In Singapore, the national newspaper yesterday relegated news coverage to one of the items under World News preferring to place news of violence on the front page. Okay, okay…today’s paper has slightly more than half a page. Of course mass violence in any part of the world is important news but why give centre stage to mass human destruction over the celebration of the victory to love? But this is Singapore. I guess we should be happy that it is even given space. A decade or more ago, this might not even have made it to the national papers as it may be deemed too positive a morale booster for the gay ‘agenda’ in Singapore.
And it is. I quote my friend, DW who posted on Facebook – “We can’t even remove 377A in our country but I am still happy for those in US who gain human basic rights.”
Bryan Choong, ED of Oogachaga said in an interview on CNN:
…we are still walking through a long dark tunnel.
The good thing is that we can now at least see light at the end –
we just need to keep walking.
Almost immediately after the interview got published, someone, presumably a non-supporter of the cause wrote in a post on We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore, presumably in sarcasm – “Really, well keep on walking. It’s going to be a long one.”
Bryan’s very gracious response to this was that it shows at least that people here are reading.
My response to it is yes, it is going to be a long one. America, the most powerful nation in the world took more than 20 years of struggle before the supreme court of the land could give the landmark victory, legalising equality in marriage in all 50 states. Do we expect better? The important thing is that love ultimately triumphed.
Bryan is right. We can see light. In recent years alone, Pinkdot has swelled from just merely a dot of pink at Hong Lim Park to become a 28,000 strong oasis of pink where love is celebrated. Not only that, it has done Singapore proud in that it has been exported to other countries like Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Secondly, news has reported that for once LGBTQ groups like Sayoni and Oogachaga have been consulted by the government in their submission of the UN Human Rights report. There are naysayers of course but hey, think of it this way….although it is a baby step, it is nonetheless a significant step forward. Whether it is a long walk or not, whether I will live to see it or not…..377A will finally be gone, FOREVER.
Bryan in his interview also said that it is “a relay race, a shared and ongoing journey that no one can complete alone.” Thank you, Bryan, for reminding us that all of us have a responsibility in whatever capacity we have to fight the good cause. Whether we are in the forefront of activism or not, we have a part to play. We should not just wait to enjoy the fruits of the labour founded on the efforts of others while we do not even lift a finger for the cause of acceptance and inclusiveness, of justice and equality.
Recently, a colleague of mine shared about how the advice given to her when she spoke out against a policy in her profession which she sees as unfair was turned down. She was told by the very senior official that although it was not possible at that moment, she should keep on knocking on the door.
I do believe in the Biblical parable of the Unjust Judge and the wronged widow who came to him pleading justice. Her persistence in coming over and over again to bother him in the face of repeated rejections to help finally bore fruit, if not for anything, at least because the judge wanted to get rid of her pesky pleads.
To everyone in our community and to all our supporters, keep walking towards the light and keep knocking on doors. The light may be closer than you think it is.
Watch NBC News Report: Obama’s Speech on Supreme Court’s Ruling Upholding Same Sex Marriage at: