Pang Khee Teik - The Pursuit of Happines
I.M. had the opportunity to talk to a notable gay activist in this issue.
A man with his hands tucked in his jeans pockets strolled in casually to the café. Clad in a grey coat for formality with graffiti like prints on his pink T-shirt inside, he definitely stood out. His oval shaped face with a clean kept moustache and stubbles broke into a grin as he extended his hand and introduced himself as Pang Khee Teik.
Pang works as a freelance arts consultant. However, he is better known for his efforts of championing human rights for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders (LGBT) as a gay activist. One of his most notable efforts is the annual Seksualiti Merdeka festival that hosts a series of talks, film screenings and workshops etc. to pursue equal rights for LGBTs.
The Beginning of his Real Life
Pang, 38, who himself is gay, reveals that the realization of being a homosexual was not sudden for him. “It is a series of gradual realization. I guess when I was studying in Singapore, I lived in a hostel and I started reading the newspapers and that’s when I realize that there was a word for it. Before that, I thought an attraction was just an attraction so you didn’t really think about it. But from young, I already was aware that I was attracted to men,” he said.
So how was he treated when he first came out? “Not when I came out. I was treated differently when I didn’t come out,” he mused. He explains that people are going to keep on speculating no matter how hard one tries to hide the fact. Once their suspicions are confirmed, they cannot gossip anymore. However, despite his honesty, his loved ones had a difficult time accepting the truth.
Continue reading this article in our February issue.