Many people are unhappy at the restrictions imposed on this year’s Pink Dot. Besides the restriction on sponsorships, the most recent one being the barricades that will be erected along Hong Lim Park with 7 entry/exit point manned by an estimated total of 50 security officers.
Bags and identity cards (ICs) of attendees will be checked to ensure that only Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) are allowed into the park. No foreigners.
I am neutral towards Pink Dot but am fully supportive of the latest restrictions. Two reasons.
- A truly “Red Dot for Pink Dot”
This is the ninth edition of Pink Dot and the number of attendees have climbed steadily over the years. But because it was a “free for all” event in the past (foreigners could attend the event as observers), nobody was really sure if the event was more supported by Singaporeans and PRs, or foreigners’ voice was more vocal. We will have a clearer indication this year.
Starting with the restriction on sponsors, the event has slowly shifted away from donations by foreign entities to sponsorship from local companies. And our local business community has responded strongly, with the target amount to be raised far exceeded months ahead of the 1 July event and with more than 100 companies pledging their support.
The second restriction is to limit the attendees to Singaporeans and PRs announced in Nov last year. Foreign supporters or partners of LGBTs who are not Singaporeans and PRs may be up in arms, but deep down, we know that this is just a natural extension of the restriction imposed on the sponsors. If we accept that the sponsorship restriction is reasonable and has yielded positive outcome, then limiting participants to Singaporeans and PRs should not anger many.
After all, why should a cause that has a lasting impact on our Singapore society, be influenced by foreigners and foreign entities?
- Ensuring Pink Dot is also a “Safe Dot”
When I first read that Pink Dot 2017 will be a “barricaded event” at the open space of Hong Lim Park my first reaction was: Seriously? Do need such a draconian measure anot?
But given the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester, Jakarta, Marawi and London Bridge, and the number of innocent lives lost, I feel that a heightened level of security control should be enforced. Erecting barricades does not guarantee total security, but it is a welcome move. This is not to say that I am a supporter of draconian measures but in this case, the safety of the participants is of paramount interest.
In any case, participants can continue to support the cause, take part in the activities, groove to Nathan Hartono’s singing etc, within the boundaries of the barricades, while security officers stay alert and sniff out danger. The event activities to be carried out within the compound have not been restricted.
To some, erecting barricades around an open space like Hong Lim Park may seem extreme, but it allows for more effective crowd management and control, potentially faster detection of suspicious characters and tighter surveillance of any mischief, pranks or sabotage.
For the majority of us, flashing our ICs and allowing our bags to be searched at security check points are no big deals. We allow that when we go for concerts, attend national day parades, enter important government buildings etc. We recognise and understand that these are security precautions. This same understanding should be applied to Pink Dot.
These additional checks may seem insignificant, but for those who are up to no good, such checks will be additional lines of deterrence. They also serve as additional lines of danger detection for security officers.
In any case, if the act of flashing your IC or opening your bag for checks is too troublesome, so much so that it turns you away from the event; or the thought of being in a barricaded compound annoys you so much that you don’t want to be there, then perhaps Pink Dot is not your cause after all.