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Archive for August 2009

Wow. Six months S’pore-side!

The anniversary was last Wednesday – true to recent form I didn’t post at the time.

It’s amusing how predictable moving abroad proved. My expat friends all shared the same forecast: first months good; next months bad; by six months it would be great.

They were bang on the money. For the past month or so life has been damned good.

I’m finally settled in my job, having been confirmed as a permanent employee. I enjoy the work, the office is full of nice people, and I’m learning a lot.

And J and I have met tonnes of lovely folk. We are making friends, finding a place in various social circles, and starting to feel like we fit.

Also exciting is the fact that we’ll have so many visitors between now and Christmas. I’m looking forward to sharing my shiny new life with old friends and family.

I think partly because I am proud of myself for schlepping half-way round the world and making a go of it, but seeing people I no longer connect with face-to-face is the main appeal.

But… most important of all my six-month milestones: I have my kitchen mojo back!!!!!

I barely cooked for the first five months here, and when I did it was unsuccessful, unenjoyable or both.

I always thought cooking soothed me when I was stressed, but apparently it’s the reverse – a symptom of happiness.

I have been on fire for the past two weeks. I’ve finally cracked mayonnaise (after five years of failure), and embarked on a campaign to buy friendship (caramel shortbread and angel cake = hard currency).

I have plenty more S’pore thoughts to share, but right now they comprise a mess of half-written, half-edited posts. Tell me about your lives instead!

Much love,

Elle xx

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Singapore is a bit confused when it comes to gay sex.

Lesbian sex is allowed, but outdated legal policy means hot boy-on-boy action is outlawed.

There was some excitement at the start of the year when India, which shares the same penal code (inherited from the colonial British), repealed Section 377 and decriminalised gay sex.

Would Singapore follow suit? The locals were hopeful…

Nope. In a baffling statement, Law Minister K Shanmugam said 377 would stay, because Singaporeans do not accept homosexuality. Huh?

It’s ok though; Shanmugam added “We have the law. We say it won’t be enforced. Is it totally clear? We, sometimes in these things, have to accept a bit of messiness.”

Yep, totally clear. You think the law is wrong, but you aren’t going to change it. Ok.

What does that mean for Singapore’s gay community? The city ain’t no Folsom, but during the noughties it has waxed (and waned) as Asia’s gay capital.

To find out what life is like now, your intrepid reporters hit gay club Play on Saturday and indulged in a little vox popping (although we were mostly there to dance and drink beer).

J sometimes denies his aptitude for journalism, but he’s too modest – he was off and away, grabbing men and demanding of them, “Are you Singaporean? Are you gay? What’s your life like?” Fortunately most guys were happy to stop and chat for five minutes.

Here’s what we learned:

Everyone was out to their friends and family.

White-collar workers tended not to be out at work, either because they felt it would affect their job prospects or because they didn’t consider it their colleagues’ business.

Air stewards *are* out at work. (This guy lived in London, and has also lived in Sydney since leaving Singapore – he said he wouldn’t move back to Asia.)

People are happy with the degree of freedom and acceptance they have. They describe the community as strong and see it as an important part of their lives.

It’s possible this picture was a little one-sided – when you’re out having a drink and a laugh with your friends life generally looks most rosy – but it was nice to meet so many cheerful young men.