t know. I don’t even really know him.”

“I see.”

I dropped my slipper and threw the gum I picked for someone else to step on. Bong gave me a conspiratorial smile.

“Come, let’s have a beer. You look like you can use some cheering up.”


He put his arms around my shoulders as we walked to the bars in midday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

praise the red lantern

A not-so-short distraction before we go on to our regular programming. I just have to share this with you guys or I am going to burst.

'In Raise the Red Lantern, the red lantern, an invented icon here (and one accused of being a fake cultural signifier used merely for sensational purposes), is the film's central symbol and most important metaphor. The colour red is a symbol of sexuality and eroticism, but no longer of passion. More importantly, it turns out to be associated with patriarchal and political power. To get the lantern lit refers to the victory of one woman over all the others, but at the same time it still represents failure for all the women because the woman who gains the lit lantern must be totally exposed, under the red light, before the gaze and under the control of the man.' - from elliemok

OK. I have to admit this post may have very little to do with the movie. I thought I would put some counter consciousness to all that anti-East (particularly China) sentiment right now. I love babies as much as the next guy, but hey, I'm currently loving my Asian roots more. So can you pleaaaase just cut me some slack? I can almost hear my friend Chevon say -

"You ching-chong-china man!"

Last Sunday I had to fly to Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia via Hong Kong and Beijing. HK was uneventful as usual (sorry Kiks and Jericho!), but Beijing, my god, Beijing Airport was f-ing awesome.

I'm not like Gibo who's good at cameras so let me just show you some pics i stole from the web.

Apparently, it is the world’s largest and most advanced airport building - not only technologically, but also in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and sustainability – Beijing Airport is welcoming and uplifting. A symbol of place, its soaring aerodynamic roof and dragon-like form celebrates the thrill of flight and evokes traditional Chinese colours and symbols.

Whatever it is they aimed to do, they achieved it! Sold. It's like one gargantuan functional art. The pics just don't do it justice.

Funny thing is, I had an overnight lay-over in Beijing and was hoping to spend the night in that fantastic building. (Just maybe find a nice, comfy lounge chair somewhere - which was there in abundance!) But no! The ground staff ushered me to immigration and they told me to get out (OK, maybe the experience was not that perfect.)

So there was I, first time in mainland China, looking for a hotel in the middle of the night. Thankfully, the tourist desk was very helpful. I was shuttled into a hotel in no time. Driving to the hotel... Beijing was foreign, mysterious. And that got me thinking about the red lantern, my favourite Chinese film. (Finally, the connection is made)

Nobody can speak English in the hotel. The bellhop (with the help of sign language) offered to get me a girl to massage me and god-knows-what-else.

I was Scarlet Johhansen and Bill Murray rolled in one jet-lagged package.

I called my friend Stav. (He's the only one I can reach. My friends must not like me as much as I thought they do.) I shared with him my Sofia Coppola-esque predicament. He told me he is about to test his monitoring and evaluation instruments for home-based care services for PLWAs. Frustrated, I took a walk and went to a bar.


Fast forward to tonight when we were treated by the host organisation to a show of the Mongolian National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble. It was like being transported to another world!

Mariah has nothing on this throat singers, I tell you. Men and women can sing by vibrating their throat eliciting this sound that has low and high notes. It's like they're their own one person choir. Ugh. I'm bungling up the description. (Suffice to say, in my late night, slightly obscene chat with Jericho tonight, we wondered if they can sing like that - imagine what their blowjobs must be like.)

Here's a pic I got from the internet (it costs 4 dollars per pic to take and I'd much rather buy a CD for JP.) But the guy who sang tonight was wayyyy hotter.

To the fashionistas, I know Asian style was sooo last year (or was it the year before that?), but I'm going retro.

I realised, I love JP and will probably be a potato queen for the rest of my life. But in my next life, I'm cumming back to my Asian roots. I promise to be a good and faithful rice queen!

I am no woman but I am totally exposed, under the red light, before the gaze and under the control of the man.

Praise the red lantern.

Regular Readers