As Singapore’s Pink Dot, the freedom to love event celebrates its 5th year in exactly a month, its campaign video launched last Wednesday hit 18,000 Facebook likes overnight! The 2012 event witnessed the strength of 15,000 participants in support of the cause and the park bursting at its seams. For many, this annual event which started in 2009 has become a symbolic act of solidarity towards embracing a more inclusive society as well as a safe place to be out without any prejudice. And for a lot of others, it’s simply a fun family day out.
This year’s theme of home could not be more fitting. PSOF alumni, Boo Junfeng who has helmed the Pink Dot campaign videos continues to make us proud in his dedication to issues concerning human rights. If he has not realised it yet, let it be acknowledged that he is the big brother to his younger siblings here at the film school and very, very much loved and respected. So when Junfeng embarks on a project, students naturally gravitate towards embracing the cause. Sure, in the process they get to sharpen their technical skills, but more importantly they learn something which cannot be taught in classrooms – compassion. So, thank you Junfeng for being that big brother mentor to them.
And so while keeping to the theme of inclusivity echoed through in previous campaign videos, this year’s had a special touch through a Dick Lee favourite, “Home”. In his press statement made last week Junfeng noted that:
“We wanted to tell the stories that define what home is to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in this country. Naturally, we found inspiration in “Home”, an evergreen National Day song that a lot of Singaporeans grew up with.
So we approached Dick Lee, who wrote the song in 1997. To our delight, not only did he grant us permission to use it, he offered us a special rendition he recorded in 2010.
We found new meaning in the lyrics as we listened to the familiar tune, thinking about the stories we wanted to tell. About a woman coming home to a family who is not fully accepting of her sexuality, about a couple who grew old together in a society that can be more open-minded, about a young transgender person who is finding her place in a country she calls home. These are stories that reflect the realities in which many LGBT Singaporeans live”.
In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy says “There’s no place like home” having experienced the demonic wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West and being deceived by a man she thought held all the answers. While forming close bond with Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion nothing surpasses home in Kansas and being with Aunty Em, Uncle Henry and her three farm friends. Every day should be a pink dot day, that way no one will be made to feel like they could not live here just because of who they happen to be. Let us not complicate the notions of home and identity through politics. Beyond a physical space, home is an emotion, a simple sense of belonging and the most basic of a human need. Synonymous to love. An inclusive society is where marginalised communities are appreciated for their uniqueness and made to feel safe.
The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard who took a leap in forging phenomenology to architecture once said of the somewhere-over-the-rainbow yonder “Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home. Late in life, with indomitable courage, we continue to say that we are going to do what we have not yet done: we are going to build a house. This dream house may be merely a dream of ownership, the embodiment of everything that is considered convenient, comfortable, healthy, sound, desirable, by other people. It must therefore satisfy both pride and reason, two irreconcilable terms.” It is high time that we as a society have courage to build that dream house.
And indeed, it is much easier to love and pave the pillars of that dream home. To show your support for the freedom to love, PINK DOT will be held Saturday, 29 June 2013, 5pm at Hong Lim Park.
*Images courtesy of Cassandra Goh.
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