Saturday, November 2, 2013

Yuki Is Now On Wordpress.

Hi everyone. Just dropping a notice here that I am no longer writing at this blog. I have since started a new blog, and once I find a way, I will also migrate all my posts here, to there. In the meantime, this blog will still be around as long as it can. You can look for me at Aki No Yuki (www.yukichoe.com) Thank you for your love and support all these years, and welcome there, to a new phase of my life. Take care!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apologies For Absense.

Yes, it has been 3 months since I last blogged. Some of you may know, I am going through a very difficult phase in my life the past few months, and struggling badly. However, I have been blessed by the aid and assistance I am getting now, so I am thankful that I can still be here, typing this. A dear friend assured me people wish to know my story, so I will try to get this blog lively again and will post one or two articles per week, as a way to keep myself motivated and to share my life to those who care. To everyone who follows this blog, old or new, big thanks to you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

So What Is Wrong With The Malaysian LGBT Movement For Sexual Rights?

It has been almost a year since I promised myself never to get involved in Seksualiti Merdeka again. One of the reasons was because I knew someone I love may be part of the set-up. However, the major reason was total disillusionment with the festival and the people. From what I used to believe to be a group of well-intentioned activists determined to fight for the rights of sexuality minorities, it has become a nightmare full of backstabbing, framing, glory-hunting, lies, manipulation, politics and sex parties galore. What used to be something to look forward to has become all hope lost for me.

I do not know how to quantify my experiences there. I do acknowledge that some of them helped me heaps emotionally and financially. I admit that for a short while I had guidance in seeking direction in my life. And receiving help is no excuse, reason or justification to discredit me and attempt to rally people against me just because I have different sets of values and opinions, along with wanting what is truly the best for the LGBT community especially trans people, as proven by positives happening now overseas.

We unfortunately do not have unity. Instead, we have leaders who, as if without other topics, like to talk to teenagers as young as 18 about group sex. One of them happens to be with PFLAG, and he was earlier cornered by these leaders attempting to hijack the group (listen entirely and judge for yourself). I have been at the end of such hijack attempt before when TransMalaysia was organized, and instead of reprimanding the transgender backstabber, these activists took the opportunity to put me deeper into the ice box and made her a spokesperson for an anti-bullying video. Birds of the same feather flock together would come to mind.

Insecurities arise when I mentioned I discourage sex work. Hello? This is my opinion, and that does not mean I reject sex workers. In fact, I only criticize any LGBT movement that devalue the hardships and experiences of transsexual females such as myself, especially from one famous drag performer; but bear in mind please, have I ever forsaken or ignored any member of the community, including transvestic fetishists? Have I ever condemned anyone for being in sex work? It is utterly shameful that these LGBT leaders took this as a chance to further invalidate my work, and the responses from some of the trans leaders are ridiculous indeed. Do they realize that their expressions of grievous hurt only serve to prove my point?

The treatment lashed out to me is so similar to the treatment they gave to an openly gay Muslim writer I know, just because he pointed out the obvious to the oblivious. And as sure as they tried to hatemonger to me about him being a terrorist with connections to enough religious authorities to destroy Seksualiti Merdeka, I know exactly the kind of deceptions that has intentions to make LGBTs avoid conversing with me to maintain their dipping support while crying victim. In fact, by the same chance the self-implied leader of these activists tried to sell me another story, one about my ex co-feminist for Kakak Killjoy.

I refuse to submit to such tactics, so it saddens me when a leader of a lesbian/bisexual event organizer who was also given the cold shoulder by them last year decided to pander and has been trying to desperately seek support from LGBTs there like a lost bitch. It seems that networking and connections is the priority of the people from most of the LGBT groups as they seek to blaze the trail to self-glory and patting themselves at the back after another meeting to bring everyone together for another fellowship of internal LGBT meets while kicking out those who do not conform to their views or are rejecting their stances, refusing to take criticisms for their actions as they stampede on others to get their way.

Credit must also be given to a certain HIV/AIDS prevention foundation for doing nothing much. PT Foundation does not throw people under the bus; they are content in their position as people continuously throw them under the train. They are happy to just receive funding from LGBTs and government ministries while the latter continue to discriminate – yes discriminate – transgender people as purely lost souls whom they hope one day with some programs it will make them “masculine” while transgender males seem to be non-existent to them. And what happens when LGBT matters go to the parliament? They of course do not condone the “lifestyle” which they claim is not part of their culture while hoping transgender females will one day “change”. So after many, many years of the PT Foundation’s work with religious groups, Malaysian AIDS Council, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (etc), most people in Malaysia still know nothing about LGBTs, especially the transgender population while invalidating and trivializing our inert needs as non-existent.

As the years go by, and I have been walking side by side with these groups for the past few years, the connections to the straight world is reducing to the point misinformation about LGBTs is increasing rapidly as with homophobia and transphobia. Transgender issues are becoming more and more sidelined. Lesbians are becoming marginalized within. Ideas which were stolen are now lacking as many move on from the main LGBT activism groups. In fact, they will probably respond to this posting by insecurely trying to be in denial over everything. Well, they have the right to hide themselves from truth: they have little intention of advancing the LGBT movement to the public arena unless there are some motivation for them to do so; until then they are contented to fill their coffers and maintain their jobs, soaking up connections and basking in glory of LGBT “events” with little information for the straight public while continuing their full artistic ways of LGBT expression. Opportunists, while little gets done.

So what do we have from them lately? Oh yes – The 29 ways toward an LGBT friendly Malaysia, which can easily be boxed into 3 (1 – Tell everyone to treat us right, 2 – Tell people in authority / representatives of the people to treat us right, 3 – Ask everyone to create / attend those LGBT events) boxes. The first question I could think straights would ask is – Why should I? So one wonders just how this “29” is going to be executed. I can imagine silent politicians, police arresting LGBTs, and LGBTs getting laughed at because we ask the public to stop calling us names. But I am sure the LGBT events will get them more fresh meat to fuck – oops! I mean more avenues to increase their FB friends while enlarging their connections.

The LGBT movement in Malaysia has come to the point where they are so used to having their little internal discussions, meetings and events, that they become too exclusive instead of inclusive and fail to engage with the world – the straight world. Year after year, straight people’s participation of Seksualiti Merdeka has been dwindling, and so is the straight crowd, while the LGBTs increased. As LGBTs in activism groups, being so busy with politics, or as aspiring activists wanting to get famous in the community and an ultra-liberal collective that still lacks so much knowledge in LGBT issues ending up with preaching half-truths and opinions, we have ultimately failed to provide adequate information to the rest of the non-LGBT population, to the point we only call ourselves victims quietly while sucking our thumbs when tabloids like Metro and Kosmo become the source of “LGBT education” to the straights. Yes, we failed to engage Malaysians to get to know us. And to some with best opportunities to speak for us, the fear of losing funding and social status creeps in.

Activism in Malaysia has become a popularity contest. We are too ignorant to assimilate into the norm of society and instead choose to just continue to sell creative artistic thoughts instead of getting the public to know us. We lost the battles, so there is no war to be won. So what else can we expect from LGBT activism? A hijacked and mangled “It Gets Better” campaign with videos which are mostly sharing and confession videos and not PSAs, without a next course of action (Around 425 young people reportedly killed themselves in the first 9 months of last year. Where is the push to question our government to get them to check how many of them committed suicide due to prejudice and discrimination toward LGBTs)? Lady Gaga failed to inspire us to create a wave of activism to remove censored parts of her song. International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in Malaysia was a horribly done mash up that absolutely nothing came out of it to fight homophobia (and talks to ourselves 29 times again). Things only gets done when it is convenient.

We wait for the next big hoo-hah to send whatever letter thrown towards brick walls. We can accept the blatant fact that there are no updates on almost all researches done by PT Foundation on behalf of Malaysian AIDS Council and the Health Ministry, no news on meetings with religious groups / political leaders in conferences or privately, no follow ups on previous letter campaigns and fund raising activities after they have gone silent, no next course of action after tons of forums done; in fact, I personally expect nothing whatsoever from SM, PT, or whatever, to give any individuals any glimmer of hope that things can change for us. We expect them to be absent again when Transgender Day Of Remembrance comes this year, boycotting a dissenting voice, instead of focusing and supporting – the cause. (Or worse, they may even hijack it to do their own one that rejects almost all of TDOR’s guiding principles).

We can expect more dissenters being rejected unless they toe the line. And some may even pander back for favours. But many of us left on our own accord, hoping that in the years to come, the LGBT community will start to see that nothing concrete had ever come out of some of their beloved organizations, and that new organizations will be formed to seriously addresses the LGBT issues, and most importantly, improve support from society by simply letting them get to know us. And I sincerely hope the current movement takes a hard look at what they intend to accomplish, and analyze whether they are truly going in the right direction, for the sake of everyone involved. By then, we would not create useless steps and “ways” that will end up hit by a train of incomprehension, misinformation and ignorance. We would instead concentrate on practical LGBT population building and assimilation to society, as well as education and information dissemination to the public, along with handling discrimination and prejudice at jobs, healthcare and others. We seriously do not need to talk among ourselves anymore. Let us start speaking to a Malaysian population and build beautiful bridges on our world.

Yuki Choe is a Chinese transsexual feminist who believes it can only get better when the world can get to know us. After all, there is more to advocacy than sex and glory-hounding; the main solution is simple, the movement should stop throwing tear gasses and shoot chemical water, and start communicating with those "banned" “illegal” voices.

This post is supported by “Kakak Killjoy” and “PFLAG Malaysia”.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Transsexual Woman Who Needs Gender Change On Personal Documents, Is Discriminated And Misrepresented.

I wish I can find his photo but there was none. I am talking about the picture of Judge “Justice” Mr. Mohd Yazid Mustafa, who was reported to have formally rejected the application of transsexual woman Aleesha Farhana Abdul Aziz, 26 (formerly known as Mohd Ashraf) to change her name to that of a woman, and also the gender markers to “perempuan” or female. I really want to display the judge’s photo because I need to show exactly what the face of total ignorance and bias looks like, one of third world mentality.

Two months ago when the news of Aleesha’s request broke out, Mr. Mohd Yazid claims the judgment was a difficult one to make because, quoting him, ‘it might have an impact on society’. I would ask Mr. Mohd Yazid, what kind of impact, asteroids falling into earth? Or does he think because of 1 out of 1,450 who is born with gender identity disorders causing transsexualism seeking to correct a birth defect and hopes it would be reflected on her birth certificate and identification card, society would end? To him, probably.

His excuses which was explained today, is even more ridiculous. He claims ‘there was no legal statute to grant such an application based on the factor of a sex change’. Hello? There was no legal statute to NOT grant it either. It seems Aleesha had been treated at Pantai Medical Centre here in Kuala Lumpur, so I believe she has her medical documents, but it seems that both Mohd Yazid and the other idiot, Adha Abu Bakar, seems unified in their uneducated and uninformed thinking that Aleesha’s female nature is only “external and not internal”. Furthermore, Adha claimed that there is no doctor’s report that psychologically, Aleesha is a natural woman. I say, What The F**k?! Why do I smell an obsession to sex organs here? If a female nature is external in expression, that is her gender, you f**ktards!

Mohd Yazid further shows he has total zero knowledge on gender and sex (something he shares with Adha) that Aleesha did not satisfy his poor understanding of “criteria for being declared a woman – chromosome count, and exterior as well as internal organs”. Again, What The F**k?! Someone should ask Mohd Yazid to further his studies to find out about how XY women are still women, why women with no uteruses and cervixes are still women, because he just insulted some cisgender women worldwide born with these conditions!

With his kind of medically void argument, women with breasts removed due to cancer and surgically implanted a new pair of breasts, are not women. In fact, XYY women would not be considered women to him either. I think he has a problem with women in general to make that statement. Perhaps he needs a woman with a big gaping womb that covers his face and giant breasts for him to declare her a woman. This invalidation of people’s medical condition known worldwide as Gender Identity Disorder is disturbing. Adding to that, the insistence of “The Star” newspaper journalists to be fixated with calling Aleesha with the wrong pronouns and attempted to make her a circus show, with both the article titles having the word “Man” in front.

Well, we can expect no world standard for reporting from “The Star” that has been churning out junk news for the past few weeks due to Bersih 2.0, so I doubt they would even adhere to international class guidelines such as those from Associated Press Stylebook that was updated for one sole reason - to respect transgender people, especially transsexuals. What we should expect, is a judiciary that is familiar and up to date with the medical world in regards to people living with Gender Identity Disorder. We also hope to see real judges that is learnt and informed about gender issues. Our country is severely behind in intellect and mentality, so we need judges that work based on real time information. The ultimately obtuse Mohd Yazid just does not cut it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

BERSIH 2.0: Another Way Of Looking At It.

I was still, at 11am, rushing to an appointment at Summit Subang USJ, excitingly wanting to join the Bersih 2.0 rally after that. However, I was stuck in a massive police induced bottleneck that reduced 5 lanes to 1 including the new highway towards Persiaran Kewajipan, causing a drive that usually needed 10 minutes becoming an hour (and there were not much private transportations on the street). Busses were not spared. On the Bersih 2.0 twitter, crowds were mushrooming at locations near Sogo Mall, Pudu Jail, Maybank Tower and KLCC, while the radios announced that no one had turned up just yet. After lunching and discussing business at the Summit, I tried to rush home to change only to be caught in another 3 roadblock induced jams, one across the street from Summit, near Persiaran Tujuan and another on Federal Highway. If the police were this hardworking, the crime rate here will be at an all time low. I managed to get home onboard a near empty LDP highway.

The radio at home was still declaring that though there were arrests at Sogo, Pudu and at the LRT stations, generally there was no one at the rally. However, my friend who was at Jalan Hang Tuah seems to brisk-walking while talking to me on the phone while many people were chanting in his background. That was when I knew who was telling the truth. Going without the Bersih 2.0 shirt to avoid detection at the LRT, I quickly drove to the Kelana Station where surprisingly policemen were no longer there. The KL Sentral, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek stations were closed, and I only managed to alight at Dang Wangi Station. At 2.30pm, while walking through dozens of people seemingly taking a stroll, I FaceBooked and found out shots of tear gasses and chemical laced water were already fired in some Bersih 2.0 hotspots around KL city. I was hoping to be part of the action when I was met by a large group of policemen at Jalan Raja Chulan.

Seriously, if there were “not much civilians involved at the ‘illegal’ rally”, you would not need a hundred of them in one location. By the time I reached Jalan Tun Perak, it was an awesome sight. On my right, like a scene from a Hollywood made movie, an endless flood of thousands of people were walking through the streets, with sudden rushes all over the place as water cannons were deployed. Many attempting to walk in to join this crowd were arrested by the police. I knew that it was too late to join that large gang. On my left however, were another hundred of policemen and FRUs arresting anyone suspected of wanting to join the rally. As I strolled quietly towards the Pudu bus station, with very heavy scent of tear gas still surrounding that area, one by one the police were walking with civilians, all whose hands were bound by a plastic rope, including a young couple that was somewhat surprised they were arrested.

Chasing after my friend who was running about to not be spotted by mobilizing policemen while avoiding getting caught as a stray myself, was not an easy task, but I did manage to reach Jalan Bukit Bintang, and then the Jalan Hang Tuah and Jalan Imbi intersection by directly walking to the policemen and asking for directions. After all, “berani kerana benar “, right? This would probably keep me safe. The police themselves seemed red-eyed and dazed, so knowing they were still distracted by the gigantic scenery upfront, I took the opportunity to go along Jalan Hang Tuah on foot looking for my fat guy friend in pink and found him with the group at Stadium Merdeka which was guarded by the police at all entrances. Then it dawned upon me that we at least reached the targeted destination safely. Elsewhere, the Bersih 2.0 Twitter reported that their memorandum was unable to be handed over to the Istana as they were blocked.

We walked through Jalan Petaling where I was told how it all started. By then, Bersih 2.0 was over. We ended the afternoon at the mamak around central market, where Bersih 2.0 supporters and police force who ended their hostility were also around. There, through social media, we were able to get all the latest news of the aftermath, involving several people from the steering committee. Some of whom were even arrested. As we FaceBooked and twittered away, revelations of Bersih 2.0 supporters being beaten bloodied, and hospitals around the Puduraya area getting tear gassed made me sick to my stomach. As evening comes, at home in my room, news of this rally made international headlines throughout the world making them our witnesses, as videos after videos were released via social media showing the violence of policemen and FRUs against a peacefully done rally. The mass media again lied through their teeth to contain the government wrong doings. And many of us were witnesses of what really happened at Bersih 2.0.

I am deeply regretful to have missed the crux of the action before me, because I believe one has to go through the ordeal to really understand what was won there. It was freedom. The Bersih 2.0 supporters knew exactly what they were doing. No trash was thrown. The streets were clean. No building was vandalized. But what happened today perhaps vindicated my presence there and validated what Bersih 2.0 is for. “Peaceful?” the New Straits Times declared. “Defiant” was how the Star painted the Bersih 2.0 supporters. And within the first few pages, attempts to downplay Bersih 2.0, lies and deception, wordplay that attempted to demonize participants, and even a show of inflated ego by the Home Minister, showed exactly why we need reforms not only in the election system, but the government system as well.

This is the truth; I saw with my own eyes many more on the streets itching to join Bersih 2.0, but were not allowed to join the rally with the threat of arrest by the police. And many who tried to sneak in were arrested after all. The police did their best to stop supporters from all states at bus terminals to the highways to the LRT. In the end, please do not insult my intelligence; I have been at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium at near full capacity to judge. It was indeed easily tens of thousands of supporters on that road near Jalan Tun Perak, as many peeking down the LRT train at Central Market can see themselves, and even on ground. (I do not know about KLCC because I am not there, but I heard it was a huge group as well). Yes, as most would realize, the number could have been much, much more. Also, a friend once told me, a good liar needs a good memory. The mainstream newspapers backtracked on their words, were inconsistent in their reporting and clashed ideas in terms of what happened. The police were able to control the situation simply because the protest was peaceful; until they started firing.

And yes, Tung Shin Hospital was hit by the tear gasses and chemical water as well. At the time I was not there, so how did I know? Because everyone I asked were consistent with their story of what happened with pictures to prove. Unlike the media that brushed off this unthinkable act, along with contradicting reports all the way on radio and newspapers. The government again acted indecisively; they knew the international media is watching and Bersih 2.0 would love to let the world see how the policing works here, so why the hell did they step on a seen trap? Why would they react violently against peaceful protests? The latter was a question our dear information minister stuttered like a child to answer at Al-Jazeera’s channel.

The incredible traffic jams that lasted two days were due to the police, not Bersih 2.0. Any person of a reasonable thinking capacity knew that it was just the police being desperate enough to avoid more people coming in to Kuala Lumpur city, not “maintaining order” as claimed. If the police had really wanted to guard the rally, they would have just stopped all intercity roads going towards Stadium Merdeka like the MRR1, Jalan Kinabalu, Jalan Syed Putra and many others. The police force was just paranoid and overreacted to the situation by blocking all access roads across the whole territory of urban Selangor. The same paranoia that caused the Home Minister to declare a call to action for a peaceful march for a clean, fair and just election, as “illegal”. And correct me if I am wrong, there is not one single law available to arrest people with shirts associated with any movement, yet the police force who was supposed to protect its people, found just simply wearing a symbolic yellow Bersih 2.0 shirt a big offence.

Bersih 2.0 somehow brought out the worse of the federal government and their authorities. Whether it is the fact that the police, with such commitment and hard work at stopping a peaceful rally, failed to stop the mat rempit menace and snatch thefts. Or the thoughts that came out from some minister’s mind about the alleged “damage” to economy amounting to billions. Even lazy-to-drive-outside-KL-for-clients-during-demonstration taxis were given wasted space in the newspapers for giving excuses on staying back and charging ridiculous rates, and much more. However, I would look and say the Bersih 2.0 rally did bring out the best in people. 1Malaysia happened in the most extraordinary circumstances, where all races, all religion, all education backgrounds, all ages, all gender, all sexuality, and all the factors of Malaysian people, gathered in the midst of scorn by orders of the Home Ministry. A proud, priceless moment in Malaysian history however the government will try to spin and ignore its importance.

Democracy also happened. What cannot be expressed in votes, were expressed in numbers of marching people who came against all odds, who braved the wave of tyranny, in friendship of the strangers around them that they can now call friends, to absolutely get their voices heard, voices that were usually silenced by the media and the government. Chants of reforms, realizing that there is a better future for Malaysia beyond the walls of the coconut shell we have been living under for so long, resounded for that brief couple of hours amidst the pain in their eyes and nostrils caused by tear gasses. The worse kind of freedom is one that you do not even know you have and are bound far away from it. However, the 9th of July 2011 will be remembered by many as the day many awakened and realized that they have been had, and the news will spread fast on what we have missed from the government for so long, and what they have not been telling us, to the lies they have been feeding the public for decades.

I sincerely, as a citizen of Malaysia, really hope that the federal government, instead of being defensive, would effectively join us to seek change. I humbly ask the federal government to finally look in the mirror themselves and start serving the people instead of attempting to brainwash and keep them out of the loop with the media. The people’s interest should come first, not themselves. It is time that countless letters to the government be replied, services be improved, corruption be addressed in the best possible manner, and stop wasting money on projects that will drain our finances for the sake of pocketing from the people. The rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer, so it is time that we Malaysians step out as equal partners to each other, with equal opportunities. One may wonder why I am writing this, that negates from Bersih 2.0’s demands. It actually transcends even that. One clear message we have sent on this day, is that we can unite as one, for a common Malaysian cause and to defend anything that is worth risking our lives and livelihood for. I can finally say, seeing what happened in those few hours, being in the climate of love and courage during a time of atrocity, I am very proud to be Malaysian. Thank you Bersih 2.0 for the experience, showing our hearts out to the government. We hope our future leaders will one day take the same lead, to overcome all the roadblocks for a better Malaysia.

(Many thanks to those who were there one way or another and saw a part of our Malaysian history in the making, especially my few transsexual sisters who represented our small community with their big hearts on fire in love.)

(This post is dedicated to the illusive fat guy in pink: Read his first hand account here in DubMeShalom)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yuki's Tips: How To Be Gastronomically Green.

As we head towards an age of environmental consciousness, more people are looking for ways to go green. Green dining is a relatively new concept that recently reached Malaysian shores, with an increasing number of eateries and restaurants promoting eco-friendly dining facilities that lessen the impact to the environment.

Individual health has become a major concern with an increasing number of patients battling heart and cardiovascular problems as well as diabetes that plagued countries across the globe. These greatly involve bad eating habits and incorrect diet that increases health risks even for children.

Green Dining is not only about sustaining the earth; it is also about sustaining our lives.


Produce

Buying locally produced food, or better yet growing our own, can reap incredible rewards for our lives, other than saving the environment. The purchase of sustainable foods, especially those organically grown, supports the maintenance of ecosystems and agriculture for generations to come, while reducing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers than potentially harms our health. It helps a country’s economy and drops pollution rates by lessening transportation and travel time between producers, distributors and consumers.

Organic fruits are tasty, fresh and healthy for our diets and fights heart disease and cancer. It promotes natural beauty by promoting skin regeneration and increases body hydration and body functionality.


Seafood

When you go to your next seafood restaurant trip, do think how many sea animals have been caught whether by purpose or accidently, and then left at the sea dead or injured, like some sharks that are caught and their fins cut off for our later consumption while they are thrown back into the ocean without them to limp and die. This slowly destroys the eco-system, damage the habitat and harm the marine life. Yet, these are the symptoms of the efforts of our beloved fisherman to make sure we get our feast of large prawns, favourite fishes and sharks’ fin soup.

70 percent of the world’s fisheries have been over-fished to the point of near depletion, presenting a scenario where in the future there will not be a steady supply of fish from reliable sources to dine on. While fishes like tuna, sardines, salmon and mackerel are heavily advertised as prime fishes to eat due to its omega-3 content and calorie reducing properties, they often contain high dosages of PCBs, mercury and other toxic contaminants that pollute the waters that present a health hazard to children as well as adults especially women who are childbearing if consumed more than once a week.


Meat and Poultry, Eggs and Milk

Meat preparation for the general market is harmful to the environment as it increases greenhouse gas emissions with its factory based farming, transportation and has huge wastage and pollution levels. But there are types of meat that are less impactful, such as chicken, fish and eggs. It always pays to go vegetarian with a milk diet for energy, or at least take smaller portions of meat.

And if you are into animal rights, you could also try to check on the welfare of the chickens that lay our eggs, for instance, whether they are kept in captivity without any freedom of movement for the rest of their lives, or injected with antibiotics, bovine growth hormones or other substances. Growth hormones are often injected into cows to increase milk production. These may end up within your body once you consume them.


Coffee, Tea and Bottled Water

Most of us drink coffee and tea without realizing that the plantations built to harvest their seeds contribute to tropical rainforest deforestation and habitat destruction especially for birds. Many growers resort to chemicals and pesticides to mass produce in meeting demand. However, there are alternatives. Switch to organic coffee. Organic coffee farmers are required to avoid pesticides and rotate crops to maintain natural soil fertility. You can also get coffee from bird-friendly or fair trade sources.

Bottled waters are unavoidable as they are cheap and convenient. Most manufacturers are now heavily promoting dispensers, especially filtered water dispensers, for home, officers and around the neighbourhood in order to cut down on the use of bottles. We can do our part by reusing the bottles at least another three to four times, which is still safe to use. Also look at the manufacturer’s details on the bottled drinks, and only buy from organizations that do not need to travel much to supply them. This would encourage facilities to serve by state and discourage much transportation, which also saves their cost.


Try These Easy Tips To Be More A Green Diner.

• Say no Styrofoam and Polystyrene when you take-away your food. Use a tiffin carrier or reusable containers instead. Or get yourself a bento box or lunch box.

• Bring your own cup or bottle the next time you head to a fast food outlet or kiosk.

• While you are at it, bring your own utensils as well.

• No more plastic bags. Hand-carry your take away food instead. Work your muscles!

• Do not waste food. Make sure finish food that is stored. If you really cannot finish it, then pack and store the leftovers.

• Really, why do you need straws? And seriously, you need lids on your cups too?

• Go vegan. If you cannot, go vegetarian. Remember, meat contributes to global warming.

• Start your own garden and grow your own food. You can always start with some pots if you do not have space.

• Look for green restaurants to dine in.

• Avoid seafood and buy sustainable foods.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Five Months – Part Two: The One Year Wait For Godot, The Death, And That Accident.

("Five Months" are stories of some events that had happened in my life leading up to December 2010)


Starring Role

It was May last year when Singaporean theatre director Rohaizad Suaidi and Malaysian independent artiste Jerome Kugan personally approached me and seasoned actress Dara Othman to be involved in a play that is the reinterpretation of the Samuel Beckett classic, Waiting For Godot. So instead of two homeless tramps on a street during the World War, the first idea that came out was actually two sex workers on a street at a red light district in Kuala Lumpur. Then the final new adaption was finalized as two transgender female sex workers on a red light district. And I was picked to be one of the two.

We were barely two weeks into our initial meetings when the project was halted due to Rohaizad’s inability to commit because of his work. The project was then passed to a certain Ms. Kimmy after that, but for the past one year, there was no movement on the production. Until Kimmy Kiew called me up, explaining to me that the project is now on under the umbrella of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). I went to KLPAC for the first time, and had a short audition. Two weeks later, while attending a forum at Penang, I received a call from Kimmy that I secured the part, and will start rehearsals the following week.


The Evolution Of Waiting For Godot

There I met my co-star Fairuz Tauhid, who will eventually be Estragon or Gogo, while I was given the role of Vladimir. After much deliberation on the script, we managed to change some words into Malay and even one in Chinese. The tree was replaced with a lamp, the mount into stairs, and Vladimir’s hat became my hair band. Rehearsals were intensive within the space of two months, with almost all my evenings after my current job and most Saturdays and Sundays reserved for rehearsals under Kimmy.


(from right: Fairuz Tauhid, Kimmy Kiew, Jerome Kugan, and me)

Working with Kimmy and Jerome (who played the boy who in the play’s interpretation, comically, a manly transgender woman) was particularly satisfying while the always moody Fairuz Tauhid did share some of his brilliant traditional dance choreography on our short dance. Angel Chang was roped in as our stage manager, and we all have a good working relationship. It was tiring and taxing especially for me, having to stretch my hours of activity and reduce my hours of sleep, however I could not afford to compromise my 9-6 bread and butter job, yet I do not wish to neglect my responsibilities to the play.


Shocks

The complexity during the two months of rehearsals was compounded by the news of the passing of me and Jerome’s close friend, Benjamin McKay. I was just having dinner with him the night before with our friends, so it came as such a shock to me. Then on my way home one night, I was hit by a white Toyota Caldina WQE 8077 owned by a fella named Othman; and to add salt to my misery, even though photos and proof clearly saw my car side badly dented and his bumper fell to indicate he banged my car, due to racial profiling, disturbingly, he got the benefit of doubt and favour from the traffic police, and I got summoned for being crashed at. Apparently, WQE 8077 has a history of dangerous driving.

[sapa tau ...keter ni...toyota caldina putih. WQE8077. kurang ajar punya driver. kluar masuk kluar masuk lane laju..semata mata utk kluar ke naik ke flyover nun di belah kiri jalan. lepas kena hon, siap kejar..pastu benti tgh jalan..tayang torchlight ...bodoh nya orang. pastu siap main kejar kejar..benti lagi..pastu siap nak turun keter tengah jalan..nak ajak gaduh guna torchlight coleman..bodoh la lu mamat.semoga lu cepat mati..cepat kena tanam..cepat kena makan cacing. WQE 8077 toyota caldina putih....WQE 8077 TOYOTA CALDINA PUTIH. Tue 18-Sep-2007 00:21 Posted by:orang tengah marah]




Rising Above

I successfully caused some trouble for Othman’s brother for misusing the name of one of the heads of police to threaten me, and absorbed the “bapuk” calls from the ultimately shallow and uneducated Othman who probably would not go far in his life in making so many enemies with his white Toyota Caldina WQE 8077. I also decided to give Benjamin McKay’s funeral and wake a miss, because I know I would not be able to hold myself if I go. So I continued to our rehearsals, without a car, and missing my friend. I did not know how I managed to get to rehearsals, let alone to go to work. But thanks to the efforts of my friends, work colleagues and theatre partners, I was able to go all the way across the long journey.

It was ironic that this owner of WQE 8077 is a Muslim and committing his sin during Ramadan. What goes around comes around and he will pay for his sins. As for me, more adventures lie ahead in my life.


(Continued from "Five Months - Part 1".)

Monday, January 3, 2011

One Hard Malaysia.

2010 had totally been anti-1Malaysia, and our government failed to do anything about their promises of a unified nation. It had been a year that promised so much, and yet it produced more of the usual shit that we can expect from our country. There is no one left to trust, as even the opposition voices cannot be believed anymore too, as we find ourselves asking that same question – when is it going to change?!

The Home Ministry under Hishamuddin Hussein is commited to make sure they fire more tear gasses and water cannons as they yet again face dangerous threats to the nation such as – candlelight vigils and peaceful rallies. And police brutality went on for another year unchecked as more and more cases on abuse of power by the police force flood the headlines of internet news portals while as usual, the mainstream media continued to keep silent. Selvachandran was lucky it was only a couple of teeth he lost; three teenagers were shot dead Aminulrasyid style as police violence and corruption rage on.

PERKASA is still waging war against non-muslims to the extent, no matter now they word it, the meaning is still the same. They demand non-muslims be confined to second-class citizenship which in irony, we excelled while those who expected government handouts and “special” rights continue to fail in sociality and business. Their racism went unchecked, and Ibrahim Ali seemed to be invulnerable from ISA or Sedition Act as many others were threatened with it in the name of “national security” from hypocrites.

Of course, religion again was big shit news everywhere, as the year ended with the Prime Minister’s aides asking the removal of crosses, the banning of hymns with other ridiculous requests during his visit to a Christmas party. I wonder if Obama were to come, will Putrajaya then remove all Islamic religious symbols as a token of respect? After all, the incident showed a guest gets to call religious shots on the host.

There are of course many other anti-1Malaysia tales, most of it caused by government bodies themselves, but no anti-1Malaysia tale is as sickening as the case of Azwan Ismail, the editor and engineer who appeared in a video where he talks to LGBT youth to affirm them and encourage them to not to give up on life. And what did he get in return? Death threats and verbal abuse, including condemning him to hell, the very things you do not tell your LGBT youth unless you wish them to feel worthless enough to kill themselves. Again LGBTs are persecuted and misrepresented by media liars.

Whether you like it or not, LGBTs are a population of Malaysia. The citizens of this country are one with Malaysia as they are born there. Malays, Chinese, Indians and whatever skin colour should not get in the way of unity because unless we are really sick or we are aliens, our blood colours are all red. Keep religious believes to yourselves, because honestly if my lucky stone were to tell me to kill infidels and homosexuals, then I have to reflect whether it is really the lucky stone, or is it my own bias interpretation of it.

I wonder why we are not able to make things simple and just do the fundamentals of all humanity, the golden rule: do unto others what you want others to do unto you. This line transcends the many teachings of faith and religion. Unfortunately, people prefer to borrow power to fulfill their insecurities, whether it is a gun-trotting policemen or a Muslim seeking self-righteousness from God while smoking. The politics of democracy has failed to unite our nation, and the misuse and abuse of religion continues to divide us all.

Can 1Malaysia still happen? Surprisingly, a week ago it did. On the 26th of December 2010, the Malaysian national football team took on Indonesia. For two hours, 1Malaysia happened. We were one. There was no race, religion, colour, nationality, heck some of my LGBT friends were present. No one cared who the person sitting next to them was. It was the first gathering of yellow shirts that does not have RELA and police officers bombarding and tormenting the thousands. We were all together supporting our national team.

We want justice and an equal Malaysia. If the end justifies the means, then let football be our religion or party.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Five Months - Part One: Work, Advocacy and Sisters.

Life is full of different corners to turn into, and however we move about, we would always remember the roads we ventured through, and as we come back to familiar pathways, we would know what to do and perhaps even manage to make a better use of the road. The months starting from June have brought for me an amazing journey. I was still recovering from a broken heart when suddenly I was asked to pull out of Seksualiti Merdeka due to my inability to function as an advocate after that moment of hurt and pain caused by a recent failed love.


This is a job for…

In terms of my full time job, the month had a high and a low. I managed to get more licensees in within the space of two months than I ever did in a year. On the other hand, the event management team, one that I highly recommended, that was supposed to handle one of the biggest highlights of the year for Malaysia, pulled the plug on us at the very last minute, jeopardizing our campaign. Fortunately, we were able to recover a portion of it later, and there will still be a celebration in the end for the no.1 cartoon brand in Asia, for his 40th Birthday.


Footie Madness

It was also the month of the World Cup, which ended with mixed emotions for me as I walked out on England with 20 minutes to go during the game in which they trail 2-4 to Germany. I get the feeling I am never going to see England win the World Cup in my lifetime. However, Holland nearly did. I really hope to see the day either teams lift the trophy. I nearly missed the entire World Cup season because I could not afford to watch the matches outside and I did not have “Astro” at home. Luckily, the owner of Darter’s Home Pub at Damansara allowed me to bring and drink only water (literally) throughout the matches and the food at Kelana Jaya’s Laila’s was quite affordable for a posh place. So I was able to capture the full excitement right until the end.


That Transsexual Forum

In early July, I attended the Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) for Transgender (TG) community in Penang. One problem I have with the forum is the title, not all trans people’s rights were discussed; the transgender population’s existence has barely anything to do with sex except Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) and sexual orientation, and the whole forum is about transsexuals, not about transgender people. The brief inclusion of trans men did nothing to the fact that for a public forum, issues that plague the gender variant community, such as school safety, insurance, trans phobia was not highlighted, and in its place were the tiresome rants on sex change, HIV/AIDS and medical care. I have disagreements with one doctor on panel for implying that the SRS is the holy grail for all transsexuals, putting all non-ops under the bus. Perhaps my biggest disappointment is that you have three panelists with the sign “Dr” attached to their names, but backdated science of transsexualism were used, and all were unaware with the recent late 2008’s discovery of two transsexual genes. However, considering the circumstances in Malaysia, at least, it is a good start for us.















Oh, My Sisters...

Mixing with the trans people from PT Mak Nyah there was also an experience for me. Except for a few among the leaders whom I respect, some of them still practise the mak ayam, anak ayam behaviour from a standpoint of having superiority complex. And there are some who are flirtatious and speak like they were having an orgasm, probably in an attempt to seek attention. Such is the overcompensating and insecure attitude of many mak nyahs, one even tried to put me down by saying I am just a “pondan” just like anyone else. Correction, I do not use outlandish terms. The science says I am female, and so are they. And by how I live my life, I am not like anyone of them. We should be proud of our diversity. To try to pull everyone down to their league is at best disappointing. After the forum, I made a choice to not follow PT Mak Nyah back to KL, and instead spent time with friends to visit an NGO at Penang and have a taste of the food life there at Padang Kota Lama before heading home.

The Call

Perhaps, better than the experience of being at the forum, eating the famous and marvelous foods of Penang, and enjoying the company of Dayalan and Shieko in their car on the drive back to KL (all of us counting numbers off car plates for fun to stay awake), was the result of an audition I attended weeks before at KLPAC. While brooding over the forum and the sisters at the hotel room alone, I received a wonderful call from KLPAC resident director Kimmy Kiew. My heart skipped a beat. It is about “Waiting For Godot”.


Next: "Five Months - Part 2".

Monday, May 17, 2010

Discovering Sexuality.

Just after midnight crossing into Saturday the 10th of April 2010, something happened that changed my life by many degrees, and also challenged my perception of myself sexually. It was then I noticed how emotionally immature I am in handling relationships, and realize who I would like to spend my life with. I have never been comfortable with my own skin but that couple of hours of passion opened my eyes to see my comfort zone.

That one night stand left me into such emotional wreck, longing for something more when the other party specifically just wanted someone for the night. I never felt such tingling sensation in my heart looking at the person walking away to the car after that event. It made my bed smell of roses in love. It made me special. It also made me feel like a virgin woman. I still do not like sex but I finally am hooked to being with someone.

That someone identifies as a butch. And that made me check on my history. My first girlfriend when I was boy-acting, is a boy to me. Then my ex-fiancee is a tomboy. My ex-husband is a trans man. That night, I realized that if anything made me a lesbian, it was that pleasure, that insane passion that chewed my heart into bits. It was not the sex. It was the warm feeling of being comfortably naked, and with someone I really love. And everything about it is right, the moment, the timing, the kiss, and of course, the person.

It was made to last for one night. She does not want anything more than that. And I do not blame her. She knew I wanted more. So she goes back to her life with her girls and partying along with her career, and I am stuck with myself after giving her the last piece of me that I can ever give to anyone. I cannot handle the emptiness and the loneliness, the kind that I have never experienced. I have so many friends around me, yet I feel so void.

Many other thoughts came across during the past one-month plus. More regrets of my teenage years when I forced myself to conform to the expectations of church, friends and family of me to be a boy, based on their transphobic whims that affected my growth. As a Christian I grieved my soul, as a daughter my suffering to be a son was less important as my filial duties, as a friend no one truly understands the pain of living against who I am.

I conclude that I am emotionally stunted and only recently started to work on myself in that area. Almost a decade of suppressing my female identity led to no growth at all spiritually and emotionally. I was literally a zombie living life at another dimension. It was only when my soul returned home after I started transitioning that I am growing again emotionally. I cannot take the fast love and fast break up with her. My brain is clear but my soul responds childishly. She broke a 24-year-old heart in a 34-year-old woman.

I always assumed I am asexual who is bisexual by attraction, but I never had people of any sexual orientation haunt my mind like strong lesbians do. I never knew such feeling of misery now that we are staying away from each other. It is the sum of all the scars I have ever experienced when loving women like her. And this loss is still an open flesh wound that is poured salt and iodine over and over again, and it still would not let me go.

Commitment is no longer something I frame myself into since the best woman in my life is now officially gone and ignoring me away. There are no signs that she will ever be strong and mature enough to handle a commitment anyway. Even if she does, the damage between us is done though I already dedicated a space in me for her for the rest of my life. Or she may be with another girl. Watching her grow and spending life with her is now a dream. I may probably be the only idiot who would still love her once she hits 50 plus and all wrinkled. But I will always love her, and hope she gets the life she wants.

I now crave for the other component part of the night that I got. I no longer want any emotional attachments. I want to be caressed again. I want someone to be on top of me once more. I want to feel the pleasure, the touch, the strength and the kiss. That hard but sweet smooth kiss that I never got when I kissed a man. The gentle heartbeat my body feels when we were close. The warmth from her hot blooded body holding me so tight.

Yes, I like being with a butch lesbian. That soft skinned cream pie with strong arms to keep me entertained. Now I have another strong reason to get my Gender Reassignment Surgery done as soon as possible, to really slim down and take care of me. Perhaps when a butch digs into me later, I will no longer be an asexual and may even like the sex. I crave the sensation of having a bold, authoritative, strong woman on my side of the bed. In my soul, I know I can never love anyone again, so all I will do is just close my eyes.