Singapore’s attitude towards gay men has relaxed since the days when handsome young policemen would be dressed in casual civilian clothes with the aim of deliberate entrapment. But not by much. The old British Colonial anti-sodomy Law known as Section 377A remains on the Statute books and in theory gay men caught “in the act” can still be sent to jail. The present Prime Minister, son of the city-state’s founding Premier, has claimed the government will retain the Law but will not enact it. His government claims it is necessary to maintain social harmony in a multi-racial society.
Which, of course, is pretty much crap b/s. The only people who seem to come out (sic) against greater openness for gay men are the right-wing evangelical Christian mega-churches. Odd, surely, that the 2010 census has figures showing only 18.3% of the population over 15 are Christian – and not many of these belong to the growing evangelical movement. Lee Kwan Yew himself blamed the Americans for its rise! And as in America, some of these Churches are not what they seem on the surface. Last year, the “pastor” (I call him a thief) and a handful of his top aides in his City Harvest Church were jailed for up to 8 years. Turns out this thief’s wife is a pop singer of sorts with quite a large following in Taiwan. How the elders and members of his Church were hoodwinked, only the good Lord will know. But it was decided that the wife would go and base herself in Hollywood for a number of years to sing and convert souls to Christianity! It’s true! I am not making this up.
From her US$28,000 per month mansion, said chanteuse spent millions to make two singles: one with the renowned composer/arranger David Foster and the other with rapper Wyclef Jean. She worked with the most famous choreographers, producers and others. She made one full-length CD which tanked and then spent $500,000 buying up all copies. She turned up looking like a slut at Awards Ceremonies. It is debatable how many souls she saved during her 7 years in Hollywood. Some have suggested a few handfuls. Others less kind have suggested none. Yet the Church spent in total US$18 million (yes, you read that correctly) covering the costs of that little exercise in self-promotion. Then its leaders realised they had to find a way of covering it all up. So they misappropriated another $18 million or so. For this, along with criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts, these “Christians” were jailed. Legal costs for Singapore's longest-ever criminal trial amounted to in excess of US$10 million.
And it is these very same Christians who howl when the word “gay” is mentioned in Singapore. Gay Parades have never been permitted but some savvy guys and gals got together in 2009 and hatched a plot to celebrate gay pride by holding a Pink Dot events in a local park. From small beginnings, it had grown by last year into an event attracting 25,000. It had also garnered a considerable number of international corporate sponsors, companies like Google, J. P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg. Photographs of the “dot” at night against the Singapore skyline made it into many of the world’s media.
The photo the Singapore Government did not want the World to see
photo: Getty Images
Then the government decided that it was all becoming too much. Last autumn, the Minister for Home Affairs warned multinational companies to stop their funding, suggesting that this represents “foreign interference’ into Singapore’s domestic affairs.” Earlier this year the warning then became a ban. The next barrier erected by the government was that from this year’s event which took place at the beginning of this month, only Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents could take part. Foreign participation would not be permitted and documents had to be provided to a force of guards to ensure this was carried out to the letter!
The government had not taken into account the tenacity and passion of the Pink Dot organisers. In place of donations from overseas companies, a local fund-raising campaign was started. Thanks to 120 small businesses, the target was reached very quickly. Then Singapore residents, far from being put off, decided they would still support the Pink Dot event. Although numbers were down this year at just over 20,000, it was still a success. And judging from the number of families with young children who took part, the bigots in the Churches and the government must have been more than pissed off.
Anything and everything about gay life anywhere in the world, especially Asia, other than Thailand.
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