Archive for July, 2009

Singapore: Monthly BDSM munch

July 31, 2009

Singapore: Monthly BDSM munch

31st July 2009
Singapore

The Singapore BDSM monthly munch held on the last Thursday of every month saw 23 people. About half of the attendees were new faces and they were beautiful faces with very HOT bodies. I just wonder that why I don’t see these people every day. Surely Singapore can’t be that big. The newbies that joined the munch were a bit disappointed initially as the munch appeared to be another after work drinking & chill out session. Though the glbt friendly munch started slow, it was a busy one. Besides the usual catching up, we got to trade experiences from a few well travelled SM practitioners. We got to share nots from the scene in Tokyo, Shanghai and Amsterdam. Though our scene is modest, Singapore still lags behind. However when it comes to relationship, we are on the forefront. 30 days do make a difference in who’s with whom in the SM scene.

 

As the night wore on, I itched to put my bondage skills to work. What better way to do this than to look to my good gurlfriend, Deanna, as a volunteer. She was a very nervous bondage model but she was a good sport eventhough this was her first. As the ropes coiled around Deanna, I got some got tips from Master Alex aka Mr. Bondage King, our Shibari supremo. Alex shared some of things he thought in his Shibari college. Master Alex knows that I am a little sloppy when it comes to tying clean and beautiful knots. Boosted by Alex’s tutelage, Deanna unwittingly found herself in a hogtie. We left her in her new yoga position for a bit.

For more on Asia’s BDSM groups, please visit us in:

Singapore: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sgdomsubs

South-east Asia: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdsmASIAnetwork

China: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdsmCHINAnetwork

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On The Fringe

July 24, 2009

On The Fringe

On The Fringe
July 24th, 2009

http://is-magazine.com/feature/fringe

Singapore is not as boring as you think. Zaki Jufri, Andrea Lin and Walter Sim walk the wild side as they bring you through the alternative scenes and activities across the island.

They sport eyeliner, dark and shiny patent wear and listen to music from the likes of Bauhaus, Meza Virs and Angel Spit. Yet others enjoy being tied up, or tie others up, with the occasional spanking thrown in for good measure. Some like to dress up as their favorite comic or cartoon character and then act out scenes from these graphic novels; and then, there’s the group who enjoy nothing more than to trade punches and kicks after a hard day’s work. There is a more unusual side to Singapore among the usual punks, metal heads, ah bengs and whatnots. Contrary to popular belief that our people here are straight-laced, uptight and unimaginative when it comes to leisure options, here’s proof that there are other alternative activities that regular folks engage in. So if you want to unleash your inner Goth, kinkster, fighter or Pikachu, read on to find out more.

In the Dark
Its 10pm and you’re in the middle of Mandai. You’ve received news that there is going to be a dance party somewhere in these surrounds, which explains why you’re here but not at the Night Safari. You walk up the long and lonely road in and soon, you hear the distinctive thumps of low drums, growls and distorted guitar sounds. You see people in the distance. You inch closer … but you can hardly believe what you see. "Am I at the right place or is there actually a Twilight crowd in Singapore?" you ask yourself. All around you, everyone is dressed in all shades of black-tight jeans, spiked leather collars, thick boots, some in elaborate Victorian dress, eyeliner, guyliner … and then there are the trenchcoats-and they’re all dancing with wild abandon to the heavy industrial beats. Welcome to the world of Goth, where all things dark and dead are chic. And yes, it’s alive and well in our sunny island.
  "Just to set things straight, Goth is not cosplay," quips Saito Nagasaki, leader of Singapore Dark Alternative Movement (SDAM), the country’s only Goth and other alternative sub-cultures group. "People have this misconception that Goth is cosplay but cosplay is like the Diet Coke to the Goth subculture. We have much more in common with the punks and metal heads," explains Nagasaki who, by day, goes by the name of Mark Koh, an events manager.
  According to Nagasaki, the Goth scene here started way back in the mid ’90s during the original "Far East Kids" days, but seemed to all but gone underground again when these kids grew out of it or moved away. When Nagasaki returned to Singapore in 2005, he started SDAM-diligently organizing events, concerts, gatherings and parties-all in a bid to revive the scene. SDAM parties have seen the who’s who of the alternative scene gracing its decks. From Eskil Simonsson, frontman of Swedish EBM band Covenant, Australian industrial outfit Angelspit and our very own DJ Mentor, or X’Ho, in disguise. Most recently, they held their biggest event to date: Outbreed at Mandai Orchid Gardens with Goth metal acts like Cosmic Armchair, Aesgrade and Meza Virs.
  Nagasaki and his fellow Goths’ efforts have certainly paid off. As a result of their active recruiting efforts, the Goth scene here is said to be 2,000 strong with both new and inactive members, while a regular 100 loyally attend the SDAM events; and Goths do come from all walks of life-students, investment bankers and other corporate types. Still, Nagasaki admits that the scene has still a long way to go before it becomes as vibrant as similar scenes in Australia and Japan.
  Although they are seen to be fascinated with the macabre, death and all things dark, followers assure us that there embrace of the dark and death is not in a violent or evil bent, but as a larger understanding of what life is about. "Death is part of life. One thing this subculture has taught me is to accept who I am. To be different is perfectly normal and now I have an avenue to express myself and voice my emotions and opinions easily where previously, I was quite an introvert," says Vanessa Toh, a polytechnic student. Toh, who is also a SDAM committee member and DJ at its parties; she also designs most of the Goth outfits she wears at home, and there are plans to expand this into a SDAM fashion line in the near future. "Being part of this movement has been the most positive thing I did in my life," she says.
  "One of the many misconceptions about Goths is that we are violent people, but we at SDAM dissociate ourselves with drugs, violence and all other nonsense. We’re quite the peace-loving bunch," Nagasaki explains. Other than organizing parties, SDAM also acts as a support for troubled members, whether it is sexuality issues or psychological ones.
  "The kids will come to us because they relate to us and we’re one of them. When they’re around people who understand them, they will open up. Being responsible adults, we counsel and advise them that certain things they are doing to themselves are bad for their wellbeing," he explains further. For those too young to attend SDAM parties, Nagasaki organises chalet outings for them, screening DVDs of Goth concerts and even teach them DJing. Not bad for a group that in the eyes of the public are deemed social misfits or troublemakers.
  So who can be a Goth? According to Nagasaki and Toh, the answer is "anyone"-anyone with an open mind, a taste for the alternative and a rebellious streak. It helps if you like black … and eyeliner.

Some like it Rough
It’s easy to play a game of associative words when you mention "BDSM"; quickly, terms like "leather," "collars," "ropes," "whips," "chains" and "dungeon" come to mind. Our minds thought the same way when we ventured into the world of BDSM (which stands for "bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism") here in Singapore. On the evening of every last Thursday of the month, a group of like-minded individuals or "kinksters" meet up at DYMK (9 Kreta Ayer Rd., 6224-3695), a quaint little bar in Tanjong Pagar to exchange notes about the finer points of kink, to mingle and impart knowledge to those who want to learn. Of course, what’s a BDSM munch (social gathering) without the bondage and occasional whipping?
  BDSM, by nature, is shrouded in a world of hushed fantasy and is still considered taboo by most; that’s why people here don’t really talk about it or know much about it other than finding the occasional scene in movies, says Nicole, a prominent member of SGdomsubs (groups.yahoo.com/group/sgdomsubs), a social network of local kinksters. The male IT professional by day transforms into the PVC-clad blonde dominatrix, Mistress Nicole, by night, complete with riding crop. Dressing up, Nicole explains, is part of the whole role-playing aspect of BDSM-much like acting.
  "We need to teach people about BDSM. So far, the public does not even know what it is, and yet it is viewed negatively based on ignorance," says Nicole. "It’s not about doing things that are dangerous and things that break the law. 80 percent of it is communication, and then comes the skills parts," she adds.
  Nicole has observed that there are a lot of couples here who want to try BDSM but don’t know how and where to start, or simply have the wrong perception of it. Hence, the need for education, as Nicole sees it.
  Between 5 and 10 percent of Americans engage in what they identify as BDSM behavior each year, according to a 2002 study by the Kinsey Institute, a sex research center at Indiana University. Although there are no similar studies here, it is valid to suggest that figures should be pretty much the same. With people becoming more well-traveled and exposed to different things, it’s only natural to open up and explore.
  "I think there are people who wouldn’t consider themselves practitioners of BDSM, but who have experimented with tying themselves up or done a bit of spanking here and there," says Nicole.
  "Everyone, subconsciously, is engaging in some form of BDSM everyday," says Hendrick Kwan, another prominent SGdomsubs member who practices scarf bondage.
  "Managers in a company, for example, play the role of the dominant and his subordinates the subs," he quips. "But usually, if this manager practices BDSM, he will likely be the submissive one. It’s like a power exchange thing. Some people do this as a release or a form of therapy; while others adopt it as a lifestyle," he adds.
  "It gives people a better sense of perspective-about power, sensations and knowledge about the limits of the body. We learn the difference between power and force," adds Nicole.
  BDSM, Nicole assures us, is perfectly safe if practiced properly. The slogan for the BDSM scene is "SSC"-which stands for safe, sane and consensual.
  Other than the monthly munch sessions, SGdomsubs also organizes workshops like "The Shibari College" where members sign up to learn more about Japanese rope bondage from Master Alex, a Shibari expert. Nicole and Kwan told us that responses for these munch sessions and workshops have been positive and they hope to see the scene grow.

Costume Drama
You become who you want to be for a few hours after work or school; you throw away your given name as you hit the sewing machine, and at the end of it all as you don the masterpiece, you live and breathe Bleach or Naruto. You are on top of the world. Welcome to the world of cosplay-more than just costume-donning, this is full character immersion and requires up to three month commitment as cosplayers assiduously put together their own costumes.
  Reno from Movie Mania (one of the partners for Singapore Toy, Games and Comic Convention) explains what drives cosplayers, "each person wears costumes for their own reasons. Some for fun, some to role-play and bring to life their favorite character, others do it to impress their friends, for photo shoots, for contests as well as just to hang out with other like-minded people." 
  For these anime and manga fans, like Takahan Tan from Singapore Cosplay Club, it is the excitement of putting together a costume stitch by stitch, to witnessing the final transformation into a character that gets most cosplayers-commonly teenagers here-going. For many teenagers though, this hobby isn’t easy on the pocket.
  Not your usual Halloween get-up, cosplay is more of a skill and an art, rather than plain dressing up. Cosplay costumes can cost from $100 to a whopping $1,000 each. Although it is deemed more credible to make your own, there are alternatives for ready-made costumes from Pan-in-the-box (#02-09 Chinatown Point, 6221-3293) and Otaku House (#03-01 Iluma @ Bugis, 201 Victoria St.); and many new cosplay shops on the rise like Black Tactical (#01-477 Block 202 Bedok North St. 1, 6245-9975), which are focused on providing cosplay props.
  Eight years ago, when the first COSFEST event was organized by the Singapore Cosplay Club, there were just 200 sign-ups; at this year’s COSFEST VIII in July, 15,000 names of interested cosplayers singed up. Reno, too, notes, "(Back then), there were not many cosplay events, and Halloween was one of the few occasions we get to wear costumes in public. These days though, there is practically a cosplay event or contest here every month."

Battle-Hardened

You may enjoy programs like Contender Asia and WWE. But what you may not know just yet is how reel life is slowly creeping into real life as the martial arts genre slowly but surely inches back into the mainstream.
  The-then widespread popularity of Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme films that made skirmishes the "in" thing from the ’60s to the ’80s has since seen a steep decline. But it is surely and slowly finding its footing back in the arena.
  An array of martial arts courses these days range from Western forms such as the Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and wrestling, to Asian forms such as muay thai, taekwondo and karate, to even West-meet-East amalgams of both in the latest fad of mixed martial arts (MMA), where different skill sets are catered for and different muscles of the body are worked on. There is bound to be something for anyone looking for a good workout regime, while pumping some much-needed adrenaline through the veins.
  It is with the aim to promote competitive martial arts in Singapore that John Leung, general manager of DMX Technologies Group, started up Fight Club (
www.fightclub.sg). He said, "When I first arrived in 2001, martial arts was very niche. You will not even hear about events and it’s only provided in the odd gym here and there. The amateur scene in boxing arose as the sport was neither Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) nor Singapore Sports Council (SSC) affiliated. I think the only martial arts of note back then was silat, which itself was in the SEA games."
  Yet, change in favor of the martial arts scene here is undeniably underway. Leung attributes this to increasing television coverage and new media such as Youtube. Most schools today also offer some form of martial arts as a co-curricular activity that students can take part in. As Leung attests, "In the last three years we have had three pro-fight events including Showdown in Singapore (
www.showdowninsingapore.com) which had 1,000 audiences, five white-collar boxing events and several amateur and pro muay thai events."
  Explains Leung of the appeal: "a lot of our participants were frequent gym-goers who ended up getting tired of merely going to the gym without any goal. Engaging in martial arts provides them with the avenue to do something more athletic, while it also poses an ultimate challenge test, both mentally and physically, to get into the ring. Just you, your opponent and the referee in front of hundreds of people-the psychological push is intangible."
  Fight Club has also teamed up with Fight G (41 North Canal Rd., 6438-5788) and Fightworks Asia Gym (#04-00 Standard Photo Building, 565 MacPherson Rd., 6285-6028) to provide complimentary training for its 18 amateur white-collar competitors who have signed up to duke it out in the ring in an upcoming event, Showdown Inside The Ropes.
  The reasons instigating these competitors to join in the martial arts vary. 32year-old Rob White, a Consultant for The Henley Group, is looking at boxing for the extra boost in stamina and fitness so that he can achieve his goal of completing 10km races in under 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Will Boneham, 39, is a huge fan of WWE who joined in for the chance to lose weight.
  Leung and several martial arts competitors we spoke to also believe that while the costs of engaging in martial arts varies from gym to gym, it is definitely an affordable recession-friendly sport that they will urge people to consider taking up. Nicholas Fang, a Business Editor of MediaCorp says, "In comparison to other sports such as golf, triathlon, fencing, or even signing up for a gym, martial arts could be considerably cheaper." White explains, "It is not that expensive a hobby as you can easily do at home a lot of the fitness and outside work. It’s only the technical parts you will need an instructor for, and regarding equipment it appears that most of it is provided for."
  Yet detractors who frown upon this choice of working out still abound. White said, "Yes, a few friends have said I must be a nutter for doing it, but I think they have only seen the professional-style bouts, which do look pretty nasty and ferocious." Leung, putting things in perspective, says, "I think every sport is dangerous. People have died after jogging even. It is all about the mental will to fight on."
 
The Parties & Gigs
A Necessary Evil

DJs Saito Nagasaki, Mentor and Murderfreak unleashes some dark doses of goth and grinding Industrial beats. Every first Saturday of the month from Sep 5, from 9pm. Alley Bar, G/F, Peranakan Place, 180 Orchard Rd., 6738-8818.

Original Sin
If rock and indie have Beat! and Poptart, Original Sin will be the goth version of it. Expect lots of post-punk, and goth classics from the likes of Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Depeche Mode and Joy Division. And don’t forget to come in black. Aug 15, from 9pm. 3/F, Blu Jaz Café, 11 Bali Lane, 6292-3800.

Too Fast Too Crust Too
If you’re in the mood for furious head-banging action and moshing, come down to rock it out with bands like Bad*, Firstblood, Tormentress And Black Terror. Aug 1, from 5pm. Crawlspace, Behind Straits Records, 766 North Bridge Rd. $8.

Xtreme Noize Terror
Like its title implies, this is going to be one extreme and noisy gig. Twelve metal bands like Eargasm, Thy Fallen Kingdom and Beyond Suicidal go head to head for seven ear-splitting hours. Don’t forget your earplugs. Jul 25, from 4pm. Crawlspace, Behind Straits Records, 766 North Bridge Rd. $7.

Your Existence Is Meaningless 4

Feast your ears as local noiseniks Stellarium, I D, Under the Velvet Sky and Terrible Chamber celebrate the pointlessness of living in the fourth installment of this series of gigs which features experimental rock, nu-gaze and other leftfield opening. Aug 15, 8pm. Crawlspace, Behind Straits Records, 766 North Bridge Rd. $6.

Are You Underground Enough?
Take this simple quiz to see if you have what it takes to be considered fringe-worthy.

1. What’s your response when you hear the sound of the whip?
(a) Say "Hit Me Baby One More Time!"
(b) Secretly get turned on but jokingly say "Ouch! That hurts!"
(c) Flinch in pain.

2. What is your favorite song to bob your head to?
(a) Black Sabbath’s "Cardinal Sin": "Every tongue is screaming fool, only Satan hears your cries."
(b) Michael Jackson’s "Beat It": "Beat It, Just Beat It!"
(c) Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face": "Mum Mum Mum Mah!"

3. What would you rather do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?
(a) Dress up in a bright pink wig and kawaii school uniforms.
(b) Sleep in-you just had too many drinks partying on Saturday night.
(c) Sip a cup of latte and read a novel.

4. How will you retaliate if someone assaults you?
(a) Fight back like Brad Pitt.
(b) Bite back like the grandma in Drag Me To Hell.
(c) Run away like a little girl.

If you answered mostly:
‘A’s – Congratulations! You’re well-suited for a lifestyle under (the grounds of mainstream) and out (on the fringes of normal).
‘B’s – Come out of hiding, your underground closet is calling.
‘C’s – Forget it, just stick to the middle you enjoy so much.

Where To Get Your Underground On
The Threads

Atsuki GL, #03-10 Liang Court 177, River Valley Rd., 6338-7278.
Alice 88th, 15A Bali Lane, 9270-7369
Black Alice, #04-09 The Cathay, 2 Handy Rd., 6836-4037.
Haru Goth, 03-42/46 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd. Email
haru.house@yahoo.com for enquiries.

I-S Magazine Interview

July 12, 2009

I-S Magazine Interview

11th July 2009

Singapore

I-S, Singapore’s lifestyle magazine, wanted to find out if Singapore was a boring place to live in. They sent their reporter to checkout the local SM scene. We did promise I-S that their reporter will be tied up with his job. I think the I-S editor had no idea that we meant it literally. Master Alex (our Moderator from Sg) and Master Max (our Moderator from Jakarta) did most of the major bondage work. Nic did her impression of a local series called Red Thread using red ropes to tie three models together. In the end we’re not quite certain what the I-S write and his photographer friend thought about the SM scene but I am sure we made their evening interesting.

To find more about the BDSM scene in Asia, please go to the following links.

SE Asia: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdsmASIAnetwork

Singapore: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sgdomsubs

China: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdsmCHINAnetwork

SDAM: http://www.sdam.sg

 

SGGURLS’ mid-year Chalet Party

July 5, 2009

SGGURLS’ mid-year Chalet Party

4th of July, Singapore.

The chalet was crammed and the place crowded but it didn’t stop the 20 plus people from having lots of fun and good food. In case you’re wondering why all the pics were indoor, our camera women (Fifi + Kayla) didn’t take any photos outdoor because of poor ligthing. Of course our main photographer, Kayla, Elisa and Bobby were busy manning the BBQ pit.

We had a preview of the Calendar mockups done by our resident designer Trish Leong (who incidently designed the SGGURL’s logo) and Bobby who did the physical mock-up. The ideas were fantastic. There were some creative tension which are always wonderful when talents collide. Kayla ran through the processed pics. Its too bad that we have to shortlist them as they look simply divine. Bobby suggested choosing some of the pics from our outing as they had lots of candid moments. In most of our SGGRUL’s outings, the gurls tried create a journal to describe the things that we do. We have been successful in reaching out to many closet gurls that it is perfectly okay to come out and hang with us.  

Xiang Ning, Edwina, Ada, Des, Deanna and Nic had an interesting discussion about HRT especially the drastic transformation that the body will go through. The discussion centered around mood swings, dosage and the social perception of these changes. The topic was too complex to result in any conclusion. Nevertheless it was still stimulating to talk about something so touchy. We did touch a bit on our belated sister Mel. We hope that we can do something in her memory with the proceeds from the calendar.

Rose showed us her Facebook and some of her voluptious…er…beautiful girlfriends. Dessert was well served. During the BBQ, Ada and Des related a haunted tale of the chalet that we rented. Bobby said that it was probably a horny ghost looking for worn panties. :-O.

We are very happy to receive overwhelming support from our Andrew, Shaun, Rebec, Mr.Tan, Alice, Samantha, our dear founders of SGButterfly, Rose’s friends and some whom I have inadvertently forgotten. 😛

For more on Singapore’s transgender groups:

SG Butterfly http://www.sgbutterfly.org 

SGGURLS http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sggurls