Thursday, August 09, 2007

Indignation 2007

From 1st till 15th August, Singapore has its own version of Pride. Of course in this Asian and conservative society, there won't be a march or party like what we see abroad. It's not even called Pride either, but IndigNation, so-called because it's National Day is in August. The activities are more subdued, like exhibitions, talks, poetry, film, outdoor and social events.

For the full program, please click here.

However, some of the programs were cancelled because the authorities didn't allow them. The first program to kickstart the festival, which was supposed to be a photo exhibition showing same sex kissing, was axed because the authorities didn't approve the license.

Honestly, I don't see how that is a influence to society. I mean, people who would go see the exhibition would definitely be either from the gay community or people who appreciate art, whom I assumed are open minded and be there for art's sake.

It's like preaching to the converted. It's not like the organisers are forcing those prudes and Christian fundamentalist people who don't want to see it, to see it. So why the hoohah?

Last year, the authorities banned an exhibition showing people sitting on the loo, shitting. The pictures mostly show from above the waist, nothing explicit. The point they were trying to say was that everyone does it, a cop, mother, student, lecturer, politicians, etc. They were in police uniform, school uniform, etc which showed who they were.

The point was to demonstrate that we're all the same, that we are all fundamentally human. The reason given for the exhibition being banned, if I remember correctly, was that some of the pictures shown were insulting to the police and students, as the latter was underage.

Erm ... does that mean they don't go to the loo? How is something insulting when it is something everybody does? Obviously it was a lame excuse to stop the exhibition.

As everyone knows, the moment you ban something, everyone knows. The best publicity is when is something is banned. Recall all those banned movies in Malaysia. The effect was that curiosity was piqued in the public and hence, everybody wants to watch said banned movie.

Anyway, this year's Indignation was held together with Adlus's 8th anniversary celebration. Adlus is a GBLT sports-oriented group.

One of the programs planned is the Pink Run this Saturday, where a group of people run in the Botanic Gardens dressed in pink. After the run, there is to be a picnic. Participation is opened to all.

Botanic Gardens is a public park where anybody can stroll, jog and picnic. I was there earlier this year for a morning jog.

Even this two harmless activities have been banned. I know, WTF right?

The run needed an application to be made to the park authorities. They didn't approve. Thus we can deduce that wearing pink while running alone or two is OK, but as a group of 20 people is not?

Someone pointed out that, the Singapore flag is red and white. If you mix the two together, what do you get?

Now, surely a picnic in a public park doesn't require a permission, right? So none was made. Even so, a letter from National Parks Board (NPB) was sent to Mr Alex Au (who they assumed is the organiser for the picnic), stating that the picnic is deemed to be an "organised gathering" held by an "interest group to politicise (its) cause" can not be held on the grounds of the gardens.

First of all, that was never the intention. I didn't know picnics are now political activities. The National Parks Board has read to much into it. It was supposed to be just a picnic, and that's that.

This is outright discrimination.

What if a group of heteros, all dressed in red, decided to have a picnic? Would they be stopped from doing so? Surely not.

But if a group of gays were doing that, it is not allowed.

With what the NPB did, it sure changes your perception of Singapore, doesn't it? I don't think Malaysian authorities will care so much. In this instance, their "tidak apa" (apathetic) attitude is better.

Other events that were cancelled were a talk by a Canadian law professor, Prof Douglas Sanders, on “Sexual orientation in international law - the case of Asia.”

A talk about his life, Rev. Troy Perry, the founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, which now boasts 250 congregations around 23 countries, with a combined congregation of tens of thousands was also not allowed. Troy was supposed to be speaking on the Gay Christian witness in the modern world, and what it means to start a new church that is affirming, accepting and supportive of GLBT individuals and the role that MCC plays in modern America.

However, Safehaven (the organiser) was contacted one week before the event by the police and immigration saying that the event needed a PELU license and a professional visit pass. Applications have since been submitted, pending approval. If approval is denied, a by-invitation event will still be held, with Rev. Troy Perry in attendance. It will start with a short worship session, followed by a reading of his book "Troy Perry, Pastor and Prophet". He will be available after the session for individual questions.

Anyway, I am going to take part in a treasure hunt this Saturday, organised by Adlus. Something to unwind after my exam yesterday! Woohoo! Finally it's over.


William said...

Baby, you've worked hard these past months. You definitely deserve a break! Have fun! Hope you guys win. :D

savante said...

Politics. Sigh.

Jaded_Jeremy said...

Yeah, it's a shame about the cancelled activities. Astounding, really, the reasons given.

I should be studying instead of scavenger hunting but the latter sounds so much fun leh. If I fail my exam, I know who to blame (yet again) ;-)

Will said...

I like Singapore, so this kind of news is very disappointing. On the other hand, you guys are about where we were 20 years ago (and in some places, still are) and your country's demographics are changing as is your relationship with the rest of the world, so hopefully these attitudes will evolve like ours did. Only faster.

Queer Ranter said...

Human are unfortunately stupid no matter how intelligent they seemed to look or how much they have been 'educated'.

JL said...

Politics, just a farce...

sounds fun... enjoy!