DL's story represents the Conventional Singapore Success Story. In fact it's so conventionally successful that it's stereotypical. DL went to a top junior college, bagged his straight A's, obtained a PSC scholarship, went to NS, became an SAF officer in a "prestigious" combat unit, disrupted his NS, went to a brand-name UK university, bagged his 1st Class honours, came back to Singapore, completed his NS, joined the civil service as a teacher, rose meteorically through the ranks (as government scholars do), and at an early age, became a vice-principal.
In other words, DL typified the kind of Singaporean that the Singapore government would love all Singaporeans to be, or at least aspire to be.
I didn't hear anything from or about DL for a couple of years. Then I heard from a mutual acquaintance that he'd left Singapore for good. Emigrated to somewhere in the United States.
To me, this seemed to be a slightly odd case at that time because DL's profile didn't fit any of the typical profiles of Singaporeans who emigrate (another time, I may elaborate on the typical profiles). But I didn't give it much thought.
As chance would have it, a series of recent coincidences led me to discover his blog in the US. Where he writes freely about his new life in his new country.
Turns out that DL is gay.
And didn't think that it was feasible in Singapore to be gay. So he left.
And won't be coming back.
Well, I know that there are plenty of Singaporeans in our society who would say, "Good riddance." We're pretty backward that way. Still, what a pity, what a waste - thinking of DL from the government perspective.
I don't know how many other DLs there have been, and how many there will be. But certainly he won't be the only one.
Thinking about DL made me think of the gay group in Singapore "People Like Us". Actually it is a very interesting name. The name has at least three different interpretations.
1. "Like" as a verb. That is - "We Gays Are Nice, Normal People After All, So People Do Like Us, We're Likeable."
2. "Us" meaning the gays. As in "We Are Gay, And We Represent People Like Us, In Other Words, Our Group Represents the Gay Community".
3. "Us" meaning the whole of Singapore society. As in "Just Remember This, Gays Are People Too, They are People just like you and me and him and her and the man next door."
I think DL would have liked Interpretation 3 to have been true. I guess it didn't work out for him in Singapore. Anyway, I wish him all the best.