G.L. Eduardo is the pen-name behind the writer of DIS(CLOSURE), a novel telling the real story of a young gay man arriving in Singapore and became a victim of the internet. RAP did a simple review of the novel which you can find here.
Ed is now sharing what has been an experience of going through the first 10 months in the city and re-visiting the memories through literary work. RAP met him coincidentally in this blog and spoke to him to find out more on this heartening novel.
Question(Q): DIS(CLOSURE) is the title of your novel. What is interesting about the font is how you bracket theword ‘closure’. Mind sharing why such choice?
G.L. Eduardo(Ed): I started initially writing this novel as a project that I hoped would lead me to achieve some sortof “closure”. In order to let the reader know where I was coming from, I put a lot of myself intothe story, disclosing information both about myself and others I normally wouldn’t be comfortablesharing. When it came to choosing the name, naturally I wanted to combine the words CLOSURE andDISCLOSURE into the same sentence. After weeks of endless sentence matching and brainstorming, afriend simply took a pen and drew brackets to isolate DIS from CLOSURE, and voila! I couldn’t believehow I never came up with it myself, it was simple and direct to the point.
Q: Mind sharing the experience of writing such narrative? For example, is this your first writing work,gathering of datas, etc.
Ed: This is my first time writing a true story novel, and I hope it’s the only one. Haha.
It wasn’t very difficult remembering the events described in the book, as I’ve always had the habit ofsaving my conversations online and phone texts. Putting it together was more of a challenge, onebecause I had a full time job, so I had to find time in the evenings and weekends to write things down,and two (which was the most painful part) because I had to relive everything that I thought I could put behind all over again. Reading through the messages which I avoided for so many months, often keptme awake at night, and sometimes back to living in the fearful state that I lived in during my first 10months in Singapore.
I also had to be very careful when it came to using people and company name. As much as I wanted to keep the authenticity of the events, I had to make certain changes. In fact, some of the charactersinvolved were public figures as well as high ranking officials. I had to get a lawyer to proof read thecontents to protect myself as well as the other innocent characters.
I am very surprised that DIS(CLOSURE) has made it onto the top of “Essential Reads” in Kinokuniya aftertwo weeks on display, especially for a gay themed book in a conservative country like Singapore. I amtruly grateful to all my readers and supporters.
Q: How are the receptions of your novel in Singapore. Was it difficult to get it published and distributed?You mentioned that you came across more challenges from LGBT community than the majority, mindtelling us more about it?
Ed: Surprisingly quite well received! My initial intention was to make it available to just the gay community inAsia, but after I had shown it to my distributor (who happened to be a very traditional family man) saidto me “this novel has given me a whole different and positive perspective on the gay community”. I alsoreceived many words of encouragement from both straight and gay friends who had read the book.
As you have figured, “G.L. Eduardo” is not the author’s real name. Many people and activists in the gaycircle might consider such a move as being dishonest and not taking pride in oneself, hence rejecting theinvolvement of DIS(CLOSURE) in their events. I understand where they are coming from, and I respectthat. My priority for publishing this book was never to make a name for myself, but on the contrary, this book’s purpose is to make those not “out” PLUs aware of what really happened and still goes on behind closed doors, and you or your friend or possibly even a family member might be a victim of it. I considermyself a very blessed person to have the support and love of my family, but not all PLUs are as fortunate and I hope DIS(CLOSURE) will be there for them to realize soon enough.
Q: What are your expectations from this novel. Do you think such cases are common here? How about inTaipei and around Asia?
Ed: I hope DIS(CLOSURE) can reach those PLUs that are not out in the gay community. In spite ofSingapore being a safer country, I believe the most vulnerable ones are those who don’t have PLU friends(for whatever reason), especially when the internet is often the first thing (sometimes the only thing)people rely on, and you never know what agenda the person sitting on the other side of the computerhas in mind. I believe there are mentally crazy people everywhere (aren’t we all?…haha). It’s just amatter of how much and when you allow yourself to act upon those thoughts. To conceal the dark sidesome people use their job, some use their status, some use their money and some hide behind theinternet. Then there is one victim after the other.
Q: Do you think it’s fair to compare your writing to other Asian LGBT novels, since yours is more personal,factual and didactic, in a way? Why?
Ed: I haven’t had anyone else compare my writing to other LGBT novels so far, but I would very much like tohear what people have to say, both positive and negative comments.
In terms of writing, I believe this novel is not perfect (and the traditional writers would probably agreewith this), but my intention was never to write a literal master piece. In fact, I wanted to narrate theevents in their most original format, and that’s also what attracted most people to pick up this book. It’sthe fact that this story is based on a true story.
Q: Enough about writing, so, how do you find the LGBT scene here in Singapore?
Ed: I think Singaporeans are proud, and looking at this country’s achievements, they have every reason tobe. In spite of everything that has happened, I am glad I ended up in Singapore. Although the societyis not 100% free and open about homosexuality, most people here are actually very open-minded andunderstanding compared to many other countries in Asia.
Q: How would you compare that to Taipei’s?
Ed: In spite of what’s been portrayed in the Taiwanese drama “Ai”, of people rivaling and back stabbingeach other, Taiwanese people are also well-known for their “ren qin wei”, which is to mean something like having welcoming and humility qualities. People tend to be more trusting and in certain ways more naive.
Q: Any last words for the LGBT community?
Ed: Live life to the fullest, and don’t let other people tell you otherwise.
Do visit DIS(CLOSURE)’s facebook group page here.
Support the book as it available in Kinokuniya stores in Singapore!!!! 😀