Test 2

Please select your preferred language.






初到 Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us


« 較新的 | 較舊的 »
12 Aug 2008

Bear-y gay

Bears, musclebears, G-men... the lines seem to be blurring in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia as the subculture becomes increasingly visible. David Cheong highlights TheBearProject Charity Art Show to be held this Saturday and gives readers an introduction to this group of heavy-set men.

One of my British friends always has the same argument with me. "You can think what you want, but there is no way that you guys can be called bears," he says hotly. "Bears are big and hairy gay men. If you're not hairy, you're not a bear." I always have the same retort. To say that smooth, hairless Asians can't be bears is to subscribe to some sort of Western imperialist ideal. Yes, the bear subculture that turned its back on the smooth, lean and urban gay stereotype did originate in the US and has become extremely popular in certain parts of Europe, but it doesn't mean that the concept of a gay bear is exclusively Western and can't be re-interpreted in another part of the world.

From the top: G-Men magazine, one of the top-selling bear/G-men-related magazines in Asia; artworks from the TheBearProject Charity Art Show: One Leg Up (charcoal on paper) by well known New York-based Singapore artist Jimmy Ong, Stuck in Ecstasy (acrylic on canvas) by Brian Ho and Hong Kong #64 (photographic print with frame) by Kay Chin.
As a matter of fact it already has, whether Western purists approve or not. In Asia, monthly Japanese magazine G-Men was the first to idolise the stocky, ultra-masculine gay Asian man sporting a crewcut and goatee. Since then, the "G-Man" look has been highly sought-after and copied by thousands of young gay men in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong. And just like in the West, these burly, powerful and often fat guys (so far removed from the Western stereotype of the beautiful, slim gay Asian boy) also quickly became known as "bears."

Today, Asian bear culture is thriving not just in Japan but within little bear communities established in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. In Taiwan, the unofficial Asian "bear capital," the bear stereotype has even gained enough mass acceptance to emerge as a mainstream gay look. Rambunctious and physical (think knee-length shorts, chunky shoes and lots of hugging), Asian bears maintain a fairly tight regional network - getting to know each other on the Internet and making it a point to visit each other when they go travelling. They hang out in dedicated bear saunas, or gulp down drinks over Chinese karaoke in bear bars like New Wally Matt and Red Point Caf in Hong Kong, Same and the now-defunct Oso in Singapore and the Bearbie Bar in Bangkok. There's even a "Little Bear Village" near Ximending in Taipei and "bear parties" in Taipei and Hong Kong.

Back in Singapore, bear culture is still nascent - hampered somewhat by persistent prejudices against heavier-set gay men whose bodies don't conform to the tanned, V-shaped ideal. But Singapore bears are growing in confidence and making their presence felt with the formation of Singapore's first bear community group TheBearProject (TBP).

"I started the group partly because I wanted to dispel the notion that fatter guys had low self-esteem and didn't like going out and having fun," says 27-year-old Ernest Yeo, who founded TBP with fellow bear Gary Lim.

"Actually, a lot of us already knew each other, so I thought why not organise activities like going to the movies or playing badminton so that we can get together on a regular basis?" The group now boasts about 120 members and it recently celebrated its first anniversary with a raucous party at Play, a dance club. According to its founders, TBP is inclusive, meaning that you do not need to be a bear to join. But assimilation is decidedly smoother if you already have the required physique. And if you're a musclebear, you're definitely an A-lister!

Last year, TheBearProject made its debut when about 20 of its members turned up for The Pink Picnic at the Botanic Gardens. This year, the group decided to organise an event on its own for the Indignation festival. "We thought that since quite a few of us were in the creative industries, why not organise a little art show of our own works, and auction them off to our members for charity?" says Ernest. "It would make a nice change from the usual movie outings and social get-togethers and also be a chance to do something for our community. And I guess there's a wackiness to the idea of big heavy guys peddling fine art."

The result is TheBearProject Charity Art Show, featuring almost 20 works from TBP members and guest artists that the organisers know personally. Open to the wider gay community in Singapore, the works will be exhibited on August 16 at Play and auctioned off for charity the same night. In addition to artwork by 10 TBP members, there are contributions from noted lesbian artists Genevieve Chua and Felicia Low, concept artist Heman Chong, painter Jeremy Sharma and photographers Tay Kay Chin and Chan Wai Teik. Proceeds will be donated to The Triangle Project, a charity initiative of The Necessary Stage that provides opportunities for the less privileged to watch theatre, as well as a number of other charities.

"It's one of the last events on the Indignation calendar and we hope everyone can come down to see the works and support a good cause," says Ernest. "It's being held in a club, which is not a typical art venue, but that gives the show quite a cool, underground feel."

Looking ahead, TheBearProject's founders say they want to grow the group even more and help get its members more involved in the activities of the wider gay community. "A bunch of us helped the Pelangi Pride Centre move to Little India. We enjoyed ourselves and I think they appreciated the extra muscle power!" TBP also hopes to link up with similar bear groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan for more regional events. Bear Olympics, anyone?

You can find out more out TheBearProject at its website thebearproject.blogspot.com.

TheBearProject Charity Art Show will be held on Aug 16 at Play on Tanjong Pagar Road, from 8pm to 9.30pm. This is a private event, so you will need to RSVP at thebearproject.charity@gmail.com to attend. All the works can be viewed online in advance of the event at thebearprojectcharityartshow.blogspot.com.



1. 2008-08-12 19:28  
you know
sometimes hariy fatty are really sexy
i mean they seduced
2. 2008-08-12 19:47  
love those burly slabs of meat ... but i think there isn't enough of them in singapore. those large-meated daddies prowling IKEA are probably straight.
3. 2008-08-12 20:29  
Well, frankly, I never understood how a bear is defined, as so many different types of men assume that title.
I have simply always felt I was just a tall semi hairy large ( fat ) white guy.
I never thought bear, because my body hair is only slightly above average in some places and almost smooth in others.
I am glad that many call me a bear and I embrace it...and all those hot Asian men that love us. Welcome to the bear world

Kurt from NYC
4. 2008-08-12 20:36  
it is simple.

if the majority of the people you know tell you you are a bear, then you are a bear!
5. 2008-08-12 20:51  
well...i juz classify them as the big guys....coz everyone has their own definition of meaty....stocky....cubby....chubby....beary...etc etc...

but nevertheless...my eye candies have always been the big guys!... hehe....
6. 2008-08-12 22:05  
heheh... I (Heart) Bear!
7. 2008-08-12 23:32  
WO! the top pic is so nice. is so BEAR! i love that!!
8. 2008-08-12 23:55  
glad to see the BearProject get started

so gorgeous...yum yum !!!!

9. 2008-08-13 00:00  
HURRAY to TBP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10. 2008-08-13 00:17  
Hurray!! The BearProject Charity Art keep it up. Cheerz
11. 2008-08-13 00:57  
Hey, this is a cool idea in general never mind just from being a Gman/bear and its a good idea aside from even the gay culture and of cours its a good idea with all these 3 together! HOOORAY TBP! :)
12. 2008-08-13 01:31  
I Love G-Man! I called them Panda instead of Bear.
13. 2008-08-13 03:41  
Anyone clicked the bear project link??
I got a virus warning when i did that. o.O
14. 2008-08-13 05:42  
Who knew there was such prejudice against bears? Who knew that the bears were living lives of shame in their secret "dens"? I wonder how many other subcultures there are like this. I wonder why we can't all just love and accept each other.
15. 2008-08-13 07:28  
aww that's cute...i wonder if bears like that would like skinny boys tho...
16. 2008-08-13 09:09  
There are more to 'understand' if we really want to drill down in detail... all orginated from Japan gay culture....^^;
17. 2008-08-13 09:20  
Just about two years ago I was still exceedingly big and bearish, but I 'sold' much better then. Many good people out there. 0=)
I have experienced prejudice too in this regard then, yes, but it more often than not would only serve as a means to weed out the great unwashed.
Nonetheless this is such a cool idea! A bear fashion show would be cool as well. >=D
18. 2008-08-13 09:21  
It's really a very cool and good start to introduce the G-men terms to younger gays in Malaysia and Singapore. However, it's pity that there are no such similiar bear group like The Bear Project in Malaysia. :) If there is a group like this I will definately join.
19. 2008-08-13 09:59  
I so happy to hear this project.
20. 2008-08-13 10:54  
I've always been very keen to get hold of G-men magazine but can't to find out how to get them... Anyone care to share such knowledge? I live in NZ.

21. 2008-08-13 12:36  
I Love G-Man!
22. 2008-08-13 13:28  
G-Men rock! I hope it catchs on in the west. I think there's a lot of G-Men over here but they don't come out too often. The whole heroin chic thing is the standard of beauty for a few gay guys in the fashion industry and that's about it.
23. 2008-08-13 14:40  
stalking the bear...
i could use this help...

24. 2008-08-13 15:35  
I heard from some people that bears are more than about appearance but also about identity... can anyone explain more about this identity?
25. 2008-08-13 16:01  
Yeah! Bear Rules!!
26. 2008-08-13 16:49  
In this era we live in, we have this need to label people and put them in groups so we can safely determine characteristics.

I commend The Bear Project for doing what they are doing but they are also perpetuating another stereotypical gay image. Why do we have this constant need to label ourselves? What happens to people who fall outside categories?

Liminal people who are neither here nor there will feel more out-casted than ever. Dare I say that without labels such as G-Men, Bears, Chubs, etc, people would feel a lot more accepted? (These are just some random thoughts)
27. 2008-08-13 16:50  
with Krispy Kreme donuts opening soon in Shanghai, I wont be able to maintain my perfect abs forever, I think I have big hands and feet and am very tall! what's the weight criteria to get in this cool club?
28. 2008-08-13 18:35  
Since the need for labels and categories is so ingrained, I guess the next best thing to not having any labels is to have positive labels for everyone where people feel like they belong and feel good abt themselves. I would venture that the labels help people understand each other better...
29. 2008-08-13 19:31  
Bears are nice.

Asian Bears are the gods of the universe and soul.
30. 2008-08-13 21:28  
ah it nice to see subversion amongst my gay brethen. go the pandas and a'bears.

31. 2008-08-13 22:43  
Dam Pandas rule hariy or not
i love the beefy ones who work out a bit

Ps where can i get hold or you David
mmmm hot

friendly Gwelio chaser from HK
32. 2008-08-13 22:47  
Shame Fridae dont dedicate a search soley for pandas
much easier to find them this way, ..
hint hint
33. 2008-08-14 02:01  
morning, im confused ... whats someone like Bruce Willis is ? a bear ? ... ... ... whatever he (or lookalikes) is ... "come to daddy" ... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (or is it woof woof ? ) ... they should have a FAQ or proper guidelines for the confused! over and out!
34. 2008-08-14 13:13  
Let's see what new labels we can come up with so no one feels excluded...

1) Fashionistas (people who look quite good, but really can't afford to look that good)
2) Faux Fashionistas (people who look quite bad, but think they look quite good)
3) Typical Toms (people who look so plain, you confuse them for a piece of a dried macaroni mosaic)
4) Circuit Acts (people who think they're the star attraction at a dance party in Taipei)
5) Circuit Actors (people who dream of being Circuit Acts)
6) Perfect Peaches (people who have the perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect friends but are always messy drunk at the bars)
7) Cultured Pearls (people who know all about the latest movies, books, art shows, gallery openings and make sure that you know less than they do)
8) Nice Nobodies (people you wouldn't be caught dead with)
9) Good Fairies (people who always want to be helpful, but they can't introduce you to anyone who can actually help you)
10) Lonely Warriors (people who defy all categorization, but not in a good way)
35. 2008-08-14 18:15  
36. 2008-08-15 00:47  
seoulseeker, those are terrible labels ... they are not funny anymore ... spanks
37. 2008-08-15 05:40  

Well, obviously the labels still resonated with you, and that was my whole point. There's a long way to go before labels are fully eradicated, if ever. Labels, of course, by definition are rarely positive--they're meant to segment, compartmentalize and in many cases, put people down. At the same time, do we pretend that labels don't exist and that we collectively do not put people in their little boxes? Do we not automatically put people into "cute" box and "ugly" box? "Poor" box and "rich" box? "Hot bod" and "ugly bod"? Getting rid of a problem means acknowledging the problem in the first place.

I disagree with you when you say that these labels are not funny. They are painfully funny. And by painfully, I mean just that--full of pain. Of course, if you still want to spank me, please do so. As long as it's painful...
38. 2008-08-16 01:24  
Morning seoulseeker,

I dont believe labels are essentially bad ... they segment, compartmentalise etc etc ... they do ... no reason to argue against that ... the whole subject matter of a class predefined ... make it easier for comparison purposes perhaps ?

eg. not all lawyers are equal ... some are good, some are better ... some are not ... but some are hot !

and i do think labelling people is a soceital manner ... not a problem ... since it is not a problem ... what is there to fix ? ... think ... Porsche ...

im fairly comfortable with my labels ... chinese (somewhat), tall (to some), short (to many), friendly (to some), jerk (to a few), employed, loved, loving, gay, etc etc ... most defining adjectives suit me fine ;)

ie. everytime you describe yourself, in essence you are doing just that!

so ... labels can be just pLainfully funny ... cute, beautiful, sexy, gorgeous ... are nicer (and in some context, funnier) ones ... there is no UGLY in my dictionary ... everyone finds beauty (and cute, and sexy, and gorgeous) in their own eyes, in their own distinctive ways, at different times of different age ...

nevertheless, i shall spank you ... for the sake of spanking ... it means ... CUTE in my tiny little dictionary ... pain is induced, but reduced to minimal of course ... over and out!

P.S.: you identifying yourself as a trained legal professional ... (your age ... your ethnicity etc etc) ... is a label too ... where is the putting down of you in that ? maybe you have grown accustomed to such ... normalised ... easier to digest ..."labels"
39. 2008-08-18 01:08  
40. 2008-08-18 09:39  
I prefer smooth beary guys. Asian smooth bears are cuter than hairy western bears. Jap bears are cute too :P

Always a rice queen
41. 2008-09-01 16:00  
G-Men (Asian smooth bears) apply on jackjockey.c0m hitting the WORK tab to be considered. Represent Asia's hot bears. Break the stereotype at its own game - i hear you have to have abs to get with this group in l.a. but if hot members on here do then BOOM - we can translate G-Men into a new idea unto itself.
回應#42於於2013-12-20 04:56被作者刪除。
43. 2009-07-08 08:34  
i love bears. i find them sexy.
44. 2009-12-31 21:10  
good to hear this!
45. 2010-01-10 05:51  
Cool !!!
46. 2011-09-28 01:49  
yes!!!is good!!!
47. 2013-12-20 04:56  
are there groups that bring western and Asian bears together? I'm a western cub that loves both!!! And would love to find groups or go to an event that both intermingled and had fun together :) So far I'm having trouble finding this.




Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:



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