I React To Pink Dot 2019’s Social Media Backlash

By Marcus Lee

Disclaimer: This is my opinion. Screenshots have been taken from my Instagram Stories, and may contain some of my scribblings. Yes, I am pro-equality.  I am also pro-decency.

The social media story lines of Pink Dot 2019 have been a disaster.


Ambassador Embarrassment

Pink Dot 2019’s theme was #AgainstDiscrimination, meant to highlight stories of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. In line with discrimination, the lineup of Pink Dot 2019’s ambassadors were also exclusively straight: Preetipls, Subhas, Beatrice Chia, and Tosh Rock. I believe Pink Dot’s aim was to tap into each celebrity’s capability to educate their fans on manners.

PINK DOT 2019’S ORIGINAL AMBASSADOR LINEUP

Understandably, some of my friends expressed their discomfort over this choice; they felt straight ambassadors would further remove spaces for LGBTQ leaders to be heard.

Shortly after Tosh was announced as ambassador, a social media user surfaced his old tweets, where he expressed disgust over gay guys hitting on him. He quickly apologised for his old tweets, assuring that he’s grown up since then. Social media blew up. Bypassing the Pink Dot committee, Tosh expressed grief over his critics, and announced he’d step down as ambassador.

I chatted with Preetipls about this fallout.

She commented, “The tweets were disgusting. I’m glad he apologised. But when you apologise, you give time for the other parties to forgive you. I had issues with him feeling entitled to forgiveness. Industry people were commenting, “You don’t need to apologise!” No. I don’t respect his decision to step down. He could’ve done more.”

I agree. Social media should not be used exclusively to define people’s character, especially over time. But there’s a right way to apologise, and respond to criticism. I’m going to assume Tosh does not have a deep understanding of the LGBTQ community, and that is why I sympathise with his clumsy responses. However, I also read some media industry people’s comments on his Instagram posts, suggesting he didn’t need to apologise at all! There’s no statute of limitations on disenfranchising the LGBTQ community.

I also want evidence to Tosh’s assertion that he will continue to be an advocate for the LGBTQ community. And, no, IG stories GIFs don’t count!

Straits Times “Removed” Lee Hsien Yang

ORIGINAL MENTION OF LEE HSIEN YANG IN THE STRAITS TIMES

Lee Hsien Yang attended Pink Dot 2019! Unless you only read The Straits Times, then you wouldn’t have been informed because they recently removed any mention of his participation.

A few months ago, his son, Li Huan Wu, and Huan Wu’s now-husband Heng Yi Rui, married in South Africa. This was a huge win for the LGBTQ community in Singapore, who look up to the couple as the voices of LGBTQ reason within The Lee Family.

In support of his son and son-in-law (but only legally in South Africa), Lee Hsien Yang was seen at Pink Dot 2019. Watchdog The Online Citizen noticed that the original article covering Pink Dot 2019’s attendees changed over time, removing Lee Hsien Yang’s photos proving he participated.

Attendee Videoed and Mocked LGBTQ Member

I woke up the day after Pink Dot to @themalcolmchew‘s Instagram Stories, where he secretly videoed an LGBTQ member at Pink Dot with the caption, “What’s That?” before turning to his three girl friends and laughing.

I reacted to it on my Instagram account:

I continued over on Instagram Stories, which I saved in my Highlights. Click on the rainbow flag emoji for my full real-time coverage on the social media responses!

Here’s Malcolm’s apology:

courtesy: @themalcolmchew

Here’s his Instagram account today. Read what the bio says?

courtesy: @themalcolmchew

Instagram Model Stood Up For The Attendee!

Lukas Koshy, a model and drama police, subsequently stood up for Malcolm’s comments and defended him against a majority of the LGBTQ community who took issue with him filming and laughing at the LGBTQ member. Here’s what I said:

Throughout the day, he continued posting thoughts and replying comments…

Here’s him and Malcolm justifying their actions via Telegram:

I’m almost reluctant to post a response Lukas shared from his follower, a “rap” about social issues in Singapore. The “songwriter” tackles issues like the LGBTQ community, abortion, mental health, gender inequality, among others:

Thankfully, some LGBTQ (and ally) heroes stood against these hate/hate-adjacent crimes.

Here’s what Preetipls posted:

Twitter users @lokieskhan and @timothy_bon (the boy whose bad mandarin sent a China tourist to Tuas MRT instead of Bayfront MRT) had these to say:


Pink Dot is about repealing 377A, promoting safety within the LGBTQ community and a conducive environment for allies to learn. Unfortunately, the conversations surrounding the event has slowly derailed into banal arguments about clout-chasing.

i.e. Influencers and straight people attending for the sake of aligning their “brands” with being socially progressive, shooting content for social media rather than to learn how to better treat the LGBTQ community. Reinforcing stereotypes by trying to appropriate the dressing styles and language of the community. In 2019, attending to impress girl friends; at the expense of mocking the community within their event.

Pink Dot 2019 has survived a train of bad PR. Moving forward, I would encourage supporters of the LGBTQ community to focus on: learning more about and spreading awareness of the adversities of 377A. It is by-book an anti-gay sex law, but it has clearly set a poor precedent how the media and people in real life are allowed to mistreat the community.

Read what PM Lee Hsien Loong said about 377A on The Straits Times (the same newspaper that “removed” Lee Hsien Yang from Pink Dot 2019). In it he says, “On inclusiveness, I think we are open.” Open to what?