It was reported that Ministry of Home Affairs issued some statement saying that it would “take steps to make clear that foreign entities should not fund, support, or influence events like Pink Dot“. As my friend puts it:
“This article ( or maybe it’s the original MHA statment) is so unclear. So was the sponsorship of this year’s event by these companies illegal? If so, why not arrest them? Was it because the rules were so muddled that these companies could not reasonably have known they were contravening the rules? Why is MHA only acting now, when the sponsorship of this event by these companies started a while back? And what on earth does “will take steps to make clear” even mean?”
Donald Low has also posted on Facebook why he thinks this move is arbitrary and heavy-handed.
This move contradicts with moves by the government to attract foreign companies to set up roots in Singapore. For example, foreign banks that operate in Singapore are, by MAS’ regulations local entities. Another example is how EDB has been trying its darnedest best to convince foreign companies to set up shop in Singapore and view Singapore as a home, rather than just a host.
Then now we tell them that they aren’t really local entities. Ok. Schizo much? Or perhaps the things that our government says are for show only? Just rhetoric? Take with a huge pinch of salt?
And what exactly is the government against? Sponsorship? Sure. You can pass a law saying that foreign companies cannot sponsor any events that take place at Hong Lim Park. You think that’ll stop foreign companies from sponsoring Pink Dot? If those companies want to continue sponsoring, you think there aren’t ways for them to continue doing so?
Donald Low already suggested one way. Another would be for the people who organise Pink Dot to set up a $2 company wholly owned by Singaporeans. Call it Action for Inclusive Management Consultancy. Or AIM Consultancy (geddit? $2 company…). Then all those foreign entities who want to continue sponsoring Pink Dot can hire AIM Consultancy for very high fees to do some… er… consultancy work.
AIM Consultancy, being a wholly Singaporean-owned company can then do whatever it wants with its money. Like… use that money to sponsor Pink Dot!
If the Singapore government wants those foreign companies to not appear to be supporting Pink Dot. Then that’s doing the impossible. Facebook, Google, Apple all have very well-known, entrenched policies that support the freedom for everyone, heterosexual or LGBT, to love whoever they want and choose whatever lifestyles they want.
The head office in US (or any other country) could just time some press release or some story or video to be posted on their own website/social media accounts near Pink Dot that says the company supports all events that celebrate the freedom to love.
Then social media here in Singapore picks it up. Makes it viral. Outside of Hong Lim Park. Then during Pink Dot, have a segment in the event for everyone to use their smart phones or tablets to watch the video, or read the story. Then the emcee, who should be a Singaporean, can talk about it too.
So what exactly does the Singapore government want to do? And why do they think it’s necessary to fight this battle? Does it have anything to do with certain other segments of society pressurising the government?
Alfian Sa’at posted this on his Facebook page.
I think it’s ridiculous. It’s not like the LGBT community is going around converting people to the LGBT lifestyle. They don’t go around telling people that if you don’t become LGBT, you will be damned for all eternity.
No. They just want to be able to love whoever they choose to love. It’s something so deeply personal. Why should the state or anyone else interfere with their choice? Are they hurting themselves? More importantly, are they hurting anyone else with that choice? No. They aren’t.
Then why the hell do we want to interfere? How would you like it if someone went around telling you that you and your spouse should only have sex on Wednesday? At precisely 10:47pm. And only for 10 minutes. You would tell that person to stay out of your private affairs. And you would be right!
So how is being so stridently against the LGBT community any different?