Mona Kee Kee shares what it’s like to be a drag queen in Singapore.
Still coming down from the adrenaline high of her show, drag queen Mona Kee Kee strutted down Orchard Road in her high heels and flashy get-ups as she made her way home.
That’s when a rock was suddenly thrown her way, leaving her in shock. She did not pursue the culprit, who seemed drunk, as she was unhurt.
“I hope it wasn’t because I smelled bad,” Mona Kee Kee said in jest as she recalled the hostile incident.
On stage, Mona Kee Kee is a drag queen with a larger-than-life personality. Off stage, her real name is Doni Santos – a Filipino man known for his warmth and flamboyant manners.
“It didn’t really affect me when it just happened, but when I got home, I thought, oh my god, someone just threw a rock at me!” said Santos, who came in a sparkly silver pullover and matching shorts for this interview.
“If I were a straight white man, say in a business suit, they wouldn’t dare pick up a rock and aim at me, no matter how drunk they were,” Santos said. “I became an acceptable target because I’m a drag queen.”
This incident, to him, reflects that a certain degree of discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community still exists here and in other parts of the world.
“You could become a target just because you’re gay, you’re effeminate,” said Santos. “It’s nice that I’m not alone (in this community), but at the same time it’s tragic that I’m not the only one who’s vulnerable,” he added somberly as he drew parallel between his encounter and other violent episodes targeting LGBTs, including the Orlando nightclub shooting that left 49 people dead in June 2016.
Mona Kee Kee is one of a few drag queens who perform regularly at the raunchy Riot! Drag Show in Singapore.
Drag queens are known for their often-outrageous names. “Mona Kee Kee” is no exception. “It’s a very Filipino reference,” Santos explained cheekily.
“Kee Kee sounds like the Filipino word for vagina, and since it’s something I don’t have, I might as well have it in my name.”
Before coming to Singapore to pursue drag as a career, Santos already started picking up the craft in the Philippines. He has always enjoyed dressing up and would do it for office parties.
When asked about how his friends and family had reacted to his career choice, he shrugged.
“It’s not really a question of acceptance, it’s more of: what can they really do about it?” Santos challenged.
“It shouldn’t really be an issue. If you tell people that you decide to be an accountant, and they don’t accept it, that’s not your problem.
“It’s not anyone’s business but your own.”
About the Author
Robyn is a Mass Communication student, studying at the School of Film and Media Studies in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She loves writing, taking photos, acting, and doing makeup. Currently residing in Singapore, she continues to pursue her education, with hopes of making it big, someday, somehow.