~ By Cheong Yaoming ~
Over 15,000 people from all walks of life, from different backgrounds and orientations, descended upon Hong Lim Park on 30 June 2012 for the fourth year running to celebrate and support the freedom to love – Pink Dot was back, bigger than ever.
By 4.30pm, people had already arrived and picked the best picnic spots despite the main event being more than 2 hours away.
Aside from the main stage, where preparations and final sound checks were being made for the performances, a huge tent had been set up for community groups, sponsors and hospitality providers. This gave the event the additional dimension of a carnival atmosphere.
If there was one stereotype the LGBT community lived up to (and would likely be proud of), it was being flamboyant. Dozens turned up in fancy costumes and expressed their creativity with aplomb.
At 6.30pm local musical duo Jack and Rai kicked off the concert with a medley of pop song covers. Following up, the Tang Quartet wowed the audience with their contemporary take on classical music. Local rock band King Kong Jane played hits from their debut album ‘Waiting for Friday’ to the delight of the crowd.
The ever flamboyant Kumar took the stage with aplomb with a glittering pink sari and wasted no time in firing up the crowd.
“Singapore is no longer straight,” he opened with his trademark deadpan expression and tell-it-as-it-is style, “because we just had a by-election!”
Ivan Heng & La Cage aux Folles, who had earlier paraded through Orchard Road in their glamorous costumes, performed a musical number as a sneak peek into Wild Rice’s upcoming musical La Cage.
Towards the end of the evening, the Pink Dot Ambassadors – Sharon Au, Pam Oei and Lim Yu Beng led the crowd in singing the theme song for Pink Dot 2012, popularised by Cyndi Lauper and Phil Colins, ‘True Colours’.
Just before the lighting of the Pink Dot, Pam Oei made a moving tribute to Emma Yong, a fellow Dim Sum Dolly who had tragically passed away almost 2 months ago.
Lim Yu Beng then said "When we sang the National Anthem, it was amazing. It reminds me of something Zubir Said, said, when he wrote that song. He cited the Malay proverb "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung (the place where you live is where you hold up the sky)."
This is a beautiful , glowing Pink Dot. But we need to go a step further beyond tonight. We need to hold up the sky right there in the place we live. But we also need to take this glow with us when we leave. We need to love ourselves, love each other, and love the community we are going back into.
Perhaps it is apt that the symbol of the LGBT community is a rainbow. Just as there are many colours in a rainbow, people in that community are varied in nature.
The message of Pink Dot was simple yet profound – we are all different, but we are all the same.
TOC's photo album of Pink Dot 2012 can be found here.