Asiaout Gay Dating Launches 30 July

Asiaout Gay Dating Launches 30 July


Asiaout’s hot new Gay Dating site will launch on 30 July at  in a brand new format.
We have listened to our members and the new site will be dedicated to Gay Dating for gay men and transgenders. It is easy to use and easy to understand, but with the features that you need for a fun dating site.

  • Personal Profiles
  • Profile photos
  • Personal photo gallery
  • Advanced Searches
  • Favourites (friends)
  • Chat
  • Private Messaging
  • Gifts
  • Ignore (blocking)
  • Dating Tips
  • Comprehensive Help Page
  • Fast Friendly Support

From now until 30 July, existing members will be able to pre-register. We’ve sent messages to all our members telling them how they can register and check out the new site prior to the official launch.

Public registration will open on 30 July.

Asiaout To Launch New Dating Site

Asiaout To Launch New Dating Site


Asiaout has been providing free dating services to the gay community for over 20 years, including under our original name of Dragoncastle, and since early 2013 as Asiaout.

Over the years we have modernised our sites to ensure they are user friendly, easy on the eye, and accessible on mobile devices. This has meant occasional major changes to the look and feel of the Dating zone, and the most recent was a big change to a more social website, moving away from our tradition of pure dating. This change was made after consulting our membership and taking the majority opinion into account.

However, the social-based site has proved to be a little complex for many users and there has been a call from our members to return to a more traditional and straightforward dating format. In addition, the domain we’re using currently for our Dating & Social Zone ( has been recalled by the US authorities who feel that an Asian site should not be using a .us domain.

In the light of this, Asiaout will be opening a new dedicated Gay Dating website within the next month or so to address the concerns of our members. The new site will have all the features you’d expect from a leading Gay Dating site, and it will of course be mobile friendly. We’ll be helping our members transition from the existing site, and we’ll publish details of that, and more information about the new site within a couple of weeks.

We look forward to seeing our existing members joined by many new ones in our safe and friendly new Gay Dating Zone!

Ghosts, Ghouls, And Gays

Ghosts, Ghouls, And Gays


Happy Halloween!

But why do we say that when its the time of year that ghosts rise up to haunt us for a night?

In keeping with the time of year, we thought we’d introduce you to some ghosts and hauntings with gay connections.

Well, boys, if 10% of the population are gay, then 10% of those ghosts must be too!

In reality, proving a ghost is gay is virtually impossible, but there are a few suggestions of gay ghosts, as well as plenty of reports of ghosts and ghoulish happenings at gay bars and clubs.

The UK can justifiably believe it is one of the most haunted countries in the world. With such a long history, so many ancient buildings, and grisly deaths, reports of hauntings are common place around the nation.


The one ghost seriously suggested as being gay, is the one which haunts the 106 year old and aptly named Queens Theatre in the heart of central London. Male staff have reported feeling that they are being watched as they change into their uniforms before a performance. There have also been reports that some of them have had their asses pinched by an invisible presence. Women seldom experience any sort of strange sensations or activity at the Queen’s Theatre, leading many to speculate that the invisible ghost must be a gay man.

The mind boggles at what might happen if the resident ghost really got horny!

Another London landmark, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, is reputed to be the most haunted theatre of all with a dozen ghosts inhabiting different areas of the building, including a “Pantomime Dame” in full drag, while the nearby Adelphi Theatre is home to a ghost who was murdered by his male lover who had become violently jealous through alcoholism. Yet another London theatre, the Victoria Palace, has a resident poltergeist which apparently enjoys throwing the stage wigs around – maybe he couldn’t find one that suited him!

Napoleon’s, a long gone up-market gay club in central London, had a restaurant on the ground floor while the bar and dance floor were underground in an rather old bulding which had once been a hospital in pre-Victorian times.

The club, according to the staff, has a resident ghost, a woman dressed in old fashioned clothes, who would often appear in the disco, mostly after the guests had left, but there were also reports that she had been seen when the club was full of dancing queens – we wonder what she might have thought of a room full of shirtless men camping it up!

One of London’s longest established gay pubs, The King William IV, has a well documented ghost in the spiritual form of a Mrs Wyatt who was murdered by her husband and walled into the cellar. Staff recommended the no one enters the cellar alone!

Yet another gay pub, The Black Cap, famous for its drag shows, is reputed to be haunted by the first innkeeper, the Mother Red Cap (which was the pub’s original name). Mother Red Cap was accused of murdering a lover and believed to be a witch and on the night she died, locals claimed to see the Devil go into her home. There’s also a suggestion that the DJ’s booth is located right on the site of an ancient gallows.

A little away from London, is the 700 year old Fitz Manor in the county of Shropshire, where legend has it that a priest was crucified in the dining room, of all places, for being gay, and his ghost is reputed to haunt the place to this day, with apparitions, painful moans and thumps on the furniture. As the place is a guesthouse, it must take a little nerve to stay there!

On the south coast of England, the seaside town of Brighton is home to an ancient pub, the Regency Tavern, which also happens to be a pricey gay venue. We’re not sure if the surly staff or the ghostly spirits are responsible for the hauntings reported by many of the former landlady floating through the premises – perhaps she wants to instill some manners in bar staff here, or maybe they’ll see the same fate as the little girl who was gassed in a bedroom upstairs and still walks the hallways.

Across the world in the US, the old French city of New Orleans has its share of haunted gay bars too.

The Bourbon Pub, the city’s longest running gay bar, allegedly has three in house ghosts including one which likes to beat customers on the soles of their feet. A ghost with a foot fetish!

The Cafe Lafitte in Exile, another long running gay bar, boasts a couple of famous resident ghosts – playwright Tennessee Williams and author Truman Capote are occasionally spotted relaxing on the first floor, while mysterious figures have been seen on the balcony before disappearing into thin air – drunks falling into the street below perhaps?

The city’s Jimani Lounge was the scene of one of America’s worst hate crimes against the LGBT community in 1973 when a petrol bomb destroyed a great deal of the premises and killed 32 people including the patron and his boyfriend.

Screams, and other disturbing noises are heard in the upper floors of the building, and no one has been brave enough to fully repair the damage to the upper floors.

To the north in New York, a gay bar opened in the most unlikely of locations on the site of a former funeral home dating back to 1915. Unsurprisingly, the Urge Bar appears to be home to a departed soul who disapproves of drinking as he levitates glasses from the bar and throws them around! Who pays the bill in that situation?

Back home in Asia, its not easy to find references to gay ghosts and most of those are in corny horror flicks, which in the case of Thailand often involved katoeys (ladyboys) as the haunted or the spirits, including “Ja-Ae … Goi Laew Jaa”, which featured transgendered pagent winner Treechada Marnyaporn as the ghost, in a story very loosly based on another very famous (straight) ghost, Mae Nak.


The spirit world is part of Asia tradition; In Bangkok’s Silom Road, local gays at one time considered one building in particular to have been ‘cursed’, and it certainly saw some bad luck over a period of a few years.

Originally the home to the very successful and popular gay owned and run Rome Club, its problems began when the owner took leave to receive medical treatment and left the running of the club to his manager. Within days, a sign appeared outside in both Thai and English: “No homosexuals”. The result left the club in financial ruin and even the return of the owner could not save the business. He was later murdered by his gardner at his home on Samui island.

The next series of attempts at starting a business in the same location all ended in failure within a short space of time, one after another, and at one point the front of the building collapse while renovations were underway. However, it seems that perhaps the curse has now been lifted as the current occupants appear to be making a success of their business.

On a lighter note, an amusement hall in Bangkok’s Rachadapisek Road formerly known at The Haunted Mansion, was recently taken over and turned into what appears to be a very hot, and jumping gay disco. Lets hope they have a very spirited halloween!

In Myanmar (Burma) one of the country’s biggest festival is both an homage to spirits as well as a big gay-themed event. Natkadaws are Spirit Mediums who act the role of Nat Spirits in the many Nat festivals. Most of the Natkadaws are gay and the Taungbyone Festival is the biggest “Nat Pwe” in the country. Although this video does’t show it, its a big attraction for gays and transgenders.

Some background to Halloween:

Originally a pre-christian Celtic festival held on 31 October and 1 November known as Sammhein, it marked the day the harvest ended and the winter began. It was also was seen as a time when the spirits could more easily come into our world and were particularly active. Feasts were held, at which the souls of dead relatives and friends were called to attend and a place set at the table for them. It was believed that failure to invite them could result in some unpleasant happenings.

As Christianity evolved, a new religious festival was introduced which took over some aspects of Sammhein, All Souls Day (also called All Hallows Eve), and All Saints Day.  The north American style ‘Halloween’ didn’t really cross the atlantic to Europe until the late 20th century, prior to which it was purely a low key religious festival.

Gays And The Ad Media

Gays And The Ad Media


In recent times, advertising aimed at the gay community has started to expand, from a tiny niche its slowly entering the mainstream as advertisers wake up to the value of the pink dollar/baht/euro/pound, and also realise that some ads aimed at the gay market will appeal to women too.

The worldwide “Pink Dollar” is estimated to be worth over US$1 trillon.

Of course some ads might be a little too much for the general population, including those commercials by popular underwear purveyor Andrew Christian which markets directly to the ‘butch’ gay male market. Even their cut versions are only for gay men!

Here’s a ‘tame’ cut of one of their promo videos.

While this Abercrombie and Fitch promo, obviously aimed right at the crutch of gay men, could almost be a prelude to rather hot porn movie:

Of course promoing safe sex is important and almost universal, and humour often hits the mark. Here’s a short safe sex message from Thailand:

And this French one is both funny and direct, getting the message across:

Ads don’t have to be about safe sex or underwear to appeal to a niche market – beauty clinics abound in Asia and they’re very popular, but picking the right one can be hard. Here’s a suggestion:

Airlines have also realised the commercial importance of the gay market. Recently New Zealand Airlines staged an inflight gay wedding, as well as offering a (one-off) gay-only flight to San Francisco. Apart from NZA, Britain’s Virgin Airlines have always been gay-friendly:

And some booking agents are even more keen to get their hands on you:

While one airline has a special place for the ladies:

Travelling often means motoring for gays, and this is a classic gay commercial from Hyundai:

Clothes Maketh the Man, so they say, and gays spend a fortune on apparel so any manufacturer worth its salt wants into the market. We’ve seen an underwear ad, so now here’s a slightly intimidating, jeans ad:

Another pointed ad from Thailand, which went viral recently, proves that its not just women who wear bras:

And in the Philippines much the same can be said for those expensive shampoos:

Most gay men enjoy a drink, but some drinks can be a bit different:

So far we’ve seen a range of mostly funny ads for commercial products, but ads serve great causes too. One of the best campaign ads for equality came out of Ireland, traditionally not very friendly towards LGBT, but this video helped to change minds:

And this commercial has a wonderful twist, sending a powerful message to bigots and homophobes from a famous name:

And this little cookie serves as both a commercial and a promo for Pride; anyone up for a nibble?

And finally, a beautiful promo for an Italian LGBT rights group:

Gays, Dharma, & Society

Gays, Dharma, & Society

The documentation of homosexuality in Thailand is not a recent development. Apart from being mentioned in the Tipitaka, it also appears in Lanna religious texts and in the ancient Tra Sam Duang legal code. According to Prempreeda Pramoj na Ayutthaya, a transgendered researcher, the ancient Lanna texts mention the creation of the Earth and three genders – puri, itthee, and nuppoongsaka, believed to be men, women and homosexuals, respectively.

This corresponds with the Tipitaka, which categorises people who didn’t readily fall into traditional male or female stereotypes (bandoh) into five sub-divisions, in accordance with their sexual orientation, one of these being nuppoongsaka.

”This means the Tipitaka recognises sexual diversity,” Prempreeda noted.

There is also historical evidence of lesbians and gays. In the old palace, for example, only women were allowed to perform in dance troupes called lakhon nai, with some playing male characters both in plays and in their private lives, leading to lesbian sex being called len peuan (playing with friends). Dance troupes outside the palace, or lakhon nok, only allowed male performers, and some married princes were rumoured to sleep with feminine actors, said Prempreeda. Such sex among men was called len sawaat (playing with lovers).

And while homosexuality is nothing new in Thai history, nor is discrimination.

While the mention of homosexuality in the Tipitaka was aimed at warning monks what not to do, the ancient Kod Montien Barn legal code of the Ayutthaya period targeted homosexual members of the court. It imposed such penalties as being hit on the fingernails and neck tattooing for those engaging in homosexual sex, both len peuan and len sawaat.

Despite such discrimination, Assoc Prof Peter A. Jackson, senior fellow in Thai history of the Australian National University, argued that the situation is gradually improving.

According to him, the broader Thai community admires beautiful katoey, and people who are successful in their careers, and there is an increasing number of successful katoey performers and business people.

However, there is still a lot misunderstanding about different sexual orientations, he noted.

To help redress the problem, Prempreeda has written more than 20 research papers on transgender issues and has also been working as a consultant for researchers on the subject. Among her works are Ladyboys in Cabaret Shows, her master’s thesis for Chiang Mai University, and The Fluidity of Thai Queer Sexuality and Experiences of Accessing Sexual Health Care, her master’s thesis for her degree in health social science from Mahidol University.

‘The more I learned, the less I could turn a blind eye to gender inequality,’ she noted.

Many transsexuals who have faced discrimination have joined Prempreeda’s battle against discrimination. One of them is Suttirat Simsiriwong, or ‘Mod’, a brand manager for a French cosmetics company. She made headlines earlier this year when a famous hotel in Siam Square barred her from entering the hotel’s nightclub as a matter of policy. Her campaign (and pressure from the international gay community) resulted in an apology and the revocation of the hotel’s ban on transsexuals.

But due to misconceived stereotypes of transsexuals as untrustworthy, such bans are still the rule at many hotels and nightspots, especially those in tourist destinations such as Pattaya and Phuket, said Sitthiphan Boonyaphisomparn, an advocate for transsexual rights.

Without legal recognition for transsexuals, they also routinely suffer discrimination. When Prempreeda lost her ATM card, for example, her bank refused to cancel the card over the telephone because her feminine voice did not match the ‘male’ designation in her bank documents.

Another big problem for transsexuals in Thailand is the lack of Thai-language information on the pros and cons of gender reassignment surgery to help them with such important decisions.

“Policies relating to rights and laws for the transgendered are still overlooked in Thai society, even though the Thai transgendered culture is richer here than in many foreign cultures,” Prempreeda said.

First published in the Bangkok Post 5 November 2007

One Muslim Warias Struggle

One Muslim Warias Struggle

Haiibalah is Muslim and transgender. The hostile reactions from other women and men towards her decision to wear the jilbab (muslim head scarve) in public was based on the belief of the irreconcilability of being [tooltip title="Info" content="Waria is a combination of the Bahasa Indonesia words for woman (wanita) and man (pria)." type="info" ]waria[/tooltip] (transgender) and expressing religiosity in the gender of choice.

While other waria do not mix gender identity with religious identity, women like Haiibalah attend prayers at the mosque alongside other cis-gender women much to disapproval of some, particularly those who argue that physical contact with Haiibalah’s biologically male body can render another woman’s prayers annulled.

Jangan lepas jilbabku begins in 1997 when Haiibalah turns 16. The writer describes her gradual transition from male to female as eventful as the moment Indonesia regains its democracy at the end of Suharto’s dictatorial regime in 1998. She describes the kind of woman she wants to be: an ordinary woman, good-looking even without make-up, someone who wears the jilbab, independent, headstrong, and accepted. In school, Haiibalah is an active editor of the school’s Islamic magazine, and a popular student. Using her popularity and religious image as a social buffer, Haiibalah began experimenting with her appearance. She plucked her eyebrows into a pair of thin, arching crescents; suffice it to say, this led to other arched eyebrows. After being told that her eyebrows were seen as “inappropriate” for young men, Haiibalah went on to tackle what ostensibly is taboo: she, a transwoman, wearing a jilbab.

Haiibalah is one of many transgender Indonesians who are religious and adopt the jilbab, but how the transgender community see themselves is diverse. Some, like Haiibalah, identify as women – within them lies a woman’s soul (jiwa) in a man’s body. Others, on the other hand, view themselves as both male and female, and there are waria who identify as the third sex. Unlike Haiibalah, some transwomen who wear the jilbab attend prayers in male attire but revert to women’s clothing and feminine demeanor the rest of the time.

The waria community has long been stereotyped as hairdressers, make-up artists, and sex workers in Indonesia. In film, they are doomed to dehumanizing comedic roles. But transgender Indonesians, particularly the male-to-female waria, have witnessed the rise of high-profile media personalities, such as Dorce Gamalama, cited by many as Indonesia’s answer to Oprah Winfrey. Her success is a significant step towards more positive representation of the waria.

More recently, the well-received film, Realita Cinta dan Rock ‘n’ Roll (Reality, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, 2006), foregrounds the relationship between a transwoman and her son. The film is a startling departure from older cinematic stereotypes of the waria, as it features a good-looking, affluent, judo-wrestling and salsa-dancing trans-mother. Jangan Lepas Jilbabku is not the first book by a transperson to make it to the best-sellers list. Both Jangan Lihat Kelaminku (Do Not Look At My Genitals) and Perempuan Tanpa V (Woman Without a Vagina) by Merlyn Sopjan are tales of personal triumph over transphobia, winning Sopjan fame and fortune as writer, later as beauty queen, AIDS activist, and mayoral candidate.

Although much of their media presence is highly sensationalized, the rising number of transgender Indonesians entering the public sphere in the face of increasing Islamization may be a strategy for acceptance. But as Haiibalah’s experiences attest, even religious expression is a gendered privilege. The hostility against transwomen like Haiibalah who adopt the jilbab as part their identity raises new questions about the hijab and femininity.

In this case, the jilbab becomes more than just a head covering, as it is perceived as a kind of privilege accorded to cis-gendered Muslim women. Also, it throws the issue of transphobia within sacred spaces into sharp relief. Denying a transwoman’s right to wear the jilbab highlights the fundamental notion that being a woman is reduced to a vagina attained at birth. Like public toilets, not only do places of worship pose as no-go zones for transwomen, but they undermine the assertion that transwomen are women.

Haiibalah sets a precedent for a public discussion on gender privilege and religious expression in Indonesia, and indeed, the discussion goes beyond the jilbab and praying next to other women, as it is fundamentally about power and privilege in religious communities.

Alicia Izharuddin is a postgraduate student in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental African Studies in London with a keen interest in sexuality in Southeast Asia. She has written for a variety of media outlets on feminist and religious issues. This article was previously published at Muslimah Media Watch.

State Sponsored Hatred In Malaysia

State Sponsored Hatred In Malaysia


For those who might not be aware of it, the Malaysian government has been, for a quite a long time, conducting a serious effort is demonize and repress a minority group through a series of actions that are a fundamental breach of human rights, and which have some parallels with the early activities of the Nazis in Europe in the 1930s.

Its almost unbelievable in the 21st century that a so-called democratic government can actively persecute a minority of its citizens with impunity. You’ll hear little or no condemnation from world powers like China, the US and the EU or the regional ASEAN organisation, despite the fact that almost on a weekly basis there are strong verbal attacks, and sometimes more, on that minority group by government ministers, and religious leaders, who also actively seek to restrict or deny that group it’s human rights. Such actions could be considered criminal and those responsible should be called to account.

Who are these oppressed people? Gay, lesbians, and transgenders; the same group that Hitler attempted to exterminate in his death camps along with the unfortunate Jews. Some in Malaysia have also advocated that gays be sent to “re-education” camps, and some ‘effeminate’ youth were actually detained in one for a while .

The following reports just some aspects of ongoing government repression:

In 1994, the government banned anyone who is homosexual, bisexual or transsexual from appearing in the state controlled media.

In 1995, the state of Selangor Religious Affairs Minister praised the Islamic Badar vigilante groups who had organized in 1994 to assist in the arrest of 7,000 for engaging in “unIslamic” activities including homosexuality.

In May 1998 forty-five transvestites were tried in an Islamic court following a police raid of a drag beauty pageant held in Alor Star, the capital of the Malaysian state of Kedah. Fifty crossdressers had been vying for a title for the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle before some 300 guests in the Kedah Indian Association hall when police burst in and arrested all the contestants.

Five non-Muslims were released, but the rest were charged with wearing female clothes and posing as women in a public place, charges carrying maximum penalties of six months’ incarceration.

In 2001, the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stated that the country will deport any visiting ministers, or diplomats who are gay. Mohamad also warned gay ministers in foreign countries not to bring along their partners while visiting the nation, while his daughter Marina Mahathir has called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 2000, Abdul Kadir Che Kob described homosexuals as “shameless people” and homosexuality as a “sin worse than murder.” Abdul Kadir is head of education and research at Malaysia’s Islamic Affairs Department, which operates as the morality police with 50 enforcement officers across the country. These officers are empowered to arrest Muslims, including unmarried couples, homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals, suspected of breaking Islamic laws. in 1999, 111 men were arrested in Kuala Lumpur for “attempting to commit homosexual acts”.

In September 2003, a nationally televised speech marking Malaysia’s national holiday by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was riddled with anti-gay epithets and threats.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 300,000 following a massive parade in the capital, and broadcast live throughout the country, Mahathir said Malaysia’s achievements proved its policies worked. He then claimed that foreign powers were trying dominate weak countries and warned that Western influences threatened Malaysia’s traditional values.

“Western films idolize sex, violence, murders and wars,” said Mahathir, a critic of US-led globalization. “Now they permit homosexual practices and accept religious leaders with openly gay lifestyles.”

“They are very angry, especially their reporters, many of whom are homos, when we take legal action against these practices,” Mahathir said.

Mahathir warned that “if there are any homosexuals in Malaysia they had better mend their ways,” or face the maximum prison terms.

In 2005, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor stated that the Navy would never accept homosexuals.

In 2010, the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia announced it would only allow depiction of homosexual characters as long as the characters “repent” or die.

The “People’s Anti-Homosexual Voluntary Movement”, was created in 1998 to lobby for stricter criminal laws against homosexuality, and is part of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO)

In April 2011, the government of the Malaysian state of Terengganu announced a program in which effeminate boys would be sent to a ‘boot camp’ for retraining and re-education.

On 3rd November 2011, The Huffington Post and other media reported that Malaysian police ordered the closure of a “Sexual Independence” festival that had been a low key annual event for three previous years and was held in private to support the beleaguered LGBT community. The Huffington Post story said:
“Authorities will ‘prevent any function relating to the program,’ deputy police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement run by national Bernama news agency and confirmed by police representatives.

Many organizations “feared the program could create disharmony, enmity and disturb public order,” Khalid said.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had described the event as “inappropriate” and a “waste of time,” according to local news agency Bernama.

Gay rights activists said the festival was meant to counter widespread homophobia in this socially conservative Asian nation, where a young gay man received death threats last year after posting a YouTube clip defending his sexuality.

“Asking us to keep quiet is asking us to take your abuse with a smile … it’s time to put a stop to all the hate and misunderstanding and abuse,” festival spokesman Pang Khee Teik said in an online statement posted before the event was banned.

This year’s program also included plans for talks on sexuality issues, a poster exhibition and a makeup workshop by a drag queen. One session is titled “Defense Against The Dark Arts: Homophobia 101.”

Media censorship rules forbid movies and song lyrics that promote acceptance of gays, while a decades-old law makes sodomy punishable by 20 years in prison, though it is seldom and selectively enforced.

The festival’s sponsors and supporters included the Malaysian chapter of Amnesty International, the country’s main grouping of lawyers and other human rights organizations.”

In April 2012 an anti-gay demonstration took place in a Kuala Lumpur university campus which was attended by more than 1000 people.

On 27 June 2012, Prime Minister Najib Razak made it plain in a statement on his website that the Malaysian LGBT community had no part to play in the nation’s life or development, saying “any deviant aspects such as liberalism, pluralism and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) would not have a place in the country”. The reference to pluralism also reflects UMNO’s desire to remain permanently in control of the country.

In November 2012, An ASEAN “Human Rights” declaration was heavily criticised for having little substance after Malaysia and some other countries objected to the inclusion of LGBT rights in the document. A long list of civil rights organisations jointly signed a condemnation of the impotent charter.

On 26 November the wife of the Malaysian Prime Minister told the Phnom Pehn Post: “You know why HIV and AIDS occur… how it is being spread. Now the number of people suffering from HIV is alarming. What is it you want? Do you want to allow this… or do you want to contain it. You have to nip [homosexuality] in the bud. If you don’t, when the time comes and you have to stop [homosexuality], you will find it’s too late.”

In response President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Ou Virak, described Rosmah’s comments as ‘bogus and extremely homophobic’.

‘Come on, it’s 2012,’ Virak said. ‘The world knows this is not true. This confirms our fears about the (ASEAN) declaration – that these clauses were included to give governments excuses to not uphold universal principles of human rights.’

Rosmah described human rights as ‘the rights of an individual based on what you believe in, based on your culture and your religion’. She said it was ‘fine’ for other countries to recognize LGBT rights, they wanted to run Malaysia based on ‘high morality’, implying that LGBT people are of low morals by nature.

On 7 December 2012 The ruling UMNO party at it’s annual conference stated that “anti-Islamic elements threaten the country”, singling out homosexuality and those who “promote liberalism in mainly Muslim Malaysia.”

“This LGBT is haram in Islam. (But the opposition) is making LGBT halal … they even said that the law on sodomy is obsolete,” said Pendang delegate Mohd Kamal Saidin, who accused Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as the man responsible for the promotion of “vice.”

(In 1998, former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was charged with corruption and sodomy. In 2000, he was sentenced to nine years for allegedly engaging in sodomy with his 19-year-old male chauffeur and his former male speech writer. Despite national and international protests, he was not released until 2004 when he had already served four years of his sentence, when the Federal Court of Malaysia acquitted him of all charges.

After his release, Anwar stated that he was innocent and the allegations were part of a government conspiracy to end his political career. He also felt that the national criminal laws against homosexuality ought to be reformed to protect consenting adult’s right to have a private life, although he also stated that gay marriage, “is going a bit too far”.

In 2007, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad responded to a civil lawsuit filed by Anwar by stating that a homosexual should not hold public office in Malaysia and that he knew Anwar was a homosexual because Anwar’s male chauffeur and a male speech writer both stated in court that they had had sexual relations with Anwar.

In July 2008, Anwar was arrested again, accused of sodomy with a male former aide. The arrest came shortly after Anwar claimed to be in a position to challenge the governing coalition after the opposition’s successes in the March elections. However, he was released on bail and won the campaign for his former seat in Parliament, and currently leads the opposition in Parliament. UMNO lost its long held tight grip over Parliament after dismal election results but remained the governing party.)

In January this year, an unbeliveably ignorant and stupid statement was made by the deputy education minister, Puad Zarkashi, that ‘lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgenders (LGBT) are an illness that can be treated.’ – For an education minister, the man is sadly lacking in both education and intelligence.

He was a speaking at a now notorious ‘seminar’ which was supposed to show parents how to recognise the symptoms (of being LGBT) early to prevent their children from practising the LGBT lifestyle.

For those already ‘adopting’ the lifestyle, Dr Puad said “intervention by teachers and parents, followed by counselling, can help them to return to the right path”. The use of a phrase like this clearly shows that there is a huge amount of ignorance within the government of Malaysia, as well as bigotry and homophobia. No gay, lesbian or transsexual ‘chooses’ to be that way, anymore than you can chose your height, or hair colour.

“LGBT is a social illness. We have to raise awareness on it. Just like drugs, a lack of awareness will cause LGBT to spread,” Puad said.

He called on parents to be attentive to their children and take note of their behaviour. “If your son keeps asking for permission to spend the night at the house of another male friend, then you must check to ensure that nothing else is happening,” he said. The seminar, which was attended by hundreds of teachers and parents, was the 20th in a nationwide series.

Later, this same series of seminars became a laughing stock both internationally and inside Malaysia, when the ‘Education’ ministry approved a set of ‘symptoms’ for parents to watch for in their children. Amongst the ludicrous symptoms mentioned were:

Having a muscular body and liking to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes; Preferring tight and light-coloured clothes; Being attracted to men; and liking to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out.

The warning signs for females were equally stupid: Being attracted to women; Besides their female companions, distancing themselves from other women; Liking to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company of women; and having no affection for men.

For Mohammed Islam, the continued intolerance against the LGBT community is directly opposing the professed message of tolerance being pushed by the government and Prime Minister Najib Razak about Islam.

“I feel this is counter to everything we are being told and what we are telling the world about Islam,” the 24-year-old graduate student and gay Malaysian, told “If we are going to be a leader in the world and talk about tolerance, we must be accepting to all people and citizens. These seminars are just continuing to show Malaysia as a backward country.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the ruling government has lashed out against the LGBT community. Last year, the government called LGBT as being “of the devil.”

The Umno, in ending its final assembly ahead of the elections, said that anti-Islamic elements threaten the country, singling out homosexuality and those who promote liberalism in “mainly Muslim Malaysia.”

One delegate called for a rehabilitation center for the LGBT community to “re-educate” them and bring them back to society.

At the time of writing (Early April 2013), a musical play is touring Malaysia spewing hatred against the LGBT community – and its fully supported by the bigots in the Malaysian government.

The government-financed musical that aims to ‘warn young people about the perils of being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)’ has sparked controversy over its “state-sponsored bigotry” and potential to incite hatred.

Asmara Songsang (Abnormal Desire) follows the lives of three LGBT friends who throw loud parties, take drugs and have casual sex, thereby incurring the wrath of their religious neighbours, who attempt to reintroduce them to the teachings of Islam. Those who repent are spared, while those who don’t are killed in a lightning storm.

This abhorent ‘play’ completely ignores that fact that most LGBT live very ordinary, routine lives, virtually identical to those of heterosexuals, and is produced purely to incite hatred. Drug taking and casual sex is not entirely unusual amongst heterosexuals in Malaysia, while corruption and sexual misdemeanours are common enough among some high ranking officials who like to preach to others about how they should live.

These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg of state sponsored hatred against a minority group that doesn’t bother anyone and just wants to peacefully get on with life in the same way that other citizens can.

Can you imagine living in a country where your own government – elected to serve the whole community – is actively persecuting the community you are a part of?

Aziz (not his real name) is a gay Malay Muslim. He described to Asiaout how he and some of his friends live in a climate of fear and intimidation, despite being what he describes as “good muslims”.

“We are afraid of being attacked on the street; afraid of being fired from our jobs; afraid of being arrested on some pretext and then beaten by the police; we’re afraid of what the government might do next.”

Peter, a gay ethnic Chinese, added; “The whole atmosphere is one of fear. When the government incites hatred against us, there is no recourse at all. We’re in a hopeless situation.”

Suleiman, another Malay Muslim, noted that living abroad was the best option for many gay Malaysians: “I was lucky enough to have the chance to study and live in England, where despite some racial attitudes, I still feel safer than at home in Malaysia. If I was unlucky enough to suffer an attack or discrimination I know that I can go to the authorities and get help; something that is impossible in Malaysia.”

As mentioned in our opening remarks, Malaysians have a rare opportunity to vote Najib and his bigoted cohorts out of power, and hopefully in due course these extremist politicians will be held accountable in a court of law.

First Impressions

First Impressions

Mark Kiakai Writes: No, that’s not my first impression, but just too good not to post. More about that a bit later.


As Asiaout’s new editor, I thought it might be interesting to tell you guys about my impressions of returning home to Thailand after spending many years in the UK, where I went to school and uni, and more recently worked for a while in the back room of a media company – that’s a back room, not a dark room :-)

I’ve only been back a few days and I guess its a mix of culture shock and enjoyment; the culture shock is not about traditional things Thai, but about how tatty and grubby things look after London (although that fair city has its issues too), how bad the traffic is, and how much litter gets thrown onto the streets. The enjoyment is being back with friends and family, and feeling comfortable in my environment; even after living in London for so long and getting a cockney accent (so I’ve been told), I was still sometimes made to feel out of place there.

Even if its not always genuine, you can get a ready smile and easy chat with anyone in Bangkok, unlike London where they think you must be up to no good if you break a smile on the Tube (MRT) or on the street – except of course when the other party is a handsome hunk!

One of my main impressions on getting home, surprisingly, was Facebook. Yes, I know Facebook has billions of members and yes its big in the UK too, but for some reason I’ve never joined, until I got back home a couple or so days ago.

Its been an education; lots of friendly guys, both Asian and western, all happy to interact, all happy to be friends. Initially it seems that my Thai FB friends are more willing or more likely to reveal their inner feelings of the moment, while the westerners are generally a bit more concerned with day to day life, trivia, and politics. Of course, this is an early impression taken from a small group.

What amazes me is that some guys have many thousands of FB friends – it must be impossible to interact with even half of them, and some of these guys seem to want to build big numbers of friends just to show off. Others are a bit more selective allowing only ‘real’ friends to add them. My other shock about Facebook is the amount of nudity and even porn you can see openly, which I thought was against the rules.

Now back to the vid at the top of the page. I couldn’t resist this silly but fun lipsinc vid from a very cute guy on Facebook, the title of which roughly translates as “White Legged Dancing Girl”. If I didn’t have a boyfriend I’d happily want to date him, “dancing girl” or not!

While it happens everywhere, it can be a shock sometimes to return to a place you haven’t seen for a while and find that it has changed so much. I come from Nonthaburi province, just outside Bangkok, and while some places look just the same, other places have changed so much they are almost unrecognisable, with new skytrain lines running above many of our local main roads, and tower blocks of offices and shopping malls where there used to be rice fields. And, and, the cost of living is much higher than before. In some cases I think some things are about the same price as in the UK!

Of course arriving home in the middle of the rainy season might not be the best idea but, for me at least, the rain is refreshing in the heat I’m not used to.

I have to get a driving license, and unlike the UK where it can take a couple of weeks or more, I can get one at my local Land Transport office in an hour or less, and I can update my ID card in about the same time or less. I’ve already got a local SIM for 3G service, and a new smart phone.

So now, my job is to post and edit news stories for myasiaout and prepare some features for the main Asiaout site right here. If anyone reading this thinks they have an interesting story to tell, about their lives or anything else, then please contact me.

The Encounter

The Encounter

“The Encounter” is a work of fiction!

Lek lay on the hot sand under a thatched beach sunshade, his brown eyes half closed against the glare of the afternoon sun, and slightly propped up by his arms which he had folded under his head. He occasionally opened his eyes a little wider to look around the almost deserted beach, his glances unseen through his sunglasses.

After some time dozing quietly, Lek noticed a figure walking slowly along the water’s edge and could see immediately that it was a Farang, his hair still damp from a recent swim. Lek watched idly as the foreigner walked slowly towards the beach shades where he lay. The stranger dropped onto a towel a few meters to Lek’s left and pulled off his white T-shirt, revealing a lightly matted, firm chest and a loose pair of blue shorts. The man must have been about 35 and quite ordinary looking, but he seemed to be in good shape.

After a few minutes, Lek lost interest and slipped back into the half doze he’d been in before the farang had arrived. He drifted away, until he felt the heat of the sun lessen and a breeze from the gently rolling ocean told him it was almost time to go. He opened his eyes just in time to see the farang look quickly away. The man had been watching him while he’d been sleeping! He sat up and stretched leisurely, letting the breeze caress his slim figure. He glanced again and saw that the farang was still looking at him, but this time he did not avert his gaze. Lek smiled at the man, as he smiled at everyone, and his smile was returned.

Lek stood up and began to put his few things into his bag, and adjusted his swim suit, which had allowed sand to irritate slightly around his thigh. He pulled on his shirt and as he did so the farang got up and came across to him. “Hello, do you speak English?”
“Yes,” replied Lek, glancing into the man’s eyes and being taken aback by their brilliant blue colour.
“Can you give me a light, please?” asked the man, holding cigarette to his lips.
Lek rummaged in his bag and produced a lighter.
“Thanks, what’s your name?”
“Lek,” Lek replied, looking him over discretely. He’d never met a farang before and had heard conflicting stories about them, but this one seemed to be polite and was reasonable looking.
“Hi, my name’s Mike, I’m from England. Do you live here?”
“Hello Mike. No, I’m here on vacation, like you I think.”
“Yes, that’s right. Look, can I get you a drink or something? It’s quite hot.”
“Thank you, but I’m just going back to my aunt’s house, my family expect me now for a meal.”

“Oh.” Mike looked quite disappointed. He hesitated for a moment and then said, “Well, could I meet you tomorrow? Maybe you can show me around.”
Lek considered quickly; he had no plans and it might be interesting to find out more about this foreigner. He looked up into those sharp, blue eyes.
“Yes, that is nice. Do you stay in a hotel?”
Mike smiled, “Yes, I’m at the Ocean, do you know it?” Lek nodded.
“Why don’t we meet there at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning?”
“That would be nice,” said Lek. “But now I have to go. Goodbye.” And with that he threw his bag over his shoulder and walked off up the sandy track. He wanted to look back but he was sure that the farang would be watching him. He walked to the end of the track to the parking lot and climbed into his car, thinking about the blue eyed stranger.

The next morning, Lek arrived at the Ocean Hotel dressed in a blue silk shirt and dark pants, and took a seat in the foyer. The hotel was a typical tourist hotel catering mainly to westerners. Within a few minutes Mike appeared. Lek smiled broadly at him, showing his brilliant white teeth.
“Good morning,” Mike said, “I’m glad you came.”
Lek smiled again, “Where would you like to go?”
“I don’t know how much time you have, but I’ve heard about a place called Nation’s Park – have you been there?”
“No,” replied Lek, “but I know where it is. It is about one hour by car.”
“OK, I’ll get a taxi,” said Mike, getting up to go to the reception desk. Lek jumped up a touched him lightly on the arm, saying “No, please I have a car, we can go in that.” Mike seemed surprised for a moment, then smiled cheerfully.
“Oh, well, fine. Are you sure you don’t mind?”
Lek just smiled again and lead Mike out of the hotel to where his car stood waiting. As Lek opened the door he said, “And it has air conditioning, so you won’t be too hot.”
They got in, and drove out into the heat and surging traffic.

They exchanged small talk as they made their way slowly through the busy streets towards the outskirts of the town, finally coming to a straight but dusty road running alongside a palm lined canal. Mike commented how about how peaceful and pretty it all was after the hustle of the town, and Lek nodded in agreement. He felt pleased that that they seemed to be getting along easily, and the Englishman made him feel relaxed. As they drove, he tried to explain to Mike about some of the things they passed on the side of the road, and a little about his country’s history. Mike listened, and asked a few questions. Lek noticed that most of them were about him, but he didn’t mind too much.

Eventually they arrived at their destination, Nation’s Park, which spread over several square kilometers of jungle and contained reproductions of some of the country’s finest temples and historical monuments. When they arrived, the park was deserted as the road leading to it was of poor quality, and on a weekday few people made the effort to get to it.

Lek drove slowly along the rough road into the park. “Take some photographs if you want to, he told Mike. “We can stop any place.” A short way inside the park, they came to a re-created traditional village. They parked and Lek led the way into the main street which, although perfectly reproduced, was totally deserted. Mike look along the street and said, “It’s the most beautiful place, and so peaceful; why don’t you stand there in front of that house and I’ll take some pictures.” Lek obliged him and dutifully posed where Mike asked, and it seemed that the man was taking more pictures of him than of the scenery. They walked slowly around the village for a while until Lek said, “Mike, we should go on, there is so much more to look at, even in one day.”

They drove further on, stopping to look at ancient houses and temples that appeared through the undergrowth at every corner. They made small talk, commenting about some of the sights, until they came upon a huge temple ruin, approached by a long flight of stone steps leading up through the jungle to the remains of a fabulous building high above the trees. At the foot of the ruin was a small refreshment stand selling cold drinks. They sat down facing each other, and ordered a cold lemon drink each. Lek realized that Mike was looking directly at him with those blue eyes again. Mike smiled broadly as he took a swig from his drink without taking his eyes off Lek’s. The meaning seemed quite plain; Lek took a drink too but looked away. He found Mike quite attractive but did not know how to react to this open behaviour. They finished their drinks and began to slowly climb the steps. Lek felt quite warm but he could see that Mike was beginning to sweat; the farang was not used to the heat.

Lek slowly undid his shirt, and then decided to take it off in the hope of catching some of the breeze filtering through the trees as they climbed. He noticed that Mike was looking at his body and smiled inwardly. He knew that he had a good physique and was happy to show it off. Mike kept shooting glances at him, running his eyes over his smooth, youthful chest. Halfway up the stone stairway, they came to a small side temple and stopped to admire the carvings, and to take a short rest. They sat together for a while in silence, listening to the jungle noises.

“Aren’t you afraid of getting bitten?’ Mike’s question bought Lek back to the present.
“The mosquitos usually come out in the evening, and I’ve never been bitten much anyway.”
Mike wiped the perspiration off his face, and asked, “You have a good body, how do you keep it like that?”
Lek smiled and quipped, “Climbing temples!” and they both laughed.

They stood up and continued their slow ascent up the long stairway until at last they arrived at the main temple building at the top of the hill. It was above the trees and a viewing platform gave a breath taking view across the countryside for many kilometers, with the town just visible away in the far distance. They explored the ruins for a while, then sat down on the wooden platform and admired the view. Lek was gazing into the distance when he suddenly realized that Mike had just kissed him on the lips. He looked around in surprise.

“I’m sorry, I hope you don’t mind.”
Lek looked at him for a moment, weighing him up; then he smiled and said softly,”I don’t mind, Mike, it was just unexpected.”
The man looked relieved and said, “Well, what if it’s not so unexpected?” and moved closer to him. Lek leaned against him and their lips brushed once again. Lek felt Mike’s arm on his back as they kissed more firmly. Lek liked the smell and taste of the man and relaxed, putting his arms around Mike’s neck. He felt the soft touch of hands exploring his back as they embraced.

Lek gently disentangled himself and smiled at Mike so as not to offend him, but it was after all a public place. Mike looked at him and said, “You know, I find you very attractive. I’d like to spend more time with you after today.”
Lek shaded his eyes to look up at Mike. “I’d like that. I’m on holiday for a short time.”
He felt happy to know that this pleasant farang was interested in him, and he was now certainly interested in Mike too. The rest of the day passed delightfully, with Lek receiving many a gentle kiss on neck and lips as they continued their tour of the park, eventually driving back to Mike’s hotel in the early evening. Lek politely refused an offer of dinner, saying, truthfully, that his family were expecting him to eat with them, but he agreed to meet Mike later and show him some of the night life.

At the appointed time, Lek arrived at the hotel foyer to find Mike already waiting for him. They walked together, chatting about their respective meals, and as they walked Mike asked Lek where they were going.
“The clubs are all near here, only a few minutes to walk. What kind of place do you want to go to?”
“I don’t know, we hear a lot in Europe about what goes on, but I don’t know where any of the places are.”
Lek smiled; he knew exactly what kind of place Mike want to see. They walked for a few minutes until they turned off the main road into a narrow street crowded with people, and suddenly there were dozens of neon lit frontages offering all kinds of exotic thrills, with pretty young girls, or handsome young men, standing outside each one attempting to lure the passers-by inside.

“Come on, Mike, we go in here.” He led Mike into a dark doorway, up a narrow flight of stairs and through a door at the top. They entered a large, dimly lit room with a small stage at the far end, to the right a small bar had a cluster of young men in shorts sitting around it, and a large crowd was seated facing the stage. Loud pop music played while colored lights flashed across the stage, and young waiters dressed only in g-strings and bow ties served drinks to the waiting audience. Lek watched Mike’s face with amusement – he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and was pretending not to look at the very cute, and near naked, waiters.

Lek led the way to the last remaining seats facing the stage and they sat down.
“Mike, relax. You can look at everything, that’s why we are here!”
Mike smiled sheepishly, but relaxed and began to look around properly. Lek touched his arm.
“There’s more to come.”
“Like what?”
Lek laughed, “Just wait!”
After a short wait, the MC came on stage to a fanfare of music and made a witty announcement, which Lek translated as best he could. Then a bevy of dancing girls appeared and began a very passable show routine. Lek grinned at Mike’s bemused expression, then said, “You know that these girls are really boys, don’t you?”
Mike shook his head, and looked back at the stage with added interest. “They don’t look like it,” he said.
Lek squeezed his arm, “You’ll see.”
As the dance routine progressed, one of the ‘girls’ came to the front of the stage and, still singing, began to strip very slowly and erotically. Lek watched Mike’s face as the last piece of clothing fell away and the performer’s true sex was revealed amid ribald laughter from the audience.

Lek watched Mike during the performances; he could see clearly that the evening had proved to be an eye-opener. As the shows ended, Lek asked Mike wanted he would like to do next. He had deliberately asked to see what Mike would say.
“I think I’m quite tired now,” Mike said. “Perhaps we should go back.”
Lek led the way out, and even though it was after 1am it was still very warm, the streets were filled with vendors busy selling food, clothes, souvenirs, and all kinds of things. They strolled slowly through the crowds looking at the various offerings, and Lek bought a small snack but Mike declined when Lek offered him some.

As they arrived back at the hotel, Mike asked Lek if he would like to have some coffee with him. Lek took a chance, “Why don’t you show me your room and we can have our coffee there.”  Mike seemed quite happy with this suggestion as he collected his key. They stood in silence as the lift took them up. Lek had already decided how he wanted the evening to end, but was still not sure if Mike wanted things the same way. As they entered Mike’s room, Lek could see that the man was very tidy as nothing was out of place. As Mike rang for room service, Lek on the table light and turned off the overhead light. “It’s too bright, late at night,” he explained, as Mike smiled at him. They talked a little about Mike’s trip and his work in England until the coffee arrived.

Once the waiter had left and a few minutes had passed, Lek plucked up his courage and put his arms around Mike.
“This is for being a nice guy.” He kissed Mike full and hard. Mike responded eagerly and ran his hands over Lek’s back. Lek felt the man getting hard, which in turn made him do the same. Within a few minutes they were naked, locked in a passionate embrace on the king-size bed. Lek began to explore every inch of Mike’s body. He was turned on even more now that he could see the hair on the firm chest and well muscled arms. His mouth and tongue found every part of the pale body until Mike could no longer control himself. He pushed Lek down onto the bed and he, in turn, explored the young man’s smooth brown body.

Lek awoke to feel Mike’s arm across his chest, the white hairy arm contrasting vividly with his own dark and smooth skin. He lay quietly watching the early morning sun creep slowly across the hotel bedroom, highlighting the clothes that had been hastily scattered as their night lust had mounted. Lek savoured the memory of the sex they had enjoyed; Mike was the first farang he had been with and it had been a good experience, so far.

He carefully slid from Mike’s embrace and gathered up his clothes. After a long shower, he scribbled a few lines of hotel notepaper, worrying that his English wouldn’t be good enough. He wrote to tell Mike that he had to go back to his job in the capital today, and left his office phone number in the hope that he might get a call. He let himself out quietly and went downstairs to the reception desk where he ordered breakfast and flowers for Mike.

As he drove away from the hotel back to where his family would be waiting, he couldn’t help thinking about his brief time with Mike, but he knew the chances were small of seeing him again, and he knew nothing of the man’s plans.  For a few kilometers he drove in a mild daze, until he reached his aunt’s house. The family were all at breakfast and as he joined them his mother gently scolded him for not letting them know where he was.

After breakfast, he helped to load his and his father’s car with the vacation bags, and eventually moved off for the two hour drive to the capital. Lek went alone as he had to go direct to his office by 8.30am, and he didn’t like being late. He drove effortlessly, but at speed, along the three land highway, musing about the prospects of seeing his farang again.

He arrived in the city without incident and weaved his way through the dense traffic to his office. He worked for a tour company based in one of the big luxury hotels, where he welcomed foreign visitors, arranged sightseeing tours, airline tickets, pills for upset stomachs, and generally catered to their every whim, or almost. While he was always polite, he found most of these foreigners to be boring and generally ignorant, but occasionally someone came along who was more interesting, and he had even managed to become a penpal for a couple of these former customers. He was fascinated by western culture and longed to have the chance to visit a western country.

The next few days were routine and uneventful, as the usual mixture of tourists’ complaints and staff problems kept him busy, and his thoughts of Mike gradually receded, until on the Friday afternoon he was talking on the phone to a tour bus driver up-country who had broken down. The office door opened and a farang came in, Lek waved him to a seat without really looking at him.

After a moment, he looked up, intending to indicate that he would not be long; his heart jumped as he saw Mike sitting there looking straight into his eyes, just as he had done on that first day. They exchanged smiles, and Lek waited impatiently as the bus driver laboriously explained his problems in fine detail. Lek made a few notes as he listened, smiling at Mike as he did so. Eventually, the unfortunate bus driver ran out of words and Lek was able to hang up.
“Mike! How are you? It’s so nice to see you.”
“HI Lek. I’m fine, and you?”
“Oh, Mike, I’m very well. What are you doing here? It’s such a surprise.”
“I’m staying here in the hotel. I’s part of my vacation booking. I have a week here before I go home. I was looking around the hotel and I was in the shop next to your office when I saw you through the window. I rang your number a few times but couldn’t get through. Now I’ve found you I feel much happier.”
“Mike, I’m very happy to see you. Can I see you tonight? I have a lot of work to do, and I have to see my sister in the evening, but I’d like to meet you after that.”
“I’d love to. What time?’
“About nine thirty. I’ll meet you at reception.”
As Mike left, Lek felt elated; he was really beginning to like the farang a lot, but was disappointed that they would only have a week more together. He tried not to think about that, only to anticipate the few coming days and the time they would spend together.

As the day wore on, he became absorbed in his work, with no time to think of other things, until eventually he was able to lock up the office for the day. As he made his way to the hotel parking lot, he began to anticipate the evenings events. As he drove across the city he allowed the surging traffic to to carry him along to the city hospital where his sister worked. He drove into the compound and managed to find a place to park between two ambulance, one of which seemed to have hastily abandoned, it’s rear doors hanging open. He made his way up to the third floor where his sister, a charge nurse, worked. He spent a few minutes talking to her and took a bag of food from her for their mother. He said ‘goodbye’ and left.

He arrived home about 40 minutes later, pulling into the front drive of the house where he lived with his father, mother and two sisters. The dogs ran barking a welcome as he let himself in. No-one was home, so he left the food in the kitchen, then went upstairs to his room and ran the shower in the bathroom. He stripped off his sticky clothes, stepped under the spray and began to lather himself with perfumed soap. He stood and stretched himself in enjoyment as he washed. He soaped his firm chest, then his slim, flat stomach, and between his legs. He thought about Mike and began to get hard; he played with himself gently for a while, lost in thought. Then he briskly showered off the soap and stepped out, looking for the towel hanging behind the door. He felt excited now, wanting to bed Mike as soon as he saw him, but he knew he would have to wait if Mike wanted to go out somewhere. He tried to think about something else as he dried himself and got dressed. He scribbled a note to his mother to let her know he would be out very late.

As he came down the stairs from the hotel parking lot, he could see Mike sitting in the reception lounge waiting for him. Although the hotel was busy with people milling around, he walked silently up behind Mike and covered the man’s eyes with his hands. Mike jumped slightly, then pulled the hands away and looked around. He broke into a wide smile and said softly, “Hello sexy.”
Lek smiled back. “Do you really think so?”
“On yes, certainly,” Mike confirmed. “Where would you like to go? Have you had dinner yet?”
“No, I didn’t have time. And you?”
“No. I was hoping we could eat together somewhere nice. Can you suggest something?”
“You want to eat inside or outside?”
“Let’s try outside. Do you know a good place?”
“Yes. Come on, I know a place you will like.”
As they entered the parking lot, Lek saw Mike looking quickly around, and then felt himself being grabbed as Mike kissed him hard and passionately. He eagerly responded, enjoying the feel of the foreigner’s body. A car squealing up the ramp caused them to jump apart suddenly, and they both burst out laughing, the sound echoing around the concrete walls. As they got into the car, Lek turned up the air conditioning, remembering that Mike found the heat uncomfortable.

Lek listened to Mike as he chattered, trying to make sure he understood every word as Mike asked him the kind of questions westerners always asked. After a drive of about an hour, through the nose-to-tail evening traffic, they emerged into the city’s outskirts along a broad boulevard lined with restaurants and houses, so generously spaced out that they looked as if they were relaxing under the night skies. Lek turned into a parking lot at the edge of the road and stopped. Several car jockeys vied for the right to park the car, and he handed his keys to the best looking boy he could see, and then they were escorted by another young guy to the side of a small lake, where a boat was waiting. They climbed in and Lek sat closely beside Mike, feeling the heat of his body against him. When the boat was full, the oarsman at the back began to weave towards an island about 200 meters away, where traditional houses had been linked together, with seats inside and out, to create a restaurant. Music drifted across the water as the boat rocked gently towards the island, and Lek felt himself being carried away in a mood of romanticism as he pressed against Mike in the dark.

They arrived at a small jetty and clambered off the boat; the restaurant seemed to be very busy but there were still a few tables free, so Lek led Mike to one in a quieter spot away from the main crowds. Mike was just about the only westerner there and he attracted a few glances from curious diners, unaccustomed to a white face in such an out-of-the-way place. They settled themselves at the table as attentive waiters lit the candles and presented the menu; they picked a selection of dishes, with Lek trying to find dishes that would not be too spicy, as the chef here made no concessions to western tastes.

They ate slowly with just a little conversation as the air of romance and relaxation overcame them both. Lek moved his chair closer to Mike and their knees rubbed; Lek had no awareness of anything other than Mike and his strong blue eyes. He hardly noticed what he was eating and could only see those eyes. He was ecstatic and wished for the moment to last forever. They talked softly and held hands under the discrete veil of the tablecloth, while waiters sensed their mood and left them alone in the dreamy world inhabited only by themselves.

All too soon, the meal ended and they had to leave, softening the deep mood, but still Lek felt dreamy hearted as the boat slowly moved back towards the jetty where the car jockeys waited. As they reached the jetty and stood to disembark, Lek pretended to stumble and fell against Mike, holding onto him as long as he dared. They stepped off the boat and found the car waiting with the engine running. Mike handed the attractive boy a generous tip and they pulled out into the night. Lek felt Mike’s hand on his thigh as he asked, “What would you like to do now?”
“Bed,” came the answer, “with you.”

The mood persisted as they headed back to the hotel, and once they were safely in the room, Lek could not hold back any longer. He threw his arms around Mike and they kissed passionately as Lek began to pull off the man’s clothes as fast as he could, his tongue finding each inch of flesh as it was exposed. He hardly noticed tearing off his own clothes but very soon they were both naked, with Mike flat on his back as Lek lay across him, tickling his nipples with the end of his darting tongue. For hours, they caressed and kissed each other, and as they did so Lek knew his passion was mixed with love for his gentle farang. He felt as if he was flying above the clouds with Mike, away from the world. Eventually they made love; with passionate violence, and with gentle compassion. It went on seemingly endlessly until finally, as the dawn began to show across the city, they exploded together in an orgasm the like of which Lek had never experienced. His mind was a whirl of rushing colors and noises, that swept across his whole body, and left him suddenly sweaty and exhausted. He could feel himself shaking as they lay together and waited, unspeaking, for sleep to claim them. Lek drifted away, holding onto his man.

He entered a new realm where became a kind of angel walking across soft multi-colored fields. There were other people about, but they seemed to be only undefined shapes that he caught glimpses of out of the corner of his eye. He was walking towards a glorious golden temple; the movement seemed effortless, as if he was on the Moon, but although the temple came nearer as he progressed, it never seemed to get as close as it should. He speeded up, he had to reach the temple because inside he knew he would find what he had been looking for, the one thing that he needed to go on living. He didn’t know exactly what he was looking for but would know when it saw it. He began to run now, the ground just a blur under his feet as he sped along, the initial euphoria replaced by a slight anxiety as the temple still did not get any closer. He could feel his chest ache as he increased his speed and then, suddenly, he was there, the brilliant golden doors glistening in the sunlight and stretching high into the sky above him. He pushed at one of the doors, which slowly, but very slowly, opened inwards, the weight pushing back at him as if reluctant to let him enter. He forced an opening wide enough to squeeze through and came into a golden room, the ceiling so high it was lost in the wispy clouds. Across the room rose a high curtain of shimmering colors, behind which Lek knew he would find what he had been searching for. The feeling of euphoria began to rise again as he approached the heavy material, that moved as if alive in the still room. He reached out to touch it and, as he did so, felt a shock of energy that found his very bones. The curtain vanished; before him stood a mighty god, clothed in gold and silk. As he watched in awe, he saw the hazy face gradually take form. It was Mike’s face, but with an indefinable difference. His heart lifted, “Mike!” he cried, reaching out, but as he did so the god-Mike looked down at him and a thunderbolt shot from his eyes driving itself deep into Lek’s body.

He awoke with a jerk, feeling fluid on his abdomen. He saw the real Mike lying close, watching him with a smile, and realized that the man had bought him to an orgasm whilst he had been asleep. The dream disturbed him a little, but he shrugged it off as he thought with pleasure how he had been woken. He kissed Mike gently on the lips and got up to take a shower.

When he came out of the shower he realized that it was midday already,  and that he should have been at work. He called his office, telling them he’d been feeling unwell but would be in soon. Mike was still dozing in bed as he dressed. Lek shook him gently, saying, “Mike, I have to go to work now. Please wait for me at seven when I finish.”
Mike smiled at him, “OK, I’ll see you in the coffee shop later.”
They kissed, and Lek slipped out, trying to avoid any of the hotel staff who knew him, and he managed to get to his office without being spotted. The day passed in a haze, and his colleagues took the strange mood as a sign of his feigned illness and said nothing.

When seven o’clock came, he waited for the other staff to leave, then locked up and made his way to the coffee shop where Mike was waiting. Each time he saw him now, his heart soared as if given fresh life. As he sat down, Mike took his hand and squeezed it. “Lek, I’ve been thinking a lot about us; we’ve got to know each other well, and I think we feel the same way about each other.” Lek smiled into his eyes and wondered what was coming next.
“You know that I have to go back to England quite soon, but I don’t want us to forget things when I go.”
Lek looked down, not wanting to think about the future, even though it was very close. “I won’t forget you Mike.”
“I know. But we can do better than that; how would you like to come and live with me in London?”
Lek could hardly believe his ears, he began to say something, stammering in surprise, not really knowing what to say. Mike stopped him.
“Don’t think about it now. It’s a big step to take to go to a foreign country. I want you to think about it for a while and let me know how you feel.”
Lek was stunned. Much as he felt he loved Mike, he had not expected an invitation to live with him in his country. His head was spinning with so many thoughts about what to do, or how it could be done. He sat silently sipping at his coffee.
“Are you all right?” Mike asked.
Lek nodded, confused. He smiled and said, “Mike, you are kind to me. I have to think about what you have said, about what my family will say, so many things…..”
Mike touched his arm gently. “Don’t be upset. Just take some to think about it. I’d like you to see my home and my country, and I hope we can share our lives together. I know it would be a big thing for you, so think about it carefully. If you say ‘no’, I’ll understand.” They drank their coffee in silence as they both considered what had been said. Finally, Mike touched Lek on the arm and said, “Let’s have dinner.”
“I know a nice place,” remarked Lek.
“Come on then, sexy, lead the way.”

They walked slowly up to the parking lot which was busy with people coming and going; they climbed into the car and once again  drove slowly down the ramp into the hot evening air. The traffic, as usual, was snarled into an almost continuous line of seething metal, crawling along at a snail’s pace, with small vehicles suddenly darting out of small side turnings, and trucks groaning under the enormous loads they carried. Despite the fumes and the noise, everyone was used to it, and competition for each inch of space was fairly good natured. Lek was lost in thought as he drove and hardly noticed what was going on around him. He couldn’t stop thinking about what Mike had said to him, and how he could arrange to go to England, what his parent’s would say, what Mike’s home would be like, what England would be like; he felt dizzy thinking about it and was glad when they got to their destination and he could relax again.

They went into a small, intimate restaurant on the second floor of a shopping mall and found a quiet table in the corner. Lek’s evening passed before it knew it, being so lost in thought. He suddenly realized that they had finished their meal and he had hardly spoken to Mike.
“Oh Mike, I’m so sorry, I’m thinking about everything. I didn’t mean to ignore you.”
“I know, don’t worry. I’ve filled you head with all this, I understand.”
They drove back to the hotel; this time Lek made an effort to chat with Mike and it brought him back to earth a little. When they arrived, Mike asked Lek if he would like a coffee.
“Mike, I don’t want coffee, I want to make love with you.”
“I think that’s what I meant,” said Mike. “Let’s go up.”
They went up to the room and were quickly in bed. They made love urgently but gently in the darkness with only the rustling of the sheets and their heavy breathing betraying their presence. Afterwards, as they lay in each others arms, Lek felt that he had found someone to take care of him and to protect him. He had made his decision and it only remained to sort out the logistics of how to achieve it.

Over the next few days, Lek spent as much time as he could with Mike, knowing that once Mike left, it would be a long time before they would see each other again. As the fateful day approached, Lek felt his heart aching at the thought of being parted from his lover, who had been so strong, and so kind to him. Inevitably, the day dawned; Lek had spent their last night with Mike in the hotel, and helped him to pack his bags in the morning. He checked the room thoroughly to make sure Mike did not leave anything behind.

They went down to the coffee shop to have a last breakfast together, and chatted about inconsequential matters, neither of them really knowing what to say. Lek took a note of Mike’s email address and phone numbers and had memorized them almost as soon as he had read them. They sent a bell boy up to the room to get Mike’s bags while Lek collected his car and drove it around to the front of the hotel, where the bags were loaded into the trunk.

Mike appeared with a huge bunch of red roses and presented them to Lek, who was embarrassed but delighted, discretely kissing his cheek. They set off from the hotel towards the airport, trying to keep the conversation cheerful. As they approached the airport entrance, Lek could feel his spirits slipping fast and made a real effort to hold back the tears. He parked the car while Mike found a baggage trolley; after unloading Mike’s bags they entered the terminal building which, although busy, was uncrowded and spacious.

Lek waited as Mike checked his bags in at the airline desk and double checked his flight departure time; he smiled at Lek and said, “We’ve got time for a coffee, would you like one?”
Lek nodded. He didn’t know what to say; he couldn’t stand it now and almost wished they’d never met, only to be parted by such a vast distance. They found a seat with a view of the runway, Lek struggled not to cry as he watched the aircraft taking off outside, knowing that very shortly another one would take off carrying his Love, bound for a strange country on the other side of the world. The tears began to come now, he wiped them away hoping Mike wouldn’t see. He turned away just as Mike’s flight was called, and was thankful that his Love had been distracted before he saw Lek’s tears.

The next few minutes were a blur. A brisk walk to the departure area, a quick hug while being jostled by departing passengers, and Mike was gone. Lek was devastated, felt empty and alone, and helpless. Tears streaming down his cheeks he ran out to his car, angry at the world for taking his man away. He struggled with the key and started the engine, wiping his eyes as he made his way towards the highway outside the airport. He was briefly blinded by his salty tears and as he turned onto the busy highway, he did not saw the fully loaded gas tanker as it ploughed in the side of his car. Lek was thrown violently through the front windscreen, the glass shredding his face and body, then landed with a sickening thud on the concrete road, cars and trucks screeching to avoid him and the wreckage of his car.

As his life slipped away, Lek looked up into the heavens and saw a British Airways jumbo jet pass overhead in a halo of sunlight.

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