Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Monday, July 01, 2013

Pink Dot 2013

5:48 PM By Barry Smyth 3 comments

June the 29th 2013 passed for many as just an ordinary day. Here in Singapore it was the day on which the annual Pink Dot event was held at Hong Lim Park, an event that saw a record breaking 21,000 people in attendance and for the event itself to become the second largest LGBT-affirmative event in Asia in five years, behind the annual Taiwan Pride Parade in Taipei ....

.... Organised by a pool of Singaporean volunteers, Pink Dot campaigns for diversity, inclusiveness, and works to foster understanding for the basic human need to love and be loved, regardless of one╩╝s sexual orientation. From it's early beginnings in 2009 it has seen attendance swell from 2,500 to 21,000 this year and clearly highlights the change in attitudes on the issue here in Singapore.

The event was perfectly timed and to coincide (either by design or chance) with the Singapore National day rehearsals and as the national day helicopter flew past trailing a huge national flag behind it everyone there stood up to sing the national anthem. It was a very touching moment indeed.

This years three-hour event featured a concert by Singaporean artists, speeches by the three Pink Dot ambassadors – popular TV host and actress Michelle Chia, well-known sports commentator Mark Richmond, and acclaimed theatre director and Wild Rice Artistic Director Ivan Heng – and culminated in a giant pink dot formation after dusk with the crowd holding pink LED lights. 

During the dot formation, prominent Singaporean pop icon and singer-songwriter Dick Lee made a surprise appearance to lead the crowd in singing Home, a song he wrote and familiar to many Singaporeans as a National Day song and also the theme of the event this year.

It's unclear yet what this means for the general LGBT movement here in Singapore. Section 377a still remains on the books, with an appeal case pending the outcome of which is by no means certain. But one thing it does highlight is Singaporeans attitudes are changing as more and more people stand up for the freedom to love and for Singapore to be a more inclusive society.

And with Hong Lim Park struggling to hold those that attended this years event, Pink Dot 2014 will be an interesting event to watch!

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  1. Anonymous12:26 AM

    Singapore isn't changing. It's the same old backward backwater as always filled with bigotry and ignorance. The same old homophobic worms are crawling out of the woodwork, just wait and see.

    1. Anonymous9:44 PM

      "Behold the Turtle, he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out!"
      It took 3 or 4 decades for gays in the West to fight for & "win" their Rights. Its only recently that gay marriage was legalized in France, the UK , & New Zealand. When I went on my first gay march in London in 1979, I heard a "spectator' commenting: "These Queers should be shot". There were only 20,000 marches. Last year, the Amsterdam Gay Pride attracted 300,000 spectators.
      There were about 21,000 participants at Pink Dot last year. If each visitor brings just one guest ( straight or gay) that number will double. Why dont you bring a guest? 4 ( maybe more!) of my relatives are joining me on june 28. When we spill out into the streets surrounding Hong Lim Park, the Press will report & the Politicians will take note that we are gaining public support. Yes, more & more understanding & sensible S`poreans know that Sect. 377a is unjust & antiquated. We shall overcome!!!!!!

  2. Change is always a slow process but as long as people persevere change is inevitable. There will always be "the opposition" who for what ever reason believe their world view is the only one that counts and will seek to impose that "righteous" view on others. But their voice will become weaker as more and more people stand up for the freedom to love.