Biawak Gemok Zine Distro

In 2014, my friends Liy and Nine co-founded a zine distribution project and called it Biawak Gemok (direct Malay translation: Fat Lizard). A description from the current landing page:

Biawak Gemok is a radical zine distro focusing on the underrepresented and intersectional. We stock, source, and sell zines (small self-made magazines) and donate almost all our profits in solidarity. Most of the money from the zines we stock currently goes to raising funds for Justice For Sisters (a legal fund for Malaysia’s persecuted transwomen), and Chow Kit drop-in centre PBKS (Pusat Bantuan Khidmat Sosial) run by non-profit SEED (Social and Enabling Environment Development). The rest goes to covering the costs of booth rental, copying, and supporting zinemakers.


We want to center voices that are typically silenced or just aren’t mainstream. We’d like to increase awareness on migrant life, heritage conservation, science, animals and environment, sexual health, classism, xenophobia, stigmatisation, juicy secrets, as well as experiences from Malaysia’s women and girls, people with disabilities, dan lain-lain.


We want to make reading cheap and accessible, so our community can access non-profit knowledge, share experiences and build solidarity through zine life.


We currently carry zines on migration, religion, assimilation, sex work, life in the diaspora, alt history, lives affected by -isms and -phobias, LGBT communities, feminism, mental health, and more.

In March 2017, I was invited to become an official Biawak, having helped the pair man booths in the past year and also because I love zines! This means helping to run the booths, do copying and printing, source new zines, and manage communications with people who buy zines from us and interested collaborators. To keep up with Biawak Gemok, you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter. We are regulars at Art For Grabs, and run stalls at other art markets and events.

Liy and I (bottom row) with our friend Al, who made Biawak Gemok fan shirts! Photo by Nine

Liy and I (bottom row) with our friend Al, who made Biawak Gemok fan shirts! Photo by Nine