On Pink Dot and confrontations

A pink dress, with white polkadots, hangs in my cupboard at home. I bought it over a month ago, and even got it slightly altered to fit me better. I bought it before the run-up to Pink Dot exploded into a culture war of pink and white and red, and people who would never actually be personally affected by other people’s freedom to love decided that it was an affront to them and their religion for other human beings to strive for equal rights.

The dress is hanging in my cupboard at home while my friends are no doubt already gathered (or gathering – my friends aren’t always known for punctuality) in a sea of pink at Hong Lim Park because I am, once again, missing Pink Dot.

Since 2010 – which is when I first heard of and wanted to attend Pink Dot – I have only succeeded in being there once, in 2011. It was wonderful, friends, lovers and multi-generational families packed into the little park in the middle of the city. I’ve wanted to join in on another Pink Dot, but never quite made it because I always ended up, somehow or other, out of Singapore. This year is no different: despite all the anticipation and planning I am sitting here in Scotland, having had to catch a last-minute flight out to be with family.

Pink Dot is by no means a perfect event or movement. There is plenty that needs to be said about diversity and differences in experiences – straight or queer – in Singapore and around the world. But I still believe that Pink Dot is worth supporting, and it’s a belief that has been further reinforced by the outpouring of hatred and fear-mongering that has come from religious conservatives like Lawrence Khong and Ustaz Noor Deros.

It’s not a huge surprise. We’ve known for ages that Khong spends more time obsessing over gay sex than even gay people do. His anger, vomited all over obliging newspaper opinion pages, is fast getting repetitive and boring, especially to those who have never subscribed to as narrow an understanding of family as he.

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Seksualiti Merdeka – Who’s hurting who?

I’ve recently been following the ban of Seksualiti Merdeka, an annual LGBTIQ festival held in Malaysia since 2008. It’s been fascinating, not the least for the stunning display of hysteria and paranoia. And I thought Singapore was bad.

The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that it would “affect the stability of the nation”. Former Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia doesn’t need “this sexuality thing”, what would happen if people decided to start going butt naked on the streets? A Malay education group has even started demanding that Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan’s Malaysian citizenship should be revoked* because of her support for the festival. They said that she should not longer be called a human, because she has gone against “human norms”.

WOW. Really?

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