Lifestyle, Arts & Culture

How debunk.urfunk is Lending A Voice to Minorities in Singapore

 
How debunk.urfunk is Lending A Voice to Minorities in Singapore


If anyone has some inkling of what is happening in the world today (especially with minorities in singapore), he/she would know that it looks like the season finale of Game of Thrones — bleak.

Police brutality has reached an all new monstrous scale in Minneapolis, the riot police are taking an even harder hand with Hong Kong protestors and truth be told, it’s quite hard to ignore what is happening in our little red dot.

What has sprung amongst the mishaps and mayhem is a new generation of “woke individuals” who aren’t afraid to speak and feel with their heart. They’re not afraid to address sensitive topics or the extrinsic racial biasness programmed into us from tender ages. While we believe that as a media entity we have our own part to play, it is true that we are cis-gendered men who have enjoyed the privileges that society has given us.

Along the spectrum of diverse media, we have Levin and Charissa from debunk.urfunk, an Instagram-zine that highlights the stories of minorities.


Levin: debunk.urfunk is a collaborative project by myself and graphic design whiz Charissa!

Charissa: We met on Lex.app, an app for the LGBT community, and bonded over our mutual love for zines.

Levin: I’m a writer by day and Charissa works as a creative in an advertising agency. We’ve been talking about creating a zine together since the first weekend we met and have not looked back since.


Charissa: The idea of an instazine really came about because of the circuit breaker measures. We were intending to make physical copies before it all went down but because we were not able to meet-up in real life nor access printing services readily, we decided to launch debunk.urfunk on Instagram, which ultimately didn’t turn out to be such a bad idea.

Levin: We initially had a hard time trying to come up with a title for the zine. We both love puns and alliteration and all that kind of things but while discussing possible names, it felt like we’d entered a bit of a funk (or a rut), and somehow, thinking about rhymes, debunk came to mind.

Charissa: It just fit! After all, we wanted to do just that with the old myths and ways of thoughts regarding how people viewed their body and selves that may no longer apply to how the world has developed.

Levin: We are open to addressing anything and everything that is close to people’s hearts, as those are the issues that are important at the end of the day – whether it’s migrant worker rights or say, one’s journey with mental health in our little red dot.

No one exists in a vacuum; all issues, even if it seems personal, is connected to society at large.


The first story was written by me, actually. The start of lockdown coincided with a lot of nagging anxiety I was having about gender and perceived notions of acceptability.


For many weeks, it was affecting me, and at some point, kept awake by these thoughts, I wrote several hundred words on the Notes App at 4a.m.


Somehow, it found its way to become issue 1, accompanied by Charissa’s great visuals!



Charissa: The second story was written by my friend, Rasanya whom I’ve known for 10 years since schooling days.


Being a Singaporean Tamil woman who was born and raised here, Rasanya has always been vocal about racial issues on social media.


“We Are Not The Same” was Rasanya’s first long form piece and she described the writing process to be rather healing for her, because she has never managed to articulate years of hurt and oppression until then.


It was very heartening to see that happening because that is the very reason why we opened up debunk.urfunk for submissions – to empower minority voices by giving them a platform. We’ve received a flood of positive feedback from this issue and we hope our future submissions can be as enlightening as this.


Charissa: To find contributors, we’ve put out a call for submissions and are open to any kind of pitches (drop us an email at [email protected]). We also offer a $20 token of appreciation to our contributors!

Levin: However, the monetary token can also be paid forward; whether to other contributors or to a cause of their choice. We don’t have a KPI as of now. We just want to spotlight pertinent issues by marginalised folks.

We just want to keep putting out relevant content – that’s simply our plan. Things that engage critical thought and, maybe, explosive action. There’s so many local issues that we can address, and we hope we will address all of them, if possible.

Check out debunk.urfunk today at https://www.instagram.com/debunk.urfunk/.