The Rice Queen Diaries
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In this moving autobiography, Daniel Gawthrop writes about the politics and pleasures of being a self-identified “rice queen”: a gay man who is attracted to Asians. Navigating through the urban jungles of Western cities like Vancouver and London, as well as the humid streets of Bangkok and Hanoi, Daniel explores the multicultural minefields of sexuality and culture as he articulates the manners and contradictions of his desires.
The politics of race, and the unspoken rules of gay Asian culture in both Western and Eastern settings, underscore Daniel’s personal journey, in which he recalls his teen years spent idolizing Bruce Lee and his fixation on an Asian schoolmate whose hazing becomes a sexual spectacle for him. As he enters adulthood, his desires become manifest as he explores the subcultures of Long Yang Clubs (where gay Asians and “their admirers” can meet) before departing for Asia, where his encounters become transactions, and he learns the hard way that sexual desire has a human and emotional cost.
Evoking the themes of Edward Said’s Orientalism, The Rice Queen Diaries is as much a personal statement about culture and otherness as it is about gay desire. Traversing three continents, these diaries are a personal reckoning, a bold coming to terms with the nuances of sexuality that has relevance for all of us.
WHEN I THINK OF MY CONNECTION to Asian men, I'm reminded of Yoshio and Billy, a pair of fictional schoolboys who become the best of buddies not despite but because of the differences that attract them to each other. Their story is contained in a children's book published in 1937, Yoshio: A Japanese Boy in Canada. In the foreword, author Helen Dickson said she wrote Yoshio "to promote friendly feeling between Canadian and Japanese children." The irony seems tragic now, given the distinctly
home, made an odd pair. Lop was much smaller than Lek and claimed to be attracted only to kathoeys. While I was with them, Lek played dominatrix - nearly strangling her boyfriend in headlocks, clutching his balls, or smacking him hard whenever he misbehaved. But this was true love. Traditional gender roles meant nothing to Lek and Lop; S&M was simply their preferred mode of communication. A few minutes after arriving at the house, Soup conducted a brief inspection of the pantry. Seeing that the
the trip to Pattaya, Bee had told me how important Peter was in his life. Peter the Patron was going to pay for his tuition and travel fees to study at a prestigious fashion design school in Paris. For this, Bee appeared 153 The Rice Queen Diaries willing to play the submissive, smiling houseboy/sex toy for his Dutch lover. But here, in Peter's Jomtien condo, I could tell that Bee wasn't all that keen about the arrangement. He averted his eyes when Peter grabbed the younger Son and pulled him
were hidden behind beaded bamboo curtains in the middle of the Bazaar, in an alleyway lit by pink neon. Like most other gay bars in Chiang Mai, the Night Bazaar pub row was a gathering place for money boys. Saen wasn't there, so I decided to return to my hotel. But as I was leaving the alleyway a handsome, dark-skinned young man in a white cardigan sweater grabbed me by the arm. Wisut seemed adorable, but I didn't feel like making any more new friends. I told him I was tired, but he didn't seem
excrement" who captivates him with his "handsome ruddy cheeks and shining eyes ... [the] dirty roll of cloth around his head for a sweatband ... [and] dark blue cotton trousers of the close-fitting kind called 'thigh-pullers'." Eight years later, while exploring his father's vast library, he locates the heart of his erotic sensibility. Flipping through an Italian museum guidebook, he finds a reproduction of Guido Reni's "St. Sebastian" image that hangs in the collection of the Palazzo Rosso in