You asked, we answer: FAQ Part II

Thanks for all of your emails, tweets and blog and Facebook comments. We're sorry we haven't been able to reply to every message, but please know that we're reading more than we're typing. FOUR days to go and work's been piling up! Anyway, here are responses to questions and concerns that seem to come up quite often... a sequel to our previous FAQ posting.

Q.

What if there's wet weather - and flooding?

A.

It’s going to be a rain or shine event. Love is weatherproof (or at least we believe this to be true). That said; if weather conditions get mighty bad, we may call for a slight delay, rearrange the event flow or cancel some segments of the programme. All of our volunteers have been working very hard for the past few months to put everything together and so you can be assured we’ll do our best to deliver a great day out at the park – even if it rains. Meantime, keep your ears peeled for update announcements at Hong Lim Park. Alternatively, check Facebook and Twitter (@PinkDotSG) for updates. We know many of you are gonna be fiddling with your mobile devices anyway ;)


Q.

I want to go but I have to work! What time will it end? What time will Pink Dot be formed?

A.

We want the event to run on time. Some of you would’ve made post-event plans next Saturday evening, and so Pink Dot 2011 will start at 5pm sharp and we aim to end by 6:45pm.

If you can, we’d recommend coming at 4:00pm or earlier. We know from the past two Pink Dot events that all the “good” picnic / chill-out spots get ‘choped’ pretty quickly. We can’t say for sure what time at which we’ll form a large human Pink Dot because it all depends on lighting conditions this Saturday. Our aerial photographers will be making that call.

Q.

Are pets allowed?

A.

Yes of course, but keep them on leash, muzzle if necessary, and clean up after them. See National Parks' guidelines here.

Q.

What’s going to happen at the event?

A.

As with past years, there will be performances and lots of activities happening around the park – all 100% family-friendly – so bring your parents, siblings, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc along! Here are some videos to give you an idea of what you can expect.






Things will be slightly different this year, of course. For one, we’ve planned a concert – supported by Google. We’re also shining the spotlight on community groups that support LGBT people in Singapore. So while you stroll around the park, do visit these groups to learn about the good work that they do.

Q.

Read on a blog/forum/Facebook/tweet that only Singapore citizens and permanent residents are allowed to participate? Is this true?

A.

We understand there’s been some miscommunication and misunderstanding on this issue, based on all that we’ve been reading and hearing online and offline. Though we’ve made several postings on this before, we can always strive to communicate more effectively, and we’d appreciate if you could help us clarify this with your foreign friends.

There are some rules to the use of Speakers’ Corner, Hong Lim Park. You may read them here. These rules are meant to regulate the kinds of activities that can take place at the park, and also, on the activities' “participants”. They are governed by Singapore’s National Parks board.

According to the park's terms and conditions, only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents may participate in a demonstration. While we do not consider Pink Dot to be a demonstration, the act of coming together to form a dot comes closest to being a "demonstration" as a category in the rules. Hence, non-Singaporeans and non-Permanent Residents cannot be within the dot formation when the time comes to form it. However, as Hong Lim Park is a public space, everyone can come for a picnic and enjoy the concert.

The question is – what does “participate” mean?

Hong Lim Park is a public space, accessible by all (locals and foreigners) as are most (if not all) of our public parks in Singapore. It is not reasonable for one visitor to a public park to screen another, demanding proof of citizenship status in the process. We’ve thus asked relevant authorities to clarify what they mean by “participation”, and we’ve been told (through verbal communications) to manage portions of our event that require people to act or respond on our instructions.

We note that the only portion of our event that requires audience participation, so to speak, is where we request for people to join us in forming a large human Pink Dot. All other activities around the park do not require audiences to act on our instructions, and so, they are open to both locals and foreigners.

Therefore, long story short: Foreigners are welcome to come for a picnic, enjoy the concert and soak in the atmosphere at Pink Dot 2011.

However: During the human Pink Dot formation, we’d like to request for our foreign friends to help us honour local laws, and to watch the formation from an observation area in the park.

Q.

But it doesn't seem like foreigners were just "watching and observing" based on what I’ve seen from the YouTube videos and pictures last year?

A.

We've been doing our best every year to ensure that the event is family-friendly, safe, and law-abiding. This year, we're taking an extra effort to create an observation area for our foreign friends to watch the formation of a human Pink Dot.

On a separate note, we'd like to remind everyone not to make local-versus-foreigner assumptions simply based on appearances. Some people have, for instance, cited the presence of “ang mohs” or Caucasians as examples of foreign “participation” at past events.

Please bear in mind that citizenship transcends race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Pink Dot loves that Singapore is multicultural and diverse. Our supporters should be mindful of such superficial stereotypes – especially since it is through such attitudes that prejudice against LGBT people in our society perpetuate.

Q.

Can the organisers try to ask for allowance from the park so that foreigners are able to “participate” just for a few minutes? The “freedom to love” should be extended to foreigners living in Singapore too!

A.

That sounds like a great idea, but things are far more complex than that. Those of you who keep abreast of Singapore’s historical record of group assembly will perhaps understand the context in which we operate. For those who do not understand why human assembly is a touchy issue in Singapore, here are some readings that you might find insightful.

1. A Pink Dot in a Sea of Rights Abuses

2. Chee Soon Juan, Freedom of Assembly and Pink Dot

In addition, please understand that Pink Dot sees its contribution to Singapore as that of building public awareness on LGBT issues, so as to improve the lives of LGBT people in Singapore. Championing the freedom of assembly is not our immediate priority – though we agree it's a pretty important issue for Singapore as a whole.

Q.

Why can’t Pink Dot be held in some other place or park that doesn’t discriminate against foreigners?

A.

Unfortunately, Speakers Corner is the only space in Singapore that allows for the organisation of such events. Read the links provided in the previous question for more information.

Q.

I want to support this but my parents won't allow me to go.

A.

That’s too bad, but don’t give up. We say talk to your parents. They probably worry because they don’t have enough information to feel assured about your presence at the event. Do let them know that the event is 100% family-friendly. Better yet, ask them to come along as “chaperones” so that they can see for themselves what Pink Dot stands for.

Q.

I really want a Pink Dot plushie!!

A.

The plushies that you’ve seen around town or online are handmade by our dedicated volunteers. Unfortunately, we’ve only made a few of these plushies for the purpose of marketing and promoting Pink Dot 2011. We haven’t made enough of them to give away /sell just yet. However, given that we’ve been getting so many requests for the plushies, we’ll look into manufacturing and distributing them in the future. If anyone knows of a reliable and environment-friendly manufacturer, please get in touch!

Q.

I want to organise Pink Dot in my own country. Can the organisers help?

A.

It's quite an honour that people outside of Singapore are looking to contribute to what is, quintessentially, a Singapore grassroots movement. We haven't got the resources to provide much help right now, but do write in with your proposal and we'll get back to you (as soon as we can – after our 18 June 2011 event).

Q.

I love Pink Dot. Where can I buy Pink Dot souvenirs and mementos?

A.

Our souvenirs aren't for sale. They can only be obtained (freely!) at Pink Dot 2011, 18 June 2011. While stocks last – so come early.

Q.

Can I be a performer at Pink Dot 2011?

A.

We've got a rather tight line-up this Saturday and so we regret that we cannot add more performers at this point.

Some have asked what it is that we look for. For us, Pink Dot events aim to be entertaining, educational and family-oriented. Several factors are considered when assessing performance requests, including: (1) resources; (2) coherence to the event's style and theme; (3) representation and diversity; (4) popular tastes and/or artistic merit; and (5) expert opinion.

There have been more performance requests this year than we had anticipated – many of which were well-written, sincere and heartening. While we would've liked to respond to each request individually, we haven't been able to do so, and we apologise if you haven't heard back from us. Please know that your requests are kept on file and will again be reviewed for future Pink Dot campaigns.


Q.

Is Nicole Seah really going to be at Pink Dot 2011?

A.

Lol. We don’t know! But we love what she wrote about s377A on her Facebook page and we do hope she’ll come and lend her support! Ditto for any other Singapore political figure / leader. But if you really want to know if she’s going to be there, best way to find out is to come see for yourself!

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