Otto Fong is a well known, openly gay comic artist. He is also a playwright and a former science teacher at Raffles Institution. He currently lives together with his long-term partner.
Otto Fong is an Oklahoma University Electronic Engineering and Beijing Film Institute graduate who has produced several comic books on science. He is also an playwright who penned his 1993 play Cetecea in an award winning anthology published by TheatreWorks Writers' Lab. In 1992, his full-length play Another Tribe became the first Mandarin play performed in Singapore which had a R21 rating as it contained stories of gay youths and their love stories. He also wrote Happy Family in 1994 and Mr. Beng, a musical commissioned and performed at the Singapore Festival of Arts in 1999.
He has been invited by Fridae to write several LGBT-themed articles.
Fong came out to his fraternity mates at an American liberal arts college when he was 17 years of age in 1987. He unwittingly made the confession after getting drunk at a party.
to the publicEdit
On Saturday, 8 September 2007, while Fong was working as a science teacher at Raffles Institution (RI), one of Singapore's top high schools for boys, he published a 2000-word open letter on his blog. In the post, he called for greater acceptance of gay people by society, citing fellow RI alumnus, then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's remarks questioning Singapore's anti-gay sex laws and PAP MP Baey Yam Keng's public statement supporting the repeal of Section 377A as his reasons for coming out in his blog meant to be read by his RI colleagues.
The then 38-year-old, who had been teaching at the school for eight years, was inspired to reassess his responsibility beyond academia to his students after attending a forum in August 2007 where several young adults questioned the little guidance available to them as gay teenagers. Fong wrote of his first being aware of his attraction towards classmates of the same sex in primary six and the denial of his attraction until his university years when he sought counselling to accept himself for who he is.
Fong's coming out to the public as a gay teacher created a huge stir and elicited front page news reports in the local English as well as Chinese-language tabloids. Over 120 messages posted on his blog by present and former students praised him for his courage in taking a stand and being a inspiring educator. However, under pressure from the Ministry of Education, the entire post including comments was deleted two days later and replaced with, "I wrote this blog for my colleagues and some friends, so that is done. While I am grateful for your generosity, I must remain true to my original intent."
In a statement, the Ministry of Education said it "does not condone any open espousal of homosexual values by teachers in any form" as "teachers are in a unique position of authority" and "are often seen as role models by their students. The school has spoken to the teacher concerned and the teacher has agreed to take down his blog in the best interest of the students. The Ministry supports the action taken by the school on this matter."
Fong later resigned from his position at RI, not because of the incident but to pursue his passion as a comic book artist full-time.
Community Voices speaker at Pink Dot 2011Edit
Interview on Channel News AsiaEdit
Forum on how to make same-sex relationships lastEdit
Production of "It gets better" videoEdit
Families of gay peopleEdit
Crime Watch satireEdit
Advocacy for HIV testingEdit
- Otto Fong, "OTTOBIOGRAPHY: My first time", The Independent, 4 February 2016,.
- Otto Fong's YouTube channel:.
- Articles written by Otto Fong on Fridae:.
- Sylvia Tan, "Singapore teacher removes coming out blog under ministry pressure", Fridae, 10 September 2007.
- Sylvia Tan, "Singapore's first It Gets Better video", Fridae, 24 December 2010.
This article was written by Roy Tan.