Love Out Loud @ “Secret Venue”, 13/11/2011

For Hari Raya Haji (aka Eid al-Adha), I left KL to follow my friend back to his kampung in Kelantan for the holiday celebrations. While I was away, shit went crazy in KL (and then the rest of the country) over Seksualiti Merdeka. To summarise, Seksualiti Merdeka is a yearly sexuality rights festival, which features talks, forums, workshops, art exhibitions, concerts, film screenings and other interesting events organised by activists, NGOs, artists and other cool people. Its been happening for a few years now, without much problem, but this year some right-wing NGOs filed a bunch of police reports claiming that Seksualiti Merdeka was a threat to national security. The festival got debated in parliament and the police ended up banning the festival. Over the next few days, you couldn’t open a newspaper without finding pages of articles about spokespersons from all sorts of political and religious groups supporting the police and joining in with the gay-hating trend that seemed to have swept the country. People said that homosexuality was against the values of Malaysia and was a threat to national security. One guy from some religious organisation in Kedah said that all gay Malaysians should be deported. “The Guru” Nik Aziz, in his infinite wisdom, said that if we allow human rights for homosexuals we’d soon have to give people the right to rape, steal and murder. In those couple of days, I angrily read more Malay newspapers than I’d ever read before (as that was all I had access to in Kelantan). Among other things, it was good for learning Malay.

Which brings us to this concert. There was always going to be an awesome concert with Shh…Diam! and Shelah and other awesome people but since the festival had been banned and made illegal, this event, as well as many others, were moved from the Central Market Annexe to various “secret venues”.

13 min 16 sec / 18.2 MB / 192kbps MP3
Although I’ve seen them about a hundred times, this is the first time I’ve recorded Shh…Diam! This time was a little different, the drummer was playing bass and a friend from another band was playing drums. I probably lost my shit seeing Farah Saad wearing a dress for the first time. But she nicely balanced out any extremes in femininity with a nice fake mustache. There was a lot of dancing and singing and clapping along. Which was awesome, but it means that the recording has lots of out of time clapping from people standing very close to me. But if you can get past that, you’ll find Shh…Diam! covering a Lady Gaga song, which is pretty special – I think.

Earlier in the day, I attended a really interesting panel discussion. The panelists were LGBT people and their parents. One of my friends was a panelist. The host read out one of my friend’s tweets and asked his mother what she thought about her son tweeting such things out into the world. The tweet said:

24 Sept, 2:27pm
sitting in a boardroom meeting n right across the table there’s a hot person… can’t concentrate in meeting… just thinking of a kiss… oh man.

I’m pretty good at remembering dates. I immediately looked at my friend and he looked at me. Internally, we burst out laughing.

And his mum was cool with it.

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