Test 2

Please select your preferred language.





Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us

News & Features

« Newer | Older »
22 Aug 2001

benedict jacob-thambiah

Fridae speaks to Benedict Jacob-Thambiah who has been with Singapore's only AIDS advocacy group, Action for Aids in the past seven years about fighting against AIDS as a community, coming to terms with one's sexuality and other issues.

Benedict Jacob-Thambiah has been a volunteer with Action for Aids in Singapore for seven years and an employee for four. Besides being an administrator at AFA which is Singapore's only AIDS advocacy group responsible for organising education campaigns as well as providing support and assistance for patients with AIDS, he also represents Singapore at the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organisations.

The thirty-two year old speaks his mind about being out in the (civilian) military service, accepting the sexual and cultural diversity of the Singapore glbt community and how the community can help in eradicating AIDS.

About AFA

æ: Can you tell us more about AFA and how it started?

benni: AFA is the only NGO and Community Based Organization dealing with HIV in Singapore. It was founded in November 1988 by a group of doctors concerned with the rising number of HIV cases in Singapore.

æ: What are AFA's aims and achievements to date?

benni: "AfA is a caring NGO committed to AIDS prevention, advocacy and support. Our mission is to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS through continuous education targeted at vulnerable groups; to advocate for access to affordable treatment and against HIV/AIDS discrimination; and to provide support for PWAs, caregivers and volunteers."

We feel we have a long way to go to realizing these goals.

æ: How has the Singapore glbt community played a part in AFA?

benni: I think the question should be.How much more can the community do for AIDS in Singapore? The community must mobilize, unite and confront this disease and the stigma surrounding it. It must lend further support to eradicating HIV spread. By supporting fundraising and awareness efforts. Greats things have been done by the community greater things can be done.

Benni's Community

æ: What do you think we need most in Asia's gay and lesbian community?

benni: We need a sense of belonging. I cannot speak for Asia but I think the gay scene in Singapore needs to accept the diversity of the community in terms of its cultural make-up, sexual diversity eg transgendered persons etc. There is so much richness in all our identities. We cannot move forward as a people if we are disunited and ashamed or embarrassed of our community. Singing 'We are family' and denying our identity and members of our community is something we must deal with.

æ: In the context of being an Asian gay or lesbian, do you have any personal role models/inspirations?

benni: Lee Kuan Yew - a man of integrity, foresight and perseverance.

æ: What advice would you give to someone who is trying to come to terms with his or her sexuality?

benni: For those of you who are young and coming to terms with your sexuality. My advice is to please take it one day at a time. Be confident of you are and of what you can achieve with your life. You will have many trials and tribulations - just remember the song 'I will survive!"

As for those of us who have known our sexuality for so long and yet still coming to terms - My advice - Get over it. The people who truly love you and care about you will come to accept you as you are.

Don't ever tolerate tolerance of your sexuality. Nobody needs do you that favour.

Also, I would like urge homosexual NS Men (both regulars and reservists) to be proud of your nation and of serving her. I am out in my camp and many of the officers and men know I am homosexual - its matters nothing to them because I pull my own weight and even do the things that the straight guys would not want to do. Eg filling sand bags, night duties, getting great scores in range, etc.
About Benni

æ: Have you ever encountered prejudice because of your gender/sexuality? How did you deal with it?

benni: Nope. Never.

æ: Are you out to family and friends? If yes, could you tell us something about it? Is it an important factor in your life?

benni: I was never actually in so I am not sure how to answer this question.

It is important to be yourself. Its one reason I cannot stand those people who are so concerned about being 'straight acting' - I say be yourself, be proud of yourself.

æ: Do you believe in monogamous or open relationships? Are you in one?

benni: I believe in fidelity in a relationship. I am currently single.

æ: What kind of underwear person are you?

benni: A premier brand from Bangkok called 'Beyond Basic'.

æ: What's your favourite CD?

benni: Greatest Hits of Peggy Lee.

æ: What kind of pet do you have? Why?

benni: Hamsters and fish. Easy to look after and good for feng shui.

Aprs Interview

æ: Tell us something about your first sexual experience?

benni: I was scared. It was interesting.

æ: What is your favourite fantasy?

benni: Ricky Martin

æ: What's the stupidest pick-up line you've ever heard?

benni: Would you like me to make you happy?

æ: Which is sexier, mind or meat?

benni: Fuck my brain anytime!!!

æ: Towel or tissue?

benni: I prefer baby wipes.


Reader's Comments

Be the first to leave a comment on this page!

Please log in to use this feature.


This article was recently read by

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook


 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia