Pink Dot for the red dot
If you're going to Pink Dot this year, don't forget to bring along your IC.
The annual Pink Dot gathering will face yet another restriction imposed on the event.
In a Facebook post on May 14, the event’s organisers said that only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) are allowed to attend the annual rally.
Anyone caught participating in Speakers’ Corner events illegally can face a fine of up to S$3,000 for their first offence. Organisers can also be fined up to S$10,000 or jailed up to six months.
What’s going on?
Last July, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that they will be putting measures in place to prevent foreign corporate entities from sponsoring, supporting or influencing events held at Speakers’ Corner.
Following their announcement, Pink Dot organisers secured $201,000 worth of sponsorships from local companies, exceeding their $150,000 target for this year’s event.
While many netizens rejoiced the supportive spirit demonstrated by these local firms, others expressed disappointment over the new restriction placed on foreigners.
Disappointment may be an understatement for some.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK
Singaporean student Takahiro Tan, 23, felt that the latest restriction comes on the heels of consistently changing rules that seem to specifically target Pink Dot.
While he accepts that foreigners cannot participate by sharing their views or holding placards, he does not see the need to completely remove their presence at Pink Dot.
Takahiro, whose sibling is a member of the LGBT community, said: “Previously, they could observe or attend the gathering. The next thing you know, foreign companies were barred from sponsoring such events. Then you have the outright banning of foreign attendees. It really begs the question – what is their next move?”
Gao Weiqi, 23, who has attended Pink Dot events since 2009, felt the new restriction goes against the values advocated by the event.
She said: “Pink Dot advocates diversity, the freedom to love and to be yourself, and to accept everyone else around you. I feel like this regulation doesn’t even make sense, considering how Singapore is apparently known for its diversity…and yet they’re preventing foreigners to join us for an event that seeks to promote positivity among the smaller communities in Singapore.”
Despite the bold comments posted by netizens about the new restriction, some felt the government’s decision should not be seen as a setback for the LGBT community.
Vanessa Yap, 23, viewed the changes as a “silver lining” for the local LGBT community.
The polytechnic graduate said: “The gay rights movement in Singapore will come to be remembered as a resilient one founded on a unified local will. This is rare for social movements in Singapore, which to me, just highlights the success and strength of the movement.”
Despite the online outrage, there is no shortage of positivity among Singaporeans.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK
Similarly, social sciences student Martin Li felt that these changes might minimise potentially negative foreign influence.
The 26-year-old explained: “The restriction is fair because I’ve had encounters with highly persuasive foreigners who tend to base their arguments on emotions, rather than adopting logical and responsible thoughts that are suited to our context. Also, I highly doubt that foreigners will bother spending time to understand the complexities behind the local LGBT situation.”
Martin also noted the similar warning police issued, regarding pro-Ahok gatherings in Singapore.
“These warnings showed that the government’s regulations are consistent across events held at Hong Lim Park and not only biased towards Pink Dot event. I would like to think that the government have their legitimate reasons for these regulations,” added Martin.
What’s your take?
- Do you think foreigners in Singapore should have a say in Singapore’s social issues?