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.

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