Finding Love As a Gay Man in Singapore: Part 2

(This is a 3-part series about relationships among gay men in Singapore.)

Part 1 can be found here.

When we develop a relationship with someone without knowing him properly (as some of us would say, to ‘rush’ or ‘jump’ into a relationship), most of the time it would be because we we trying to satisfy some internal need or emotion within us. We need to understand what this is. Is it because we are lonely, have not accepted ourselves fully or do not love ourselves enough, and which is why we hope to find someone to fulfill this inner need? We need to understand this. And when we do, we need to understand how we can overcome them and how we can learn to love ourselves and be stronger.

It’s true when they say you need to love yourself before you can love someone else. If we don’t love ourselves, we will mainly seek out someone else whom we hope can love us – and replace the love that we should have learnt to love ourselves with. When we seek out a substitute for our self love, we might then not really love that person whom we seek out but make that person into someone they are not. We might imagine him to be someone else who he is not – someone else whom we hope he is – and think of this imaginary him as the person who is loving us. Eventually, when it comes to a point when we start to really get to know him, we might decide that we don’t actually love him anymore – because he isn’t the person we thought he is – or wanted him to be. 

We had started on the wrong foot. We jumped the gun – we didn’t get to know a person first to find out more about the person. When we really get to know a person, only then will we stop seeing him as what we imagine him to be and see him for who he is know. At that point, we will come to a point where we will start thinking if this is someone we want to be with for the rest of our lives.

And this is why, sometimes, relationships don’t work out, and why we keep getting in and out of relationships. This is also how, because of our wrong footing, which result in relationships which didn’t work out, we thus start developing negative perceptions of the gay community and the future of our lives as a gay person. But, this doesn’t have to be – if we start off on the right footing – by learning to love ourselves.

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What can we do then? This means that we need to first be aware of ourselves and our actions. We need to understand how we feel about ourselves and about us being gay, and work towards achieving acceptance and love for ourselves. If you cannot accept yourself as a gay person, then how will you be able to go into a relationship with another gay person and be able to feel comfortable with it? You might start to have doubts about not only yourself, but the relationship as well. So, we need to learn to accept and love ourselves, and believe in ourselves. We need to work on ourselves first.

I’ve heard many times about how a guy is unsure about himself and whether he is able to accept himself. Yet, he hopes to develop a relationship with someone else. I find this worrying, because, how do we hope this relationship will turn out if we do not believe in ourselves, or in whether we actually believe in a relationship? If he goes into a relationship with another person, what he does and think will necessarily affect the other person’s life path, and we do have to also be responsible for their life journey. I have also heard of – in fact, I had thought similarly in the past – that since I don’t love myself, I will look for someone else to love me, so that I can learn to love myself. In most likelihood, that won’t happen.

If we don’t learn to love ourselves, a person coming into our life might spur us into loving ourselves, if we are able to be motivated to do so because of their patient in encouraging us. But that means we need to have the willingness and belief to work towards it. But what if we attract someone who similarly is unable to love himself? What if we are both feeding off each other? Where will it head towards? Based on my personal experience, you have to work on loving yourself, before you can enrich the relationship you form with someone else. A person might come into your life to spur you on, but you cannot rely on that to be the main source of teaching for you to love yourself. You have to have the commitment and willingness to start by working on loving yourself. 

When we meet someone, we should give ourselves time to get to know the person. If we want to rush into a relationship, we need to be aware that most of the time, it’s not because we truly love the person (we don’t know the person yet!), but it’s because we have a craving for our inner emotion to be filled. So, take a step back, be aware of it and slow down – stop thinking about yourself and start being aware of the person in front of you. Start getting to know him, to hear what he’s saying and start having a conversation with him. Start understanding what he is saying, what he is interested in, what his beliefs are, and really, who he is. And then you will start knowing him, and start seeing him for who he is. Then you will know if this is the guy you want to be with.

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When I first started getting to know guys, I was jumping into a relationship with every guy I meet. Every time, after a week or two, or maybe a month, they would then leave and ‘disappear’. Soon, I was doing the same thing to other guys – I was jumping into relationships with them and then I would disappeared. I had learnt to do what the other guys had done to me. It was because I was afraid that these guys would leave me before I did, and so I ‘preempted’ their move by doing so first – before they had the chance to hurt me, or so I thought.

But it was also because as I started meeting more people and jumping into a relationship every time, I started to have a realisation. I might want to jump into every relationship, but I don’t actually like everyone whom I jump into a relationship with! And because I started realising that I might not actually like the people I was jumping into relationships with, I started disappearing. (And I am sorry. I wish I could go back and say sorry to the guys but I didn’t know fully what I was doing and I didn’t know how to say sorry, because I didn’t know what I was sorry about.)

But what was happening, as I understand them now, was that even though I was beginning to realise that I don’t really like some of the guys I had met, I was still looking for someone to fulfill my inner need to be loved. Gradually, I was realising that what I was doing was to create the feeling of love with each new person I meet, to satisfy my need for love, more so than develop a relationship with someone because of the genuine love I feel for him.

Yet, I should have learnt to love myself, and not look for someone else to love me. It just doesn’t work that way. And so, after one or two weeks, I would disappear from their lives. I was a jerk, in their eyes. But in mine, I was leaving someone who I didn’t like, who I was hoping can fulfill my inner need. I had dissonance with myself.

There were also some guys whom I had disappeared from whom I had actually liked, but because I didn’t believe in myself and thought lowly of myself, I left because I felt I wasn’t good enough. I had low self esteem and this was partly a result of the meetings with the guys whom I had met initially and who ‘disappeared’. I had thought that I wasn’t good enough and that something must be wrong with me, which might have explained why they had left. I might not know how to love and that’s why they had left! I was boring! It was only when I became much older, when I became of age of some of their ages, did I realise that perhaps they didn’t know what they wanted or were doing, and thus left without a word, because they didn’t know how to explain why they had wanted to leave. Only then, with this realisation, did I learn how to forgive them and then, myself.

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So, back to the boy whom I had met today. He was crying from just breaking off with his ‘boyfriend’ of three weeks. They had gotten together immediately, after their first meeting. And then his ‘boyfriend’ had disappeared after three weeks. From what I had explained so far, you should know by now, why this happened, what not to do, and what to do when you face a similar situation. The boy that he had met might have been uncertain about what he wants and eventually decided to leave. They had also entered into a relationship too quickly without truly getting to know each other and one, or the other, might then realise that this relationship wasn’t what they had wanted.

But how was he to cope with the hurt? His friends had told him’, “This guy is only one guy. There are so many other guys in the ocean. He’s not worth it.” I smiled and said, “That sounds like just a bit of an angry way of looking at it.”

I asked him, “Have you done the same before? Have you disappeared from someone’s life before?” He said yes. And I asked, “Then you would remember why you had done it, and similarly why this guy had wanted to leave.” Truth is, this guy would most probably have ‘disappeared’ because he realised that this relationship might not be what he wanted, and he didn’t know how to explain to this boy, so he left quietly. See, if a guy doesn’t think that things might work out between us, he wouldn’t tell us! We wouldn’t tell someone if we think that things might not work out. We wouldn’t know how to! We would speak to our friends, wouldn’t we? And even if we had felt sorry about leaving, we would keep quiet because we just don’t know how to put it across. And we didn’t want to look like the bad guy.

So, I asked him, “Isn’t it hypocritical of us to want someone to explain to us and not ‘hurt’ us when they leave us, when we don’t do the same to someone else we leave? If we would do the same to someone else, isn’t it hypocritical for us not to understand?” Sometimes, we get upset because of our ego. We think only about ourselves and how others should meet our needs. And we get upset because we want to feel surrounded by our inner sadness, to feel that we are important, in some way. We give ourselves too much credit and we think that everything is about us, just a bit too much.

I told him not to take the ‘break-up’ personally. I told him that this is part and parcel of us getting to know people, and when it is time, we would move away from each other’s lives and meet other people. We need to be aware that people have preferences and when they realise that we might not be what they are looking for, they might decide to leave. And we have to respect that. Because we do the same to other people! So, we need to have empathy to understand others, also because we would do the same and would wish that others understand us as well.

I was quite blunt to him as I said what I said next – “What you have with him is not love. You do not know him. You got into a relationship immediately after meeting. What do you know about him? You only know him for 3 weeks. This is not love. It’s a feeling that you had created because you want the feeling of love. This isn’t love.” And if you remember what had been said so far, you would understand why I had said this.

As I learnt more about myself and my actions and behaviours to others, I learnt that if someone were to leave me, I would like to be able to know why the person did so. So, I thought to myself that if I were to have to leave someone, I would need to be responsible to explain to him why I thought I had to leave. But how should you do that? Should you tell someone that you think that he is not compatible or that he is not the person that you are looking for? That would sound hurtful, wouldn’t it? This is the main reason why many of would shy away from explaining, because we wouldn’t be able to handle the reaction of how the person would feel if we had told them that.

Eventually, I learnt to explain that I am still unsure about what I want, and so I think it might be good if I leave because that’s the responsible thing to do. I might also explain that after getting to know someone further, I might think that it might be better for us to ‘slow down’ and get to know each other first, before developing further. I had tried to frame things to be as a result of my perspective of myself, because of my uncertainty of myself, as it would be more acceptable to put the uncertainty on me than to think of the rationale as lying in someone else. Truth is, we need to know that we play a part in a relationship, and we need to admit that.

Similarly, I know that when people choose to leave me, they might not know how to explain their reason for wanting to do so, so since I would have an understanding as to why they might want to leave, I have learnt to respect that they have their reasons, and why it might feel difficult for them to have to explain to me their reasons. So, I have learnt to let it go, and accept that they have to leave. Most importantly, having an understanding and respect for their leaving allows us to move on with acceptance. 

In the next part, we will look into what happens during dates and how we can manage them better.

Part 3 of can be found here.

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Finding Love As a Gay Man in Singapore: Part 1

(This is a 3-part series about relationships among gay men in Singapore.)

I was talking to a 23-year old guy today. He had just broken off from his relationship of 3 weeks, and he said that at one point, he was thinking about committing suicide.

When I was young, I had similar experiences – not the suicide though. So I thought that I could write about this, if it helps.

I started ‘dating’ guys from when I was 18. By ‘date’, I mean I would go out with them and hopefully get to know each other further to develop a relationship. But at that time, that would mean meeting them for the first time and becoming boyfriends instantly. Sounds familiar?

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We might decide to become boyfriends with someone because maybe he looks good, he might have a nice personality or we felt we could ‘click’. It has become a bit more complex now, as compared to my time. Then, when you see a ‘good looking’ guy (note: “good looking” is used loosely in this article. There is no fixed and objective definition, nor is it meant to be a favourable or judgmental term), for most people, we might think that it’s ‘cool’ to be attached to a good looking guy – eye candy everyday, so why not, we think. But it’s more complex now. Some guys want to date good looking guys and be part of a good looking clique. There could be a variety of reasons – for example, you may find people of the same characteristics with you so that you can identify with one another. So, for some people, it’s because they play DOTA. For some, it’s because they have the same interests – perhaps fishing. For some, it’s because they share characteristics of being considered good looking, and they might feel there’s something more common to talk about.

For some people, if you feel that you are not able to be accepted as a gay person, you might want to hang out with people who have a ‘higher status’ among the gay community, so this association might make you feel less discriminated, by compensating with discrimination with perceived status. And so, some people might want to hang out with the so-called good looking guys, so that you might feel more acceptable within a community which you feel you might not yet find acceptable. So, for some, they want to belong to the good looking clique because of the status it confers, for example. I will explain this further below. But there are many reasons, of course.

Some guys are unhappy when a clique had ‘formed’, and they might feel that this clique is keeping themselves exclusive as THE group of good looking guys. Some guys might feel left out, and they might start judging these group of guys, or get upset with them.

For some of you reading this, this makes the gay community sound superficial. First, it sounds like we only like to date people who are good looking. Second, it sounds like we only want to hang out with people who are good looking. But of course, I’m only bringing discussing the issue of being ‘good looking’, as an illustration here. The reality is a lot more complex. There are many variations to gay relationships and friendships. I have brought this up, because of the relevance to the topic on finding love and because of the prevalence of how often I’ve been hearing about ‘looks’ recently.

The truth is guys are visual, so visual cues are necessarily used more frequently as key identifiers, and unfortunately, separators to define other groups of people. But visual cues are used among other identifiers, such as feeling comfortable with one another, a sense of humour, among others.

But identifiers are used by any person – straight, gay, Chinese, Malay, man, woman etc – to make sense of one another, and this is not unique to gay people. What perhaps makes it unique among the gay community is perhaps, how homogenous these cues have become. The main reasons why such cues become adopted at such a high frequency is because of the high intensity of interactions that gay people have with one another, especially in a cosmopolitan setting, like Singapore. Also, there are only a few specific venues where we see a higher concentration of gay men come together. Plus with the high level of usage of the Internet and mobile applications, the speed at which these social cues and behaviors get seen and adopted by other gay people become very quick.

So, in short, because of the high population density of our city, gay people meet each other at such an intense pace and speed that they learn to think and behave from one another very quickly. This also explains why it looks like many gay people dress up in the same way, or seemingly believe in the same ideas in the same way.

Back to good looking guys who seemingly hang out together, if we are able to take a step back, we understand that visual cues are only one of many reasons that are used when people identify one another to be friends with. There are gay people who come together because they can talk about the same things, who like to do the same things, such as going clubbing or going to watch a movie, for example.

But why do we get upset when we see people whom we think are good looking hang out together? There are several reasons. I would explore a few here. To come back to the topic of visual cues, even as there are other identifiers, visual cues is one of the most ‘influential’, because it’s the most easily identifiable cue. You can just see a ‘good looking’ guy – just like that, with your eyes. Thus being good looking has somehow been alleviated to become of a ‘higher’ status in that sense, due to the overt influence and identification. So, when we see a group of people who are good looking hang out together, we become jealous because first, we feel that since we are not part of the group where there is a ‘conferred’ status, we might think that we are not good looking enough. Second, we thus compare ourselves to them and it makes us feel lesser – lesser because of our comparison to the perceived ‘status’, and not to their looks. There are, of course, other reasons.

I’ve tried to launch into a lengthy explanation above about guys who are considered good looking and I hope that you are now better able to understand the complexity of how we perceive people. Being good looking is one identifier, out of many others, and because men are visual and visual identifiers necessarily get used more often because of their overtness, being good looking thus becomes alleviated to being a key identifier to define another person, because of the ease of identification. And because we’ve allowed ‘overt’ cues to be more influential, it has become seen as ‘superior’ to be considered good looking. And because of the intensity of how often we see each other, the idea of being good looking as an identifier which is seen as superior is spread very quickly, such that we adopt the idea that one needs to be good looking to be of worth.

If we can understand this, then when we see a group of people who are considered good looking hang out, we should know that they might do so because it’s a function of the social processes that were described above. We would know that we needn’t compare ourselves to them and feel lesser of ourselves. We need to be aware that we are comparing ourselves to the perceived conferred status, and not because of their looks. We do not need to think that if we aren’t part of that group, we aren’t good enough. Because there are many identifiers for group formation, and we’ve used one or the other ourselves, we shouldn’t thus judge another group for doing the same – it’s how all of us make sense of things – by understanding people through identifiers, or characteristics.

What this also mean is that we need to learn to have self belief and believe in our self worth, such that we have the confidence to believe in ourselves, and know that we don’t have to compare ourselves, just to make us feel better, or worse. Think about this a bit.

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But I digress. The purpose of this article is to discuss about relationships. Why did I go into a lengthy discussion on looks? Because for this particular story in finding love, when we are young and we see someone for the first time, if he is good looking, we want to be with him. And because of the above reasons, we might want to be with him because it might confer a status symbol, for example. Also, we get to be attached to a good looking guy! It doesn’t matter whether we have something to talk about or if we can actually communicate! It doesn’t – because he is good looking and since we are visual, staring at him takes the cake – at least for when we are younger. So, that’s one reason.

But there’s also a deeper reason. Why do we want to ‘fall in love’ once we see a person for the first time and want to become boyfriends? The funny thing is, we get together immediately and thereafter, we might think that we don’t actually have that much to talk to him. You can’t really talk to him, like you can talk to your good friends. In fact, sometimes, you even have to come out with things to talk to him, and rack your brains in doing so. Then we tell our friends, “But I don’t really think I can communicate with him. We don’t really have much to talk about and I can’t talk to him like I do with you. But I love him and I want to be with him, but I don’t really know if we can work out.”

The reason could be this – when we see someone for the first time, we want to get into a relationship with this person immediately because, actually, we could be lonely. We could be looking for the feeling of intimacy. We might want to feel loved, and not so much to love itself. And since this guy comes along, he’s hot and lean and fit and all that, and we think he looks really good so we think, we can be with him! Then, we conjure up ideas in our mind about how I really love him because there is this connection – because he is the guy I want to be for the rest of my life, because I feel that he understands me etc.

But does he? Is he really who he is, or are you imagining it? Are you creating your idea of who he is, because you want him to fit into your idea of a Prince Charming, or is because that’s who he really is? After some time, we get to know him better and then we start to think, “You know, he’s no longer the guy I used to know. He has changed.” But of course he has. Wait, actually he hasn’t. Your understanding of him has changed. You had created all those ideas of who he is, because these ideas are what you want in a guy – the romantic notions you’ve learnt to dream about, and you had supplanted them onto him. As you get to know him further and the initial ‘honeymoon’ (as they would call it) fade away, you finally actually start to get to know him, and you start to really understand him and see him for who he is. And if you had never really known him then, you might or might not like what you are starting to see.

So, what’s the issue here? First, we have to understand how we look for love. Second, we have to understand how we go about developing a ‘relationship’. As said, we might go into a relationship because we are lonely. We might feel that we don’t love ourselves, or we don’t feel loved, and so we hope to find someone whom we hope can love us, who can replace that emptiness or loneliness inside us. And so, when someone comes along, we hope he can do that. And so, we start imagining beautiful things about him (which if we had just gotten to know him, are most probably not true about him) – what are we doing here?

We have a notion of what a relationship that we hope for is, so we cancel the process of getting to know someone, by implanting what we want from that imaginary perfect person onto him, to replace the process of knowing him. Then we fasten the process again by deciding to ‘love’ him, based on this ideals that we’ve implanted onto him. Effectively, we’ve tried to develop a fairy tale romance that we’ve always dreamed of and pasted them onto this person we just got to know. In fact, it can be anyone! And that is why we go in and out and in and out of a relationship, one after another, because we keep going through this process of supplanting our ideals onto each person we meet. And we ask, why don’t any of our relationships work? Why do we keep getting attached and breaking off? Is it because we are not good enough? Why do I keep meeting the wrong guy? Am I not many to have a relationship? Do I not know how to love?

No. All these ideas are have become part of a story that you’ve inadvertently created – developing ideals and replacing the person you know with them, without giving the person a chance for you to really know him. And as explained, it could be because you are wanting to find someone to replace an inner emotional need inside you, more than looking to find someone and learning more about them.

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If you stop yourself for a bit and think, the truth is, for some of us at least, we want to feel love and so we try to turn any person whom we meet, whom we think satisfy our basic wants of a guy, and focus our attention of turning them into our ‘love-giver’. So, we have to be be aware of this – do we feel an inner need inside us? A loneliness, a wanting to be loved? And many of us do. Truth is, we grow up being unclear about what it means to be gay, or what it means to like guys. We are unsure – when we have a relationship with another guy, what should we do? Is it like a straight relationship? So as we learn to understand what other gay people and relationships are like, we make sense from by learning from the people we meet.

Then, when we get to know more gay people, and start to date some of them, we realise that if they are meeting us for the first time, and when they decide to be together with us, then we think – oh, so this is what a gay relationship is like! You meet a guy for the first time and then you immediately become attached! So, you learn from them! And then, things keep on not working out, and like many other gay guys, you start feeling ‘jaded’. You start thinking that gay relationships cannot last. You start thinking that, maybe I should just have sex, maybe I don’t want a relationship – I don’t want to go through the hurt of breaking off with someone again and again. And so, we stop looking for relationships. We start just having sex, since, hey again, everyone is just having sex too! And then we look down on the gay community – we think that it’s all about sex, we think that gay people are promiscuous and we think that gay people are hopeless. We become part of the community we criticize and we live with it. And we became disappointed with the community and with ourselves and we start to lose hope.

But wait! Why haven’t we even stop to think why this is the case? Why don’t we even stop to understand what we are doing? We go with the flow because since everyone else is doing it, it must be right – gay relationships cannot exist, it’s all about sex and I will be lonely for the rest of my life.

If you’ve read carefully throughout this article, you would know where I’m trying to get at by now. We have learnt from the people we meet and follow what they do, without reflecting on what it really means for us, and why we do certain things. We need to look into our lives, understand how it had been developing and how our beliefs and mindsets have developed from them – and whether we can, with this renewed understanding, do something about them.

In the next part, we will look into this further and discuss how we can better manage relationships which don’t work out.

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

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My Enneagram Personality Type

Enneagram Test Results

Type 1 Perfectionism |||||| 30%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||| 34%
Type 4 Individualism |||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Type 5 Intellectualism |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Type 6 Security Focus |||||||||| 38%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||| 30%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||||||||||| 82%

Your main type is 4
Your variant is self pres

Take Free Enneagram Personality Test
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com

type score type behavior motivation
4 20 I must be unique/different to survive.
9 20 I must maintain peace/calm to survive.
5 19 I must be knowledgeable to survive.
2 18 I must be helpful and caring to survive.
7 18 I must be fun and entertained to survive.
6 9 I must be secure and safe to survive.
3 8 I must be impressive and attractive to survive.
1 7 I must be perfect and good to survive.
8 7 I must be strong and in control to survive.

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Why We Need to Engage Others to Learn to Understand Us

Engaging others to understand us and exerting our rights to be are two very different things. It’s not political – engaging is real. I have worked in HIV long enough to know what engaging means. People don’t understand gay people – they don’t. Just like a white person will never understand a black person and a man will never understand a woman. Should a black person exert their right over the white person or a woman exert their right over the man? Similarly, should a man exert his right over the woman or a white person exert their right over a black person? No. 

Unfortunately, people don’t understand gay people. They don’t and we have to help them learn. I went through more than 10 years of having to engaged my own family before they understood what being gay meant. Is it their fault that they couldn’t understand me? No, it’s not. Firstly, they are not gay. Secondly, they are influenced by what the media says. Can people be blamed because they don’t understand? No. Similarly, when someone cuts into our path, can I exert my right of way and tell him to get lost? No, because he/she might be in a rush, is rushing to an accident, and for whatever reason has to cut into my path. So, no exerting our right is very different from engaging, and really, understanding. If we insist that we should exert our right onto someone else, then we are being pushy and demanding and rude as well. Then we are not understanding someone else’s point of view, but only want others to understand our point of view. How does that make us different from the other person? It doesn’t. We are just like them – we think we are right.

Obviously, I think being gay is my right and I think it’s about returning my rights to me. But if everyone is as aware and not self-centred, life would have been smooth from the beginning of time. But no. And it’s not just them who are self-centred. We are too. When we talk about rights, we are talking about getting people to understand us as well, and for us to understand them as well. Rights fought by demanding it will be fraught with anger, and misunderstandings. Look at Myanmar. Aung san suu kyi has learnt that for change to happen in Myanmar, she has to work with the government. Some people think she is selling out herself. Is she? If she continues to fight head on with the government, it will only make things so much difficult to move. But when you can convince someone of your sincerity and you can help them to understand you, and work with them to effect change, things will change. Otherwise, the Christians will never understand the gays and the gays will never understand the Christians. It is not about your right against mine. It is about understanding one another to learn to respect one another. If we focus only on rights, then we are being ego-centric and we are not learning to be the better person at all.

If we show anger to those who make us feel angry, there is going to be no end to this. The Europeans learnt this at the end of World War Two and since then they have tried very, very hard to try to find a common solution to things and to try to find common ground – to understand one another so that they do not have to cause another upheaval. Unfortunately, they have not learnt to adapt this learning onto their relationships with other countries, such as the Middle East and have allowed their Eurocentric views to cloud them. The principles are the same – if we learn to understand another, and try to help the other to understand us, we can come to a common understanding, and we will learn to respect one another and eventually learn to accept one another. This is true for the world, and this is true for being gay. 

So, we can continue to want to be angry and fight. Or we can learn to be understanding, be respectful and through that, with our sincerity, convince someone of who we are and allow them to come towards accepting us, because we can then show them that we are so much better than who they think we are.

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A Country in the World Should be Carved Out for Prosecuted LGBTQ People

Me: You know the bold thing that the United Nations should do is to carve out a piece of land and allow LGBTQs who are prosecuted in their homelands to be able to escape to there. But then they must fear that it might become like Israel, which has become a source of conflict. But it won’t because this land doesn’t have a place of birth so they can place it anywhere as long as it is in a safe place and allow prosecuted LGBTQ people to live in safety. As much as it might seem that LGBTQ rights is an universal right, some countries or their leaders need the time to appreciate this thought and belief. And in the meantime, instead of having so many LGBTQ people die from prosecution, can we save them? Undoubtedly, another nation of innovation and creativity will develop. This is an opportunity for the world.

Alex: You know that it is a paradox right. Who will protect them? What laws will govern these groups of people, now that it’s a concentrated population, it makes it easy for direct target.

Me: They will become a nation. They will have to come out with new laws. It will be a place of possibilities. The rights of this nation will similarly have to be protected. And countries who disagree cannot simply invade them.

Alex: Then the whole world will have to be restructured because everyone who is anyone who is under the protection of “human right” will then start demanding for a piece of land. Who will give up? Muslims escaping from Afghanistan wants a piece of land in Germany or America.

Me: True. But isn’t the world a constructed world in the first place? In a way countries are already semi-practicing this. They already provide LGBTQs asylum. But what about the LGBTQs who continue to be prosecuted because they cannot afford or find ways to leave the countries which prosecute them? It’s their business to die. Then there are groups from developed countries which continue to fund these groups in countries which prosecute LGBTQs. So they are intervening in the process as well. Who then will protect these people who are prosecuted? Who will prevent groups which cause their prosecution from doing so?

Do we allow the LGBTQ people to die while their leaders and countries come to terms with their existence? Or perhaps we should. Just like we had allowed the blacks to die as well (when they were trying to reclaim their civil rights).

But why the Jews then? Why was Israel created for the Jews? Because religion is a legitimate reason to safeguard a people? Or is the return to the birthplace of Judaism an excuse by the West to claim a stake in the Middle East?

Moreover modern states were created. They aren’t real. Geographical boundaries were created and countries claimed for their stakes in it. Countries and national boundaries are not natural. If we can create boundaries to cause harm to populations, we should rightfully be able to create boundaries to protect people from harm.

Alex: I don’t think isreal was created for the jews. Even if that happened, it happened way before UN was formed and nations and international boundaries were a very grey areas. United states wasn’t what it was now. So wasn’t china. Which included the Korean peninsula. Mexico extended into what is California and Texas now.

Me: Yes as I’m reading it was mandated during the era of the League of Nations, which would have been the predecessor of the United Nations. But if obviously boundaries are tenuous at best, why are we safe guarding it so preciously without a thought to how enacted boundaries perpetuate the discrimination and groups of people?

Alex: Glbt individuals can choose to leave like any other refugee of that nation. Why should special attention be given if all they want is to integrate?

Me: That is true. But what of the LGBTQ individuals who will be discriminated and prosecuted in their countries for the next few decades or centuries even? – They are citizens of countries primarily in the Middle East and Africa which prosecute them. And even if we disagree with the views of those who prosecute them, the people who prosecute them are on a path towards understanding LGBTQ people. But while they do so, can we allow more LGBTQ individuals to die unfairly because of who they are, because of a lack of understanding? Sure, most of us agree in educating others to learn and understand. But this might take another century or more before change takes place. In the meantime, thousands may die and it’s ok by virtue of the country they were born in? But from another angle, if countries were constructed in the first place, can we not deconstruct and reconstruct to develop safe places? Do we not need to understand the political reasons as to why boundaries were constructed? But sure, I know this will never happen. Our egos are too tied to these boundaries for us to want to let that go. And we’ve allowed the blacks to be unfairly prosecuted anyway. So others can suffer too. Anyway maybe some believe that to achieve rights, independence and freedom, sacrifices need to be made. But that’s the ego speaking. That’s just being lazy.

Alex: Reconstruction or tearing down of boundaries will take equally as long. And while globalization has been taking place over the last centuries, we are seeing more nationalistic reaction towards it. Until 7 billion people can think a like and learn to accept and respect each other’s cultures, it’s not very possible to do so. While wealthier nations need to be willing to share their wealth to the masses.

Me: But that’s true. The whole point is that we need to learn to understand, and accept one another for who we are. And by creating a space for LGBTQ, we are only trying to avert facing the issue at hand by creating another half-baked solution. But this is all hypothetical and philosophical since a land can practically not be carved up at anytime in the foreseeable future, what with China and the other East Asian countries bickering over some small islands. But as it is, it’s true that the West wants to see themselves as a champion of rights but they refuse to take an active role in the protection of rights. By vigourously defending their beliefs of rights without understanding the rights of others who disagree with them, they will only perpetuate misunderstandings. And which is the very reason why countries won’t believe in the rights of LGBTQ. And which is the reason why countries feel offended because of the West and their disregard for Islam. The West needs to understand before they can be understood.

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When We Meet Someone for The First Time: Is It Love or Lust?

Jack: Which one comes first? Lust or Love

Me: What’s the context of your question though? Anyway sometimes we give lust too much credit for things which are beyond what lust is about.

Jack: Love at first sight. Thats my context

Me: We need to have the awareness to understand the feelings we have for another person to understand if it’s love or lust.

Jack: Which one comes first?

Me: But is the question about which comes first?

Jack: No lust = no love. Thats my take

Me: See. I think we categorise these ideas too much. We say that people lust but what does it mean when they lust? Sometimes people so-call ‘lust’ because they have low self-esteem or they are lonely, for example. Some people want to have sex with another person because they have an inner need – loneliness for example – that needs to be fulfilled. When that happens, it seems like they have lust. But is that lust?

Sometimes when we meet someone and we think about wanting to be affectionate with the person – maybe because we are lonely. Is this love? Or is it lust? This wanting to be affectionate might arise because we feel an emptiness and this person happens to look good or make us feel good enough to want to be affectionate with the person.

And after we show affection to the person, and we might have lesser feelings for the person, maybe we’ll attribute our wanting to have affection as lust. But is it?

That’s what I mean by awareness – we need to be aware of why we feel for another person, what this awareness is, why we want to show affection to another person whom we just got to know and what this affection is about.

Jack: Ah ic. So it isnt as simple as we think. Or I think

Me: And I think for gay people, sometimes when we meet someone, we want to immediately feel for the person, or we might develop immediate emotions for another person – we have to understand what this emotion is. Is it because we want love and have an inner desire or need that needs to be fulfilled, and is it why because of this need – loneliness for example? – that makes us want to feel for a person we had just met, even though we do not know this person?

If this is the case, then it’s neither love nor lust for that person. It’s our inner need and our want to fulfil it.

Then we have to be clear that it’s not about the other person but about us – about what we are trying to deal for ourselves within ourselves. We need to understand ourselves.

So when we meet another person and the person might have lesser emotions for us after a meeting or after having some form of affection, we have to be aware of this. Perhaps the person was also showing affection or a liking for us because they might have felt an inner need and when they saw us, they might want to express it. But after they express it, they might have a lesser need to fulfil at that point. And we should understand this because we do the same thing. And if the person decides to move away from us, we have to be aware and realise that it’s not about us – it’s not because we are not good enough etc. It’s just because the person has temporarily fulfill that inner need and might realise that any feeling he might have for us is based on that – his inner issues. And we need to learn to accept that and let it go, because it wasn’t ever about us or who we are in the first place.

Jack: So relationship is a transaction

Me: But yes relationships are always about a transaction, but what kind of transaction?

Of course if we can love someone unconditionally, that would be the best. That would be a virtue. But when we go into a relationship with our own issues and needs, necessarily we hope that the person can fulfill that need that we have. We would then choose to be with people whom we think can fulfill that need that we have. And it becomes transactional.

But if we have the awareness to love because of our genuine feelings for the person itself and if we can learn to see what issues we have and understand that we need to deal with them by ourselves and not bring them into the relationship, then we’ll be aware and we will not use the relationship in a transactional way.

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Learning To Be Happy: Being True to Yourself and Believe In Yourself

Jack: My life is not perfect.

Me: What is perfection?

Jack: Have a family

Me: Oh? And why is having a family a perfection?

Jack: Typical family. Circle of Life

Me: Well … Is that what you think is perfection or is that what you think society wants you to think?

Jack: I think its perfection and partly society

Me: My idea of perfection then is living my life according to my purpose, to be happy and be free.

Jack: no intention to have a family of ur own?

Me: Being with my partner and marrying him is starting a family of my own.

Jack: Gays will never be accepted in this region

Me: I don’t actually think its an issue though. I’m open to everyone and I pretty much am ok. Lol. And countries like Vietnam and Taiwan are considering legalising gay marriage anyway.

Jack: I’m concerned about my family

Me: What about your family?

Jack: What will they think

Me: It’s not what they will think though. It’s what you will think. For yourself. That’s what we are really concerned about when we say we are worried what others think – we are worried what it will mean for ourselves.

Jack: Agree. . Will it affect me?

Me: People will always think what they want to think. Humans think from their selves as the centre point. So they view things from their own perspective. So they will say what they will say because that’s how they see their worldview.

And similarly because you come from a self as the centred perspective, you would choose to see things which are favourable as good and things which are seen as unfavourable as not good – because as humans we want to belong so we want people to think favourably about us.

But – what about us? If life is all about making sure others are happy about us, then we might as well not lead out lives. We might as well be a robot and give them a controller to live our lives for us. We might as well not have a life.

Eventually it comes down to this – how much of ourselves do we want to live for ourselves? How true do we want to be of ourselves? How much do we want to believe in ourselves so that we know to lead a life that we believe in, and not one that is all about what others want us to live?

How much will we believe in ourselves such that even if people say things about us, we believe in ourselves enough to want to live our lives the way we know it should be lived, and the way we know we will be proud of and happy with?

Jack: I dont know hw I should live my life. Be out and happy abt it? Keep.status quo until i die? Or just move out of sg and live  new life?

Me: It’s simple – knowing who you are, accepting who you are and being who you are. If you choose to live by status quo, you will live by status quo everywhere you go in this world – because you do not choose to live a life that’s yours, because you live a life based on how others see you. Then it’s you that you have to get pass. It’s not society.

Jack: Ahh. I need to vent it out tmr

Me: Vent it out tomorrow? How so?

Jack: Gym.. Theres a punching bag

Me: Then you are just running away from this.

Jack: Ahhhh…

Me: What this requires is a willingness to look within and understand yourself, to face up to yourself and to believe in yourself. That’s all it takes – to believe in yourself.

Jack: I need more time

Me: But of course, all of us need time. But at least it starts with awareness and a willingness to understand. And you have that.

Jack: Awareness of?

Me: Awareness of your thoughts, of what you are thinking, of why you are thinking what you are thinking and an awareness of what being true to yourself means, how you can be true to yourself. Awareness – being true and genuine in your thoughts, reflecting and understand with clarity and openness. And seeing clearly. But when you are done, you will come out the better of it.

Jack: Its toooo much to think

Me: Didn’t you say you want to understand more about life?

Jack: Haha.. Life is just a 4 letter word

Me: Which is?

Jack: The same with Love

Me: Then love yourself. Truly love yourself. And believe in yourself.

Jack: (I mean) Living In Fantasy Eternity

Me: What others call fantasy is what they don’t believe in. I used to have people tell me that I’m not realistic and that I am too idealistic. But I continued to believe. I continued to live my life as naive, so-called, that which people say. But I’ve turned out happier. I’ve learnt to be more passionate, to believe in myself.

They said it was fantasy. They said I was being idealistic. But now I’m the one who believes, who believes in myself and who’s passionate in what I do.

Fantasy? Idealism? It’s a name for what we do not dare to pursue and believe and a name we give to others who dare to do what we do not dare to.

Jack: Good night my friend. Lets continue tmr. Lets talk abt more relaxing topic ya

Me: I’ve been thinking about these things for the past few years of my life. That’s how I learnt to be happy and to find myself.

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Michelle Obama: Success is about the difference you make in people’s lives

“You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.

*****

And when he returned home after a long day’s work, my brother and I would stand at the top of the stairs to our little apartment, patiently waiting to greet him…watching as he reached down to lift one leg, and then the other, to slowly climb his way into our arms.

But despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work…he and my mom were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream of.

*****

Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much.

They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did…in fact, they admired it.

They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.

That’s how they raised us…that’s what we learned from their example.

We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make…that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.

We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.

We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values Barack and I – and so many of you – are trying to pass on to our own children.

That’s who we are.

*****

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.

He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically – that’s not how he was raised – he cared that it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.

*****

Because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.

*****

I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as “us” and “them” – he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above…he knows that we all love our country…and he’s always ready to listen to good ideas…he’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.

*****

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…

And if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

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Zach Wahls: I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine.

“Governor Romney says he’s against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine. Because the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones. It comes from the love that binds us; that’s what makes a family. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.

President Obama understands that. He supports my moms’ marriage. President Obama put his political future on the line to do what was right. Without his leadership, we wouldn’t be here. President Obama is fighting for our families… all of our families. He has our backs. We have his.”

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