05/06/2012, 02:40 PM
By Yiggy @ Team Trevvy
Pink Dot is just around the corner, and once again it’s time to gather to show support for the freedom to love.
Since its inception, Pink Dot has garnered a strong following over the four years. This year, Pink Dot takes a more introspective approach, as it explores what Pink Dot as a movement is really all about, and our dreams for what this future could be. Pink Dot is largely a symbolic event: it is not a direct legislative appeal, nor is it a political protest. Rather, it is a day where we come together to recognize and show support for the freedom to love – a day when we hope that our sexual orientation no longer becomes a target of discrimination or prejudice. [discuss this]
We took a minute to catch up with one of the Pink Dot Ambassadors, Lim Yu Beng, to ask him what his dreams for equality were, and his thoughts on how we can achieve it.
Vv: So let’s start with the dream - what is your dream / vision for society in the future?
YB: Polarity is a man made thing. The real world is not all white or red. There millions of shades of in-between. There's a lot of pink between deep red and pure white. Your pink may not be the same as mine, but as long as we recognize and accept plurality as natural and beneficial, instead of defining our world along hard lines, I believe we'll all get along and be a lot happier, a lot more who and what we can be, a whole lot more stronger as a society. And yes, I'm talking about Singapore.
Vv: Personally, why is this important to you?
YB: Because this is a legislative blight on an otherwise equal society. I am so damn proud of the equality we claim as ours here. I can't believe or accept that so many of the most wonderful people I know are technically criminals, and if the rule of law were enforced, would be stripped of their societal rights. That's like saying women are equal but not giving them a vote. It doesn't make sense.
Vv: What do you think society’s views on homosexuality are at the moment?
YB: Each different segment of society has a differing view, and within that they are mixed too. I think just as the ambassadors are a mix, views are also mixed. Certainly there is more acceptance than before, but the fact is, male to male sex remains illegal, and deliberately so. That's no accident, and reflects somebody's view. They say laws are a reflection of society, but in Singapore, we as a society get told what we are supposed to think too often.
Vv: Let’s address some of the criticisms that Pink Dot, and I suppose, gay rights movements all over the world, have faced. Firstly, the notion that “gay rights” is something that is distinctly Western and has no place in an Asian society. I sincerely doubt that rights activists in Myanmar, China or other Asian countries think that. As for the subject of values, again we are told constantly what Asian values are. That's rubbish.
Asians were doing all sorts of things as early as or earlier than the West, in terms of sex, without the societal restrictions that Judaeo-Christianity brought.
Vv: Also, there are many who would say that activities such as Pink Dot create an unnecessary sort of visibility – that if the push is for true equality sexuality should be a non-issue. Do you think this is true?
YB: If you asked me this 20 years ago when I have not seen all I have seen, I might have said yes. I do look forward and long for the day when it becomes a non-issue. But that day is not here yet. That day is not today. And till that day comes, we are gonna have to do whatever we can to bring it closer.
Vv: What are some of the challenges that you think the community itself faces in pushing for love and acceptance?
YB: The danger was in the 80s or 90s to react like any group of persecuted people would; demonize or sneer at the oppressors. The pendulum swing or backlash. But the community has grown a lot since then, and so have some elements of society at large. Today I think the danger is very different. This is a generation that didn't see what happened before, who assumes their civil liberties won't be taken away from them. But section 377A is still there for a reason. The stick may be in the cupboard out of sight but it's still there. We are in danger of thinking we are home free already. We aren't. And we should and must continue to embrace, but know the world we live in.
Vv: And how do you think we can make people care?
Care. And indeed it is that simple - acceptance starts from caring. Be sure to be at Hong Lim Park on the 30th of June to catch Lim Yu Beng and the rest of the ambassadors, Sharon Au and Kumar - together, let’s show our support for a society free from discrimination and prejudice.
[discuss this] or leave a comment below.
This year, organisers have planned something extra special – Pink Dot 2012 will take place at sunset, for the first time in its history culminating in the formation of a pink dot of shimmering torches, light sticks and glowing mobile phones, in the first hours of darkness. “Having a Pink Dot formed at night makes for a dramatic message of inclusivity and acceptance – a celebration of unity in diversity that emphasises our shared belief in the Freedom to Love,” said Pink Dot spokesperson Paerin Choa.
Pink Dot 2012 is also proud to announce its Ambassadors, personalities who need no further introduction – actor-comedian-diva extraordinaire Kumar, former actress and City Beat host Sharon Au,and multi-talented actor Lim Yu-Beng, in a special announcement video that will be unveiled tonight.
The inaugural Pink Dot event in 2009, saw 2,500 people in attendance. In 2010, this figure nearly doubled to 4,000, while Pink Dot 2011 saw its largest turnout yet – more than 10,000 people thronged Hong Lim Park in a strong show of support.
So please, SAVE THE DATE:
WHAT: PINK DOT 2012
WHERE: Hong Lim Park
WHEN: Saturday, June 30, 2012
WHAT TO BRING: Pink lights!
WHAT TO WEAR: Of course, PINK!
TIMINGS: Activities commence 5.30pm, Concert begins at 6.30pm, Dot is formed at 7.30pm, or when it is sufficiently dark
*Please note: According to the park's terms and conditions, only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents may participate at the events held at Hong Lim Park. However, foreigners are most welcome to watch and observe.
For more information, be sure to check out Pink Dot
So save the date: 30th of June – come along and light up a pink dot for love and acceptance!
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