After the departure of the main organiser of the previous 3 years' IndigNation events, Jun Zubillaga-Pow, for postgraduate studies in the UK, the organisation of IndigNation 2012 fell back into the hands of veteran PLU member Miak Siew. The lion's share of the administrative work and coordination was done by Dominic Chua.
The persons-in-charge of each individual event also formed the organising committee. All artwork, including a spanking new logo and an innovative approach, was done by gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee of The Bear Project. For the very first time, a dedicated, full sized graphic poster was designed for every single event.
A new YouTube account for the video documentation of IndigNation events was also started by Weetz Seah who, together with Roy Tan, were the official videographers. All the final edits by Seah have been uploaded there: while Tan uploaded his videos to his own YouTube channel:.
Advance publicity for the event was done via a booth which formed part of the community tent at Pink Dot 2012 at Hong Lim Park in June. Closer to August, publicity was provided by Fridae and advertisements were placed on all the major LGBT Facebook pages and websites.
- Opening Night - Time & Its Discontents: Our Very Own Films +
The Morning After 377A: Our Very Own Think-Tank; Public Event; Friday, August 3, 2012; 8:00pm; White House on Emily Hill, 11 Upper Wilkie Road
- Airing the Closet: Our Very Own Chit-chat
Public Event · By Jean Chong, Kwan Jin-Ee, Lynn Lieu and Alina Ng of Sayoni; Saturday, August 4, 2012; 7:00pm until 10:00pm; 7 KICKstart BREWiches; 50 Armenian Street #01-02 Wilmer Place, Singapore, Singapore 179938
- The 8th Unofficial Pink Picnic: Our Very Own Excursion
Public Event · By Miak Siew; Thursday, August 9, 2012; 5:00pm; Palm Valley, Singapore Botanical Gardens
- Book Launch of "The Pillow Book" by Koh Jee Leong
Public Event · By Dominic Chua; Friday, 10 August 2012; Books Actually; 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore, Singapore 168645
- Landing Places
Public Event · By Tania De Rozario; From 16 August 2012 at 7:00pm until September 6 at 6:00pm; Objectifs - Centre for Photography and Filmmaking; 56A Arab Street, Singapore, Singapore 199753
- Gaily Ever After: Our Very Own Fairy Tales
Public Event · By Ng Yi-Sheng; Friday, 17 August 2012; 8:00pm; BooksActually; 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore, Singapore 168645
- Are You GAYme Enough?
Organised by Bryan Choong and Shay Goh of Oogachaga; 17 August 2012 at 9.30pm; Play Club (21 Tanjong Pagar Rd, #01-02/03/04).
- Our Very Own Stories
Public Event · By Nicholas Deroose; Friday, August 24, 2012; 8:00pm; The Factory; 22 Lim Tua Tow Road., Singapore, Singapore 547772
- ContraDiction 8: Our Very Own Literature
Public Event · By Ng Yi-Sheng;
Saturday, August 25, 2012;
Reading Room Singapore;
21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #04-01/02, Singapore.
Time & Its Discontents: Our Very Own Films + The Morning After 377A: Our Very Own Think-Tank
The opening night of IndigNation 2012 was held on Friday, August 3, 2012 at 8:00pm at The White House on Emily Hill, 11 Upper Wilkie Road. The hosts for the evening were Miak Siew and Kelly Then who presented an introduction to the programme line-up for the month (see video:).
This was the advertisement posted on the Facebook event page:
"We're launching IndigNation this year with a double-bill – 'Time and Its Discontents', which forms the first half, is a screening of short films by gay and lesbian filmmakers including Michael Lee, Eva Tang and K. Rajagopal on the theme of time and memory. This is followed by 'The Day After 377A', a panel presentation that examines the local LGBT community’s past, present and future
Our opening event this year is by registration only. Kindly register at http://IndigNation2012
Please do register above even if you have indicated you are going for this event on Facebook.
Time & Its Discontents: Our Very Own Films
Michael Lee, William Phuan and Tan Chee Tat, ‘One or Zero’ (1996-7)
How did gay men in Singapore communicate among themselves, with themselves and with mainstream society in the 1990s? In ‘One or Zero’, the filmmakers adopt visual ethnography as a guiding framework to produce a collage of vignettes that peer into a gay man dealing with sexual awakening, celebrity identification, outing to family, romance, cruising, community, homophobia and the AIDS crisis. The film picked up an award in 1997: First Prize (Experimental Category), United Film and Video Association's Student FIlm and Video Awards, Texas. It was also banned in the then Board of Film Censors in 1997 for "condoning an alternative lifestyle."
Eva Tang, ‘Londres – London’ (2006)
Eva Tang’s ‘Londres-London’ is a tale of damaged love set against the backdrop of a London damaged by the 2005 bombings.
Eva holds the distinction of being the first Singapore filmmaker who had her short film selected by Venice Film Festival in 2002; among other awards, ‘Londres-London’ has clinched the Governor Award of the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Competition, Best Artistic Film in Shanghai, and the Jury Recommendation at the Hong Kong Independent Short Film & Video Awards.
K. Rajagopal, ‘Timeless’ (2010)
What does the abolition of slavery and the murder of J.W.W Birch, which spearheaded the nationalism movement in Malaya, in Pasir Salak, Malaysia, on the 2nd November 1875 and the massacre which discoloured the pages of Singapore's history on the 1st June 1969 have to do with an alienated post-modern man? Impotency can cast a long shadow over time, beyond its depiction, this is the story of Siva through the looking glass, woven over time with the threads of humanity.
A veteran stage actor and television director, K. Rajagopal has the honour of being the only filmmaker to have won the Singapore International Film Festival Short Film Competition Special Jury Award for three consecutive years with I Can’t Sleep Tonight (1995), The Glare (1996) and Absence (1997). 'Timeless' was commissioned by the National Museum of Singapore.
The Morning After 377A: Our Very Own Think-Tank Lynette Chua, Indulekshmi Rajeswari and Alex Au
Where have we been? How did we get here? Where should we go from here? Since the early 1990s, Singapore's lesbigay movement has grown and changed in many ways. As we await the pending decision of Tan Eng Hong in the Court of Appeal, socio-legal scholar Lynette Chua, lawyer Indulekshimi Rajeswari and socio-political blogger Alex Au look back at the trajectory of the movement over the past two decades and get you in on a discussion on how it can and should move forward."
Airing the Closet: Our Very Own Chit-chat
Public Event · By Sayoni Saturday, August 4, 2012 7:00pm until 10:00pm 7 KICKstart BREWiches 50 Armenian Street #01-02 Wilmer Place, Singapore, Singapore 179938
Advertisement on Facebook event page:
"What it's like to come out as a gay person in Singapore? How do the themes of our hopes, guilt and silence play out, both in and out of the closet? Coming out can be painless for some, but stressful and even traumatic for others. Through the sharing from our guest speakers and audience in a talkshow format, Sayoni hopes to delve into the complexities of how every LGBTQ person reveals their sexual orientation, for the first time, and each subsequent time, in the coming out process. If you're thinking of coming out, have questions of your own or stories to share, come and join us for an evening of chit-chat!"
A member of the audience, Ian Johari, writing on Facebook, contributed his thoughts regarding the discussion:
"I attended my very first IndigNation fringe event yesterday. I mean, I’ve attended the ‘Pink Picnic’ for two years already (disappointingly, the crowd has been getting smaller and smaller with each passing year) but this year, since I won’t be able to attend the picnic (doing the patriotic thing of celebrating ND overseas) I decided to attend one of the other events and this seemed promising.
On a minor note, the location was lovely and the crowd was pleasantly receptive and participative. But what I wanted to talk about here was the discussion topic and the stories I heard.
The topic of the night was about coming out, for those who have, who want to, who cannot and the hows and whys.
The three guest speakers, my friend Bian and two lovely ladies, Caryn & Jin-Ee, shared intimately and candidly their coming out stories (both premeditated and accidental) and the consequences of it. The stories were as varied as the ‘fallout’. I thoroughly enjoyed listening and reflecting on them. It wasn’t only them, the audience contribution was also food for MY thought. One in particular, a well put-together young malay lady shared about how her mum found her stash of ‘Weapons of Mass Distractions/Distruction (I was too busy laughing at the description that I missed out the actual words)’ (WMDs) i.e: her sex toys, and her secret lesbian stash (which incidently happened to me too about 5 years ago. No! I don’t have a secret lesbian stash but you get my meaning) and the awkwardness that followed.
But what she shared later, about the ‘Dont Ask, Don’t Tell’ situation at home, whereby her parents knew she was homosexual but they don’t speak about it, resonated with me a lot more. I am going through the same thing, I think my father knows (he’s had enough hints and encounters) but I think it’s either he is in denial or he doesn’t want to deal or talk about it. But I do get the feeling (I could be wrong) that he just wants to hear it from my own mouth. That’s my dad, he hates hearing gossip about his family from others and would very much prefer to hear it from you yourself. That’s how we got past the issue of my smoking when I was 20.
Another thing that stood out for me was one particular young man, straight, who brought up the issue of ‘the receiving end’. How do my straight friends react in a positive manner or how DO they react to begin with when the words ‘I’m gay.’ comes out of my mouth? My reactions have been varied – ‘I knew it all along.’, ‘No? Really?’, ‘Aaahhhh! OMG! I Love you for that!’, ‘And?’ and yes, I’ve had the smirks of disgust too. Needless to say, I lost friends who smirked but I gained better ones who hugged me and loved me regardless of who I chose to love. But I have been thinking, what on earth have I foisted on my straight friends and family with those words? *grins* I truly AM sorry if what I did made you uncomfortable in ANY way. I shall be more ‘discreet’ and ‘discerning’ in my coming out from now on.
But then again, these days, I can’t be bothered to ‘come out’. I mean, seriously, how does my sexual preference affect your relationship with me again? I am who I am. In jest, I always say, the only people who ask about my sexual orientation are those who want to take me to bed! :P
One last memorable comment, came from Caryn and seconded by an audience member. ‘Coming out’ applies when you live apart from your parents and family. With most Singaporeans, that is not the case. We live at home and we want to feel ‘at home’ at home. We don’t ‘come out’, we ‘come home’. I’m a homely person and I want to be comfortable at home. I want, very much, to come home.
It was a good night. I heard stories that mirrored mine. I heard stories that inspired me. I heard stories that made me reflect of my decision to come out to my dad, who I love the most and how it would affect him.
The moderator of the dialogue session, Valerie, said this, “The reaction that follows when we come out to our family stems from their love and their worry for OUR future in a very difficult landscape; that we might end up alone with no one to take care of us.’ My dad did say that once, how he was worried that at my age, I had no wife and no kids to look after me in my old age.
Attending this talk, was another major step in my life as a gay, muslim man. I have received words of encouragement from the community about how I have grown more mature and confident with each and every small step I take in time. To be honest, I feel that at this point, I cannot regress. I can only move forward to bigger and better things. It is with this hope that move forward and maybe, just maybe, meet someone who can hold my hand as we walk down this path together.
I’m 37 this year, incidentally, I’m out to some friends and to my sister. More recently, I came out to my two favourite aunts. The reaction has been positive thus far. Why don’t I come out to more people? I guess I think it’s my choice who I come out to. It is my hope someday, one day, to have my beloved dad at PinkDot with me. But I have to remember, what burden am I asking him to carry by telling him that I am gay?"
The 8th Unofficial Pink Picnic: Our Very Own Excursion
Public Event · By Miak Siew Thursday, August 9, 2012 5:00pm Palm Valley, Singapore Botanical Gardens
Advertisement on Facebook event page:
"Four years before the first Pink Dot, we had the Pink Picnic in 2005. It’s been around all this while – an afternoon of outdoorsy pink sunshine and great conversation once a year.
So pack some food and drinks, and some extras to share with your fellow picnickers. Talk to perfect strangers and catch up with old chums from your closeted days. Imagine a different Singapore - friendlier, more fun, more loving and a little more pink.
For one afternoon, imagine a Singapore as pink as our NRIC."
Book Launch of "The Pillow Book" by Koh Jee Leong
Public Event · By D. Chua Friday, 10 August 2012 Books Actually
Advertisement on Facebook event page:
"Math Paper Press launches Koh Jee Leong's new chapbook The Pillow Book. Written in the Japanese genre called zuihitsu, these miscellaneous jottings by one of Singapore's finest poets throw a kaleidoscopic light on life in Singapore and New York."
See the official video of the event:.
Public Event · By Tania De Rozario
From 16 August 2012 at 7:00pm until September 6 at 6:00pm
Objectifs - Centre for Photography and Filmmaking 56A Arab Street, Singapore, Singapore 199753
Advertisement on Facebook event page:
""Loneliness isn't about being by yourself. That's fine, right and good, desirable in many ways. Loneliness is about finding a landing-place, or not, and knowing that, whatever you do, you can go back there. The opposite of loneliness isn't company, it's return. A place to return." - Jeanette Winterson, The Stone Gods
WHAT? Landing Places is a multidisciplinary exhibition happening in conjunction with IndigNation 2012. It features work by 10 queer artists and seeks to document experiences of how our sexualities affect the ways in which we define, create, articulate, question, reject and/or relate to notions of home. The exhibition will comprise drawing, painting, photography, collage, and animation.
WHY? For many queer individuals, ideas of home are complicated by personal identities running contrary to cultural beliefs: In domestic spaces, many teenagers mute their sexualities for fear of punishment and expulsion. Adult offspring live independently of their parents in order to articulate their own freedoms. Many simply pine for amorphous ideas of “other countries” where their natural instincts are not criminalised. Is home characterised by person, place, culture, belonging? It is space to be cherished, an entity to be built or simply, a cliché? What defines that place to which we “return”?
WHO? Landing Places is curated by Tania De Rozario and includes work by Jay Bernard (UK), Elisha Lim (Canada), Loo Zihan (Singapore), Ng Yong Heng (Singapore), Valerie Oliveiro (Singapore), Dahlia Osman (Singapore), Jane Porter (Singapore), Gavin Maughfling (UK) and Jason Wee (Singapore)."
As was the case in most years, there were censorship problems with the Media Development Authority (MDA). The organisers of the exhibition, which was given an NC16 rating, announced that they would not be screening a 52-second animated film entitled "100 Butches #9 Ruby" as a S$10,000 deposit was needed to be able to do so. Under the MDA's regulations, a Film Exhibition Licence is required for anyone who wishes to exhibit films classified as NC16 (No Admission for children under 16), M18 and R21. A temporary Film Exhibition Licence requires a security deposit of S$10,000 which will be returned upon licence termination or licence expiry.
The claymation film shows two plasticine characters in school pinafores recalling a teenage crush and was produced by Singapore-born, Montreal-based artist and graphic novelist, Elisha Lim.
Curator of the exhibition Tania De Rozario said that the film had been rated for "mature content" but the MDA did not provide further details. The animation contains no sex, violence, nudity, foul language, drug references or elements of horror. In a New York film festival (MIX NYC: New York Queer Experimental Film/Video Festival), the producer submitted it under the children's category. De Rozario added that while applying for the film to be classified, the form contained a section titled "Declaration of Content Concerns" which included the categories: sex, violence, language, nudity, drug use and themes. And under "themes", homosexuality was grouped together with child abuse and terrorism.
When notified of the rating, Lim said, "I had no idea what a dangerous and repressive environment Singapore was. Of course I'm totally dismayed, disappointed, frustrated." The exhibition license requirement was waived on the other artworks including drawing, painting, photography, collage, and animation by 10 queer artists on the theme of how their sexualities affect the ways in which one defines, creates, articulates, questions, rejects and/or relates to notions of home.
Gaily Ever After: Our Very Own Fairy Tales
Public Event · By Ng Yi-Sheng Friday, 17 August 2012 8:00pm BooksActually 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore, Singapore 168645
Advertisement on Facebook event page:
"Sit down for an evening of storytelling with four queer Singaporean writers, each bearing a fairy tale with a gay twist. Featuring Ng Yi-Sheng, Cyril Wong, Tania de Rozario and Anila Angin."
See the official video of the event:.
Are You GAYme Enough?
Organised by Oogachaga 17 August 2012 at 9.30pm. Play Club (21 Tanjong Pagar Rd, #01-02/03/04).
Advertisement on Facebook page:
"Consider yourself a master of the local LGBT scene? Do you have an archive of knowledge about the local and international LGBT history? Think you know everything about protecting oneself from HIV and STIs? And...do you want to win prizes worth more than $3500?!
Then register now as a contestant for our game show! (See how you can register for the game show to win prizes below!) All contestants will walk away with prizes provided by our generous sponsors. On top of the grand prize, the last person standing also gets bragging rights to being the ultimate winner of Oogachaga's mega event of the year!
Unwind and have some silly fun at our game booths before the show. During the show, support (or sabotage) the contestants with the audience card when they use this helpline. Stay on for the lucky draw at the end of the show to see if your numbers come up! You could walk away with extra goodies!
When? 17 August 2012 at 9.30pm. Doors open at 9pm. (Contestants may need to register earlier for a briefing.)
Where? Play Club (21 Tanjong Pagar Rd, #01-02/03/04).
Who? This event is specially organised for the LGBTQ community.
What? Contestants will be quizzed on topics about: (i) local LGBT culture (ii) local and international LGBT history (iii) HIV/STI prevention
The winner will stride proudly away with prizes worth more than $3500, which include:
- 1-year free entry to Play + bottle of champagne worth $1660 - $500 hamper from M.A.C Cosmetics - 1-month unlimited indoor tanning sessions + 1 brazilian/boyzilian wax from Fabulous Group worth $394 - Fujifilm Finepix JX310 14 Mega-pixel Camera with Camera Case & Premium Care Kit worth $213.90 sponsored by NoFrillsFactoryOutlet.com - Vouchers worth $200 from NoFrillsFactoryOutlet.com - a pair of Walking Tall shoes worth $169 - 2-year membership from Trevvy.com worth $152 - 1 party package from Pink Noise (bottle of vodka, VIP entry to ZIRCA) worth $150 - 1 discount voucher from Shuang Spa worth $50 - 1 SuperSlyde Original 250ml worth $43.90 from SuperSlyde - 1 set of dinner voucher from 8 Cafe & Bar worth $40 - 1 customised thumbdrive from Action for Aids worth $20"
Oogachaga thanked the contributors to the event via this message:
"Our biggest community event for 2012 is over and we are very grateful to our staff and volunteer team for their hard work. We also wanted to express our gratitude to our sponsors and community partners for their sponsorship as well as support in publicity. Are You Gayme Enough, is a community engagement project funded by ToteBoard Community Healthcare Fund.
- Action for AIDS, Singapore (AfA)
- Blowing Wind
- Cruise Club
- Eight Cafe & Bar
- Fabulous Group
- M.A.C Cosmetics
- Pho Stop
- PLAY Club (Official Venue Sponsor)
- Relaxy Bathhouse
- Shuang Spa
- SMZ Rainbow Shop
- Superslyde (Official Lube Sponsor)
- Superstar Sundays by DJ George Leong
- Thomas D’esthetique
- True Fitness and Bikram Original Hot Yoga
- Walking Tall
- The IndigNation SG team for their support in publicity and videography."
See the official video for the event:.
Our Very Own Stories
This event was open to the public and organised by Nicholas Deroose. It opened on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 8:00pm at The Factory, 22 Lim Tua Tow Road, Singapore 547772.
"Our Very Own Stories showcases Singaporean LGBT stories and photographs of struggles and triumph against the challenges of self-worth, self-image, discrimination and bullying. A collaboration between community photographers the exhibition seeks to inspire hope in youths to show them a future beyond the adversities that they face today."
ContraDiction 8: Our Very Own Literature
This event was the finale of IndigNation 2012. It was organised by Ng Yi-Sheng and held on Saturday, 25 August 2012 at 7:30pm at the Reading Room Singapore, #04-01/02, 21 Tanjong Pagar Road.
This was the advertisement carried on its Facebook event page:
"Our annual queer literary evening is back, with a new focus! Listen to some of Singapore's oldest works of queer literature from the 1980s, as well as works by our youngest writers from the 2010s. Featuring Ovidia Yu, Joel Tan, NUS Poet-in-Residence Jay Bernard and many more."
The official video by Weetz Seah can be seen on the IndigNation Sg YouTube channel:.
See an album of video still frames of the performers on the Facebook IndigNation SG page:.
- IndigNation: Singapore's first gay pride month
- IndigNation 2006
- IndigNation 2007
- IndigNation 2008
- IndigNation 2009
- IndigNation 2010
- IndigNation 2011
- IndigNation 2013
- IndigNation 2014
- IndigNation 2015
- IndigNation 2016
- IndigNation 2017
- PM Lee Hsien Loong allows indoor talks to be held without a police licence, 22 August 2004
- IndigNation SG's Facebook page:.
- IndigNation SG's Wordpress site:.
- A playlist of videos of past IndigNation events on YouTube: .
- IndigNation Sg's YouTube channel:.
- PLU's IndigNation website. (now defunct)
- The older IndigNation Facebook page:. Its name was changed to plu.sg in July 2016 by Jun Pow so as not to clash with the official IndigNation SG Facebook page.
This article was compiled by Roy Tan.