I went to the inaugural Pink Dot in 2009. I even bought my first pink shirt just for it. But to be honest, I found it rather boring.
Late-afternoon notwithstanding, it was still hot and humid. There was no food or drink. There were too many people (I know, what was I expecting, the usual Hong Lim crowd of a 100?). Pam Oei, Neo Swee Lin, Lim Kay Siu and other artists provided entertainment, but the acoustics and the set-up made it hard to get into it. At the end when the organisers sheparded the 2,500 give or take people into the shape of a giant pink heart for the photo taken from somewhere up the Furama Hotel across the road, it was very sweet and also orderly in our Singapore way, but it still look a long time. I had doubts about its very (intentionally) depoliticised message. Except for a few whiners like me, most people though seemed to have fun that day.
I didn’t go to next eight Pink Dots.
Pink Dot is a wonderful idea though. It is uniquely Singaporean. The growing attendance each year is a simple statistic that sums up Pink Dot’s success. It shows the power of one, of at last count 26,000 ones.
But the Government, with the urging, aid and support of the intolerant religious conservatives, has made it increasingly difficult for the organisers. Yet, the brilliant Pink Dot leaders have always overcome the rising restrictions on them. This year they surmounted what I thought was an impossible obstacle: getting local sponsors.
Sometimes clicking “Like” on Facebook is not enough. Sometimes you have to show face, because by doing so you show a digit at hate and repression. Sometimes you have to do what is not all that fun.
Time to take out that shirt from the closet again. It will be such a chore, but I will be there tomorrow at Pink Dot.