7 June 2009

In Aid of Oogachaga

Short Circuit – London is presented by creative [SIN]ergy and supported by Objectifs films, Fridae, Peccadillo Pictures and Freedoms Shop with all proceeds from this event donated to Oogachaga in Singapore.

Watch the video message from Oogachaga.

How is the fund raised during Short Circuit - London used?
The funds raised during this film screening will be funding two of Oogachaga’s youth initiatives this year. These two events will be organized together with volunteers from two other small youth groups, namely Youth Out Here and Dirrtyremixes.

The first event is OutRace, an amazing race style event where contestants will cover locations of significant historical values in Singapore’s gay movement. This event will take place in August during Indignation 2009.

The second event is tentatively set to be an event styled after a high school prom night. It is still in planning stage.

Why is it held during Indignation 2009?
Indignation is a month long event held every August in Singapore. Various gay organizations will organize events within Indignation.

Over the past years, we realized that Indignation does not have any event that engages the youths. The decision to do OutRace is to tie in with the objective of Indignation, which is to raise the awareness of LGBTQ presence in Singapore. It is also to connect the youths with the indignation as well. We would also ride on Indignation’s publicity to create greater awareness among youths.

Why is there a decision to reach out to youth?
OC’s vision is to help individuals to develop fulfilling life experiences.

Over the past years, like many other Singapore based organizations, OC has been successful in reaching out to individuals above 21 years old. However, we recognize that engaging LGBTQ individuals at a younger age, is just as important. We aim to kick start this aspect with these two events.

How does the OutRace benefit the youths?
A recent article in New York Magazine commemorated 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the writer wrote about generation gap in America’s gay communities. Here in Singapore, we are also observing a gradual generation gap among individuals in the gay communities.

Like anywhere, Singapore gay youths today are very connected through the Internet, particularly through gay profiles portals and chat rooms. There is a general lack of understanding of Singapore’s gay history and movement, which may hamper their sense of belonging to the communities. OC hopes to show them that there is more beyond the cyber world.

The objectives of OutRace are:
• To educate youths on local gay history via landmarks and gay establishments, in a fun and engaging way.
• Instil a sense of community and bonding among queer and straight youths.
Why an Amazing Race format?

Engaging the Internet and media savvy youths requires a very different approach. Apart from allowing contestants to venture out of their usual comfort zones and learn about historical sites. The race format also allows them to work as a team and build trusting relationships with one another.

What are some of the pit stops/check points and what are their significances?
To name two pit stops:
a. Pelangi Pride Centre – the only Singapore’s LGBTQ community library where people can find vast collections of local and international literatures on LGBTQ issues.
b. Hong Lim Park – Singapore’s old Speaker Corner. It was an old gay cruising ground in 1950s. More recently, it was the venue for Pinkdot, Singapore’s first public gathering where more than 2500 gay and gay friendly people came together to show their support for the freedom of love.

The contestants will be asked to complete certain tasks that will enhance their understanding of the locations as well as brief history of significant LGBT social groups/organisations. At some stops, prominent gay individual will be stationed there to interact with the contestants.

What are the plans after these two events?
OC believes in empowering the communities. After the two planned events, the engagement with youths will continue so that they can take up ownerships of future events. They are the best people to reach out to their age group and OC will continue to serve a platform for them to do so.

What is the ultimate aim of the OC’s youth initiatives?
In building stronger sense of belonging, OC hopes that the gay youths can work towards a healthier gay identity as well as ownership of their communities.

Text provided by Oogachaga