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Because women are naturally ‘ugly’- The Mold & my Repentence
Articles - Commentary
Written by AnJ   
Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:29

The 'Perfect' Woman


When i first picked up the book ‘Beauty Myth: How images of beauty are used against women’ by Naomi Wolf, i wasn’t expecting to repent.

Oppression against women... not me! How can that ever be?

Not with my belief that women are on par with men in terms of intelligence and its many forms.... or my conviction that women are presentable in the public sphere and that they make good in society. I pitch for equality and meritocracy for all genders. I am definitely for women, not against women.

Even before i read the book, i made it a point not to comment on how someone looks unless she/he is looking ‘good’. If i can’t say anything pleasant, i don’t say anything at all. I find people who go ‘hey, you have dark eye rings/pimples/wrinkles’ or ‘you are getting really big-sized/fat/a tummy huh?’ particularly agitating. The rule of thumb is simple: if whatever you want to say makes your friend feel bad and it ain't gonna help, shut up. If you think you are informing her of something she doesn’t know... guess what? Not a chance. She has probably scrutinized herself in the glass 1000 times. All you had was a perfunctory glance.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 January 2011 14:56
We are recruiting volunteers!
Articles - Announcements
Written by irene   
Sunday, 07 March 2010 15:52
Have you felt that Sayoni has changed your life? Do you feel like doing something for the community? Perhaps you would like to meet more people while having fun at the same time? 

Sayoni is recruiting volunteers for our upcoming activities and events. We welcome everyone to join us in making the upcoming events possible. The first upcoming event would be Sayoni Anniversary Party, which will require many helping hands! 

Please write to irene [at] sayoni [dot] com if you would like to volunteer. We are all waiting!
Last Updated on Sunday, 14 March 2010 15:13
‘Saving Face’: the day i considered fake marriage
Articles - Coming Out
Written by AnJ   
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 19:43



I love Chinese New Year [CNY].
Every CNY, i would disappear among the crowds at Chinatown where the New Year bazaar takes place. How i love the hustle and bustle. A myriad of colors- red dashes everywhere and fruits of every kind. A gamut of goods- pastries, hair accessories, lucky charms and all. Away from the bazaar, the family would get ready with all things new. Two changes of clothes, a pair of new shoes and a bag are necessities for each member of the family. Spring cleaning beckons... the kitchen floor receives its most rigorous scrub of the year amidst squabbles about doing it right.

This year, i went home for 3 days. During the short stay, we went out for a Chinese movie ‘True Legend’ together... where i spent much of the 2 over hours shrieking [every time i think the protagonist was going to plummet to the ground from an enemy’s sword slash or iron fist punch], much to the annoyance of my little sister. The family outing was heart-warming, and a rare treat for a father who works seven days a week.

Outside of the immediate family is where a fresh set of challenges lies.


Last Updated on Monday, 18 July 2011 20:59
Ending the War
Articles - Faith
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 21 February 2010 10:16

Image from Glenkirk


"Fridae has been told that a total of 85 people including filmmakers Sun Koh and Royston Tan have lodged police reports over the long Chinese New Year weekend about pastor Rony Tan's offensive comments concerning gay men and lesbians in an online video."

Read the rest of the article here.


Freedom of religion is a tricky thing. Take it too far and you can justify theocracy, give it too little and you have oppression. When freedom of religion and freedom of speech attempts to go together, it becomes even more of an unnavigable thicket.

Did Pastor Rony Tan make a mistake? Of course he did. He said things that were both ignorant and arrogant, as well as extremely bigoted. He acted in a way that no religious leader should have, in openly disparaging another religion, especially without much basis. Very few people would say that what he said was completely acceptable. And he has been reprimanded for it, by the ISD no less. The implications on this being considered a national security issue are for another author to debate thoroughly, but this author believes the use of the ISD to be heavy-handed and to send a chilling effect on political discourse and legitimate criticism of religion.

The ground gets more slippery when one considers his remarks against the queer community. I watched the video and found myself rolling my eyes at his ignorance. But what's new? He is only echoing what every other pastor says, when they might choose to speak on the issue. I am not sure he has had the opportunity to know better, and even if he hasn't, whether he even realises the damage he is doing. After all, he is doing what a lot of religious leaders do: latch on to one issue of moral significance and use it to gain popularity and following.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 March 2010 19:02
New site launch!
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Monday, 15 February 2010 00:00


Four years after we first opened the doors to the world, Sayoni is proud to present our spanking new renovated site. We didn't just renovate the apartment -  we built a mansion and moved in all the old furniture, installed a pool and a tennis court, and added a gym just for good measure. Why? All to make your visiting experience so much better.

So what's new? Here are the main highlights.

Under One Roof!

No, not just the lamest sitcom in Singapore history. All the various components of the old site is under one banner, and you can browse the forum and articles without leaving the main site, as well other check out other features, such as the Queer Women Survey and Summer Camp. You are also able to search the entire site now.


We have expanded the profile section such that you can add as much or as little information as you want. Want to find out if that smart-sounding girl on the forum is single? Check her profile!


Along with an expanded profile, you can now add certain members as friends, giving them the ability to communicate with you by Private Message. Yes, our onerous (to everyone, including us) system of granting PM privileges manually is gone! We are giving YOU the control over who is allowed to talk to you.


Events organisation has been moved out of the forum - now there is a dedicated Events section, which is easier to access and keep track of. The Events room in the forum is closed with immediate effect.


Classifieds is also its own section now. However, the classifieds room in the forum will remain open for a short while. You are encouraged to move your ads to the section before it is closed!


Want to reach our 1800+ and growing network of women? We are now open for in-page advertising. Contact us.


We now have a user guide, if you are completely clueless as how to navigate this site. However, if you are stranded on an island after a plane crash, we really can't help you.

And there is so much more. We are here to serve YOU, so if you have feedback, or feature requests, head on over to our forum, or just contact us privately.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 June 2010 01:22
Correction: Sayoni Survey Report 2008
Articles - Announcements
Written by sayoni   
Friday, 22 January 2010 01:10

We would like to note that there has been a correction made to the report on page 33, as there was a decimal place error made in the field for respondents who live with their immediate family in an HDB flat. The data was previously 5.7%, it has now been corrected to 57%. You may download the corrected report here:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 March 2010 11:57
Oogachaga Women Support Group
Articles - Announcements
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 20 December 2009 01:11



OC Women is a personal development group for lesbians and women who love
women. Through individual development, reflection and heart-to-heart
discussions, we aim to create a personal oasis – time and space for every
woman who wants to grow to better understand herself, her relationships, and
the community that she lives in.

The fourth run of OC Women will be a ten-session programme commencing in
late January 2010. Women aged 25 years and above are invited to share the
OCW experience.

Please write to [email protected] for details.

Review: Taking Woodstock
Articles - Entertainment
Thursday, 15 October 2009 00:00

The original Woodstock Festival took place in 1969 and was later known as a pivotal cultural moment in history. It originated as a corporate venture that brought great artists together in front of a 500,000-strong audience. In 1970, a documentary was made about the music festival. Elliot Tiber, the man who offered the use of his family property to the festival’s organisers, published his story in 2007. Subsequently, Ang Lee (of Brokeback Mountain fame) based his movie Taking Woodstock on Elliot’s memoir.

This, of course, I learnt from Wikipedia. Yes, I am unfortunately quite bereft of music history knowledge and shockingly clueless about the hippie subculture. Fortunately for me, I found the movie quite accessible, and I think that Ang Lee was throwing the net wide, allowing those of us who may not know their pop culture history to have their heartstrings tugged by a simple, human story.

Taking Woodstock is, at heart, the timeless, tireless tale of a young man’s journey. While putting together the music festival, Elliot also finds freedom and courage, and we gradually get to know him, his family, the circumstances surrounding his life and what it could have been like for a gay man growing up in those times. Demetri Martin gives a believable, heartfelt performance as Elliot, so I was surprised to hear that he is mostly known for being a comedian. The entire cast delivers a stellar show, from the excellent Liev Schreiber as the crossdressing Vilma to Elliot’s inimitable parents. The storytelling is fairly well-paced, with a good mix of comedy and drama that keep the slower scenes at the beginning interesting.

With so much going on in the foreground, the actual music of Woodstock becomes mere backdrop. Ang Lee’s Woodstock is far from a documentary about the times, or even about Woodstock itself. I would prefer to call it a portrait of the emotional life of the times. The movie brings home the peripherals of Woodstock, personalising the environment and culture without trying to show what many would call the heart of it – the music. For me it was like a sepia photograph, giving a layer of reality to the sixties without taking the tint of nostalgia from it. This was perhaps the filmmaker’s recognition that no one could capture the grandeur of such a cultural icon.

As a portrait, I thought it was very successful. I caught a glimpse of a bohemian laissez-faire, an idealistic attitude to life that wasn’t afraid of being spiritual, trying new things, being different or just being. The movie shows us the beauty of an era that was ripening into a particular brand of individualism and an increased acceptance of LGBT people in the world.

Taking Woodstock clearly celebrates the hippie culture, although it does raise some possibly problematic issues such as drug and alcohol use. LGBT viewers may also be able to relate to Elliot’s closeted situation and the tug between familial obligation and being true to yourself.

I enjoyed the movie a lot for what it is, a sweet and funny confection that opens up a world of ambiguous promise.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:49
Review: “The Abomination of the Blue Hibiscus” by Ovidia Yu
Articles - Entertainment
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 11 October 2009 00:00

The Abomination of the Blue Hibiscus is a short story by Ovidia Yu, published in the Year’s Best Lesbian Fiction 2008 edited by Fran Walker. She requested that I review the story, whether or not I read the entire book.

Hibiscus is a short, heart-warming story about a lesbian woman and her partner, at her mother’s funeral. Clearly Ovidia seems to love this theme – story actually reminded me quite a bit of the story she wrote a couple of years ago and read at our Indignation event, Tall Tales and Short Stories, called Pierced Years. Personally, I much preferred Pierced Years to Hibiscus, though both are valuable contributions to the corpus of Singaporean lesbian literature.

But what makes this story different is the closetted homophobic maiden aunt character that is more central than the couple themselves. The character was quite obviously inspired by a “well-loved” persona, and quite hateable in her portrayal, but with a resigned acceptance of her place in the family. Having said that, I found the characterisation too much of a caricature, and perhaps it could have been toned down a little, made more subtle. I also much loved the way blue hibiscuses were used in the story.

Hibiscus stands out for its layered family relationships laced with shades of acceptance.  While not Ovidia’s best work, the story is readable. I had a chance to read some of the other stories at random (but not the entire book), and I can say the stories are not too bad – some of them are cliche and sometimes centres too much on the lesbian identity, but as a collection, it is worth having on your bookshelf.

Year’s Best Lesbian Fiction 2008 is available at Books Actually.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 March 2010 09:44
AWARE fundraiser (Singapore)
Articles - Announcements
Thursday, 08 October 2009 01:14

Have you booked your seats for The Blue Mansion?

The Blue Mansion

Don’t miss the special screening of Glen Goei’s latest film The Blue Mansion on 15th October. It’s a fundraising premiere and the net proceeds will go to AWARE.

Don’t miss the special screening of Glen Goei’s latest film The Blue Mansion on 15th October. It’s a fundraising premiere and the net proceeds will go to AWARE.

There will be a pre-movie cocktail reception where you can meet Glen and members of his cast. They include Lim Kay Siu, Adrian Pang, Neo Swee Lin, Emma Yong, Claire Wong, Tan Kheng Hua, and Huzir Sulaiman.

Remember to bring your business card because there will be a business card draw and you could win a 4-hour cruise valued at $3,000, with soft drinks and snacks, for 10 people on this yacht.

Buy a block of 20 seats and you will get:
A token of appreciation from Glen
A photo session with Glen and the cast members.
If your company buys blocks of 10 or 20 seats, we’ll put your company’s logo on our webpage and other material.

Get all the sponsorship details here.
Event details:
Date: Thursday 15th October
Venue: GV Grand 6, Great World City
(Cocktail reception at the Garden Terrace)
Time: 7.30pm

Price: Tickets are $50 each (Tax deductible)
Book your seats now – send email to [email protected] or call Rina at 6779-7137

Review 2: No More Daddy’s Little Girl
Articles - Entertainment
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Thursday, 01 October 2009 00:00

Note from the editors: In the recent weeks, we published a review of the book No More Daddy’s Little Girl by Karen Lee. That review generated much heated discussion by people on both sides of the camp about the merits of the book. In order to give our readers both sides of the story, we are a publishing a reader-submitted review offering a different view from the previous. Neither reviews are indicative of Sayoni’s official view in any way.

This guest writer goes by the name of Jane Jones.

Two weeks ago, a friend handed me No More Daddy’s Little Girl, after we had casually discussed the one official review posted so far and some negative opinions by our mutual acquaintances. I had not been inclined to read the book when I first heard of it, as I had the notion that autobiographies ought only to be written by people of special interest or distinction, with something important to address and educate others about. Coming out stories are a dime a dozen, and ordinary people tend not to write an entire autobiography on this selling point alone. Curiosity began to replace vague disinterest. Are the review and opinions accurate or justified? It was only fair that I read the book and decide for myself. And so over the weekend, I did.

From reading the blurb and proud declaration that it is the first local lesbian autobio, I had expected this book to illuminate me on how Karen discovered herself vis-a-vis her sexuality and came out in the end (no pun intended) triumphant over the obstacles in her way to lead a life with love and acceptance from her faith, family, friends and herself. I expected that most of the life experiences recounted in her book would be in respect of this, her discovery and journey of being lesbian. Unfortunately, I have to conclude that the book failed to deliver on these expectations.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:25
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