An Open Letter To Those Bent On Destroying Pink Dot

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Handwriting letter with pen

Dear you,

You don’t like Pink Dot. We understand that. Nobody expects you to like something against your will. So don’t come. But you do. And you come not merely to observe, but with the intention to cause trouble.

You bring your friends. You sing hymns at the perimeter of Hong Lim Park one day before Pink Dot. You pray that on the day itself bad weather will strike the event. But in its eighth year there is still no bad weather. Does this cause you to have a crisis of faith and question the power of your prayer? Of course not. Perhaps you haven’t prayed hard enough. Or prayer alone isn’t sufficient, you need to take worldly action.


Pink Dot 2016

So you come down to Pink Dot. You have your camera ready. You take snaps of every single thing which you think amounts to a violation of the rules. One of you sees my friend in drag. He thinks that you might want to pose with him, but all you do is take a shot of him and you move on. You are patrolling. You are amassing evidence. You with your self-righteous rage. Later on you will write police reports with these photos that are supposed proof of ‘obscenity’. Or ‘public nuisance’. Or ‘foreigner participation’.

I know one of you took a photo of an overflowing rubbish bin and lodged a complaint about it. Another one of you helpfully pointed out to the police last year which foreigners were forming the dot, and they were later taken away for questioning. I know what you’ve been doing, and now I’d like everyone else to know too.

Because of the police reports that you keep on filing, the police are again present at the event this year. But they are in plainclothes, which is puzzling. If they are in uniform, then they could have been approached in case anyone had some doubts about what was permissible at the event. And they could have approached those who they think were committing violations.

But they don’t wear their uniforms, they observe and take notes, almost as if they are part of a sting operation. But it’s about optics, isn’t it? Imagine a park filled with pink and fenced with a perimeter of blue. The world will see what Section 377A actually looks like.

I sometimes wonder what has moved you to act like this—to take on the personality of the snoop, the snitch, the censor, the creep. What accounts for your fixation with Pink Dot, an event that’s only held once a year, but which you are so desperate to shut down? I think it’s because you feel the need to recover some kind of moral authority which is fast eroding.

Kong Hee

You see, there’s a stain that’s been spreading among you. People gossip about the pastor who has a grandchild born out of wedlock. Another gyrates provocatively in kitschy music videos. Another is facing a jail term for misusing church funds. It has become increasingly difficult to claim that you are a moral force for good.

Secularism has reasserted itself, in the form of hospitals having signs warning against predatory deathbed conversions and the NAC introducing clauses saying it will not fund works which ‘promote a religious cause’ or by organisations ‘constituted for non-secular purposes’. People don’t trust you anymore, not after your botched AWARE takeover and your ‘Honour Singapore’ and ‘LoveSingapore’ masquerades. It has become harder for you to gain influence in the public sphere.

It must be frightening for you to see the people at Pink Dot. A mother who’s standing proudly beside her gay son. Straight allies with their toddlers in tow. Lesbian parents with theirs. A recently departed 23-year-old boy in magnificent drag, who creates fantastic androgynous personas to deal with the fact that he’s in stage four of colon cancer. It is frightening because you are being shown expressions of love and family which you never knew existed and which are therefore illegitimate.

Whenever I read one of your stupid petitions or letters, I keep seeing the argument that ‘LGBT people are free to do what they like and the law is not enforced’. I wonder if you can keep sticking to this line, given your record of continually harassing Pink Dot and trying to enlist the police to intimidate those who support it.

But I really won’t be surprised if you are unable to notice this kind of inconsistency. And in fact I think it is one of your distinguishing characteristics, which to be honest with you is not a characteristic of the truly religious. LGBT’s are immoral. But it must be deeply moral to take photos of others without permission, to spy and rat on them, to walk around in a sea of pink with hearts poisoned with spite.

Alfian Sa'at

This note was originally written one year ago but still remains relevant today given the current political climate.

Republished with permission by Alfian Sa’at – Acclaimed Singaporean writer, poet and playwright.

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1 comments on “An Open Letter To Those Bent On Destroying Pink Dot”

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