The word “Ah Kua” – a derogatory term describing effeminate guys in Singapore – has its opportunity to tell its tale in the theatre, through Leona Lo’s, formerly known as Leonard, journey to womanhood from 6 August on, at The Substation (http://www.substation.org). It is a monologue presented by Leona herself.
In director Emeric Lau’s words -“I think that’s the main message – that everyone deserves a chance to shine, to love and be loved in return.” – the play seems to be one that features a transsexual’s hope in getting recognition in Singapore.
As we all know, it is difficult to achieve this Utopian ideal due to conventional societal perception in only 2 distinct types to gender – male and female – where the idea of a male transforming into female and vice versa seems to be difficult for anyone to grasp. Shall we conform to this popular gender narrative or to subvert it, making a case for, as what fashion designer and icon Vivienne Westwood said it aptly in one of her interviews on BBC that the ultimate fashion statement is for one to cross-dress, crossing him/herself into the opposite gender, progress in human development when one could transform him/herself to the opposite gender? That’s something I am looking forward to discover in Leona’s play, not just another story of a transsexual seeking “recognition” from the audiences.
Lastly, in my interview with director Emeric Lau, to a question on what’s most controversial about the play, he has this to say:
“Within that already charged context, then, I think the most controversial thing about Ah Kua Show – just as applicable to those who come to watch it and those of us working on it – is whether the act of putting on such a production is an attempt by a representative from a minority community to reach out and build a bridge, establish common humanity, OR if the production only ends up further exoticising this particular minority. As its director, I am hoping to effect the former, but I am fully aware and prepared to take responsibility if it ends up having the latter effect.”