News and Opinions


Written by Indu on . Posted in Entertainment

Shvarts in her Studio

Or when abortion becomes art.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself 'as often as possible' while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process. [Read the full article]

Shocked? Disgusted? Fascinated? Whatever your reaction is, you are probably not alone – thousands of people in Yale and in the bloggosphere have been actively voicing their views on Shvarts’ “artwork”. I put those in quotation marks, because like the (badly written) “artwork” Jodie chooses to display at the end of Season 5 of The L Word, this didn’t really make all that sense to me. But then, I was never a fan of abstract art.

The creator explains her artwork further in another news article.

It creates an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership. An intentional ambiguity pervades both the act and the objects I produced in relation to it. The performance exists only as I chose to represent it. For me, the most poignant aspect of this representation- the part most meaningful in terms of its political agenda (and, incidentally, the aspect that has not been discussed thus far)- is the impossibility of accurately identifying the resulting blood. Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether the there was ever a fertilized ovum or not. The reality of the pregnancy, both for myself and for the audience, is a matter of reading.


Starhub Fined $10,000 for Lesbian Kissing Scene (Singapore)

Written by sayoni on . Posted in Entertainment

We at Sayoni are appalled by this decision, which we consider not only a slap in the face of the gay community, but also yet another example of contravening freedom of speech.

The video in question can be viewed here. We invite the viewers to judge whether the content was graphic enough to invite the fine.

Newreport from TODAYonline.

The Media Development Authority has fined StarHub Cable Vision $10,000 for airing a commercial that depicted “lesbian kissing scenes”.

The MDA posted a statement yesterday on its website about the cable operator’s breach of TV advertising guidelines, “which disallows advertisements that condone homosexuality”.

The commercial, which aired over two days in November on MTV’s Mandarin-language channel, was to promote a song by pop singer Olivia Yan.

Her music video from the album Silly Child featured two scenes of herself and Taiwanese actress Pei Lin in a “passionate embrace”, as described last November in the Taipei Times.

The portrayal of a lesbian in a music video was supposedly a first for Taiwan, the paper reported.

According to the MDA, in the commercial, “romanticised scenes of two girls kissing were shown and it portrayed the relationship as acceptable”.

The MDA had consulted the Advisory Committee for Chinese Programmes, which concurred that the commercial had “promoted lesbianism as acceptable and romantic, especially when shown together with the lyrics featured”.

The MDA said it had taken into account the “severity” of the breach and that the commercial was aired on a youth-oriented TV channel, as well as SCV’s explanation on the matter before deciding “a financial penalty was warranted”.

StarHub expressed disappointment at the authority’s decision to impose a fine but said it would follow broadcasting rules. “We understand the authority’s concern, and will continue to work closely with our regional and international content partners to ensure that the local broadcasting guidelines are fully adhered to,” said StarHub spokesperson Caitlin Fua.

Review: The L Word Season 5 Part 2

Written by Indu on . Posted in Entertainment

Warning: MAJOR spoilers below, revealing almost the entire plot. Read Part 1 if you want a spoiler-free review of the season.

I kinda HAVE to start with Bette and Tina, because, really, they are the reason The L Word still has a fanbase. From the very beginning that they appeared on screen, they’ve been iconic of the long-term lesbian relationship, even when we know that they are doomed from the second Dana remarks, “You guys have the best relationship ever!” So yes, most predictably, they kinda get back together in this season – you knew it was coming. But the way they got back together is so classically lesbian – Bette cheats on Jodi with Tina, and suddenly, the couple who’ve slept together for 7 years is having hot illicit sex in elevators. Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman), have possibly the best on-screen romantic AND sexy chemistry ever, even though both of them are married women with kids (and Jennifer is straight. Sadly.). I like the fact that they didn’t have sex and immediately decide to get back together – which would be entirely unrealistic. Instead, the affair stretches out for some time, and even after Bette and Jodi break up, upon Jodi discovering her infidelity, they don’t immediately get into a relationship, and prefer to take their time in working issues out. Tina is no longer a submissive little housewife, and in some ways, I am glad they had this break, because it gave them, especially Tina, space to achieve their own independence, symbolised by when Tina was leading Bette onto the dance-floor in the season finale.


Sorry, Jodi. We love you, but you and Bette are really not hot together. At all. And especially not when you dress alike. But I do hope you can go make nice with Amy instead.

Speaking of nice, guess who is not? Jenny(Mia Kirschner) started the season with a most credible imitation of Paris Hilton and got progressively worse. Until she fell in love with Nikki, who plays “Jesse” in Lez Girls. Talk about narcissism. Then all of a sudden, it is like Jenny grew a heart (maybe you can teach the Tinman how to do that, Jenny!) First of all, I have to say, the Jenny and Nikki romance is perhaps the most unhot, and irritating one around. Not that I buy Jenny can fall in love with anyone except herself. The two of them behave like 12-year adolescent girls – really, giggling like a maniac and putting a strap-on on your forehead during sex is just… not sexy. Nikki says, “I totally LURVE her!”, as if Jenny were a soft toy or a favourite flavour of ice-cream, and simultaneously checks out Shane. Well done. And of course, she has to get drunk and have sex with Shane on a railing1 at the end of the season.

Nikki isn’t the only foil for Jenny, however. She meets Adele Chaning (an all-too-obvious All About Eve reference), a geeky quiet little girl who seems more than happy to do Jenny’s every bidding. However, she is slowly revealed to be a deviously cunning changeling, who eventually betrays Jenny and takes over the directing of Lez Girls. Because, the writers either like referencing way too much, or they aren’t able to come up with original plots, and they have to steal from 50s movies.


That isn’t the only subplot where creativity is on the drain. Kit (Pam Grier) has picked up the comic slack this season, but entirely by accident. What else can I say about a person who stands around going “Girrrl! GRRRRLLLL!!! Oh girl!!!! Baby gurrlll!!!!” all-the-freaking-time? Because, apparently the robbers not only took her money, but her entire vocabulary. And her common sense too, because what does she do when she is in danger of losing The Planet to Dawn Denbo and her Lover Cindy? She takes out her handy gun and tries to do a Foxy Brown, except, she doesn’t pull it out from her afro.2


Speaking of Dawn Denbo, can I just take a minute to gush about Elizabeth Keener? She was absolutely awesome in the role of Dawn Denbo, or rather Don Denbo, going by Episode 509. And she’s hot. Pleaaasse bring her back, because it is not worth watching without her.


You know who else it is not worth watching without? Alice (Leisha Hailey) and Tasha (Rose Rollins). They are so freaking cute together. This season, it was the whole Tasha-on-trial-for-homosexual-conduct subplot, and Alice’s parallel rise to fame precipitated by her outing a famous basketball player.3


Alice showing off her pumps on The Look (an obvious parody of The View). Because apparently there isn’t enough meta in this show.

I absolutely LOVED the way the trial ended, though perhaps a tad unrealistic. It was very A Officer and a Gentleman, when Tasha picked up Alice and swung her around.


And you know what? I don’t care – I was so freaking happy that they had a happy ending to this. Until fashion designer Clea came into the picture. Why? WHY? In the first place, I do not understand why anyone would want to cheat on Tasha with Clea (Melanie Lynskey), or why Alice is attracted to Clea at all. I do not understand why, on The L Word, every relationship has to end with someone cheating on someone, or meeting someone else. At least Alice resisted the temptation – thank you, Leisha, for showing we lesbians do have some amount of self-control.


And can I just say, Alice’s fashion sucks, especially when paired with Clea. In the words of my friend – is she wearing her RGS pinafore? Or maybe she is wearing one of Clea’s lame-ass creations.

Self-control is something someone should have taught Shane (Katherine Moennig) eons ago. At least, enough self-control not to have sex with the real estate agent in the house you and your girlfriend are planning to lease. While she is still in the house. *slaps forehead* After going through a series of drama with women, and precipitating the whole Dawn-Denbo-against-The-L-Word-Gang-clash (It’s on! It’s so on!) by sleeping with Lover Cindy, and actually trying to swear off sex for a while4, Shane meets Molly, a “straight” girl who just happens to be Phyllis’ daughter.

Molly is not like the 5000 other girls who immediately fall for Shane – at least at first. Shane and Molly strike up something (yawn!), but the chief problem between them isn’t Molly’s sexuality. It is the plan and incontrovertible truth that Shane is an uneducated hairdresser who can’t keep it in her pants long enough to take a pee-break, and Molly is a smart to-be law student5. Shane sabotages the relationship by flirting with a girl after hearing what Phyllis has to say about their relationship,6 and of course, like I said before, decides to screw up her life further by screwing the maybe-ex of her best friend, Jenny. Actually I am not so sure this makes much sense. Shane, while being a Lothario, has always shown enough sense not to screw up her friendships, and she does not sleep with people in the circle of friends, because they are pretty much her family. And Jenny has pretty much been the only person in the world who thinks Shane is remotely human. So maybe this what is supposed to make all this even more dramatic.

There really isn’t that much to say about Helena. She went to jail for two seconds, fell in love with her hot cellmate, came back out, eloped away to Tahaa, and came back and bought over Dawn Denbo. She has become really kick-ass, however, and is no longer interested in money or luxury comforts. Maybe Peggy Peabody’s impromptu life-lesson worked after all. Except it has backfired on poor Peggy, who is now just begging Helena to be her sole beneficiary. (Peggy, if you really cannot find anyone, I volunteer to be your beneficiary.)

Check back for a Best of the Season!



  1. I was expecting Shane to push Nikki off the railing when Jenny walked in on them [back]
  2. On the sidenote, I really wish the producers had done that, because the whole plotline is so freaking ridiculous as it is, and you might as well go all the way to make it funny. [back]
  3. Oh, can I just say this is perhaps the most unrealistic subplot?In real life, she would be slapped with a breach of non-disclosure suit, on top of a defamation suit. [back]
  4. This, by the way, was Katherine Moennig at her best. During her no-sex period, Shane actually talked more than 2 words at a time, started eating food, working out, even playing on her Nintendo DS, and being generally hilarious with the way she was trying to stay away from women. [back]
  5. And I don’t believe for a second that she is going to be a public defender. Giv her three months, and she will be singing praises about tax law [back]
  6. By the way, I agree with every single thing Phyllis said to Shane. I would not want my daughter to be dating Shane either. [back]

Review: The L Word Season 5 Part 1

Written by Indu on . Posted in Entertainment

The first part is a spoiler-free review of the season. All potential spoilers are left as footnotes. Check back for Part 2 of the review, where I actually talk about the plot, and a Best of the Season!

For dedicated fans of The L Word, it has been five topsy-turvy seasons. It is actually quite amazing the show has lasted this long, and until it was announced that it was going to be renewed for a final season 6, most fans thought this was going to be the final one.

Apparently, so did the producers, because the season was actually fairly happy for a change. At least, when I was watching certain episodes, it felt like they were trying to wrap up all the plotlines and give us a happy ending. Which is precisely why I wanted the show to end at five seasons, because I know for sure that if the show goes on any longer, the couples I really really really want to stay together1, will definitely break up . The season finale was once again, weirdly written, because it felt like they had changed the ending last-minute, having gotten the show renewed.

The L Word is not known for its brilliant, tightly-woven together writing, maybe because Lost took all the writers in the industry who were capable of producing an actual plot. But it did surprise me at points by some amount of continuity, and of course, let me down the next by completely forgetting other parts. It was true to life at some points, and at some others, made me say “That would never happen” (as Tina and Jenny did at the beginning episodes).

As for our beloved characters… Shane is still, in Molly’s words, a “Fonz”, Bette is still the world’s biggest cheater (but we love her despite that), Tina has become kick-ass, and *gasp* likeable (and it really has nothing to do with her coming “back to the fold”), Alice is just as cute as ever but it seems she is having problems with her moral compass, Helena just rocks even more than ever (especially post-prison), Jenny went from Crazy Lady/Paris Hilton to Heartbroken Maybe-Sane Lady, and Kit just keeps saying “Girl!” and trying to (unsuccessfully) relive her Jackie Brown days.

The making of Lez Girls figures majorly in this season, and every episode begins with a reference or a scene from the making of the film. While it was funny, I couldn’t help but feel that the writers were running out of material, so they decided to fill in the space with the inside jokes2 from the past four seasons, and meta. Lots and lots of meta. Because, you know, meta is sooo fascinating, even after the 20th time you’ve used it, and you keep inserting what happened on the real set into the fake set. And of course, how can you forget narcissism, narcissism and meta go together like basil and salmon on the this show. You know, because Jenny hooking up with her french-made clone Claude wasn’t enough.3.

Overall, it is still quite watchable, and has improved dramatically from the season premiere, the main salvaging point being that people were actually happy. (Even if you don’t watch any of the episodes, watch Episode 8, which makes the entire season worth it.)




  1. Hint: Not Jenny and Nikki [back]
  2. Like the off-camera tiff between Nikki and Begogna, who are playing “Jesse” and “Karina” respectively [back]
  3. She just HAS to get together with the person who is playing her in the movie, Nikki, and fake Shane tries to sleep with real Shane [back]

Tale of Two Deaths

Written by Indu on . Posted in Entertainment

On a boring bus-ride home, I was just musing that last week was the week to die.

I am not being morbid, really – at that time on TVMobile, the un-switch-off-able source of entertainment that subjects you to the terrible soap operas whether you want it or not, they were splashing news about Suharto’s death. Not that no one saw it coming, because I’ll bet you they were working on the eulogy and the news-report the minute Suharto was committed to the hospital.

And of course, a week ago, Heath Ledger was found dead on the floor of his SoHo of a drug overdose. Heath Ledger, as we all know, was the handsome hunk who played the gay cowboy on Brokeback Mountain, and did a wonderful job of it. While his young and sudden death is tragic, it is not something I particularly cared about, Brokeback or no Brokeback, until this.

Fred Phelps and his merry gang of fundamentalists from the Westboro Baptist Church have decided that the best way to get themselves splashed all over the news is to protest poor Ledger’s funeral – just because he played a gay cowboy. This is the group that got themselves famous by protesting the funerals of random dead (and straight) soldiers, because they believed they were killed because God was angry with America for “supporting homosexuals”.

Okay, after reading that last sentence again, suddenly protesting Heath’s funeral doesn’t seem so far-fetched a thing to do, compared to what they have already done. At the risk of plagiarising Grey’s Anatomy… Seriously? Seriously?! How does protesting at funerals help further your cause anywhere? Even if you believe that Heath was wrong in his support of homosexuals, which you are absolutely free to believe in, protesting funerals is just wrong.

Suharto’s death elicited mixed reactions from people. While it is not nice to speak ill of the dead, the fact remains that Suharto’s regime was rife with human rights violations, despite whatever MM Lee said about him. I still don’t have much sympathy for him, dead or alive, and definitely do not agree with whatever he did. But that does not mean I would protest at his funeral. Evil, neutral or good – the family and friends deserve that space to grieve over the dead – because ultimately, we are all human. Suharo might have been a [insert expletif], but he is not inhuman, and deserves to die with dignity. His family, whether they were party to his politics or not, deserves the funeral to let go of him, with dignity and respect.

So why is it that poor Heath’s funeral is going to be violated by sign-carrying fundamentalists?

Sign up to receive announcements and updates