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13 Oct 2006

nation.VI to be the grand finale, fridae to focus on web and advocacy

Nation.VI, scheduled to be held in Phuket from 20-22 October, will be Fridae's final event. The company, which also operates Asia's largest gay and lesbian portal, will now focus on regional expansion and advocacy work.

Founded in 2001 with its main mission to "Empower Gay Asia," Fridae has since been widely known for its innovative and industry leading social networking portal (www.fridae.com), and party events which have attracted tens of thousands of participants from all across Asia. It is considered to be a pioneer in Asia for planning large-scale, multi-day dance parties such as Nation and Snowball, Fridae's events typically feature international headlining DJs and employ state of the art audiovisual equipment, pyrotechnics and lasers.

Widely considered to be one of Asia's best party events, Nation has attracted some 8,000 people in 2004 in Singapore, leading the international press to dub Singapore the new "gay capital of Asia." The party was subsequently moved to Phuket in 2005 due to political objection in Singapore, and has since received support from both the local government and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

With close to 300,000 active users and a new women's portal on the works, the company has made a decision to focus on taking its current portal to a new level and regional expansion.

Stuart Koe, founder and CEO of Fridae said: "When we first started throwing parties, the concept of a multi-day gay party with international DJs and punters flying in from around the world was fairly novel in Asia. Now, there are now a number of impressive party organisers in the region - it is time for Fridae to focus on empowering the Asian gay community through other means. Meanwhile, Fridae will remain committed to supporting and working closely with party organisers in the region as we have been."

Fridae will now focus on building its industry leading portal, with Version 5 and a brand new women's portal "W.Fridae" scheduled for launch in early 2007. Version 5 is expected to integrate many "Web 2.0" features such as blogging, photo and video sharing, as well as innovative new features to enhance the experience of Fridae's members. Based on audited traffic data from Nielsen//Netratings, Fridae.com attracts 380,000 unique browsers and 50 million page impressions every month.

In addition, Fridae plans to launch a new advocacy network of activists, legal counsellors and support groups.

"Gays and lesbians in Asia continue to be subjected to institutional and political discrimination, homophobia and stigmatisation. One way to overcome this is for the various stakeholders across Asia to come together, learn from one another, and collaborate," said Dr Koe.

The Nation party, now in its sixth and final year, is expected to be one of the best events Fridae has produced. Headlining the party is two-time Grammy Award nominee Tony Moran, one of the most sought-after DJs on the party circuit. In addition, another nine DJs from eight countries will be featured, as will video-artists the Brothers Gruchy from Australia. This year, Fridae has partnered with famed women's party organiser Two Queens of Singapore to produce W@Nation which will feature activities exclusively for women.

Both events will run concurrently from 20 to 22 October at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa with several W@Nation activities to be held at the Phuket Orchid Resort.

Day, weekend and VIP passes will be available online at www.fridae.asia/shop till noon (+8GMT) on Oct 19 and at the door/ Nation Customer Service Centre at the Hilton from Oct 19. For more details, log on to www.fridae.asia/nation.

Reader's Comments

1. 2006-10-14 10:19  
I support Fridae's move towards gay advocacy. I hope it continues to work hard with other gay advocacy groups in Singapore to make its home country an even more livable place for its gays and lesbians.
2. 2006-10-14 11:13  
Its good idea to change direction in advocacy network, which hopefully make establish greater acceptances and respect from general society.
3. 2006-10-14 17:23  
It has been a great six years - thanks for the wonderful memories! :)

Also, all the best to the Fridae team as you all embark on your new endeavours!
4. 2006-10-14 18:34  
I love that Fridae will focus on advocacy, legal, support, and activism. This will bring far more gay people long term happiness than a few parties a year. The parties will be missed, but there is a need for gay men in Asia to fight and they need someone to lead them. As was stated, there are now plenty of parties now anyhow. I look forward to supporting Fridae in its new cause in particular. Well done, love John xxx
5. 2006-10-14 18:35  
...but why have Fridae got this stupid and annoying Motorola flash advertright across my screen that requests access to my webcam. And why is it soooooo annoying and difficult to get rid of?!?! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
6. 2006-10-14 21:15  
thats a shame. i was impressed by the high standard of fridae's parties whether it was slurp or nation, and believe me, ive been to many circuit parties all across the world.
i believe fridae can have both the resources to continue with activism and web improvement, and to continue to provide a fun meeting ground for all gay ppl in asia.......maybe combining the 2 to be fundraising parties/events for yr causes............nycityboy
7. 2006-10-15 03:47  
It is a testament to the community-building efforts of Stuart Koe and all the Fridae staff that 1) the attendance at events of all kinds has continually grown as gay asia empowers itself; and 2) that conservative elements would feel threatened enough to throw up restrictions (again). Whether in the East or in the West, we all fight the same struggle for acceptance in a world that pays lip service to diversity but fears anything unlike themselves.

Ultimately we will prevail in this struggle to live our own lives unimpeded, since there is no stamping out the 'pursuit of happiness' that is essential to the human spirit...

Thank you Stu and Company for all you have done to create social arenas, and for all you continue to do to advance the cause of gay freedom and community.

May you thrive and prosper! See you in Phuket!
8. 2006-10-15 19:11  
so dissappointed. not with the end of party. fridae has recently got so many features on lesbian topics rather then gay topics. worst, nation and w.nation held same date. the past nations and slurp were excellent. But i dont miss going to this nation even its the last.
9. 2006-10-15 22:05  
Wow! What a shocker... Didn't expect this news! I am still in a flummox!

However, I have personally witnessed the tremendous growth and progress in gay and lesbian issues in Asia... much of it is due to the forward thinking and progressiveness of Fridae! And they certainly deserve a commendation for their outstanding efforts so far...

Best part is... I am excited to see the future as well! If the good work continues as it has in the past, at some point, being g&l in Asia won't even be an issue... (but who are we to kid, we do like the "special" attention we receive sometimes, eh?).

The consistent economic growth in the region and the exposure that Fridae has already brought to the issues (via its entertaining events) has led much weight to the current positive social discussion and acceptance. Certainly, we must recognize that the disdain that certain officials have for g&l issues hasn't been all bad... for it has FORCED Fridae (and all of us) to be more creative... and has lended valuable experience in fighting prejudice and misunderstanding that fits well with Fridae's stated future mission.

Though sadly, I can't make it to Nation this year, I wish Fridae the best with its "finale!" (Remember folks, Cher has said many times about it being her final tour...). I will be around Asia for the long haul, ready to assist whenever I can. VIVA Fridae!

Comment #10 was deleted by its author
11. 2006-10-15 23:32  
While it sounds like sad news, it doesn't have to be. The parties are great - but for me the winning element from Fridae has always been the community and the friends I have met here. The people I meet from Fridae are of a higher caliber than other sites. These people have celebrated my successes and helped me through my failures. Counseling from a stranger in another time zone can do wonders. I hope everyone has benefited from amazing friends on Fridae as I have.

Nation 3 in Singapore was a milestone event for me as it brought me closer to my Asian roots and welcomed me as a person. Last year's Nation was organised in a way that I made new life long friends whom I am looking forward to seeing next Thursday. The onsite medical services at last year's Nation gave many an opportunity to be aware tested for HIV in a nonjudgemental environment. It also provided a neutral, private environment that encouraged testing, safe sex and partying smart. I daresay that while it wasn't the bash at Sentosa - on a different scale, Nationin V was a better time because people interacted more. More importantly, we helped a beautiful resort regain it's life after the Tsunami. Gay dollars mean something and we put alot of people to work that weekend. So while we were having fun, the entire island saw many more tourists than it would have otherwise.

I agree that Fridae shouldn't be a party/travel company, but it has proven through the years that you can be responsible, successful and still have alot of fun! That is a powerful message for anyone, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual or undecided. Fridae has proven that no matter the cultural stereotypes, you can be who you want to be and enjoy yourself. Differences should always be embraced as they lead to your highest achievements. I hope that Fridae continues to partner with other promoters for well rounded, fun activities. More importantly, I hope this powerful online community remains alive and growing.

Thursday - I will be happy to see old friends and make new ones. More importantly, I hope we all embrace this opportunity to see this website grow to the next level and remember that we were all lucky to be a part of its this stage of growth. As Fridae demands more from itself as a site, we should do the same from ourselves and our community.

12. 2006-10-16 14:29  
well having been based in asia for over a decade, I have seen the growth of the awareness and openess to what gays are and their potential. Both in terms of economic as well as artistic commitments. Fridae has brought about a major change in shift of a sterotype in the minds of average asians. Their parties have always been well executed as well as organized. The rumour had circulated that it would be its last year. The new military government in the Kingdom of Thailand is rather more religious in both their Buddhist as well as Islamic beliefs so it would have been more difficult to host a gathering of this size without embarrasing them. It is just an evolution in the system of how the new governement seems to be experimenting. Sad to say that all good things dend to come to an end, and this party is one of them. Hope they continue to promote more regional gatherings since at a national level there can be some limitations in not only resources but in human resources as well. good luck
13. 2006-10-17 19:15  
could you please stop that motorola ad ?
this is definitely not the way to address potential customers.
could you please leave my cam and mike to myself ?
14. 2006-10-19 02:49  
"...but why have Fridae got this stupid and annoying Motorola flash advertright across my screen that requests access to my webcam. And why is it soooooo annoying and difficult to get rid of?!?! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"

because fridae is a dotcom and they dont live on air, u know. they need companies like Motorola to ADVERTISE with them so they can pay for their staff and organise parties and keep their website up.

although i must say the flash is giving me a headache
15. 2006-10-22 20:19  
16. 2006-10-25 21:41  
I realise Fridae has many things to accomplish, but I hope it can continue to arrange parties of this quality in the future. If not Nation, then something else.


Oran Kivity

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