The difference between a gold star and a detention

I got nieces (and nephews) in both Singapore and Netherlands(That’s Holland to some of you), as some of you who have followed my blog will know that my sister is living in Amsterdam, and my brother is still living in Singapore. They both got some amazing and wonderful children that I can’t help to adore – like they adore me. I mean what is there not to love about an aunt who constantly bribe with cupcakes, hugs and even has the patience to play console games with them?

One of my nieces in Amsterdam, wrote an essay about me explaining why I am the best Aunt someone ever could have, and that I by the way liked women (other girls to her), just like her teacher did and that she wished that I could live with them in Amsterdam because “mom is not as strict when she is visiting”.

She is the same who loudly told her classmates that she hope that I could marry her teacher, because “it would be so beautiful with two brides”. Yes I guess that in her optics, that if one dressed up bride is good, then two brides at a wedding would be more than twice as good.

Two brides is equal to two wedding cakes right? right??

That also led to some awkward laughs between me and her teacher. I mean, it is on the same level as when your straight friends invite you to a dinner, and then desperately look for another lesbian for the dinner, attempting to set the two of you up, because they only knew the two of you.


Anyway, she in her essay described, from her view, my issues with some of my Singaporean family members, the divide it created, and that she hoped that everyone could just be good friends because she felt that it was unfair just because I liked “girls” and not “boys”.

Her essay was awarded a gold star and an A.

My niece, my brothers daughter, in Singapore heard about that when they Skyped each other (or facetimed).

She is one of the shy and quiet ones who is often contented with playing and reading by herself, but these two got some kind of magic connection that brings her out of her shell when they are together or skyping each other, and turns into one big blabber mouth when they are able to hang out. So when she heard that an essay about me got my niece in Netherlands a gold star, the devil somewhat got into her because she absolutely did not want to be left behind in that game.

Yes, when I am on a group call with them on Skype, I always use clever tactics and don’t answer questions on who I like the most and so ;-) Super skill #129 you get when you have more than one niece or nephew who tend to ask really penetrating questions.

“Describe a family member who inspire you”. Was the topic for the essay.

My niece immediately jumped into it and wrote about me, with inspiration from my niece’s essay in Netherlands.

She got a “F”, Fail, written with big red letters and a comment “Gays cannot be an inspiration in Singapore society!!”

That sweet little quiet girl, who hardly opened her mouth unless she is spoken to, was crushed. But incredibly enough, she also got pissed about her F grade and demanded an explanation in class. Even though her teacher flatly told her to keep quiet and shut up, she refused and wanted to know why she got an F and I think for the first time in her life stood up for herself.

“You know why” was the only answer offered. She refused to budge, the teacher refused to give in, and so she ended up in detention for an essay that in Netherlands would have gotten her an A.

Brian, my brother was full of worries. What in the world could have happened to his kid since they called him to the school?

He rushed to the school so very afraid something terrible has happened, only to be met with a little girl who couldn’t stop crying.

So what gives you an A in one country can sometimes give you an F in another. Something to think about, and wonder what that really means for the Singaporean society and the way we value the people who live in it.

This post was first published over at My So-Called Lesbian Life on 22 April 2015. It is reproduced with permission.


As the child of a single parent, I object to the arguments of Jaxe's Pan online note to Yaacob Ibrahim

NLB chose to err on the side of caution

Disappointed with those who lashed out at NLB