Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hulu Cafe re-opening in Bali

I refer to my earlier post of 20th August advising that the famous Hulu Cafe in Bali (Legian) had been burned to the ground. Well, while not quite at the same location just yet (for obvious reasons...) I can now advise international travelers to Bali that a replacement Hulu Cafe and drag show re-opened last night (Friday 29th August), as per the following email I received.

Let's hope they can survive and ultimately be able to get back to a permanent home.

Allan Smales (Reporting from Hong Kong)

Hi All,

It is with great please to announce that Hulu Cafe will commence this Friday 29th August.

Due to the kind management at Bali Beach Shack there will be 2 shows starting at 10pm/11.15pm EVERY Friday/Saturday/ Sunday night.

Bali Beach Shack is a new restaurant located 200 metres from Hulu Cafe in the same street, on the same side, at Jl Melasti end.

Address is 7 Jl Sahadewa, Legian

All! Hulu staff will be there for our BIG re-opening this Friday.

Once again, thanks for all the love and support from the board members, locals and loyal customers.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interviewed a fascinating guy last night

(Allan Smales reports from Hong Kong)

When I travel, I invariably carry with me my microphone and recorder (or in this case, my laptop computer...) with the objective of trying to catch up with interesting people, and recording an interview for subsequent use on Orange Ribbon upon my return to Melbourne.

Last night, here in Hong Kong, I met up with such a fascinating guy called Chung Yiu. We first went to a local restaurant for a bite to eat, and then afterwards we returned to my hotel room to record an interview. (No.... wrong....! Not for the reason you think...! I needed a quiet location for recording our interview, so you've got the wrong impression on that one... ;-)

Anyway, I had found Chung Yiu by means of his blog ( a couple of weeks ago back in Melbourne and got quite absorbed in what he writes, this adventurous guy who seems to want to get all he can out of life... he's played with dolphins, bungee jumped off Macau Tower earlier in August and will be doing it AGAIN (but backwards this time...) this coming weekend, he is considering sky diving, loves to party, and who (as I was to discover last night...) had been training to be a Christian pastor at a Hong Kong Bible College until he was kicked out just a few weeks before his graduation because he decided to come out as a gay man.

You will get to hear Chung Yiu's interview sometime after my return to Melbourne later in September. Stay tuned for the scheduled broadcast date.

Allan Smales in Hong Kong.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Allan in Hong Kong ... in a TYPHOON!

Regular listeners to Orange Ribbon may recall that i was planning to be back in Hong Kong again from late this week, until 9th September. Well, I did the program with Hugh on Wednesday evening last (20th August), then Thursday morning I headed off to Tullamarine airport to catch my flight up here to Hong Kong. It was a bit of a bumpy ride, as we were pre-warned at the outset of the flight, due to a typhoon (cyclone as we know them in Australia...) in the South China Sea. But finaly landed in Hong Kong at 6pm last night (Thursday) and headed to my hotel.

What I did not know until after I arrived at my hotel, was that the typhoon was actually heading straight for Hong Kong, and so all through today (Friday 22nd August) there have been regular typhoon warnings and advice (on TV and radio) to the public to basically stay indoors.

I have never been in Hong Kong before during a typhoon, so was not quite sure what to expect. But it was certainly a very unpleasant day today, with public transport shutdown, most people not going to work, most shops and businesses closed, and the roads in Hong Kong (which are normally VERY VERY busy, were absolutely DEAD! I have never seen anything like it in Hong Kong before.

Take a look at these shots which I took earlier this morning BEFORE the main force of the typhoon passed over Hong Kong.

The windows to my hotel entrance were all taped up, there was literally NO traffic on Nathan Road with the exception of the very occasional car or taxi, no buses this afternoon at all, and virtually no people on the street.

Just 35 metres up Nathan Road from my hotel, a very large illuminated advertising sign came crashing down onto the footpath and onto Nathan Road itself, making a huge mess. Members of emergency services soon arrived to "fence off" this area, and to try and make the crash site as safe as possible under the circumstances. It was a big mess, and a very large sign, which (as far as I could tell) was a large Spaghetti House restaurant sign.
(Postscript: By lunchtime Saturday the "crash site" mess had been totally cleaned away, and by Monday (3 days later) a new large replacement sign was being erected. Things happen FAST here in Hong Kong.)

Mid evening this evening (Friday) my friend and I decided to go out and see if we could find somewhere to eat away from the hotel. But to no avail. Firstly because it was blowing an absolute gale, with strong blustery rain absolutely belting down, and secondly, it became very clear very quickly that there was absolutely nothing open anywhere in our immediate vicinity in Nathan Road.

As my hotel is located above one of the train subway (MTR) stations, we went down into the subway and found a 7-Eleven still operating, so all we were able to get for dinner this evening was some sandwiches, and some flavoured milk and fruit juice.

So... it's very lucky that I flew up yesterday instead of today, because most flights into Hong Kong International were cancelled this morning, and by this afternoon ALL flights had been cancelled.

I have been to Hong Kong many times over the years, and even spent upwards of 5 months here in just the past 18 months. But this is the first time I have ever encountered a typhoon in Hong Kong. Very interesting experience...!

Now... my next duties (once things settle down again over the weekend...) is to try and catch up with a couple of people with whom I have organized interviews that I will present to you, our listeners, after I return to Melbourne next month. See you all very soon.

Allan Smales (On holiday in Hong Kong... again!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Very sad news from Bali

After arriving home from presenting our program earlier this evening, I received an email from a dear friend in Bali advising of some very sad news.

On a couple of occasions in the past Orange Ribbon has either spoken to staff and/or drag queens at the Hulu Cafe in Kuta, and in fact on one occasion Kim Benton did a "live" phone presentation from the Hulu Cafe for Orange Ribbon some 6-7 years or so ago.

For those who might not know... the Hulu Cafe is a very well-known gay bar in Kuta (Bali) with a great drag show, very well-rehearsed, and always very popular and very busy. It was a Bali icon, and international gay visitors to Bali would always try to make a point of visiting this small, but very popular bar.

The sad news...? It was destroyed in a fire on Monday morning. This is a very sad and devastating occasion, and the Orange Ribbon team extend our sympathies to all in Bali (Hulu staff, entertainers, management etc.) affected by this tragedy.

Pasted below is the email sent out (and as then forwarded to me by my friend Izaak...) to all contacts.

Allan Smales (I've been to Hulu many times over the years...)


Hi All,

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Hulu café was burned to the ground on Monday morning. The business was closed at the time, so fortunately nobody was inside or injured.

We have no information about the cause until the police report is concluded. The owners , staff and many loyal customers are stunned and devastated and we are trying hard to cope with this loss. At this stage, the future is unclear as there are many things to cope with including meetings with police, insurance and lawyers.

When I have more news I will let you know.


Malcolm Warner

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This week on Orange Ribbon for 20th August

This week we tackle a subject that some people may see as being somewhat controversial. Never to be deterred, Orange Ribbon will address the topic anyway... so here goes.

Basically sex work in Australia is a legal form of work, so that's our starting point. But what about the rights of sex workers? And what do they have to deal with?

Even more importantly (and bearing in mind Orange Ribbon is a GLBT multicultural program...) what about immigrant sex workers who have come to Australia to work in the sex industry by choice or necessity? What type of support structures are in place? What problems do they have to face (language, racism, health, discrimination, stereotypes etc.), and are these problems any more (or differently) pronounced than for traditional Anglo/Australian sex workers?

What about sex workers who are gay or lesbian, and who either work with same-sex clients, OR who may even look after opposite sex clients? And what about the straight sex workers who accept same-sex clients?

All of these issues will be addressed in the next edition of Orange Ribbon, coming up on Wednesday evening, 20th August. We will be joined in the studio by a sociual and support worker who is employed by RhED (Resourcing, Health & Education for Sex Workers) which is a specialist support program run by Inner South Health Services.

We look forward to you joining Hugh and Allan between 7:00-8:00pm to look at this topic.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Orange Ribbon - 13th August, 2008

Ash and Allan got together earlier this evening to have an "on air" discussion with Coco, an Indian lesbian who moved to Melbourne just 5 months ago to undertake creative arts studies. Coco is a very interesting young lady because she accepts that she is lesbian yet has never had a female/female relationship (yet) nor "consumated" physically with another female to this point in time.

She told us about coming out 12 months ago (while she was still in India...) to her younger sister and brother who are both "cool" with her revelation. However, she is still to come out to her parents, which could be a little way down the track yet. Coco told us about being let down by an Indian flatmate friend here in Melbourne just 3 months ago when that "friend" advised Coco's mother that her daughter was a lesbian during a maternal visit, which had to be refuted for the time being.

Coco also has an interest in the darker side of life, likes heavy/dark music and is also interested in the goth culture, although she is not sure if she would take it up or not.

You can listen in to Coco's interview by selecting the "Podcast" option from the JOY website, then locationg the Orange Ribbon broadcast option.

One more program (20th August) and then Allan will be off to Hong Kong for almost three weeks, leaving Ash and Hugh to run the program for 27th August and 3rd September.

Next week (20th August) we have an interesting discussion coming up on immigrant sex workers in Melbourne. Join us at 7:00pm next Wednesday for that interesting chat with the Health and Education Support Worker (Carolyn Mogharbel) at Resourcing Health & Education in the Sex Industry (RED) in St. Kilda.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Always looking for interview guests/topics

The O.R. Team is always looking for new guests, or relevent topics to use on the program. So if you think you have an idea or suggestion then we would love to hear from you. Here are just some of the things we would be interested in:
  • you have an interesting international/multicultural story to tell, with a GLBTI slant
  • you are involved in an interesting or unusual activity relating to or supporting the GLBT multicultural community
  • you are a member/supporter of one of the many gay & lesbian social and/or support groups either in Melbourne OR elsewhere
  • you are a visitor to Melbourne from another country and can tell us a little about life for the gay community in your country
  • you are an international student studying in Melbourne and would like to share some of your experiences as an international gay or lesbian student
  • your multicultural social group has an important upcoming event or celebration
  • you are involved in a group that provides support, counselling, advice etc. to (e.g.) international gay & lesbian students, local non-traditional Anglo people of all races etc.
  • you have a suggestion of a topic we might cover, or have some specialists to join in, for a group discussion for our GLBTI multicultural listeners.
  • you and/or your partner has recently migrated to Australia, possibly with the assistance of GLITF (Gay & Lesbian Immigration Taskforce
The above list is simply an "ideas list" and is far from exhaustive, but hopefully provides an indication of the types of things we like to cover on Orange Ribbon.

The overriding criteria is simply that (a) it is of interest to our gay & lesbian listeners, and (b) relates to or is about non-traditional Anglo Australian people or groups.

Please feel free to drop us an email to giving some basic details, and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible. If it is OK with you, please provide a phone number that we can contact you on (if that is a convenient method of communication for you), otherwise we will communicate back to you via email.

We are always keen to receive program content suggestions, and await some ideas from you.

A few opening remarks introducing this blog

The Orange Ribbon program began on JOY 94.9 around July, in 1998, and has continued as a weekly gay & lesbian multicultural program ever since, with just a few btreaks off-air during the intervening period.

The program was started in 1998 by Kim and Shanton, and they were joined in July, 1999 by Allan. In the meantime, both Kim and Shanton have moved on due to other commitments, work assignments elsewhere etc., and Allan remains as the sole (near to) original presenter of the program.

A number of others have been a part of the team over the life of the program, with the current presenters as per the composite photo at the head of this blog. These are:

  • Allan: Australian who is now retired after 40 years in the I.T. industry. Allan lives with his Singaporean Chinese partner of 13 years.
  • Aline: Of French origin, who joined the team in late 2007. Aline works in the accounting and auditing field.
  • Ash: Born in India, but has been in Australia for several years now. Works in the service industry, and lives with his Indian partner.
  • Hugh: Scottish, but moved to Australia several years ago. Hugh works in catering management.
  • Ka Fam: Born in India of Chinese heritage. Lived in Australia for many years. He works as a horticulturalist.
Currently, the team is somewhat "short handed" because Aline has been moved to Brisbane for a 6-month assignment, but expects to be back in Melbourne, and re-joining the team, from sometime in November.

And Ka Fam is currently undertaking training workshops which just happen to conflict with our Wednesday evening broadcasts, so he is also currently absent but expects to be back on board in October, all being well.

And Allan heads off on one of his many/frequent visits to Hong Kong from 21st August. On this occasion he will be away for almost 3 weeks. But he heads off back to Hong Kong yet again from 16th October (this time with his partner in tow for the first week...) for another 4 weeks.

So Hugh and Ash will be covering the program during these two pweiods, although Ka Fam will have re-joined the team by October anyway, so that should alleviate the situation.