March 2000

Tale from the East

I was really inspired after reading the articles published. I felt that I too have a story to tell.

Let me first tell you about myself. I am Hong, a 24 year-old ethnic Chinese from Malaysia (Land of the Unfree, that's what I always tell foreigners, why, that's another story). I am not doing anything at the moment, just hanging out being a total bum (it has been a year now). And I went to college at the University of Georgia.

If you think growing up gay in this world is tough, let me tell you this, growing up gay in the East is almost impossible. Here, even the word 'gay' is not be uttered aloud in public, our Deputy Prime Minister has been thrown into prison on charges of sodomy (read Anwar Ibrahim). We live in a most intolerant Moslem country where one could be whipped and sentenced to 2 years in prison on charges of sodomy. That's just the civil law, if one is a Moslem, the Syariah (Law of Islam) would be applied (which is more severe, e.g. the punishment for stealing would be the amputation of the arm).

That's a bit about the country I live in. About my 'coming out', that was when I left high school. When I started college in a local design school. That's when I met this guy that was really good to me. I wouldn't say 'love', heck I won't even call it infatuation. It was more of a convenient relationship, because it was my first time away from home, and my folks were breaking up (seen that one coming), and he was just there for me. And at that point of my life I was defiant toward all things, I literally changed overnight, became gay for one. I always tell people that I chose to be gay, not born gay. Is that so hard to believe?

I was actually attracted to girls before that, I started dating (girls) at the tender age of 14, which is quite rare where I come from. However, sexual gratification is never a big thing for me, consequently, I would not have called myself straight or 'normal' either. Yes neither I understand myself. At 24, I will definitely consider myself gay as I am sexually attracted to guys now. Is the idea of me being gay build upon my defiance of the orthodox? For I am a person of character, I like people of character. Not many females in my society (or any Confucianist society for that matter) are for the likes of that. Women are supposed to be subservient, obedient, and should giggle at all things men say.

I wish that I could tell my family, but I don't think I ever will. That is why I can never be truly out. A Confusionist would tell a gay person, "Although you are a homosexual, do not act like one, as self-depravation is the path towards a true Confucianist."


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