Sunday, September 16, 2007

Otto Fong

I'm sure it's not breaking news to say that Otto Fong, a Singaporean teacher, has removed his coming out letter in his personal blog out of government pressure. All that can be read presently in his blog is a small letter of Thanks (with a lot of supporting comments). However, The Online Citizen is currently hosting a copy of the deleted coming out post along with its comments.

Probably the coming out letter wouldn't have got worldwide attention if there had been no pressure on Mr. Fong, so this is another case where homophobia manages to miss its target. And what a target, because the post is one of the most beautiful texts one can reads. Just a brief sample, if you want to read it complete, please visit The Online Citizen.

Returning to Singapore, I came out to my family. My father, mother, brother and sister, out of love for their son and brother, walked the long road to acceptance. It was not easy for them, but they loved me before I came out, and they love me after. When I finally settled down with my longtime companion (we have been together for more than nine years), my entire family made sure my nieces and nephews included us in their lives. I loved my family too much to keep them in the dark, to deny them the chance to really know me. And they loved me too much to let some old prejudice tear our family apart [...]

Do you know what a bonsai tree is? A bonsai tree is an imitation of a real tree. It is kept in a small pot with limited nutrients, trimmed constantly to fit someone else’s whim. It looks like a real tree, except it can’t do many things a real tree can. It cannot provide shelter, it cannot find food on its own; its life and death are totally reliant on its owner. It is the plant version of the 3-inch Chinese bound foot for women: useless and painful.

Being in the closet, pretending to be straight, trimming our true selves to suit the whims and expectations of others, is just like being a human bonsai tree. By staying in the closet, we cannot even hope to be average, much less above and beyond average [...]

And on the same issue, Jireh Tan explains Why Singapore needs more Otto Fongs.

1 comment:

islander said...

I can totally relate to the comment on being in the closet being akin to a bonsai tree... it is easily the best analogy to being in the closet i've ever heard. Excellent post.