Monday, 30 June 2014

'Wear White' 2014

OVER 6000 SHOW UP IN WHITE AT FCBC "FAMILY” THEMED CHURCH SERVICE

A special service celebrating Family was held today at Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) at Suntec City Convention Centre as an opposition against the pro-LGBT Pink Dot Event which happened at Hong Lim Park yesterday.


The FCBC church service attracted about 6000 worshipers all wearing white as Pastor Lawrence Khong has earlier thrown his support behind the WearWhite campaign started by some Muslim teachers in Singapore against the Pink Dot event.

Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong delivered a special sermon this morning at the session and spoke mainly about family and the responsibility of parents to be good role models for their children.

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Muslim group launches WearWhite campaign against homosexuality

Even as thousands of LGBT people, friends, family and supporters gathered at Hong Lim Park on Saturday for the annual Pink Dot event, the campaign by some Muslims against homosexuality was launched – in a little less ostentatious manner.


The WearWhite movement, a social media initiative inviting Muslims to return to their “natural disposition” (fitrah) and the Sunnah (way) of the Prophet Muhammad, was launched on 28 June 2014 in a less ostentatious manner than Pink Dot which saw a reported 26,000 people turn up at Speakers’ Corner.

The WearWhite campaign, organised by some Muslim teachers, was born from “observations of the growing normalization of LGBT in Singapore”, the campaign’s Facebook page says. “The movement encourages a return to the values as guided by Islam,” the group explains. “These values include prioritizing the family and marriage, responsibility and justice and fair dealings.”


Thousands of Singaporean Christians wear white to protest Pink Dot gay rally

Over 6,400 Christians dressed in white on Sunday afternoon to attend a special “family worship” service conducted by Singapore’s Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC), according to organisers.

The service was held at a full-house Suntec Convention Centre and led by FCBC founder and pastor Lawrence Khong, who earlier called on his followers to wear white over the weekend to protest the annual Pink Dot gay rights rally on Saturday.

Khong, who supports keeping a Singapore law that criminalises sex between men, released a statement on Friday pointing to the Pink Dot movement as a “decline of moral and family values".


Church service celebrating family draws 6,000 worshippers
A Faith Community Baptist Church service celebrating family drew about 6,000 worshippers, mostly wearing white, on June 29, 2014. Photo: Alvin Chong

About 6,000 worshippers from Faith Community Baptist Church, decked out in white, packed the halls of Suntec City Convention Centre this evening (June 29) for a special service celebrating family.

The church’s Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong delivered a sermon for over an hour, addressing the issue of family and calling on parents to be role models for their children.

Referring to the ongoing debate over homosexuality, Mr Khong said that he was not pushing a religious agenda but taking a stand on a social and moral issue.

related:

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Thousands wear white at church service to defend family values

Thousands of worshippers donned white on Sunday (June 29) to attend a Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) service at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, during which the church’s senior pastor Lawrence Khong urged them to “preserve purity in the home”.

This came a day after the annual pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pink Dot event drew 26,000 people.

In the lead-up to Pink Dot, a chorus of voices had objected to the event, including a campaign by an Islamic religious teacher who urged Muslims to wear white on Saturday in protest against homosexuality and to defend traditional family values.

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Wear White + Red Dot = Pink Dot


– Akikonomu : Never again, PinkDot

– Yahoo!: Thousands of Spore Christians wear white to protest Pink Dot gay rally
– TOC: 26,000 crowd celebrate the freedom to love at Pink Dot 2014
– Mr. Miyagi: Pink Dot 2014
– Abdillah Zamzuri: Wear Pink with White Polka Dots
– Ravi Philemon: Why I chose to wear pink yesterday
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Pink Dot vs Wear White – a UK perspective
– Lime Sorbet: Pink Dot 2014!
– Paper Madeof Trust: #PinkDot2014
– Fuzzielemon: Happy Pink Dot Day Singapore!
– Popagandhi: The Freedom to Love
– #spuddings: On Pink Dot and confrontations
– An Exercise In Trivial Pursuit: Pink Dot 2014 - I too support the freedom to love
– Expat Bostonians: Pink Dot 2014
– Películarities: On Attending Pink Dot
– Think For Me, Singapore: Embarrassing? What do you think?
– The Rambler: On Gambling and Gays
– Anglo-Sinkie scribbles: Unlike lgbt activist, christians and muslims do not harass
– Blogging for Myself: LGBT: Loving the sinner, hate the sin
– I on Singapore: Impressions of Government Bias in Culture Wars
– Musings of a Citi Sketch: Pink Dot 2014: For Family, For Friends, For Love
– New Nation: Wear White organiser realises white is made out of gay colours

read more

related:
Singapore Court Ruling for Gay Rights
FAQs on Sexuality, LGBTs and Section 377A
Section 377A and the LGBTs
'Wear White' 2014
Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2014
‘Wear White’ vs ‘Pink Dot’
Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2013

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Ramaḍān رمضان‎ 2014


Ramadan fast to start Sunday
The Hari Raya Light Up 2014. Photo: Christie Yeo

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) said today (June 27) that the first day of fasting for Ramadan will begin on Sunday (June 29).

In a statement, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram, the Mufti of Singapore, said: “According to astronomical calculations, the crescent for the month of Ramadan this evening did not meet the criteria agreed upon by member countries of MABIMS (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore).”

As such, the last day of the Islamic calendar month of Syaaban would be on Saturday, and the first fasting day for the month of Ramadan is on Sunday, he said.


In celebration of Ramadan
Hari Raya Puasa, and the month of Ramadan that precedes this day of rejoicing, is deeply rooted in tradition and religion. From 27 June 2014, the Geylang Serai area will be decked in bright, colourful lights to mark the iconic month-long annual light up in celebration of Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa.

This year, the Hari Raya Light Up 2014 committee - made up of representatives from cultural and religious organisations, grassroots and community leaders as well as stakeholders from Geylang Serai and Kembangan-Chai Chee area - aims to deepen the understanding of the significance of Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa and provide an enriching experience of the rich tapestry of Malay culture and traditions, to inculcate awareness in Singaporeans and tourists alike.

At a media conference held earlier today, the committee shared upcoming event details to engage members of the public on a learning journey towards four themes which encapsulate the significance of Hari Raya - 1) The Dynamic Spirit of Gotong Royong (A Malay expression to describe cohesiveness towards the betterment of a community) 2) The Rich History of Geylang Serai 3) A Vibrant Culture and Community 4) The Religious Significance of the Hari Raya Celebrations.

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Ramadan in Singapore
Sultan Mosque is the focal point of Arab Street

Around 15 percent of Singapore’s citizens are Muslims, meaning the city-state, along with much of Southeast Asia, celebrates the month of Ramadan.

Singapore’s Arab street and Kampong Glam area, historically the Muslim quarter of Singapore, is bustling with activity during Ramadan. A visit to Arab Street ideally starts at Sultan Mosque, built in 1824 and considered the national mosque; visiting hours typically end at 16:00.

During Ramadan, the mosque hosts Iftar, the breaking of the day’s fast at sunset, and Terawih, special Ramadan nightly prayers, along with other mosques and allocated prayer areas across the island.


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Ramadan Celebrations With Education

The organizing committee of this year’s Ramadan celebrations in Singapore is making sure that the youth who lack adequate knowledge of Islam, gain some knowledge this year. According to their plans they will educate the youth thru an interactive Web portal, social media pages, a video competition and a WhatsApp service that will allow the youngsters to get free Quran teaching services and daily tasks from administrators. The committee has also enlisted the help of interest groups and members from the Private Islamic Educators Network to help spread this awareness. A new Ramadan Frequently Asked Questions guidebook was also produced.

According to Channel News Asia there will be the usual Islamic education classes for the young, prayer workshops, Quran literacy programmes, as well as outreach efforts targeting homes in areas such as Telok Blangah and Bukit Merah. Mr Khalid Shukur Bakri, chairman of the celebrations, said mosque leaders’ research has shown there is a need for them to do more to educate the Malay-Muslim community, especially the young crowd, such as those who have not attended religious classes, for instance. Those who do not understand Islam or have inadequate knowledge of it may have a different mindset and might not be “giving the right messages or advice to their friends”.

“They may have a different view ... of Islam so whatever they would say on Facebook, whatever they would point out to their friends, might not be the actual or right thing according to Muslim teaching,” he said.Speaking to reporters after the launch of the celebrations, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, noted that youth today are exposed to many distractions. “It’s the peer-to-peer kind of connection that we want to encourage ... using the platforms that young people are comfortable with,” he said.


Educating Muslim youth about Islam key focus of Ramadan celebrations
An-Nahdhah Mosque

Concerned about the inadequate knowledge of Islam among Muslim youth, the organising committee behind this year’s Ramadan celebrations is making this segment a key focus.

This will involve new media initiatives such as an interactive Web portal, social media pages, a video competition and a WhatsApp service that allows youth to get free Quran teaching services and daily tasks from administrators. The committee has also enlisted the help of interest groups and members from the Private Islamic Educators Network to help spread the message to youth. A new Ramadan Frequently Asked Questions guidebook was also produced.

On top of that, there will be the usual Islamic education classes for the young, prayer workshops, Quran literacy programmes, as well as outreach efforts targeting homes in areas such as Telok Blangah and Bukit Merah.


Reaching out to Muslim youth on social media this Ramadan

New activities for this year's Ramadan were launched by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim on Sunday morning, at the Ahmad Ibrahim Mosque in Sembawang. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

Muslim organisations are using social media platforms this year to reach out to more Muslims, especially Muslim youth, about the significance of Ramadan. Ramadan, a month of prayer and reflection which Muslims commemorate by fasting, starts on June 29.

Muslims will be encouraged to use the hashtag #ramadansg to tag Ramadan-related pictures on Instagram. There will also be video clips and cartoons on the religious significance of Ramadan found on Facebook pages Ramadan.sg and IE4ALL (Islamic Education for all).

Volunteers will also be canvasing the streets to raise awareness on Ramadan by capturing "moments" using a Polaroid camera. These photos will then be uploaded to Instagram or Facebook. Muslims may also sign up to join a Whatsapp group that will help them study the Quran, with group administrators of the chat listening and correcting pronunciations of the Arabic scriptures using the voice note function on the mobile application


S$69,000 donation for mosques ahead of Ramadan
The Singapore Buddhist Lodge and Inter-Religious Organisation Singapore are collaborating to organise a Ramadan charity project for the Muslim community

Singapore Buddhist Lodge made a S$69,000 donation for all 69 mosques in Singapore, accompanied by 20 tonnes of rice for mosques and Muslim organisations.

This came ahead of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, to further promote harmony between the different faiths in Singapore.

For the second year, the Singapore Buddhist Lodge and Inter-Religious Organisation Singapore are collaborating to organise a Ramadan charity project for the Muslim community.

Start of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is considered as a holy month when the Quran was revealed for the first time. All Muslims around the world are obliged to fast from the dawn until sunset for the whole month of Ramadan. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the start of Ramadan is observed as a public holiday.

When is the start of Ramadan 2014? The Start of Ramadan 2014 falls on Saturday, 28 June 2014 in some countries/region and on Sunday, 29 June 2014 in some others. In UAE, the first of Ramadan may fall on Sunday, 29 June 2014.

Please note that the start of Ramadan date is usually an estimate. The start of Ramadan is determined through moon-sighting, and the exact date of the 1st of Ramadan in Gregorian calendar is usually announced one or two days before the date.


Ramadan 2014

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. It lasts either 29 or 30 days based on the sighing of the cresent moon. Muslims have to refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking and sexual relations; and in some interpretations from swearing.
Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];
Persian: ‎ Ramazān, Ramezũn;
Urdu: Ramzān; Turkish: Ramazan)
Ramadan 2014 will start on Saturday, the 28th of June 2014 and will end on Sunday, the 27th of July 2014, it has a duration of 30 days.

Where does the word Ramadan comes from? It comes from the Arabic root ramida or ar-ramad, which means scorching heat or dryness.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2014

Singapore’s Pink Dot pride rally draws record crowd of 26,000
Singapore’s sixth annual Pink Dot festival drew record crowds today, despite prominent protests from religious groups

The organisers of the festival confirmed earlier this week that they would deploy security personnel for the first time, to protect participants from any clashes with opposition groups. Earlier this week, Christian and Muslim groups in Singapore joined forces to protest against the rally, in opposition to the “normalization of LGBT” and “public promotion of homosexuality”.

The highlight of the day-long celebrations is the formation of a circular crowd of people wearing pink, an aerial photograph of which produces the ‘pink dot’ itself to indicate the volume of participants each year.

Despite the strong opposition, the crowd of 26,000 is the largest ever at the event, up from an estimated 21,000 people at last year’s event. It is ten times the number of people who attended the first rally, which was held in 2009.

related:
Singapore: Pink Dot gay rally to deploy security for first time after increased opposition

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Freedom to love: Thousands attend Singapore gay rights rally despite opposition
PINK DOT. Actors dressed up as 'Samsui women' in pink kiss an elderly man during the Pink Dot event at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore. Photo by EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

Thousands of people gathered in Singapore on Saturday, June 28, for an annual gay rights rally celebrating sexual diversity in the city-state, despite fierce opposition from religious conservatives.

Straight and homosexual Singaporeans turned Speakers' Corner, a government designated free-speech park, into a sea of pink – the color chosen by organizers to represent the freedom to love.

Revellers wore everything from neon pink-rimmed spectacles to tube tops and even facial hair dyed in the color while dogs were spotted in pink clothing and leashes for the "Pink Dot" rally.


Singapore gay rally draws thousands amid controversy
Pink Dot organisers said the rally drew around 26,000 participants

An annual gay rally in Singapore has drawn thousands amid an unprecedented backlash from religious groups.

Pink Dot has been held every year since 2009. Attendees wear pink clothing and sit down for a mass picnic that ends with the forming of a pink dot.

But this year it falls on the eve of Ramadan, prompting an Islamic teacher to start a Wear White campaign against homosexuality, which has been supported by a Christian organisation.


Record number attend Pink Dot gay rights rally in Singapore
At Singapore's annual Pink Dot gay rights rally, record numbers of people showed up to bolster the LGBT community. Critics of gays in Singapore spoke out against the rally

The Pink Dot rally drew an estimated 26,000 people in Singapore on Saturday, a new record for attendance of the annual event that has been in place since 2009.

Gay rights activists - wearing all manner of pink attire – gathered for a four-hour rally that featured musical performances and ended with the crowd holding pink lights in the air to form a giant pink dot.

"This is a social movement that is seeking to promote inclusiveness in Singapore," Janice Koh, an ambassador for the rally, told the AFP news agency. "Pink Dot's success goes to show that more Singaporeans are becoming open about showing their support for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community."


Singapore Pink Dot Rally Breaks Record

The Pink Dot Rally this Saturday attracted a record number of 26000 people to attend this year’s event held at the Speakers’ Corner. This number was 5000 more than last year’s Pink Dot Rally’s gathering. The headlines generated in the past week led people such as Mr Andy Seet — who was at Pink Dot with his wife and four-month-old baby — to turn up for the event for the first time. He said he was there to show support for his LGBT friends according to Today Online.

“We should not ostracise people, everybody should have the freedom to love,” he said. Mr Paerin Choa, a spokesman for the event, said: “Even as we remain mindful of opposition from certain quarters, we are confident that this Little Red Dot we call home is large enough for us all to coexist peacefully, respectfully and with dignity.” Over the past days, they have been putting up, on the campaign’s Facebook page, pictures of Muslims and non-Muslims wearing white in support of the movement. Mr Walid Jumblatt, 29, was one of those who turned up in white for prayers at the Ar-Raudhah Mosque in Bukit Batok. He said that there were about 40 other people dressed in white at the evening prayers. At mosques across the island, supporters of the campaign were also seen attending the prayers in white.

Mr Walid, a PhD candidate, said: “Looking at the response ... it has been a tremendously successful campaign. The amount of awareness that it has created with regards to the issue of homosexuality in Islam, I think it’s quite unprecedented within the Singapore Muslim community.”


Singapore gay community rallies against religious conservatives

Thousands of gay rights activists gathered in downtown Singapore on Saturday for an annual rally that came under unprecedented criticism from religious conservatives, with one influential Christian pastor calling on the government to ban the event.

Previous Pink Dot rallies have been held without much opposition. But as they grew in numbers from less than 3,000 people when the first event was held in 2009 to more than 20,000 last year, so did their disapproval. Organizers said a record 26,000 people showed up Saturday.

On paper, gay sex remains a criminal offence in the wealthy, multi-cultural city-state of 5.4 million, although authorities rarely enforce the British colonial-era legislation, known as Section 377A.


Refusing To Be Silenced, Thousands Come Out For Singapore's 'Pink Dot' LGBT Rights Rally

In the days leading up to the sixth annual Pink Dot rally in Singapore, a firestorm of controversy erupted in the island nation as some religious leaders and groups condemned the event, with one influential Christian pastor even calling for the government to ban the gathering. But this weekend, not only did gay rights supporters attend the event, they did so in record numbers.

According to the organizers of Pink Dot, a yearly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights rally that champions the #FreedomToLove, a record 26,000 people showed up at Singapore's Hong Lim Park Saturday to attend the event.

Local newspaper the Straits Times reported that the rally went "smoothly," despite fears that anti-LGBT protesters might try to disrupt the occasion. Leading up to this year's Pink Dot rally, some Christian and Muslim groups had spoken out in condemnation of the event.


Estimated 26,000 people attend Singapore Pink Dot 2014

At this year's Pink Dot rally, speakers took to the stage to share their experiences and discuss LGBT issues. Human rights lawyer M Ravi, Singapore artist Samantha Lo, prominent blogger Benjamin Lee are some of those who took to the stage. Organizers estimated that a record number of 26,000 people attended this year's event. Security personnel were deployed at the event for the first time, to help with crowd control and manage any unruly behaviour.

In the weeks leading up to the event, Pink Dot SG faced increased public opposition as compared to previous years, with many groups stepping out to oppose the event. Community groups such as Action for AIDS, Maruah and the Humanist Society, were also present at the event, with booths set up at the Pink Dot Community tent. The inaugural event in 2009 attracted 2,100 participants but the turnout has significantly increased to over 20,000 participants in 2013. Pink Dot, which has been held every year since 2009, supports and celebrates the freedom to love for all people. The event also shows support for the LGBT (Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community in Singapore. The term "Pink Dot" is a play on Singapore's nickname, "The Little Red Dot".

Participants dressed in pink read about issues of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) community at a question-and-answer area where participants are free to write their questions and answers, before taking part in the forming of a giant pink dot at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore June 28, 2014. The annual Pink Dot Sg event promotes an acceptance of the LBGT community in Singapore, according to organisers.


Record attendance at Singapore gay rights rally

Thousands of people have gathered at a rally in Singapore in support of gay rights. An estimated 26,000 people attended the rally - one of the largest crowds ever recorded in the country for a civil society gathering.

The "Pink Dot" rally is an annual event held since 2009, which aims to discourage discrimination against same-sex couples.

Sex between men is illegal in Singapore and punishable by up to two years in prison.


Record Turnout for Singapore Gay Rally Amid Religious Protests

One of the largest crowds ever recorded in Singapore for a civil society gathering turned out on Saturday at a gay rights rally, against a backdrop of noisy opposition from religious groups in the run-up to the event.

An estimated 26,000 people descended on Hong Lim Park for the "Pink Dot", an annual event since 2009 that aims to discourage discrimination against same-sex couples.

Sex between two men is illegal in Singapore and punishable with up to two years in prison, though it is rarely enforced. The law, based on English texts from the island's colonial period, makes no mention of lesbians.


Singapore's Pink Dot gay rights rally draws thousands amid 'unprecedented' discrimination
Participants dressed in various shades of pink at the Pink Dot event, held at Hong Lim Park

Despite opposition from some religious conservatives, thousands of people turned up at Hong Lim Park on Saturday for the annual Pink Dot event supporting Singapore’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Organisers estimated that around 21,000 people, the same number as last year's, came for this year's event despite what they called “overwhelming” negativity towards the gathering, which celebrates the “freedom to love”.

Earlier this month, a Muslim teacher launched a “Wear White” campaign on Facebook to remind Muslims not to participate in the event. The campaign also drew support from conservative Christians led by Faith Community Baptish Church senior pastor Lawrence Khong, who staunchly opposes the repeal of Section 377A which criminalizes sex between men.

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Thousands in Singapore gay rights rally despite opposition


Thousands of people gathered in Singapore on Saturday for an annual gay rights rally celebrating sexual diversity in the city-state, despite fierce opposition from religious conservatives.

Straight and homosexual Singaporeans turned Speakers' Corner, a government designated free-speech park, into a sea of pink -- the colour chosen by organisers to represent the freedom to love.

Revellers wore everything from neon pink-rimmed spectacles to tube tops and even facial hair dyed in the colour while dogs were spotted in pink clothing and leashes for the "Pink Dot" rally.

read more

Rare Alliance Forms in Singapore to Challenge Gay-Rights Rally

Two women cheer at a rally called “Pink Dot” in support of gay rights in Singapore on June 29, 2013. Associated Press

The rising popularity of an annual rally promoting gay rights in Singapore has spurred a rare alliance between some Christians and Muslims here seeking to create a counter movement.

Organizers expect Saturday’s Pink Dot rally to draw tens of thousands dressed in pink to celebrate the “freedom to love” regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Their opponents, meanwhile, are asking supporters to wear white on the same day, to symbolize their notions of purity and family values.


Singapore gays rally to counter opposition

Thousands of gay rights activists gathered in downtown Singapore on Saturday for a rally that this year drew unprecedented criticism from religious conservatives, with one influential Christian pastor calling on the government to ban the event

Previous Pink Dot marches have been held without much opposition. But as they grew in numbers from less than 3,000 people when the first march was held in 2009 to more than 20,000 last year, so did their disapproval.

On paper, gay sex remains a criminal offence in the wealthy, multi-cultural city-state of 5.4 million, although authorities rarely enforce the British colonial-era legislation, known as Section 377A.


Thousands in Singapore gay rights rally despite opposition

Organisers said they expected the final turnout to top last year's record of 20,000, making it one of tightly-controlled Singapore's biggest public rallies in recent times.

The name of the event is a play on Singapore's nickname -- "The Little Red Dot" on the world map

Rally spokesman Paerin Choa stressed it was not a protest but aimed to "promote inclusiveness and diversity and to make LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Singaporeans feel that this is a place we can all call home".


Realtime Coverage:
Business Standard: Thousands in Singapore gay rights rally despite opposition
Radio Australia: Record attendance at Singapore gay rights rally
seattlepi.com: Singapore gays rally to counter opposition
The Guardian Nigeria: Singapore gay rights rally to kick off despite opposition
NDTV: Showdown in Singapore Over Gay-Rights Rally
Wall Street Journal: Rare Alliance Forms in Spore to Challenge Gay-Rights Rally
TODAYonline: Govt leaders must draw 'clear line' on LGBT issue: pastor
malaysiandigest: Police Reminds Pink Dot Gathering To 'Keep The Peace'
inSing.com News: Showdown in Singapore over gay-rights rally
Huffington Post: Refusing To Be Silenced, Thousands Come Out For 'Pink Dot'
Rapple: Freedom to love: Thousands
SCMP: Religious groups oppose 'Pink Dot' gay rights rally in Singapore
GlobalPost: Record turnout for Singapore gay rally amid religious protests
Toronto Star: Singapore gay-rights rally grows and so does opposition
The Borneo Post: Singapore gay rights rally to kick off despite opposition
BBC News: Singapore gay rally draws thousands amid controversy
Independent Online: Thousands in Singapore gay rights rally
Yahoo: On 28th June, We Wear Pink
The Star Online: Showdown looms over annual gay rights rally
TODAYonline: Pink Dot goes on without a hitch
Gay Star News: Spore Pink Dot LGBT rally draws record numbers despite religious
Deutsche Welle: Record number attend Pink Dot gay rights rally in Singapore
EDGEOnTheNet: Singaporean Gays Rally to Counter Opposition
Globalnews.ca: Singapore gay community rallies against religious conservatives
TODAYonline: Be more tolerant, regardless of gender, sexuality
The Independent Singapore: Pink Dot and Muslims


On 28th June, We Wear Pink.
“When we come together, it’s powerful.”

Compared to previous years, the sense you get when you watch the Pink Dot 2014 campaign video is more celebratory than sombre. We do have much to be proud of - the LGBT community in Singapore has come a long way.

The optimism in the video isn’t long-lived. Any LGBT campaign video will show you how dangerous stigmatization and intolerance can be. We’ve outdone ourselves by leaps and bounds, but less can be said about the micro-aggressions that members of the LGBT community still continue to face everyday.

Whether it is sniggering at the transsexual dining at the table across from you, avoiding the seat next to the sissy on the bus, or curiously gawking at that gay couple holding hands in the supermarket, homo- and transsexual people have to deal with so much more than just their own sexuality.


Police advisory reminds Pink Dot attendees to ‘keep the peace’
About 4,000 people attended the second Pink Dot event in 2010 and attendance has been growing, with about 21,000 participants at last year’s event. TODAY FILE PHOTO

The police yesterday reminded those attending tomorrow’s Pink Dot gathering to “keep the peace” and reiterated that the organisers are responsible for ensuring the activities do not contravene regulations governing the use of the Speakers’ Corner.

The advisory was issued in response to media queries and came after it was reported that the organisers will be deploying security personnel for the first time to help with crowd control and manage any unruly behaviour, in light of public opposition from some groups in recent weeks.

The police reiterated that the Speakers’ Corner is a designated outdoor area for Singapore citizens to use for any assembly or public speech without the need for a police permit, as long as the topics do not relate to race or religion.


Pink Dot organisers to deploy security personnel
Move in light of opposition from some groups that has surfaced in lead-up to Saturday’s event

Organisers of the annual Pink Dot gathering this Saturday to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community will be deploying security personnel at the Speakers’ Corner for the first time, in light of the public opposition from some groups that has surfaced in the lead-up to the event, which is into its sixth year.

In an interview with TODAY, Pink Dot spokesperson Paerin Choa said yesterday that the security arrangements were put in place for crowd control and to manage any unruly behaviour given recent developments. He said: “If (those who oppose the event) do come down, we will welcome them with open arms. We’re aware that they might come down and have a crisis management plan in place ... We’ve also engaged security personnel, but more because of potential crowd issues.”

Earlier this month, an Islamic religious teacher, Mr Noor Deros, started a Wear White campaign calling on Muslims to wear white this Saturday to protest against homosexuality. Since then, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the Catholic Church have put forward their views on the LGBT issue, with the National Council of Churches of Singapore the latest to chime in yesterday.


related: Pink Dot rally organisers welcome police advisory


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PINK DOT 2014

What should Singaporeans think about the Pink Dot movement? Support for this movement is growing year by year and one supposes the organisers would be betting on an even larger turn-out this June 28 than last year’s 21,000.

For an annual event which gathers like-minded Singaporeans to pat themselves on the back, there is no contention.

But if one of the hidden agendas of Pink Dot is to one day re-define civil marriage in this country, the organisers and their poncey supporters have insurmountable odds weighed against them. It is a dream which the majority of passive heterosexual Singaporeans are not willing to grant them. Myself included.

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Controversy ahead of LGBT rights event in Singapore

A wave of controversy has been seen in Singapore ahead of an upcoming rights movement in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

The police issued an advisory on Thursday for the annual Pink Dot gathering, which is set to take place at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in downtown Singapore. It said that event organizers are responsible for ensuring that the activities do not contravene the regulations governing the use of Speakers' Corner or the law and reminded those attending the event to "keep the peace."

"Police has issued a reminder that the Speakers' Corner is a designated outdoor area for Singapore citizens to use for any assembly or public speech without the need for a police permit, so long as the topics do not relate to race or religion," it said.

read more

Showdown in Singapore Over Gay-Rights Rally
The term "Pink Dot" is a play on Singapore's nickname - "The Little Red Dot" on the world map

A showdown between Singapore's religious conservatives and a growing gay-rights movement is shaping up ahead of a weekend rally celebrating sexual diversity in the city-state.

The annual Pink Dot gathering will be held on Saturday at a downtown park - the only place where demonstrations are permitted - with organisers aiming to top last year's record turnout of more than 20,000 people.

The carnival-like rally draws a diverse array of straight and gay participants decked out in bright pink attire including hats and even facial hair dyed in the colour organisers picked to represent the freedom to love.

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Pink Dot rally organisers open to ‘constructive discussion’
Pink Dot 2013. TODAY file photo

The organisers behind the annual Pink Dot gathering have responded to the wave of controversy that has erupted in the wake of an online campaign launched by an Islamic religious teacher against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Pink Dot organising committee said they were saddened that “certain quarters have reacted negatively to our efforts at creating a more loving and embracing society”.

“We call on all parties to exercise restraint and engage each other in dialogue...Pink Dot also welcomes the opportunity to meet with any and all parties who wish to engage with us in thoughtful and constructive discussion,” the spokesperson said.

related:
National council of churches issues statement on Pink Dot controversy
Church must work with like-minded groups to oppose Pink Dot: Pastor

Archbishop reassures Catholics on Church’s stand on marriage, family values

read more

Red, white, pink – a contest of space

The furore that erupted recently over the Pink Dot event organised by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the opposition it faced by certain religious groups have sideline a decent conversation, not about acceptance and dialogue, but about fair contest.

It might sound odd to you, to speak of contest when we should really be trying to achieve harmony. But I feel it is an important consideration, because without it, we will never understand the concerns that underpin the diverse groups involved in this issue. This lack of understanding also renders any conversation meaningless, because the terms of the conversation will always be at odds with each group, leading to adversarial positions that are based on absolute terms.

Physical space - At the very base of the argument, the LGBT issue is about physical space. This is most visible in the Pink Dot event at Hong Lim Park, where the LGBT community and its supporters make a very visible mark in Singapore.

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LGBTs in Singapore

"Church must work with like-minded groups to oppose Pink Dot: Pastor Kong of the Faith Community Baptist Church - TODAY 24 June 2014

Various faith groups, such as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the Catholic Church, have expressed their positions on the LGBT movement in recent days.

Weighing in on the issue, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Mr Yaacob Ibrahim, had said those who want to express support for a cause or lifestyle choice should express it in a way that does not divide the community. He added that differences in society had always existed, but Singaporeans must not forget “to keep the social fabric as tight as possible”."

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Forestalling a war of Pink and White

Lawrence Khong has taken another step into the face of the LGBTQ community to ask churches to ally with muslims and wear white in opposition to something called the “gay lifestyle”, a nebulous term for the support and normalisation of LGBTQ rights in our society. I’m not sure if, had this been several hundred years ago, Pastor Khong would have picked homosexual allies to go sack the Muslim-held cities of the holy lands. It seems a queer choice of bedfellows (pardon my pun).

As a conservative Christian, I hold to the belief that God has clearly revealed that homosexuality is not His design and, along with the sins that I and the rest of mankind commit, attracts the penalty of death. We are all condemned.

But this earthly home, Singapore, consists of more than the Church. We are a diverse society, put here, together, now, by God for His glory. Should anyone insist that God approves of homosexuality, they will be commenting within the Christian context and sphere, and on that basis I will refute the argument as robustly as I am able.

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LGBT movement poses challenge for Singapore
Once a year a small park near Singapore's central business district turns into a glowing pink blob, with the next event set for Saturday

In the closest thing Singapore has to a gay pride parade - and in the only place where public assemblies can take place without a permit - thousands dress in pink in support of Pink Dot's message: "freedom to love."

Last year, over 20,000 people filled Hong Lim Park, some 10 times the number who attended the inaugural event in 2009. "The Pink Dot Rally is designed to be a platform for open-minded Singaporeans to support and stand with their son, daughter, brother, sister, colleague, friend or just fellow Singaporean who just happen to be LGBT," said event spokesman Paerin Choa.

"As our Pink Dot grows bigger each year, it will represent the growing acceptance of LGBT Singaporeans in Singapore."

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A call for compassion, dialogue and mutual understanding on LGBTQ issues



A number of organisations and individuals have come together to back a statement that called for “compassion, dialogue and mutual understanding on LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning) issues”.

The statement, released on 22 June, currently has 11 organisations and 248 individuals backing it. It was written in response to the Wear White campaign that was organised by members of the Muslim community to protest the celebration of Pink Dot.

Pink Dot, an event organised by the LGBT community in support of the “freedom to love”, will be held this Saturday at Hong Lim Park.

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LGBTs are not opposed to concept of families

I agree that “Expressions of pro-family support are not divisive” (June 25). At the same time, every person is part of a family, including those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Every person in that community is a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister or an uncle or an aunt to another person, and is an integral part of his or her family and our society.

There is anecdotal evidence from many countries around the world that homosexual couples are more than able to raise children and give them a good upbringing. It is evident that LGBTs are not opposed to the concept of families. Indeed, many LGBTs seek to be accepted as part of their families.

Beyond this, let us not forget that many other non-traditional family configurations exist, such as couples who choose not to have children, interracial marriages and couples who adopt children of another ethnicity. The traditional family unit will inevitably evolve, but what remains unchanged are family values, among which, I assume, include unconditional love for family members.


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Lets Wear Pink?

The religious bodies in Singapore are already going into damage control in relation to their comments to the PinkDotSG movement, and to some people calling for others to wear white to counter the wear pink movement. Maybe they're scared a fight would break out or something

In regards to that, I would sincerely, honestly want to wear pink as well and go to the event, as a Christian, to say sorry for what some of us may have been doing. Something like what this group of Christians did during a gay pride rally in the US:

Reason being that we are taught to love, not judge. We can argue all day about whether homosexuality is wrong or right or whether God loves homosexuals but by the end of the day, who are we to judge? Aren't we all sinners as well?


Our worst enemies are ourselves

Pink Dot is an annual event in support of an inclusive society, sexual diversity, and the freedom to love. It has been ongoing since 2009, and has been getting bigger every year, growing from 1,000 in its first year, to 21,000 attendees at Pink Dot 2013. It is attended by Singaporeans and non-locals alike, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race, sex, age, etc. It’s not like a pride parade; there are no floats, no drag queens strutting down the streets, no half-naked or leather-clad haado-gay stereotypes getting in your face on the local cameras, and most certainly, no George Takei as Grand Marshall (…darnit). It is just simply a bunch of people wearing pink, getting together with friends, partners and/or family, and enjoying a day where they can find mutual support. In a country where male-with-male sexual activity is still criminalised, Pink Dot is a wrinkle in the petroleum-derivative fabric of the nation.

Of course, not everyone is happy about that. Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church, through TOUCH Community Services, attempted to get a permit to hold an event on the same date as this year’s Pink Dot, ostensibly as a celebration of the ‘family’. The permit was roundly rejected, though the Ministry of Social and Family Development noted that alternative sites had been proposed, only to be rejected by the organisers as being ‘inaccessible’, as they were in the heartlands. Given that most families are located in the heartlands and not in the vicinity of the Padang, and therefore holding it in the heartlands is far more logical in terms of accessibility, people figured that it was a matter of countering, as it were, the visibility of Pink Dot. Whatever it was, the furore died down after a while.

And then a Muslim religious teacher decided that Pink Dot was meant as a direct affront to Islam’s holiest month, being on the same day as the first day of Ramadhan, and launched his own campaign to ‘defend traditional family values’ and ‘return to fitrah’ with his Wear White campaign, while holding a little girl who, in all likelihood, likes pink, because pink is a girl’s natural colour (someone should really tell him that, given that one of the people on his video said that it is sunnah to speak well, he might want to get his website proofread, pronto. ‘Its’ and ‘It’s’??). Of course, Lawrence Khong jumped on the bandwagon, and said that Christians should support them, all the while ignoring the fact that the Bible states (not me hor, not I say one) that they are headed to hell, along with the gays, and maybe he should also be handing out Chick Tracts.


More than just white vs. pink

Singapore’s LGBT movement has not sought to trample upon the rights of the religious community to worship in peace; they ask only to be recognised as fellow human beings and to enjoy the same rights as everybody else. Should the LGBT community succeed in attaining equality, it would not take away from the religious their right to practise their beliefs as they please.

Conversely, religious organisations that adopt homophobic ideologies seek to tamp down on the LGBT community, relegating them to the status of second-class citizens—or sub-humans—for the crime of having different sexual preferences. This so-called deviancy harms no one, nor does it reduce the rights and opportunities enjoyed by religious folk.

Religious organisations that practise the politics of exclusion pit themselves as the defenders of morality against the embodiment of perversion. Yet there is no zero-sum game, no winner-take-all scenario, no struggle between good and evil. There is no conflict between the religious and the non-heteronormative but that in the delusions of ideologues.


Wear White + Red Dot = Pink Dot
– TOC: Call for compassion, dialogue & mutual understanding on LGBTQ issues
– The Independent, SG: More than just white vs. pink
– Singapura Pundit: Hard Truths To Keep The Pink And White Thinking
– Lukeyishandsome: Twenty Random Thoughts #260614: Lets Wear Pink?
– Haus of yuene: Our worst enemies are ourselves
– Dusty corner: Pastor Lawrence Khong : Ustaz Noor Deros : The Gay Agenda
– Anyhow Hantam: Vincent Wijeysingha is a Liar
– Gwee Li Sui: Who will speak the healing words?
– Tania De Rozario: Forum Letter :: When Magic is Tragic
– TOC: Red, white, pink – a contest of space
– Signs of Struggle: Forestalling a war of Pink and White
– Blogging for Myself: L. Khong, LGBT aping American Ways
– Shiroi Ryuu @ dusty corner: You Are Not God, Don’t Judge
– Just Speaking My Mind: Vincent Wijeysingha and the Catholic Church
– Lu Keehong Singapore: LGBTs in Singapore
– Defunct Creakings of a Cog: Plausible Civic Reasons for Opposition to PinkDot
– New Nation: Association of Apathetic Sporean issues statement: ‘We don’t care’
– Yahoo!: Facing LGBT opposition frm religious right, shld Pink Dot fight for more?
– Think For Me, Spore: Letter from a friend (Catholic Church hypocrites)
– Homosexuality&science: PinkDot o Wearwhite? Choice between rhetoric o truth
– I on Sg: Hypocrisy of “Human Rights” MARUAH on Religion in Public Discourse
– Bertha Harian: Between pink and white
– Singapore 2B: A Rosy Hue (settles all around)
– Wise Mental King: The Red, the White and The Pink
– Chemical Generation Spore: 377A: The Conservatives March On
– I on Singapore: Polarisation in LGBT Debate: Why should we be surprised?
– Hello summer: Being Muslim & Gay
– Lukeyishandsome: Us VS Them
– 5 Stars & a Moon: Attitudes towards Same-Sex Relation in Sg – Bizarre Trend
– Vincent Wijeysingha: Policing Moral Universe: What Role For Catholic Church
– TOC: Catholic Church takes harder stance on LGBT “lifestyle”
– The Smart Local: Pink Dot 2014 – On 28th June, We Wear Pink
– Just Speaking My Mind: Is Pink Dot Event Sowing Discord in Singapore?
– Literally Kidding: Alternative Sexualities: Pinch of tolerance & less bigotry please
– Everything Oso Complain: Wear white campaign a protest against homosexuality
– Singapore Notes: Men And Women In White
– The New Era: No objectionable material in song abt acceptance in friendship
– New Nation: NDP 2014 remove all LGBT elements from performance celebration
– Rilek1Corner: Defending WearWhite movement against so-called liberal “Muslims”
– Blogging for Myself: LGBT: Now the Muslims Push Back
– The Anglo-Sinkie scribbles: Pink dot 2014
– Rilek1Corner: Alfian Sa’at Breaks Silence on PinkDot SG & WearWhite
– Salt * Wet * Fish: Redux: Chan Chun Sing’s gay recruitment