Michelle Chia’s Words
Hi everyone! First of all, I would like to say hi to all my LGBT friends here! I am so happy to be part of this event with my other straight allies who are here as well to give our full support.
I am very proud to be a Pink Dot ambassador. When I was approached to be the ambassador, it did not cross my mind to say no. Because I truly believe in equality, acceptance and especially, the Freedom to Love!
But to my surprise, I had some negative feedback and criticisms. They say I am a bad role model. Some people even asked if this will affect my business. Why would it? Aren’t we all the same? We have parents, siblings, friends. We study hard, work hard and meet people. And we fall in love! Which is a beautiful thing.
Accepting someone with a different sexual orientation or gender identity does not make me a bad role model. I am taught not to judge, to be kind to another, and not to think that I am better than anybody else. Being a straight person does not make us any better or more successful. It does not give us the right to discriminate!
I have worked with many LGBT friends. They work just as hard as you and me! They go through all kinds of pressures in life like you and me, if not more! Why should we make them the minority when they are not to begin with?
One of my gay friends cum business partner is extremely successful because he has his parents’ fullest support. They do not see him differently but love him like you would love your son. Acceptance is the strongest, most powerful tool in the world to show how much you love someone! If you want to be able to choose who you want to love, what gives you the right to say no to others?
Singapore is progressive and forward-thinking in so many ways. We should not be held back by prejudice and ignorance. All of us should open our hearts and learn to understand. We all want to be who we want to be, and love who we want to love! And that includes our LGBT friends.
Let’s love and not hate!
Mark Richmond’s Words
Hello friends. Thank you very much for coming down today and I would especially like to thank all parents for taking the effort to make it here. Your presence is a show of courage, strength and a promise to share your love with your children.
I come here as a friend standing by a lot of my LGBT friends and I come here as a parent to make a commitment and pledge to bring my son up in a non-prejudiced environment and hope that all parents would do so too.
I am inspired by my wife and son every single day. I remember on a visit to Africa recently, my son was there holding hands, dancing and singing with the Africans – holding the hands of the tribesmen dressed in their customary robes and fearlessly chatting away. He saw no colour or creed and even spent an hour away from his parents for a play date with the Massai warriors in Kenya. It made me realise that kids are born without judgemental lenses. It is us, adults and parents who instil the fear or notion in their minds.
And this is where we have the responsibility to ensure that he has no preconceived ideas, no black and white statements on the LGBT subject. I vow to teach my son to love all, to be sensitive to those around him and not be too sensitive when others frown upon him. Both his godparents are gay. He is happy kissing and hugging whenever he sees them and it should stay this way for the rest of his life.
My wife is an amazing woman who has championed this cause even before I met her, and I remember the first time I met her. The indescribable feeling shooting through me, my heart unable to stay still. She calls it a thunderbolt through the heart and you felt as if you were falling and hoped someone would catch you if it was not right. It is a feeling I will carry for the rest of my life.
It is a feeling I wish everyone to experience at least once in their life. Once you experience it, who are we to deny such a thunderbolt no matter the sexual orientation? Who are we to turn elation to confusion? Who are we to judge what is wrong or right? When the feeling comes, it comes. And I would hope my son shares it with me instead of fearing the truth.
In time to come, the prices of everything in Singapore would be exorbitant. The standard of living will escalate but love should always be free. We should never deny anyone the freedom to love. Parents please understand that we do not choose who we love and if that thunderbolt hits, let us open our hearts to our kids and give them the shelter should it rain.
When my son was born, I vowed to love him unconditionally, to not taint his world, to ensure that the day he falls, to be his safety net and not be the one to untie that net I built just because of sexual orientation. Parents and would-be parents, I hope you put your arm around your children for it gives them confidence. Do not take that away for we have no right to deny anyone the freedom to love.
Ivan Heng’s Words
Hello everybody! Can you feel the love? Anybody who says LGBT peope are anti-“family values” should be here! You look beautiful from here!
I am very happy in my heart and deeply honoured to be making a stand with all you today – to stand up for the Freedom to Love.
I was born and raised in this country, and from a very young age I knew I was different. I knew I was gay. And like many of you, growing up was confusing, scary and sometimes lonely. But I was lucky to have friends who accepted me for who I was. And I am blessed work in theatre, in the arts, where people are generally more open-minded, loving and accepting. My mum is here. And she is proud of her gay son.
It’s wonderful to be here today. But for many of our brothers and sisters, it is not so easy. For the thousands gathered here today, there are many, many more in our community who live in fear of discrimination and hatred. And of course, Pink Dot is Utopia, it is a dream. For one day a year, on this little patch of grass, we are given permission to express ourselves, to be ourselves. When we leave Hong Lim Park tonight, as we go to work on Monday, we have to face the reality and struggle of being LGBT in our daily lives.
Because of ignorance, prejudice and bigotry in our society, because of laws like S377a – students are bullied, young people are cast out of their homes, and there is a high incidence of teenage suicides. Families are torn apart. People lose their jobs. Many talented and fabulous people have left and are leaving Singapore, because they feel like second-class citizens, or criminals – merely because of who they are, and whom they love.
We have a long and difficult road ahead of us. But being here together today, proves that Singapore can be a better, kinder, more inclusive society. Getting together to form our human Pink Dot, is our way of saying that we want Singapore to be our home, truly, where we can feel safe, free, wanted and loved.
Can you feel the love? Hang on to that feeling.
Singapore is changing. The world is waking up to the idea that LGBT rights are human rights. Time and history are on our side. Thank you all for coming today. Thank you ALL for making a stand against prejudice and discrimination. Thank you all for standing up for the Freedom to Love!