Fridae, also commonly called Fridae.com, is Asia's largest English-language LGBT portal and has grown by leaps and bounds since its founding in December 2000 by scientist-cum-entrepreneur Dr. Stuart Koe. It has achieved much of its mission statement of "empowering gay Asia" and was, under the leadership of Stuart Koe, the most socially responsible commercial gay organisation in Singapore.
Fridae's first office was a rented unit at Henderson Industrial Park where overheads were lower than at a proper office in the city area. It later moved to a residential terrace house along Jalan Kuning at Chip Bee Gardens in Holland Village, leased from a Canadian expatriate. Two years later, it moved its headquarters back to a different unit at Henderson Industrial Park and later to Kallang Industrial Park where it rented one unit for many years at #03-09, Block 26 Kallang Place, Singapore 339157 (tel. no. 62977840). It relocated to another unit in the same park for a few years before it closed its physical headquarters for good in the mid-2010s.
While at its headquarters at Henderson Industrial Park and at #03-09, 26 Kallang Place, Fridae set up a subsidiary company called Jungle Media to handle its advertising, marketing, promotion and public relations activities.
It recruited full-time staff with the following light-hearted advertisement:
"Fridae - Asia's Gay and Lesbian Network
We can’t make babies (we try), so we’ve got no choice but to recruit. Joining Fridae means playing an active role in building Asia’s largest online gay and lesbian community – one that transcends geographical and cultural borders, a “United States of Asia” if you will. We’re looking for people with commitment and passion; dreamers and idealists who can execute (plans, not people), meet deadlines, and think out of the box to join our ever-growing team of mavericks.We believe in hard work, a fun atmosphere, and the sort of creativity that only comes about when talented people from diverse backgrounds approach problems from varying perspectives. If you’ve got what it takes, and you’re looking for a work environment that allows you to be who you are, show your colors, and truly shine, then get in touch with us! Should you have any interest, please apply on line by stating the position you are applying for, and kindly include your email, other contact details, and resumé/cv."
March 2001 - Fridae.com launches website.
March 2001 - Fridae.com named the principal sponsor and Official Portal of the 23rd Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras alongside other sponsors Qantas Airways and Telstra, Australia's largest telco.
August 2001 - Fridae’s first Nation party was held at Sentosa's Fantasy Island with 1,500 partygoers. The event made the front page of local The New Paper and was covered by the BBC World Service and Agence France-Presse. The AFP report which called the event "Singapore's coming out party” was in turn published by various news outlets worldwide.
February 2002 - Within a year of its launch, Fridae’s Personals section crosses the 10,000 profile mark.
March 2002 - Fridae launches Version 2 of the website.
April 2002 - Advocate, a national American gay and lesbian news magazine, reports on Fridae’s first anniversary with a profile of CEO Dr Stuart Koe and describes Fridae.com to be a “social resource for many Asian gays who may have no other way to meet.”
August 2002 - Hailed by the press as "Singapore's unparalleled alternative party" and "a party not to be missed!", some 2,500 people attended Nation.2 held at Sentosa’s Fountain Gardens and Musical Fountain. Sponsors included Qantas and Anchor Beer.
November 2002 - Fridae launches Version 3 and the Perks programme, which allows subscribers premium access to the Fridae Personals section, in tandem.
December 2002 - Fridae’s first Snowball party was held in Singapore.
February 2003 - Fridae.com was appointed the Asian Media Partner of the 25th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
August 2003 - The Straits Times of Singapore published a report referencing the Nation party and the power of the pink dollar and the sponsors of Nation.03 including Subaru, Asia-Pacific Breweries (Anchor Beer), Dolce & Gabbana Parfum, Qantas, Smirnoff, Pan Pacific Hotel and Hotel 1929.
August 2003 - For the first time since its inception in 2001, Nation becomes a 3-day event over the Singapore National Day weekend. The event garnered unprecedented coverage by Time Magazine (Asia Edition) and TV news coverage on Channel NewsAsia and TCS 5 - marking the first time in history a gay event (local or otherwise) was broadcast in Singapore.
September 2003 - Fridae’s Personals section crosses the 50,000 profile mark.
October 2003 - Fridae launches its online Shop retailing Snowball party tickets.
October 2003 - Fridae launches Beta version of the Chinese web sites with Personals and News sections.
December 2003 - Fridae’s second Snowball party was held in Singapore.
March 2004 - Fridae launches Version 4 in which time the web site was getting an average of 20 million page views per month and 150,000 registered members.
July 2004 - Fridae launches the Chinese Version 4 (Simplified and Traditional) web sites.
August 2004 - In what’s to be Fridae’s last party in Singapore, Nation.4 – the largest with over 8,000 attendees - included its first ever Arts Programme featuring plays Mergers/Wills by Toy Factory in Mandarin, Top or Bottom and Mardi Gras by The Necessary Stage, and The Revenge of the Dim Sum Dollies by Dream Academy Productions; and two art exhibitions “Red + White = Pink” organised by Utterly Art and another by Art Seasons. Sponsors and supporters of Nation.04 include Motorola, e33 Cider, Subaru, Visit Britain, Belvedere Vodka, Cathay Pacific, Conrad Centennial Singapore, Heineken Beer, Intercontinental Singapore and Moët & Chandon.
August 2004 - Fridae launches its first ever Nation CD set by DJ David Sung and DJ Sawa and produced by DJ George Leong. The 2-CD collection debuted at No. 3 on HMV Dance and Soul on the week of its release and was at No. 17 on the HMV Top 40 chart the week after in Singapore.
October 2004 - Fridae gets profiled in a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal, 22 October 2004. The article referenced the Nation party, and discussed the pink dollar and Singapore’s attitudes towards the LGBT community.
October 2004 - The Far Eastern Economic Review’s special report about gay Asia heavily features Fridae and the Nation party.
December 2004 - The application to hold Snowball party was rejected by the Singapore Police several weeks prior to the event saying the event is likely to be a gay party and is against public interest. The Police’s lengthy press statement was covered by local several newspapers and on Channel News Asia.
April 2005 - Fridae holds its first party outside Singapore with Squirt at Bangkok’s Bed Supperclub.
April 2005 - Fridae’s Personals section crosses the 100,000 profile mark for English web site and 15,000 on its Chinese web sites.
June 2005 - Fridae Shop is launched with products from affiliates.
September 2005 - Fridae receives 2005 Arts Supporter Award from Singapore’s National Arts Council in appreciation of its support toward the arts community.
October 2005 - Nation.5, Asia’s largest gay party, moves to Phuket, Thailand. Some 2,000 converged on the Crowne Plaza Karon Beach Phuket which was booked exclusively for the event.
April 2006 - Fridae’s Squirt party was held at Sheraton Bangkok for the second time.
April 2006 - Fridae launches the landmark men who have sex with men (MSM) Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BSS) survey in partnership with Action for AIDS Singapore.
August 2006 - Fridae announces that the sixth annual Nation party will be its grand finale, and will thereafter focus on its web business and advocacy work.
October 2006 - Fridae receives 2006 Arts Supporter Award from Singapore’s National Arts Council in appreciation of our support toward the arts community.
November 2006 - Over 1,500 revellers from around the world converged at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort for Nation.6 for three days of almost continuous partying with top DJs including New York-based Tony Moran and top Australian DJ Kate Monroe.
December 2006 - Fridae launches Think Again campaign - the first HIV prevention campaign conceptualised based directly on a survey of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Singapore conducted in Apri 2006.
February 2007 - Fridae.com named in Nielsen//Netratings’s list of top ten web publishers in Singapore in 2006 and the stickiest site in Singapore with session durations more than two times the market average.
June 2007 - Fridae reaches the 200,000-profile mark for its English site and 50,000-profile mark for its Chinese site.
July 2007 - Fridae co-founder Robert Yeoh passes away at age 52 on July 10, 2007.
October 2007 - Fridae partners with activists and organisers of repeal377a.com to organise an Open Letter To The Prime Minister (of Singapore) campaign and parliamentary petition – with CEO DR Stuart Koe as one of three main signatories alongside lawyer George Hwang and former President of the Association of Women for Action and Research Tan Joo Hymm. The petition sought the repeal of Section 377A, which criminalises sexual activity between men whether in public or in private as part of Singapore's first major penal code amendments in 22 years.
October 2007 - Fridae receives 2007 Arts Supporter Award from Singapore’s National Arts Council in appreciation of our support toward the arts community. December 2007 Fridae launches Version 5 Beta.
December 2007 - Fridae holds the first ever pan-Asian poll of gay establishments. The Fridae æ List aims to recognise the efforts of establishments and businesses that serve the LGBT community.
May 2008 - In association with Action for AIDS (Singapore), Fridae launches We Can Stop AIDS Now campaign that focuses on individual empowerment, and how HIV transmission can be stopped if everyone plays their role.
August 2008 - Fridae launches Know Your Status (KYS) awareness drive on Fridae Personals to promote HIV testing at least every 12 months among sexually active men. Those who have had an HIV test in the last 12 months (or are HIV+) get a KYS icon on their Personals profile. Users will also receive a reminder 2 months before their next test is due.
October 2008 - Fridae receives 2008 Friend of the Arts award from Singapore’s National Arts Council in appreciation of its support toward the arts community.
April 2015 - Fridae.asia taken over by the telecommunications and travel company DragonStack. dragonstack.com Fridae migrated to a new more flexible hosting solution.
May 2015 - Push notification service on mobile apps re-initiated.
July 2015 - Launch of Fridae mobile web app m.fridae.asia.
August 2015 - Launch of Fridae Android App.
November 2015 - Major Update to Fridae Android App. New Travel section launched, data sourced from hotmale.net
June 2016 - Launch of New iPhone app. New company tagline “Connecting gay Asia”.
- Fridae's website:.
This article was written by Roy Tan.