News and Opinions

Happy Mothers’ Day

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Family

When i was little, my mother is my teacher, discipline mistress, chef, and source of moral stories rolled into one.

As a teacher:
She invested into my education heavily, traveling miles to fetch me to and from classes.
I was taught English by British teachers; Chinese by Mainland Chinese teachers; how to prepare for survival when disaster strikes by Ang Mos; how to paint a black goldfish and a translucent tail using a Chinese brush; how to play the piano… before i was 12 years of age.

As a discipline mistress:
She believed in “spare the rod, spoil the child”.
And so, mischievous as i was, i was well-acquainted with “Mr. Cane”. It was not one of those “you make me so angry that it went over my threshold and now you are paying for it muahahah!” sort of discipline. I was never confused why she was upset with me- she would tell me why and backed it up.

As a chef:
She would research on the latest nutritious food and cook a storm.
I drink Cantonese soup frequently because she believes in brews.
I get to savor all kinds of Chinese herbs because she says they are good for me.
So, i was kept from “heatiness” and she brewed whatever she could to “strengthen” my body.
The home-made dishes are (till today)… Low Fat, Low in Salt, completely without white sugar and very green. I eat tons of vegetables as well… because “too much meat is not good for you darling.”

As a source of moral stories:
She related stories of her life to me.
She told me of people around her- at work, at play and those in the huge family tree.
She taught me to listen patiently, to treat people with kindness and respect, to love animals, to care for the environment, to save water, to greet my neighbors whenever i see them. It was also she who cultivated in me, the love for the beach. To learn to appreciate the beautiful things of creation.
Little things… Big things…
She covered them as much as she could.

As i grew older, my mother stop using physical discipline.
Correction now takes the form of acoustic sounds- we talk.

But that’s where the challenge comes in. After i started to question the status quo, she had to back up every single argument she had that i didn’t agree with. As a parent, an elder, you wouldn’t expect an opened heart especially towards a child who “have had less rice than the salt” she ate.

But this is what i admire about my mother-
She doesn’t take the stance “I am older than you and therefore i know better forever and ever and ever Muahaha!”
She does not utilize death threats to manipulate me…
“If you don’t do as i say, i will jump outta this window! And then you will burn in hell, you unfilial child!”
Neither does she close her ears to all i have to say.
Communication is two-way… She took time to understand how i think and how i feel.

She never said sorry when she transgressed the boundaries… Some Chinese elder pride thing. But “sorry” takes other forms…
She would cook my favorite food and the issue would melt away into oblivion.

These days, our relationship is reciprocal.
We would hang out together… yes, i am Mummy’s girl.
We would set aside every Sunday for a hearty breakfast… just me and her… and we would talk about life and people.
We would share our aspirations, our dreams and ambitions. At age 50, she has ambitions! She has never stopped learning… and i am proud of her. She is one of the uneducated women of her era…  but that has not stopped her from pursuing what she loves. I admire her for her passion.
We encourage one another in our daily walk… when i told her of my challenges, she said, “Don’t worry. You will do well.”

“It’s easy to shine under your care… Thank you for loving me.”

Happy Mothers’ Day to all you wonderful mothers out there. =)


Ooga Chaga Women (Singapore)

Written by snorkeem on . Posted in Coming Out

We are a women's support group for lesbian and bisexual women who meet in a safe space for face to face discussions to share, connect and support one another.
This is a support group for women who seek to come to terms with their sexual identity and who want to achieve a healthy integration of their sexual identity into their lives. The support group sessions aims at developing awareness in the self, relationships, community and resources available.

The OC Women's support group is back for its second run !

What The Sessions Are About

The sessions, like those from the first run is titled 'Finding The Me Within'. The aim of these sessions is for you the participant, to engage in a process of self discovery and understanding through the sharing of views and what you take away from each of your life experience. You will also be listening to what the other women participants have to share. In the sessions, we shall be focussing on each of your experiences in coming out, relationships with partners, family and work. We shall also be touching on how the law affects us and benefits us, sexual health and the different resources and assistance available.

As was intended with the first group, when the 10 sessions are over, you and the other women participants from this group can form an informal support group to continue being a source of support for each other.

What It Takes

Commitment in time, commitment to have an open mind, commitment to play it fully.
For many of you, this will be the first time being in a support group. How much you gain from it correlates directly with how much of yourself you allow to give.


Run 2 starts in June 2006 with 10 sessions carried out on 2 Saturdays each month, starting in June 2006 and finishing in October 2006

Group Size

Strictly no more than 12 women.
If you have what it takes and are interested in joining us, indicate via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than 20th of May 2006. If you wish to know more about Oogachaga, visit us at

Voices of past participants :

- I have opened my eyes to important issues happening to women that need to be addressed. The experiences and knowledge that I've gained from OC Women are truly inspiring and empowering. I hope many others will get a chance to experience the support and comfort that OC Women has given me.

- OC Women support group has been effective in providing a safe and non-judging environment for its participants to discuss issues of the heart and mind. I discovered that even though each of our lives is unique, the challenges and gifts we face are varied and yet similar. Learning about the life paths and choices of some the participants has been humbling. If you push your limits and play it 100%, the group sessions will more often than not surpass your expectations.

- What has probably proven life-changing for me is the mere act of having participated in these discussions and the various social activities. That was a very practical way of learning to acknowledge my sexuality in the larger context of the life I lead. I feel that I have taken an irrevocable step. It is in some ways like climbing up and out of a cellar and
finding (to one's delight) that the steps leading back down have crumbled to dust; there is no way back down.

- The group became a playground where I could just be my fun-loving self with a group of buddies who, just like me have their own share of hang-ups and idiosyncrasies. It was good to laugh at myself and at one another. The way we united in our diversity was amazing. Sharing one's experiences was good for my spirit and bonded us in friendship.

A thank you message from Pelangi Pride Centre (Singapore)

Written by snorkeem on . Posted in Announcements

A big THANK YOU to everyone who made our official (re)launch of Pelangi Pride Centre at Mox Bar & Cafe on Saturday 6th May such a hit!

More than 200 people turned up and the place was packed all the way from 4pm to 8pm. Especially popular: the community fair, where different non-profit gay and lesbian community groups set up booths to promote their organisations, activities and issues. Guests also enjoyed soulful performances by Cyril Wong on the piano and Wendy Siew on the guitar.

The mood was relaxed and sociable, as people caught up with old faces and made new friends. Everyone lingered on, partly thanks to the delicious custard puffs and other snacks, as well as the free flow of soft drinks, courtesy of Mox Bar & Cafe. The evening ended with the lucky draw, featuring prizes from

On behalf of Pelangi Pride Centre, and the community at large, we want to say a great big thank you to:

* Mox Bar & Cafe – for hosting PPC and for sponsoring our lovely bookshelves. Thanks especially to Mok, as well as Bernice & John for all your efforts

* – for sponsoring the fabulous prizes

* Free Community Church – for your generous donation

* Cyril Wong & Wendy Siew for sharing your music with us.

* Community groups – for making this first ever GLBT community fair a reality, and for the space to publicise PPC on your mailing lists

* Our fellow volunteers – from librarians to those who helped with transport, storage, web-mastering, poster design, photography, booth manning and organisation

* Launch party guests – for your interest and support: you made this a great community success

* Our supporters in cyberspace and around the world – your moral support helped keep our spirits up while we were in-between homes

* Last but not least: Hisham – for making this all happen, by putting us in touch with Mox when we left our old home

Hope to see you at Mox, every Sat 4pm to 8pm

Charmaine, Dinesh and Eileena

Photos of PPCLaunch Party & Community Fair

What Everyone Needs To Know About Counselling (Part 1)

Written by peggy on . Posted in Emotional & Physical Wellness

We all go through times of difficulty, crisis, loss, tension or uncertainty. Counselling is a service and a support to individuals and families who are facing life issues.

When do I need counselling?
- I feel stressed, anxious, confused
- I am having difficulty in a relationship
- I need to plan for the future
- I feel like talking over a problem with someone
- I need support in my personal or emotional life
- I want to change my lifestyle or habits
- I have just experienced a loss, bereavement, trauma

Counselling is
- a helping relationship
- an active listening skill
- positive unconditional respect for another person
- an awareness enhancing experience

Counselling is NOT
- telling another person what to do
- solving another person's problems
- creating a dependence on the counsellor
- boosting morale through a pep talk or instilling pleasant feelings
- taking sides in an argument

How do I choose a counsellor?
I would look for someone who
- makes me feel less stressed and frustrated
- boosts my self-confidence
- helps me to make better decisions
- keeps my information confidential
- treats me with respect, courtesy and kindness
- is genuinely interested in me and my problems
- is knowledgeable, understanding and competent

Qualified counsellors have undergone professional training in both the theory and practice of helping people with life issues. As professionals, they are skilled in structuring and guiding the counselling intervention and are effective in their response to individual needs.

(The above text is extracted and adapted from 'Do I need counselling?', a guide to professional counselling services published by the Singapore Association For Counselling.)


Straight but not Narrow

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Commentary

On 17 May 1990, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. The fight for the recognition of equal rights for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender people did not end there though.

That is why Sayoni is strongly committed to celebrating this second International Day Against Homophobia, launched one year ago by the International Day Against Homophobia Committee (IDAHO).

We embark on this long fight against homophobia with a post by a straight sympathiser for the cause – the best sort of people, in our opinion. We let Soo Mei tell us about being straight, but not narrow.

 Bizarro. From the Sunday Times, Singapore, 14 May 2006.

Hi, my name is Soo Mei, and I’m straight. To the bone. Not typical of the Sayoni crowd. So why write here, you might be thinking?

Well firstly because pleinelune asked me if I would. Something towards the idea of being a '(rare) straight sympathizer', to quote her. At which point she promptly tried to explain that she meant that I am straight but that I get along really well with GLBT (no T yet, though, actually) friends. Which meant that she really quite messed up her own explanation, because I don't think of my non-straight friends as non-straight. If anyone asked me how many non-straight friends I had, I would have to sit down, slowly run through the known sexual practices of my friends (something I don't normally think about, yeah), and count the number off very slowly. It always makes me feel funny. Like, for the people I'm not attracted to, I don't ever think about what sex or how much sex they have. My parents, for example. *gags*

Let's move on quickly to the next reason.


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