Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pink dot virgin no more (part 1)

Pink Dot started in Singapore after I left the country for good and since then I've always not been able to attend this major annual event in the Asian gay calendar due to work and poor timing. With the end of my stint in Papua New Guinea, the stars were aligned and I finally had the chance to go. I was hoping for a night event like the previous few years but I heard from the organisers that it was easier to enforce the no-foreigner rule in the day. You see, foreigners are not allowed to protest whilst locals can only do so in a specific location (Hong Lim Park in Chinatown). People who are against the Pink Dot movement often make lots of trouble for the organisers by pointing out breaches to this rule to the police and so the only way to solve this problem is to hold the event when there's daylight. Despite this Pink Dot has been held successfully annually since 2009 and in the next two posts (second post is here), I shall share with you how much fun I had during this year's event.

There's always a symbolic gesture for Pink Dot participants that not only represents the conscious protest they're partaking in, it also creates the pink dot formation that's an awesome sight to behold from up high. This year we had to write messages on placards and I went with an extremely optimistic one. Although I know the legalisation of gay marriage will never happen in Singapore during my lifetime, I still wish my Singaporean friends could have this basic human right which my husband and I enjoy (albeit under British and not Australian law). The positive message must of course be conveyed by a positive image and so I had to go topless which was also perfect for the hot and humid weather. Any excuse to show my hard-earned muscles right?

The dress code for the event is anything pink and so I searched high and low for the smallest pair of hot pink shorts I could find. These mini wings and the feather boa I used as an accent (seen in the previous picture) were all from the Chingay parade I marched in topless back in 2010 (as documented in this post). That Chingay effort was billed as the first gay "contingent" to ever marched in the event (even though there were only two of us). Do you think I wore my pink ensemble well?

So many people came to take pictures with me that day and I joked on Facebook that I should have charged a little something for every snap and I'd be rich. Although it's a gay event, I was the only completely topless guy there. This not only proves that Singapore is indeed a conservative country, it tells me that the reasons why I left Singapore back in 2008 are all still valid. Perhaps there were just no one with my body who was as daring to show off like me. That second line of reasoning works well with me too. Hehe.

People from all walks of life attend Pink Dot and the 2016 event was no different. In this fight for equality what we need are straight and religious allies to show that sexuality and religion are no justification for bigotry and ignorance.

This is me with one of the Pink Dot organisers and my dear friend (who marched with me in that Chingay parade). I never fail to catch up with him whenever I go back home. That being said, maybe Pink Dot wasn't the best place to catch up as he was kept very busy on that day. Fortunately we already had a good long chat days before in another meeting.

Here is another friend (on my left) whom I haven't met for a number of years now. He was originally from Melbourne as well and now lives in Singapore with his partner (beside him in the picture). If you think I look especially lean here that's because I am. I always get more shredded when I'm back in Singapore because of how much walking I do and the how much I perspire in the tropical weather (which makes water-retention close to impossible).

Apart from meeting up with old friends, I made some new ones as well and here is one of them. I just love his bright pink hair! He also had make-up on and he told me that was to prepare for the many pictures that would be taken of him on that day.

The biggest progress for Pink Dot this year was the big increase in the number of corporate sponsors from 10 to 18 with Bloomberg was one of them. Naturally the conservative anti-gay camp voiced their concern purporting that foreign entities should not be interfering in domestic affairs. The government who always panders to these naysayers gave a predictably knee-jerk response to appease them by saying that these companies are not allowed to sponsor Pink Dot next year. This problem will not go away as long as these pesky and vocal religious nuts who are in the minority give us a break to actually get to know their own religion better and get that vile hate out of their system.

If you want to see more of me topless at Pink Dot, stay tuned for my next post in a week's time!

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