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5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Happy New Year!

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Happy New Year! That was the end of 2019 and the great beginning of 2020. What better way to start the new year with prizes, giveaways, party gifts and a bit more knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and HIV.

Your very lovely AMD clinic Dr Jonathan G. is here to spice up the event with VIP Bistro. VIP Bistro is known for catering to the LGBTQ community for good having a few pints of beer while testing your vocals over the Karaoke system. Just a few minutes away from Malaysia-Singapore Customs Checkpoint in Southkey. AMD clinic which is an establishment set-up specifically for HIV treatment and prevention clinic (PrEP & PEP clinic), sexually transmitted diseases, men's health (like Premature ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction and Testosterone deficiency). AMD Clinic and VIP Bistro was an event pairing made in heaven during the new year celebration.

The night started at about 9 pm with a light drizzle which, would horrible if there was a downpour. The crowd started off with just a mere 4 to 5 person and as the light drizzle outside started to let up, the crowd began to pour in and by 10 pm the tables were fully occupied and the tables were extended to outside the bar along the walkways. The music started rolling and people were chatting away while making new acquaintances and meeting old ones.

This little quaint Bistro-Bar came to life in just a matter of minutes. New year's eve would not be complete without drinks and a lot of beer! Lucky draw tickets were given to patrons who purchased 1 bucket of beer or more. Some who felt they were very lucky would buy 1 bucket for 1 lucky draw ticket and some who had reasonable luck made a hefty purchase in hopes of them getting back their "investments" with the grand prize of RM 2020.

We provided snacks for free and a Lok-Lok van (on the right picture)  to heighten the typical Malaysian late-night snack experience. We hosted people from Singapore and a few Africans in a mix of cultures. Lok-Lok is a Chinese pop-up snack van which carries multiple small bites from sausages to vegetables stuffed with fish or meat and can be fried and boiled.

The bar was in full swing with laughing, shows and people making loads of toast to each other. Before the countdown to 2020, I was giving cash prizes and hampers to our lucky winners. The event was a success with our drag queen and with the support of all the participants.

At 11.59 pm we prepared to countdown outside the Bar waiting for the firework. At 12 midnight we lit the sky with a fireworks display as some were holding hands and singing the Chinese version of "Auld Lang Syne", adding toast and cheers to the New Year Spirit. Some talking about their New Year Resolution and hopes for a new beginning.

After that, we gave out our door gift to everyone with a message:

"Stay Safe, Get Protected, Condom-PrEP"

The door gift was a cute string tied bag comprising of: A condom and lube with brochures about PrEP and PEP for HIV prevention. PrEP means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis against HIV; this drug is taken prior to high-risk behaviour like condomless sex or sex using drugs. PEP means Post-Exposure Prophylaxis against HIV who was not on PrEP and engaged in high-risk behaviour sex.

Read more about PrEP:

Read more about PEP:

This is a convenient gift for people to go home with "other activities" mind and this saves them the inconvenience of searching for a condom.

Safe, safe, safe is the motto. Reduce the risk of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Disease with rubber.

People started clearing out of the bar at about 3 am and some were still lying on the ground due to intoxication still sobering up. As a doctor, my duty was to patrol the premises to ensure those who are drunk have someone to bring them back home. In short, the LGBTQ community here are always looking out for each other. There are many responsible guys and friends who were still sober. They offered to send those drunk ones back home despite not knowing them. Some of the guys here have been disowned by their parents and are alone in Johor Bahru. This New 2020 Year is for them to embrace themselves and put aside discrimination and their bad experiences. With hope, we prepare to brace ourselves with the tide of changes and challenges in our lives as men who love men, women who love women and transexuals against all social directives.

At 5 am our group decided to go for "Mamak restaurant" (Mamak is a term for Malay-Indian mixed races). In Johor Bahru, New Year is not a state public holiday in the government sector but mostly international corporations and companies close on the 1st of January following the federal government.

We had a great time and met so many new friends. We talked about each other's country, exchanged experiences and knowledge. What a fabulous way to end 2019 with new friends while stepping into 2020!


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