I Will Survive 377A

IWS 377AI survived bullying.

Kenny, 17 years old, identifies as a bisexual teen, and is comfortable in his relationships with men as well as women. He is a student at a local polytechnic. After he came out to his friends in secondary school he was called names like “faggot,” and was even groped by another boy in class and humiliated in front of others. You can read Kenny’s story here.

Zakaria works as a civil servant in a government statutory board. He is 24 years old and grew up in a Malay-Muslim family. When he was in National Service, he was teased because of his effeminate behaviour, and was even sexually harassed while he was sleeping in his bunk bed. You can read Zakaria’s story here.

I survived religious oppression.

Mohd Ashraff is 37 years old. He works as a counsellor, and lives with his partner. When he was younger, he struggled with being gay and being Muslim. As he grew older, he has since learnt to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. You can read Ashraff’s story here.

I survived addiction.

Bradley was born in the United States of America and has lived for many years in Singapore, where he works as an English teacher. He is in his early 40s. While trying to deal with his loneliness and other personal issues, he resorted to recreational drug use and excessive drinking. He has since recovered, and keeps himself busy with work and volunteering. You can read Bradley’s story here.

I survived depression.

Lance is in his forties. He works as a consultant and often has to travel overseas for his job. While in National Service, he was diagnosed with bipolar depression, and over the years he’s had to be admitted into hospital several times and has even attempted suicide on a few occasions. His condition has since stabilised, and he’s worked in different jobs where his employers knew about his illness. You can read Lance’s story here.

I survived physical violence.

Wee Lee, 29 years old, works as a marketing executive, and has been in a relationship with his current boyfriend for many years. When he was younger, he was in a 4-year relationship with another guy who inflicted emotional, psychological and physical abuse on him. This included making belittling comments, preventing him from seeing his friends, slapping him in public, pushing him down an escalator, hitting him with bamboo poles and stabbing him with a knife. You can read Wee Lee’s story here.

I survived HIV.

Lester is 21 years old, and a student at a local university. He lives in an HDB flat with his parents and sister. As a teenager, he was constantly harassed by an older male sexual partner, and the police had to be involved. When he was 18, he became infected with HIV. He has now completed his university studies and working in his first full-time job. You can read Lester’s story here.

I survived suicide.

Tarry, in his mid-thirties, works in the IT industry. He likes to keep up-to-date with his electronic gadgets. Ten years ago, he received news that his then-boyfriend had jumped out of his flat and killed himself just before his birthday, without any explanation. Tarry is now working overseas and has a new partner, and regularly returns to see his family and friends in Singapore. You can read Tarry’s story here.

We have survived all this.

We will survive 377A.

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If you’re still unclear about what is 377A, read this article on SgWiki for a start, as well as others by Yawning Bread and Fridae.

What will you be doing on World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is observed on 1 December every year. It is a day for raising awareness of AIDS, which is the result of HIV infection. To mark World AIDS Day this year, here is a list of things you can do in Singapore, especially since it falls on a Saturday.

1. Be aware. Do you know the difference between HIV and AIDS? How does one get AIDS? What can you do to prevent yourself from getting HIV? In this age of the Internet, there is no excuse not to arm yourself with the accurate facts and information about HIV and AIDS, and where to get help. Here are some useful links and resources.

2. Go for an anonymous HIV test. Do you know your own risk of exposure to HIV? Are you sure? Many people do not know their HIV status, and unknowingly pass on the virus to their sexual partners through unprotected sex. Click on this link for a list of anonymous HIV testing clinics in Singapore.

3. Go for a walk. Action for AIDS is organising the AIDS Walk 2012. Click on the link to find out more.

4. Have a ball! If dancing and music is more your thing, then sign up for the Rubber Ball on Sunday, 2nd December. Click on the link or Facebook event page for details.

5. Be supportive. Understand what HIV-positve people go through. Combat discrimination and show your support & understanding as a family member, friend, colleague or stranger.

6. Sign up as a volunteer. There are non-profit organisations that are always looking for people who would like to contribute their time, skills & expertise, all for a good cause, in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and support. Action for AIDS, Oogachaga & TTSH – Patient Care Centre are fine examples.

7. Make a donation. If you prefer to show your support by making a monetary contribution, you can also get in touch directly with the staff at Action for AIDS, Oogachaga & TTSH – Patient Care Centre who would be more than happy to follow-up with you!

8. Wear a red ribbon. If you can’t find one at the above venues, you can just make one yourself! And tell others about the Red Ribbon and what it stands for. Or you can even add a red ribbon to your Facebook profile picture here.

Here’s wishing you make a difference, however big or small, this

World AIDS Day!

AIDS Candlelight Memorial

The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world. Started in 1983, it takes place every 3rd Sunday in May and is led by a coalition of more than 1,000 community organizations in over 100 countries. This year, it will be marked on Sunday, 20 May 2012.

Globally, the United Nations estimates that more than 30 million people are presently living with HIV/AIDS, with more than 20 million deaths. In Singapore, according to the Ministry of Health, over 5,000 people are reported to be HIV-positive, and more than 1,300 have died of AIDS-related causes.

The Memorial started as a way of honouring the memory of those lost to the disease, while offering support for those living with HIV/ AIDS. Additionally, it now serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV/ AIDS, as well as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.

In Singapore, the AIDS Candlelight Memoral will be organised by Action for AIDS on 17 May 2012, Sunday, 7pm at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Theatrette. The event will be observed simultaneously in over 300 cities around the world to honour the lives and memory of those who have died of HIV/AIDS, and makes a clear yet profound statement that HIV/AIDS is present in Singapore, and there are people affected and infected with it.

It also increases the visibility of the fight against the disease, and serves as a reminder that our fight against the disease is ongoing. It lends support to the families and friends of those who have died of AIDS-related causes, and assures them that they are not alone.

If you’re worried that you or someone you know may be infected with or affected by HIV/ AIDS, find out more through the following links.

In Singapore:


To have a better understanding of what it’s like to be HIV-positive, you can read the story “My hopes and dreams” by Lester, a young gay man who is HIV-positive.