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WMHD 2020

Making Visible The Invisible | COVID-19: Sex Workers X Mental Health

This screening is co-presented with Rendezvous with Madness Festival (Toronto, Canada).

Sex work is a legal paid form of labour both in Singapore and Canada, yet despite its legality, many still look upon it in scoff and discomfort. It seems as though there is an artificial divide that separates sex work from any other forms of employment. This division is made more salient with the pandemic which has disadvantaged many workers who find themselves losing their main source of income, and as they continue to battle against the stigma surrounding their work – and all these have negative impacts on their self-esteem and mental well-being.

FILM

Stray Dogs Come Out At Night | Hamza Bangash, Pakistan/UK, 2020, 11mins
Synopsis: Iqbal, a migrant sex worker, cannot come to terms with his illness. He convinces his uncle to take a day trip to the beach, desperate for respite. The Arabian sea beckons.

PANEL

In this panel discussion, we aim to understand more broadly the sex work industry both in Singapore and Canada, and to dispel common misconceptions surrounding it. We will also take the opportunity to re-examine our own values and biases surrounding the sex trade, and learn to appreciate that we are more similar than we are different. We also aim to discuss the impacts the pandemic has on the material needs and mental well-being of the workers, as well as the support services available – both in Singapore and Canada.

MODERATOR

Nicolas Lainez | Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)

PANELISTS
Sherry Sherqueshaa | Human Rights Defender, Project X
Jenny Duffy | Board Chair, Maggieโ€™s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
Dr Mina Husain | Psychiatrist & Producer, Stray Dogs Come Out At Night

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You can help to destigmatise mental health issues in Singapore by supporting our work today at www.give.asia/smhff

Making Visible The Invisible | COVID-19: LGBTQ+ X Mental Health

The pandemic is a challenging time for many as it forces us to constantly adapt to the new norms of transitions. But for members of the LGBTQ+ community, being in quarantine presents additional layers of difficulty, particularly so for those who already have strained relations with their family. For many, the coronavirus have robbed them of access to safe spaces and supportive environments – most of which can only occur outside the domains of their home.

FILM

Hiding Birds | Danica Pablo, Singapore, 2018, 18mins 23seconds
Synopsis: Homosexuality is criminalised and gay bars are raided frequently. 18-year-old Leila is madly in love with Carmina, a Filipino lady living in Leila’s family home. With Leila’s parents against her relationship with Carmina, Leila is torn between obeying her parents and being true to herself.

PANEL

In this panel discussion, we aim to gain a better understanding of the general landscape of the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore, and to understand the various mental health stressors which may be disproportionately experienced by the community as a result of their group identities. In addition, we will discuss the potential impact the pandemic has on familial relationships, and how individuals (both LGBTQ+ persons and their family) navigate this sphere. We will also share support services which are available, and how we can in our own domains, advocate for greater mental well-being for the LGBTQ+ population.

MODERATOR
Sia Ching Sian | Organising Committee Member, Pink Dot

PANELISTS
Leow Yangfa | Executive Director, Oogachaga
Prof Khoo Hoon Eng | Parent & Co-Founder, SAFE Singapore
Danica Pablo | Filmmaker, Hiding Birds

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Making Visible The Invisible | COVID-19: Migrant Workers X Mental Health

“Migrant workers” have become the buzzword of COVID-19 . It has arguably made visible the invisible, and has shed greater light on the structural problems, living conditions, and mental health of the thousands of workers living and working in Singapore. How do we perceive migrant workers in Singapore? Do we see them with suspicion and tension, or with empathy and compassion? Where do these ideas and biases come from?

FILM

Bangla | Huiyi Idette Chen, Singapore, 2018, 17mins 16seconds
Bangla tells a story about an injured migrant worker who ends up moonlighting at a struggling hawker stall in his desperation to send money home. It is an attempt to shed light on the local-foreigner relationship in Singapore where the two communities co-exist on a tiny red dot for nothing more than a living transaction. However, the meeting of Savi and Ang is an allegory of two seemingly different communities realising their need for each other, and the similarities that they share, no matter how brief the encounter may be.

PANEL

In this panel discussion, we will dwell deeper to examine the relationship migrant workers have with Singaporeans, and how contrary to popular belief, we are more alike than we are different. We will also discuss the mental health of the migrant workers especially in light of the pandemic, and how we can, in our own domains, advocate for better protection and well-being.

MODERATOR
Kari Tamura Chua | Co-Founder, SAMA SAMA

PANELISTS
Edwin Soh | Social Worker, Here With You – Migrantsโ€™ Helpline
Rocky | Migrant Worker
Nelia Phoon | Producer, Bangla
Dr Jacob Rajesh | Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Promises (Winslow) Clinic

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Making Visible The Invisible | COVID-19: Elderly X Mental Health

The elderly is known to be a vulnerable population group that is prone to the ill-effects of COVID-19, and as a result of this, many community programmes have been stalled in hopes to reduce potential opportunities for virus transmission. Community facilities have also likewise impose strict visitors quota and have significantly reduced socialising programmes. How have these safe-distancing measures impacted the mental health of our elderly – particularly those who are staying alone, and whom have been staying “active” by participating in community events? Does safe-distancing measures result in social isolation? And what we can do to support the elderly and their caregivers?

FILMS

Come See Me | Liu Bing Jie, Singapore, 2019, 4mins
Ah Di calls his younger sister in an attempt to get her to come see him as his head has been hurting really badly. However, the message was lost when her granddaughter interrupts the call. He then struggles with the pain that stems from his head and his heart. As the emotional pain, accompanied with the physical pain, gets too much, he contemplates suicide just as the doorbell rings.

Anita’s Nursing Home Stay | Lien Foundation, Singapore, 2017, 67mins

PANEL

In this panel discussion, we aim to understand more broadly the range of mental health issues that are more prevalent in old age, and how the pandemic has affected the mental health of elderly – both in the community and in community facilities. We also aim to share more on the signs and symptoms of poor mental health amongst the elderly and how we can reach out to them. The panel will also discuss how familial relationships may be impacted as a result of stay-home measures, and will highlight community services are available for both the elderly and their caregivers.

MODERATOR
Anita Kapoor | Host, Speaker, Facilitator

PANELISTS
Micki Sim | Senior Social Worker, Montfort Care
Dian Karnina | Psychologist & Manager, Apex Harmony Lodge
Mdm Rohani | Caregiver to husband with dementia

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You can help to destigmatise mental health issues in Singapore by supporting our work today at www.give.asia/smhff