Ain’t love grand 2

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All images in this post are from the tumblr site Queer Men Of Color In Love. Click any of them to go there.

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I joined the subreddit Gaybros, in fact Reddit itself, about two months ago and I’m so glad I did. It has turned out to be a great source to find gay-related stuff. In music, for example. So far Gaybros has led to the introduction of a lot of great music. And humour stuff. And eye candy. People I’ve never heard of before.

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And now it has introduced me to this. THIS. This beautiful, glorious tumblr of images of gay men in love. I have to say I’m not crazy about the word ‘queer‘. Why oh why do some people like to use that word when it also means ‘strange‘, especially since we already have ‘gay‘ which is great enough.

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But the images are lovely. They’re just so damn sweet, although I think we should consider that just maybe, a few of them may just be straight guys goofing around. I certainly hope every single one of these guys know their photos are online and are cool with it. Having said that, if anyone reading this happens to own the copyright to any of these photos I’ve put here and do not want it here, please let me know in the comments and I’ll remove it.

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I love this tumblr not only because I’m a hopeless romantic and these expressions of love and affection caught on camera makes me go ‘awwww’, but also because they feature ‘men of colour‘. I think a great majority of images of men on gay (and I suppose straight as well) photo blogs like those on tumblr are of white men. Caucasian. I love gorgeous images of men (and women!) of any race, but it has struck me before that, yes, most are white.

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Another reason I love Queer Men of Color In Love is because they feature mostly regular-looking guys, and just a sprinkling of Adonises. Which is the opposite of many other photo blogs I came across.

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Muslims form human chain to protect Christians during mass

Bravo, Pakistan. Much love and a big ‘thank you’ to these people who dared to stand up and say they’re sick of the horrific violence. A gesture like this one is so powerful and important. I’m thinking that it is also scary because they could be a target for bombers, who obviously do not want peace. That’s what makes these participants of such events even more courageous and admirable. To me they’re basically risking their lives to get together to do this. Just two weeks ago, a twin suicide bombing killed over a hundred people at All Saints Church in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. It is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians. This event was to show solidarity with the victims of that church attack. It was held last Sunday at St. Anthony’s church in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city.

I came by the heartwarming story via Bryan whose blog Bryan Patterson’s Faithworks I follow. It reminded me immediately of Egypt, when Christians there made a human chain for praying Muslims.

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Copyright: Photo by Malik Shafiq / The Express Tribune. Click photo to go to source.

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Copyright: Photo by Malik Shafiq / The Express Tribune. Click photo to go to source.

According to the article in The Express Tribune written by Aroosa Shaukat (which features other photos of the event taken by Malik Shafiq):

Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nasir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. The two men stood should to shoulder, hand in hand as part of the human chain that was formed outside the church not just as a show of solidarity but also to send out a message, ‘One Nation, One Blood’.

The article also mentioned that this was the second such event. The first one was held the previous week at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and organized by Pakistan For All – a collective of citizens concerned about the growing attacks on minorities.

United

I follow the blog of writer and poet Subhan Zein, and on his Facebook too, and recently on the Facebook feed I saw this photo he had posted, with the accompanying text he had written:

This is Love  ♡ –> Christian Egyptians made human shield to protect the praying Muslims during Cairo protest ♡

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Copyright: Nevine Zaki.
Anyone reading this happens to know her website, please let me know in the comments, so that I may link the image to her. Thanks.

I was deeply moved.

A quick Google search revealed the photo was taken about two and a half years ago, making headlines in February 2011. From The Daily Mail: Images of solidarity as Christians join hands to protect Muslims as they pray during Cairo protests (3 February 2011). A quote from the article:

‘Some Muslims have been guarding Coptic churches while Christians pray, and on Friday, Christians were guarding the mosques while Muslims prayed.’

And then to add to my great delight I also found from the NY Daily News: Muslims return favor, join hands with Christian protesters for Mass in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (7 February 2011), where the following photo is taken:

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Copyright ABED/GETTY. From NY Daily News. Click image to go there.

From the same article written by Helen Kennedy:

On Friday, the holy day for Islam, Christian protesters in Tahrir Square joined hands to form a protective cordon around their Muslim countrymen so they could pray in safety.

Sunday, the Muslims returned the favor.

They surrounded Christians celebrating Mass in Cairo’s central plaza, ground zero for the secular pro-democracy protests reverberating throughout the Middle East.

Isn’t that just beautiful. I wish there’s mutual respect and support like this all the time, between all of us in this world regardless of race, nationality and religious faith. And not forgetting agnostics and atheists. Grab them for the group hug too.

Ability to sit and rise from the floor, with or without assistance from hands and knees.

One thing that struck me as I was doing the HASfit exercise videos is how, in many of the videos, there is much of getting down on the floor and then getting back up on my feet again, over and over. I think that adds substantially to the workout.

Recently it also makes me think of a particular study I came across months ago. I’ve been meaning to note it down here.

The study is of this test called the Sitting-Rising Test. The study author is Dr. Claudio Gil Soares de Araújo, Ph.D., a professor at Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro. It was in the news recently around the beginning of the year with many articles published about it. The ones I read included Men’s Health News and Mail Online. All the articles echo the spectacular idea that the test may predict how long you’re going to live.

I’m not interested in that part, but more in that the test could help gauge stuff like muscular strength, flexibility and balance. It never occured to me that such a basic motion (sitting down on the floor and getting back up again) could turn out to be so fascinatingly revealing.

Here’s a video explaining the Sitting-Rising Test. It’s in Portuguese if I’m not mistaken, but in any case there are clear English subtitles.

My favourite article covering the test is from Dr. Mercola. I love how clear and concise it is. It even comes with a helpful summary section called ‘Story-at-a-glance‘, which sums up the article like this:

  • How well you can sit and rise from the floor, without using assistance from your hands, knees or other body parts, may predict your risk of dying prematurely in the next six years.
  • Those who scored the lowest, requiring the most assistance to sit and rise from the floor, were 6.5 times more likely to die during the study period than those who scored the highest.
  • The “sitting-rising test” measures your fitness at the most basic level, testing not only muscular strength but also flexibility, balance and motor coordination. All of these attributes are essential for day-to-day living, and for maintaining your independence as you age.
  • You can extend not only the quantity of your years, but also the quality, by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle, involving diet, exercise, stress reduction and more.

That’s the summary, but the article is worth reading in its entirety. It’s not very long at all and is jam-packed with a lot of interesting information. It is features a 2-minute video of a suggested yoga-esque exercise called ‘The Founder‘ by chiropractor Eric Goodman, which I’ve tried and like.

Surprisingly though, no mention of yoga which I thought would be an obvious tip to help improve performance of the test. There’s a quick mention but related to stress reduction. I thought practising yoga would be more prominently advised as I would think it’s the activity to engage in to make you super flexible and limber and then some.

Then I got to thinking about:

THE SIT-AND-RISE ACTIVITIES I DO IN MY DAILY LIFE

  • Certainly not at meal times

That’s the first thing that crossed my mind. For us Malays, it was so common to eat on the floor, just like for many other cultures around the world. But that was perhaps decades ago. It was more common to have our meals at home sitting cross-legged on a mat on the floor, which by the way, we can do because we don’t wear shoes or other footwear inside the house. But today we eat like that only for certain big gatherings.

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Image for illustrative purpose, from arabswagger.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

When it’s just us or our families, I think it’s far more common to eat at the dining table. Speaking for myself only, I can’t help but think this contributes to me being less flexible. I’m ‘too used to sitting on a chair’ and I can’t sit cross-legged on the floor for long now. It gets uncomfortable or downright painful after about 20 minutes or so. And I’m aware that being on the stocky side also adds to the discomfort, haha…

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Johnny Cash putting me to shame! And he wasn’t even Malay!
(this cute pic of a young Johnny Cash eating cake from vortexanomaly.tumblr.com. Click image to go to source.)

  • 1. Prayer

There are positions us Muslims do as part of our daily prayer that have us bend and kneel and get down on the floor and back up again, several times. Of course when I pray it’s for Allah s.w.t. and for no other reason or purpose but for Him only. It’s nice though thinking of the added health benefit.

Digressing a bit, this also reminds me of a conversation I had with my late Mum many years ago.  Some time after having practically moved out to live with my partner, I was for some reason casually relating to her that I don’t like to sit on the floor, that I can’t seem to do it for long as it soon becomes uncomfortable. And she responded by muttering angrily at me, “That’s because you don’t pray! It shows you haven’t been praying! You haven’t been praying, right?! You haven’t been praying, right?!”. I was stunned, and could only look guilty and think to myself, “oh shit, she caught me.”, haha.

  • 2. Reading the holy Qur’an.

It’s a habit to read some verses every Thursday evening. I don’t proclaim to be such a good boy that I do it every single Thursday without fail. But when I do, the reading is done sitting cross-legged on a mat on the floor. It takes me about 20 minutes each time, and yup that’s about the only time I can bear to sit cross-legged. Afterwards I have to slowly stretch out my legs again and it takes some time before I can stand up properly. Goodness, I’m still really out of shape!

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I’m sentimental for ‘world peace’ themed photos like this. It’s just so darn sweet. *sniff*
(Image from blackvintagebarbie.tumblr.com, first seen via lovepeaceislam.tumblr.com. Click to go to source.)

  • 3. And now, all the way from Texas of the U.S.A., HASfit exercise videos as well! Yay!

The following is an example of the free videos offered by them with a routine that includes making me get down on the floor, then back up again, over and over and over again. This is a 26-minute workout that, as the title suggests, does not need any equipment whatsoever, not even dumbbells. It’s doable, but tough. I was already panting noisily by the halfway point when I did the workout yesterday.

Black beauties

Going through the archive of my Tumblr (NSFW) and realised with no surprise there are quite a few photos of black cats. I adore all cats and dogs, but it wasn’t until Blackie came into our lives like maybe five years ago, that I think they have a special quality to them.

All the images below were reblogs so I do not own the copyright.

Also please bear in mind that some of the Tumblr sites named in the caption may contain images that are NSFW. So click on them only if this okay with you.

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Via amaniman. Source: taylasudall.

cats, black cats, guys with glasses, cute boys with cats, Tumblr

Via guyswithglasses. Source: cuteboyswithcats

Via lifeisbeautifulmyfriend

Source: randomhilariouspictures

Source: randomhilariouspictures

Via doctexmex. Source: cuteoverload

Via aresbear75. Source: Buzzfeed

Via doctexmex. Source: terryford85

Via akosgravis. Source: nemome

Via guyswithglasses. Source: daintyloops

Source: randomhilariouspictures

And this one below is my absolute favourite. I wish I know who the photographer is because I so love it.

This would look amazing as a huge poster with dimensions like 2metres-times-2metres or even bigger, above a sofa or bed. Stunning and elegant and with a sexy dose of humour.

Via mansexfashion. Source: thelunarman

A wonderful memory

This picture below I saw at Dlisted brought a smile to my face, because it brought back funny memories of when I was a kid, of, oh maybe eight or nine years old.

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From thechive.com. Click to go there.

As a kid that age, I had the good fortune of making friends with another boy in the Keppel Road neighbourhood who was just like me (read: girly).

Wonder Woman was on television, and of course she was our favourite show. My penchant for all things arts-and-crafty must had already kicked in at that young age, because one day I constructed her headband/crown thing out of vanguard sheet for us, lovingly drawing and colouring that red star in the centre. I don’t remember if I did her belt and rope thing too, probably not. But the headband I remember well.

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Image from blogs.villagevoice.com. Click to go there

We took turns playing Wonder Woman, the other playing the villain being chased. After we put it on, we would twirl and spin like crazy to enact Lynda Carter transforming from Diana to Wonder Woman, and then run around all the neighbourhood screaming and laughing like banshees, not giving a shit about other kids and adults probably shaking their heads at us.

You don’t care yet at that age. Unless there’s an adult to reprimand you and tell you off that boys should behave like boys, which for me didn’t happen until about a year later. And although some kids were already cruel at that age, with the more vicious in store in the coming years, at that age somehow it was so easy to brush it off. So in the meantime there we were, happy and free to enjoy that precious period of our childhood as we wished, carefree.

I wonder what happened to that friend. We moved shortly after. I don’t remember his name, his kid face then very vaguely. But I remember very well his enthusiasm and energy, his spirit.

Anyway, with regards to Wonder Woman the marathoner, what a great fun costume. She looks fantastic, not forgetting with regards to her physical fitness. Way fitter than I am. Look at all that sinewy muscle in the arms and legs.

If I were in that marathon and notice she was about to pass me, I would call out, “You rock, Wonder Woman!” and offer up my palm for a high-five. Hah.

‘Our very own stories’ exhibition

I stumbled upon this after reading on something that’s worlds away. I guess that’s how it is when you’re on the net sometimes. Something catches your eye, click click click, and you’ve read ten articles about five completely different things. And that’s also how time flies and you end up not doing the things you’re supposed to do.

Anyway, I had jumped from something and landed on this site called SEA Youth Say So to read their article on the Rakhine-Rohingya conflict in Myanmar. When I finished that, this written by Kirsten Han caught my eye. Quote:

Running from 24 August to 7 September, Our Very Own Stories is a photo exhibition held in conjunction with month-long gay pride festival IndigNation. A collaboration between five photographers, the exhibition highlights members of Singapore’s LGBT community, sharing their experiences of coming out, battling discrimination and bullying.

Inspired by the It Gets Better campaign in the United States, Our Very Own Stories aims to break the silence around LGBT issues and personal struggles, and show that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel for those who are still struggling for acceptance and self-acceptance.

The 7th, that would be this Friday. I hope I can make it to have a look-see before then.

Related stuff: fridae.asia interviewed the curator Nicholas Deroose, and featured three of the photographs and stories from the exhibition.

Facebook page is here.

And below is a video of the launch, uploaded by Indignation Sg.

Part of the video’s description at YouTube states that:

Our Very Own Stories showcases Singaporean LGBT stories and photographs of struggles and triumph against the challenges of self-worth, self-image, discrimination and bullying. A collaboration between community photographers the exhibition seeks to inspire hope in youths to show them a future beyond the adversities that they face today.

Our Very Own Stories is part of IndigNation 2012. IndigNation is an annual showcase of Singapore LGBT community’s multi-facetedness, now into its 8th edition in 2012!

Ain’t love grand

Also seen on BuzzFeed, twenty amazing vintage photos of guys together like these three below.

They are adorable. I’m totally charmed and now I want to hunt for more on tumblr and other sites lol.

Thanks to the post on BuzzFeed, I have also now discovered Winger Jock, which is the source of the photos below. Click any one of them to go to the source post on Winger Jock.

The photos are better enjoyed with some Ella and Cole Porter :-)

I love the video above put together by Peter Schneider, who also has many other excellent videos in his YouTube channel Peter 47ish.

Photos from World Pride 2012, by Steve Punter

I actually had tears rolling down my cheeks scrolling through these photographs. To my surprise.

They are from World Pride 2012, held in London early last month.

I’m sure the event itself was a riot of joy and colours and gratitude and fun and laughter, but the portraits in the photo album by Steve Punter carry such quiet yet considerable dignity, regardless of the subject matter. Each one of them reverberates that word ‘pride’, I could feel it deep in the heart of each photograph.

Here are three taken from the forty-one in the album. I had requested for permission from Mr.Punter to feature these three here, and it was kindly granted. Click any one to go to the album on flickr.

Photos’ copyright Steve Punter.

Finger lickin’ good. Tongue suckin’ better.

I love the photos featured in the article where I found the story of my previous post, about the guy at the drive-in.

My favourite is this one they used right at the top of the article. It’s incredibly sweet.

Kissing couple Haley Key and Stefania Alon-Key. Photo By TAMI CHAPPELL/REUTERS, via Yahoo! News. Click image to go to site.

And from the Yahoo! News slideshow, something smoldering hot that took my breath away. Damn it’s been a while since me and the partner kiss like that. *sigh*

Kissing couple Eduardo Cisneros and Luke Montgomery. Photo By JONATHAN ALCORN/REUTERS, via Yahoo! News. Click image to go to site.

All these photos of people locking lips are so heart-warming I want to put more on this blog next time. I’m inspired to start a new category and call it ‘Cutesy photos’ or something like that LOL.