Record 10,000 turnout at Pink Dot

meiyingt
SingaporeScene

This year's Pink Dot was more than twice the size of last year's, with 10,000 participants as compared to 4,000 in 2010. (Photos: Pink Dot)

A record crowd of over 10,000 turned out for Pink Dot at Hong Lim Park on Saturday evening --more than twice last year's size.

This year's Pink Dot attendance set a new record for the largest public gathering ever seen at the Speakers' Corner since it opened 11 years ago.

The event, whose aim is to raise awareness and understanding of the need to love and be loved, regardless of one's sexual orientation, was being held for the third consecutive year.

Organisers had demarcated an observation area at the front of the stage for non-Singaporean or PR attendees, but the size of the dot -- the highlight of the event -- eventually filled the entire area of the park.

Event organisers were stunned, overwhelmed and humbled by the record crowd.

Pink Dot spokesperson Rebecca Ling, 27, told Yahoo! Singapore immediately after the formed Dot dispersed that she felt a little overwhelmed, but very happy.

"It wasn't a pink dot, it's a pink park!" she joked.

Co-spokesperson and legal counsel Paerin Choa, 35, added, "To have this many people celebrating this event with us is a truly humbling experience, and we are greatly touched by this show of solidarity and support from Singaporeans."

Some of the performers at the inaugural Pink Dot concert: (Clockwise from top left: The Dim Sum Dollies, Rima S, Voguelicious and Jill Marie Thomas) (Yahoo! photos/Jeanette Tan)

Spotted among the crowd were several local celebrities and public figures.

Apart from this year's event ambassadors, the Dim Sum Dollies -- who performed during an hour-long concert along with One Minute of Glory winner Jill Marie Thomas, all-male dance group Voguelicious, Rima S and Broadway Beng Sebsastian Tan -- numerous local actors also brought friends and families to stand in the dot.

From R-L: Lim Kay Siu, Neo Swee Lin and Neo's father. (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

Actors Lim Kay Siu, 55, and Neo Swee Lin, 47, have been part of the Pink Dot every year since it started two years ago.

"We have always supported the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community," Lim told Yahoo! Singapore. "So many of my friends are part of it that I'm pretty much part of it too," said Lim.

The actor said he and Neo were there to celebrate and push the issue of greater acceptance, which he said is important as the LGBT community still faces much inequality in Singapore.

"It's time for change," he added.

Actor Ben Xiao poses with his show-dog, Elliot. He was at the Pink Dot with his mother. (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

29-year-old local actor and director of SAVASkool Ben Xiao brought his mother and show-dog Elliot to the event.

He said he was there to show support for the students in his school, which provides enrichment classes in the arts, science and sports.

"As a teacher, I see students getting bullied and stressed out--and often this makes them feel like they're doing something wrong for being different," he said.

"There is a part for everyone to play in this, and I will support the people who have the energy and passion (to further this cause)," he added.

The SDP's Vincent Wijeysingha at Pink Dot with two friends. (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

Singapore Democratic Party candidate Vincent Wijeysingha was also spotted, and he told  Yahoo! Singapore he was there in his personal capacity with friends.

Ivan Heng and Glen Goei, donned in pink floral glory. (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

By far, the best-dressed attendees at the event were theatre thespian Ivan Heng and director Glen Goei, of Emily of Emerald Hill fame, who turned up as bright pink orchids.

"We always dress as national icons," said Heng proudly. "We are the Orchid Revolution," he added.

Apart from the stars, many foreigners were at the event in spite of restrictions preventing them from being part of the Dot.

Graphic designer Olivier, 39, a Frenchman, flew into Singapore with his friend Takuma, also 39, specially for the Pink Dot.

"It doesn't matter that we're not allowed to be part of the dot," said Olivier, who lives and works in Japan with Takuma. "We're here, we're showing our support and participating, and that's what counts."

Pink Dot merchandise include umbrellas, fans, pom poms and the Dot plushie. (Yahoo! photo/Jeanette Tan)

Various merchandise at the event was given out for free, as were food and drink.

Pink Dot umbrellas, dot-shaped fans, pom poms and badges were distributed among participants and attendees, and budding food and beverage businesses such as soon-to-open Wok and Barrel gave away 500 chocolate cupcakes with pink frosted icing.

The massive turnout of supporters has since triggered serious consideration on the part of organisers to start looking for a new venue for next year's Pink Dot.

"We may need to look at moving this to somewhere like the Marina Barrage next year if the attendance continues to grow like this," said Ling.

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