Watch me “act”!

7 01 2013

Here’s the rough cut of the first short film I wrote and directed, titled Stay.  As I posted in the comments (but not in the description… I should probably do that sometime), the rough cut was filmed first to submit to a film festival (the Vancouver Queer Film Festival) in hopes of buying me more time so I could make the film with Nelson and Minh. It was shot in one afternoon and edited quickly vs. the real film, which was shot in three days. I think Nelson and I did only a couple rehearsals before shooting too, both on the day of.  It’s imperfect and it really is rough and I wish I could’ve acted a bit better (but I’m not an actor so I excuse myself), but what’s there is there, and it’s not all bad.

Enjoy me half-naked!

The World Behind Closed doors (part 8)

3 12 2011

A few days later, we met again to talk things out.  I told him everything on my mind – about how I felt like a friend to him, about how I felt like I was going back in the closet because of it.  Every other word from him was “sorry”, and I knew he really meant it, but words were only words.  We mutually decided to break up.  He tore his world away from the one we had created shut the door behind him.

The last I heard from Kem, he is still in the closet.  I truly hope one day I will look back at this essay and remember the time he wasn’t out and how he eventually found the courage to open the door.  I hope I will remember how his mother knew all along and accepted it, even after much difficulty.  I hope he won’t have to resort to being with a woman like he said he might.  I hope for both their sakes.

We all live in different worlds.  The world Kem and I constructed, though a flawed paradise, could not have survived.  Worlds should co-exist, not be hindered by each other.  They shouldn’t be restrained by hinges or doors.  Worlds should be open, ready and willing to be explored, and most importantly, boundless.  What good is a world – a life – if no one can see it?

The End

[I’m not super happy about how I wrote this ending but it’ll do for now.  Thanks to those to read the whole thing.]

Grown Up Movie Star

12 09 2011

One of the films I missed at the Queer Film Festival that I wanted to see.

Synopsis:  after the mother of a family leaves, a closeted ex-NHL player father adapts to life in Newfoundland with his two young daughters, one of whom is exploring her sexuality.

Super awesome things: gotta love Canadiana.  The movie is set and made in Newfoundland, and the overall landscape, music, and tone feels genuinely Canadian.  It’s a good feeling.  There’s a ton of conflict in the film, and that is already an understatement.  Ex-NHL hockey player Ray is in the closet, and his torment is played out fairly well, hiding his love interest (the coach/PE teacher at the local high school) from everyone, and even going as far as to not talk to him on the phone.  Tatiana Maslany, who plays Ruby, Ray’s older daughter, and her journey through sexual awakening is also similarly heartfelt and interesting to see where things went.  She embodies teenage angst (perhaps a bit too much?) and Maslany does a great job at portraying a callous and rebellious yet sympathetic character well.

Not so super awesome things: I think most people would agree that Grown Up Movie Star is depressing.  It’s not necessarily the subject matter that is depressing, but that most if not all the characters in the film are angry or miserable most of the time to the point where Newfoundland itself seems bleak and dreary.  Ray is angry at his wife, his children, and his own inability to communicate and relate to them (actor Shawn Doyle shows so much awkwardness when it comes to handling the kids that it works very well); Ruby, is angry at her father for being a hypocrite and the fact that he just doesn’t “get” her.  These two take the dysfunctional family to a whole other level.

As well, the pacing really is a rollercoaster ride; one minute everyone’s yelling and the next, the family is driving along happily on the road.  But these happy moments are quick and fleeting, and when they do happen, it feels odd, as though there must be some sort of sparring match coming because this family shouldn’t be happy.

Lastly, and there will be some spoilers for this, when Ruby begins heading over to her dad’s friend Stuart’s place where he takes pictures of Ruby posing– with clothes on, but still suggestive– you know it’s going to end badly.  And yet, when Stuart finally does take advantage of the teenage Ruby, one can’t help but feel it’s partly her fault as well.  Perhaps it was this past English class and Angela Carter’s view that some women ask for bad things to happen to them, that they are only victims when they choose to victimize themselves.  Ruby probably doesn’t want things to go the way they do with her ‘fake Uncle Stu” but at the same time, she was the one who kept coming over to his place, who wore the sexy clothing he kept for his models, and who kept flirting with him for such a long time that it really wasn’t a big shock when he put finally put the moves on her and she was uncomfortable.  Sure, she’s only a teenager and might not know any better, but that’s not a good enough excuse for me, and in some ways, she was asking for it and I found myself with a lack of sympathy for her.

This is unrelated to the paragraph above, but foreskin tearing?  How do you not feel that?!

Good for watching: when you think you’ve got a f-ed up life and want to know/see that it could be worse.

Overall: despite the bleakness of the film, Grown Up Movie Star presents the overdone subject of family in a different way– albeit with mixed results.

Grade: B-

How should I spend $200 to change the world?

9 11 2010

Before all two of you start harassing me about where I suddenly got $200 from, I shall explain.  Last month, there was a special day when students, teachers, and random people who were most likely drawn in by the abundance of orange balloons in the front of the building, all gathered to celebrate Langara’s 40th birthday.  There were contests, games, and booths everywhere on campus and I entered a whole bunch of contests, not thinking I would ever win anything because of course, well, I don’t.

About a week or so later, I get an email from someone at Langara who tells me I’ve won a $200 gift certificate to Oakridge mall and asks when I want to come pick it up.  Long story short, I now have $200 to spend and I’m not sure what to buy.

My first instinct was, as most people’s, what to buy for myself or for friends/family.  After all, Christmas is coming up and as a student, I don’t have that much to spend anyway, so this would be a good chance.  But it didn’t seem right — maybe it was the fact that I had been reading Gulliver’s Travels and was filled with hopelessness about the entire human race (likely) but I wanted to do something more.

I established that I wanted to do something for the homeless by buying them a whole bunch of blankets at Zellers or the Bay and giving them out to people on the street but I realized that it wasn’t enough.  Sure, it would be keeping them warm during the winter, but that, to me, isn’t the point.

I don’t want to make their lives more comfortable, only to have them face the same hardship next year.  Instead of trying to fix the problem, I want to eliminate it.  I want to stop poverty at the root, rather than provide a temporary solution.

This seems ambitious, even to me, and it’s not like I have $200 to spend on buying people a new life.  I also thought of, just today, helping out gay teens who may be thinking about taking their lives, what with all the publicity surrounding their suicides these past couple months.  But I also have no idea how to do that.  I realize i could very well start a campaign of some sort to make people aware — something like buying pink shirts and waving pamphlets in people’s faces on the street and then getting everyone to wear a pink shirt, much like Anti-bullying day — and it’s not that I don’t think these campaigns are effective, but that they do not seem effective enough.  I want to do more.  I want change now.  That is a lot to ask for, and I know that, but I want to do more than buy a whole truckload of pink shirts or buttons or something to combat a much bigger problem.

If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be more than open to hear them.  Keep in mind that the gift certificate is only valid at Oakridge (aka. Rich People’s Mall) so I am limited in the stores and consequently, what to buy.

PS.  I also secretly want publicity but I have come to realize (and accept… sort of) that anything surrounding me is never really publicized.  That being said, it would be nice though!

I’m From Driftwood — Spanish version

19 10 2010

Well, not exactly, but pretty much.  I wrote this for my final composition last term in my Spanish class and was very wary of it because I wasn’t sure how my teacher would react but of course, she really liked it.  There were quite a bit of errors when I got it back and I’m not sure if I corrected them or not (since I can’t find the original copy with all corrections) but I had a read just and it seems fine.  If it’s not, tell me!!!  Please!

Composicion español

Hace dos años que salé con alguien.  Se llamaba Kemuel y era un director de coro, estudiando a UBC.  Como yo, Kem era chino y era un poco mas pequeno que yo.  Lo mejor de todo, le interesa musica y tocó el piano también como yo y nos llevábamos muy bien.  Nos encontramos por el internet cuando me envió un mensaje.  Sin embargo, nadie conoce que él era gay y me dió que sus padres eran religiosos y homófobas y si ellos descubrían su secreto, creía que lo iban a matar.  Era difícil desde mi familia y mis amigos conocieron yo era gay y pensé que Kemuel diría a alguien la verdad algún día – posible un amigo – y salimos durante cuatro meses.

Durante este tiempo, yo le presenté a mis amigos como mi novio pero cuando salé con él y sus amigos, yo era solamente un amigo.  Yo tenía que crear una cuenta de como nos encontramos.  No podía sostener su mano o tocarlo cuando salimos.  Con este facto y que tuvo una apretedad agenda (nos vimos quizás dos veces una semana), después de un tiempo, no me sentaba como un novio a Kem pero un amigo regular.

Un día, cuando estábamos a mi casa en mi cuarto, ví un anuncio en el periódico de la marcha de orgullo.  Le pregunté si Kem quiso ir a la marcha.  Me dió no y entonces que no planificó contar a nadie nunca.  No sabía que hacer.  Si no va a contar a nadie, ¿podía vivir con este facto?

Unos días después, nosotros pusimos de acuerdo para romper.  Los meses siguientes eran, emocionalmente, algunos de los peores yo había experimentado.  Sentaba muy triste y me dí cuenta yo le amé.  Hoy día, nadie hasta conoce el secreto de Kem y aunque me siento mejor, hay ahora esta caja en el estante, con posibilidad en el interior.  Está reservado para Kem, si y cuando llegue el momento.


3 10 2010

In the wake of the recent gay teen suicides in America, I’m posting this song I wrote. It really affected me, more than news stories usually do, and I want to do something about it but I really don’t know what to do.  Anyway, here’s a song about closeted. [vid at the bottom]


Breathe a secret in a bottle,
careful not to spill a drop.
Slam a cork in,
throw it away.

But it someone were to catch this message,
he swears his world would fall.
So it’s best not to breathe
than say anything at all.


I know it’s hard but
every word you say, every step you take
will lead you to where you belong.
And out of darkness,
there’ll be a light, you’ll no longer fight
with the demons of doubt in your head.
And walk through the door

And with each passing day
the secret’s in his heart.
You can layer on the lies
but a thought is never too far.
A thought is never too far,
a thought is never too far.


And when the bottle washes up on someone’s shores,
that’ll be the day… someday.

Small Town Boy

23 08 2010

(Based on the song by Bronski Beat as well as my own experiences)

Small Town Boy

Living in a small, conservative town doesn’t exactly have its pros, and from the very start, I’ve known something was different about me, but I just didn’t know the word for it. In the third grade, I overheard Larry Callaghan calling everyone “gay”. And since everyone was more popular than I was, I wanted to be gay too. So I went around the schoolyard, shouting, “I’m gay! I’m gay!” until at nearby supervisor heard me and lectured me about how being gay meant being happy, and nothing else.

My parents were the traditional kind; they just wanted me to marry some girl and make babies for them. My dad was never really there in my childhood or even my life, and my mom wasn’t much better. So when I came out to them, they couldn’t understand why I was doing it. They couldn’t understand that it was a part of me, I didn’t choose anything. They couldn’t understand me. They thought I was trying to hurt them in some way. Both of them gave me talks until I cried from slowly realizing that my parents never really loved me, and even less now.

My father would continually tell me he was disappointed in me and, eventually became slightly ill afterwards, and my mother blamed it on me. She told me I never should have mentioned it to him because of his beliefs regarding the taboo subject of sexuality. She also wanted me to apologize to him, to tell him that it was something I would eventually overcome and I would be “normal” soon. I couldn’t do it because it was just wrong and I would be lying. Was it so wrong that I told them who I really was?

In a small town, word gets around really quickly. Soon, everyone at school knew, and that’s when I started getting harassed by people; I would be lucky if I got through the day with just a punch in the face. I dreaded the sound of the school bell because it signalled the start of another hour of beatings. The teachers blindly overlooked anything they saw directed at me, even if it was right in front of their eyes. I lost what little of my friends I had, but two of my closest still stuck by, and even dared to hang out with me. The three of us then vowed to finally leave this town we called “home”.

The weather man called for sunny skies, but it was overcast, and it looked like it was going to rain any second. A little black suitcase in my right hand in and a watch on my left that read 8:28, I had only two more minutes to wait till I started my new life. As I heard the clanging of the engines as the train nears the platform, I took one last look around, expecting to see my parents there; telling me to come back; that they loved me, but all I saw were empty seats.

Goodbye… to everything.


24 05 2010


In your cave of clothes
Dank, reeking
of sulfurous detergent
Ties hanging, stalactites
Asphyxiating turtlenecks
a skeleton in the corner, still rotting
Secrets lost in the creases

The hermit refuses to leave.

Wardrobe and lies expand
but instead of yearning for the open sunlight,
he shrinks himself,
insignificant as the lint in the pockets.
Family and friends familiar with his shadow
on the wall
his distorted voice behind sliding doors
unaware of his true face
Soulless sweaters and vests,
He knows them best.

I’ve come with questions
But your answers are prepared
“No” echoing to silence.
Caves have no doors:
Is this really the only place you want to know?

10 Defining Moments of My Life (so far) — #8: Coming out to my mom

10 05 2010

8.  I was trying to teach myself to play the guitar when my mom walked in and sat on the bed next to me.  Immediately, I knew she had something serious to talk about.  She looked at me and asked if I was gay.  I said yes, and already I could sense the tears waiting to be shed.  We had a long, long talk about it; she couldn’t seem to understand how I “became” gay.  She kept trying to make up excuses for it, but when I told her it was just who I am, she didn’t believe it.  Tears kept falling down my face, and some of them fell between the strings of the guitar and on the frets.  Needing to know how my mom felt about me now, I asked her if she still loved me.  She replied, “You are my son.  I’ll always love you.” and that was when I really bawled.  I hugged my mom tightly and cried on her, still not believing that she would really accept me for who I was because I knew she was the traditional Asian kind.

10 Defining Moments of My Life (so far) — #4: Coming Out

26 04 2010

4.  August 23, 2003.  During the summer of Grade 9 year at high school, I was hanging out with two of my best friends.  I had pre-planned to finally come out to them.  After lots of dodging the subject, we finally settled beneath the shade of a great, maple tree.  I was incredibly nervous and scared that I made my friends guess it.  I told them I wanted to tell them something, that I liked someone in our grade.  The two of them were running through the list of girls in our grade, but I kept saying that they were guessing the wrong type of people, to which they asked, “So what?  You want us to list ugly people?!”  One of them must’ve caught on because she asked jokingly, “Do you like men?” and with my red cap covering my face because I was so completely embarrassed and afraid, I said, “Yes.”  (A brief amount of silence followed, which I learned two years later that during this time, one of my friends was apparently stuffing her mouth with bread to keep from laughing.)