AOPAD (16): Strike a pose!

25299746_1541412365972055_5463306584052298658_o.jpgDude seems more into it than dudette and mama.

[Image description: Against the backdrop of a Mama White Snake publicity board, a group of three poses for a photo. A little boy stands on the left, wielding a spear and pointing it towards a little girl wielding a sabre and a woman holding a rake. Boy has garang expression, girl is poker faced, and woman is smiling.]


Mama White Snake (A non-review)

It was a riot of colours and emotions. It made me go whoa and whee, it made me laugh, and it made me think. And yes, the kids, those sssneaky onesss – whether as pandas or monks or sea critters or mini Shoo Xian and Green Snake and Mama White – almost made off with all the silverware.

Many firsts. ’tis my first W!LD RICE show, the first Pam Oei-directed play, the first time I watched on stage Ivan Heng, Glen Goei (both of whom I had only previously read of) and other theatre luminaries, and the first Alfian Sa’at play I attended (thankssss, fellow fire ssssnake!).

I’ll be back for sssssomemore!

(You want a review? Google! Excellent reviews aplenty. I don’t know how to do it justice.)

The goddess in the temple

I swim in slow-mo past Sree Ramar Temple and gasp to a stop at the traffic lights, just outside the temple entrance which faces the junction. And there, just inside the temple, on an altar, is a statue. What? I look again – it’s indeed serenity herself, exactly like the one on the altar at home. Eh, what’s she doing in an Hindu temple?

“The temple also caters to the non-Hindu devotees. Statues of Lord Buddha and Quan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) have been set up for non-Hindu devotees who frequent the temple.”

The temple’s history is intriguing too – the story of how it began as a shrine at the foot of a tree has a rawness to it.

I learn something new every day.

AOPAD (15): It’s a bird.. it’s a plane.. it’s supermoon!


Yup, the one on 3 December. And we were wondering why it was so otherworldly round and bright and clear.

[Image description: A big blob of light which is the moon hangs low over the sea, casting a narrow column of shimmering light upon the waves. The scene is framed by overhanging branches and leaves above and the beach below, with two men sitting together nearer the sea, and two women sitting some distance behind them.]

Am with Wham!

I last trampled upon the grass at Hong Lim Park in 2015. The occasion was the Purple Parade (I also showed my face at the preceding editions) and, before that, Pink Dot a further couple of years back. On Sunday, I’ll finally be back.. for the concert by an international pop sensation: “The Fabulous Recalcitrants: Songs, Poems & Passages for Jolovan Wham”.

By the way, I’m not sure what colour the “large cloth” will be (the one we’re supposed to write messages of support on) but I hope it will be fabulous rainbow hues – to represent all the people, regardless of race, language or religion or nationality, Jolovan has been helping for so many years.

Jolovan’s best friend is.. someone else. I’m not a good friend of his either. In fact, I’m not even more than an acquaintance. So why? We first met during a workshop or some event at NCSS, I think, seated at the same table (I was with a VWO then). And I already know of him by reputation alone, to be more precise, because of his gritty nose-to-the-ground work with HOME and his run-ins with MOM and assorted authorities, always fighting the good fight for exploited migrant workers and foreign domestic workers. And I admire and respect what he was (and is) doing because, unlike him, I lack the courage of my convictions.

After that, we managed to catch up twice over makan and beer and tea, swapping stories about work and life (and fundraising ideas! we’re always parched for cash it seems). It was clear from our chats, and as anyone who gets to know Jolovan will realise, that he cares for people and their rights and welfare and dignity. Sure, we all do. But most of us don’t do. And that won’t do!

Now, in the eyes of the law, he is deemed a vandal, a recalcitrant offender accused of illegal assemblies, and even a disrespect-er of our national flag. But in the eyes and minds and hearts of many, Jolovan represents justice, service to others, community spirit and, yes, patriotism.

He is not alone.

And we are not alone.

Written in response to Community Action Network’s post.



Opening paragraphs from the essay. It was originally titled “Watching Lis Mizuables in Dili”. (No, I’m kidding. Was tempted though.)

You can buy the book here.

[Image description: Photo of a page of an open book. The text is as follows:

Title: Nothing about us without us
By Alvan Yap

I blame Lisa Fisher and Mizuho Kajiwara.

We had met in the most unlikely of places and circumstances – in the capital of Timor Leste, where I was halfway through my year-long volunteer teaching stint at a school for the deaf. The intrepid duo were backpacking their way about Southeast Asia’s more remote reaches and had somehow washed up on Dili’s beaches. Over the following days, the marathon chats I had with the ladies – both deaf, conversant in sign language and eschewing hearing aids – came to be, for me, an awakening of sorts. It also sparked something more.]