More than 15,000 Singaporeans were estimated to have turned up at Hong Lim Park on Saturday evening for the first ever night Pink Dot, illuminating the Speakers’ Corner in a sea of pink.
Since 2009, thousands of straight and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) Singaporeans have gathered yearly to show their support for the freedom to love, regardless of one’s sexual orientation.
The ambassadors for this year were ex-TV personality Sharon Au, local actor Lim Yu-Beng and drag queen, Kumar.
“This is my first Pink Dot since I’ve been overseas during the past few events,” said Au, as she made her rounds around the event grounds, taking pictures with fans and participants. “All my best friends are gay so this is the biggest thing I’ve done to support them.”
True to its dresscode, the event was teeming with both the young and the old, all dressed in pink to show their support. Many of these participants have been attending the event loyally since 2009.
Myriam, a 34-year-old facilitator, is one of many loyal supporters of the cause. The statuesque lady, who has been with Sayoni, an LGBT community group, for four years said, “This is a perfect and fantastic event. It is still a demonstration at this point, but it’s the first step and it’s making a difference.”
18 other LGBT and community groups also set up booths at the Pink Dot community tent to raise awareness for their cause.
Pink Dot participants were also treated to free food and drinks at the community tent, courtesy of Nando’s and other vendors.
As dusk approached, the anticipated Pink Dot concert finally began, much to the delight of the excited crowd. The concert featured many talents like Jack and Rai, Kumar and T'ang Quartet.
The forming of the giant illuminated Pink Dot, however, remained the highlight of the night, since it signifies participants’ support for the social movement. As participants crowded together, they were asked to turn on their pink flashlights, turning the Speakers’ Corner into a sea of pink.
"This is a beautiful, glowing Pink Dot but we need to go a step further beyond tonight and take this glow with us when we leave," said Lim, who hosted the night’s concert with Au.
In his closing remarks, Lim also referred to Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore, which criminalises sex between mutually consenting adult men.
“As long as discrimination and prejudice, media censorship or 377A are around, we know that there’s still a lot to be done in this society," Lim added.
For years, activists such as Maruah, a local human rights non-governmental organisation, have been calling for the Singapore government to repeal the section because it is a “critical first step” towards eliminating discrimination against homosexuals.
This year’s Pink Dot turnout was a 50 per cent increase from 2011’s already huge horde. In its first year, 2,500 people attended Pink Dot. This number grew to 4,000 in 2010, and finally burgeoned to 10,000 people in 2011.
Scenes of rioting in Singapore’s Little India district on Sunday evening may have raised fears about safety and social harmony in the city-state, but police and civil defence authorities have also won praise from the public for the handling of the rare incident. …