About Talk Sense

Talk Sense Pte Ltd is my own public relations company.  About five-six years ago I worked for Hill & Knowlton, a brandname agency.  My boss Christina Cheang was very nurturing and she didn’t give a toss if I was transgender, and neither did most of my colleagues, but some of my clients did.  But it wasn’t the discrimination that made me quit.  I left because I knew I would not be promoted beyond Senior Consultant simply because the healthcare accounts I worked on were not lucrative enough.  More than that, I wanted to create a company that would proclaim – hey, I’m a transgender entrepreneur, so what?  I wanted to implement an Equal Opportunities policy at work.

Fast forward to five years later and I’m still doing healthcare PR.  Admittedly, I’ve carved a niche for myself in this industry, but the obstacles to growth are huge.  Fewer clients than before discriminate against transgender women, but given a choice between an openly transgender woman candidate and anybody else, anybody else is more likely to win the contract.  And forget about winning big government projects if you are blacklisted as a strident transgender activist.

So Talk Sense was at crossroads – should we keep plodding on at snail’s pace or switch to something different?  And hence the concept for Ah Kua Show was born.  We are still a creative agency.  Today, what we do differently is channel a portion of our profits towards opening up social debates creatively. The Ah Kua Show is not so much about Leona Lo’s story as it is about surfacing the issue of social discrimination against Southeast Asian transgender women in a discursive, entertaining manner and to as wide an audience as possible.

Let’s face, I’ve put about USD7000 on the table so far and I’ll be lucky to recoup half the amount – and that’s provided we are sold out, which currently seems a remote prospect.  But through the social media and hopefully media coverage, more people will hear about the Ah Kua Show and Southeast Asia’s transgender women – and our daily struggles.

In the process, someone may appreciate our creative strategies and engage us to develop creative works to promote their products/causes.  Who knows?  Remember – the same brains that conceptualised and publicised the Ah Kua Show can be harnessed to take your company’s offerings to greater heights too.  Hey, we’ve been doing that for furniture and healthcare products for years.  The point is, those of my clients who can look beyond my “transgenderism” or who treat it as a non-issue are the ones who have benefitted the most from my services.

I’ve got happy news to share with you.  Recently, I matched Madame Cyn with an affluent individual who needed makeup services.  Madame Cyn designed our postcards and icon.  She’s my first success story after years of trying to help transgender women who either ran away with my money or gave in to despair and depression.

Remember – my work is not about transgender women per se as it’s about giving individuals who face social discrimination a face, a voice and greater opportunities.

If you have an exciting proposition for Talk Sense, I look forward to hearing from you!*

Warm Regards

Leona Lo, Principal Consultant, Talk Sense Pte Ltd

* P.S. We are still looking for sponsors for the show


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