Supporters congregate in Hong Lim Park

The sun blazed brazenly while the air hung sickeningly sticky in typical Singapore humidity. Picnic mat slung over shoulders, you trudged in your carefully-assembled pink outfit to join the throngs of similarly-clad crowd. You counted mentally. There were definitely more than 50 shades of pink here at Hong Lim Park.

“Welcome to Pink Dot! Is it your first time here?” chirped a bright-eyed volunteer. Momentarily abashed that this young man had more immaculately trimmed brows than you, you hurried through the cheery arching balloon entrance while shaking your head.

Happy pink picnickers

The volunteer with the trimmed brows was in fact just one of the good-looking crowd present today at Pink Dot. You couldn’t help but notice the buzz and enthusiasm in the air. For the lack of a better term, everyone was in jovial and gay spirits.


Love the person, not the gender

The event felt more like a carnival than anything else. No one batted an eyelid as couples of all genders and sexualities lay on picnic mats in embrace. Within the park were a series of booths for activist and support groups to engage the crowd, such as the Young OUT Here (YOH) booth, a support group that provides a safe and inclusive space answering questions and sharing experiences with LGBT youths questioning their sexualities.


“Youths who are confused usually have no one to turn to. YOH allows them to post questions while helping them make more informed decisions,” explained Nicholas Wong, a youth volunteer at YOH.

Queue for the pink torchlights

Another long line snaked at a collection booth for pink torchlights, distributed free to all participants for the light-up segment later in the evening.

Let there be light
Pink Dot 2014 ambassadors (L-R): Paerin Choa, Sebastian Tan, Brendon Fernandez, Janice Koh

Paerin Choa, spokesperson for Pink Dot 2014, stated that Pink Dot is not a protest, parade or pride event. He candidly likened it to a yearly PR campaign fronted by Pink Dot to bridge the LGBT community and the community at large.

Lately, Pink Dot has been in the news, spawning protests and initiatives from other organizations, such as the Wear White campaign, which did not bear its mark or presence at the venue.

Besides the non-eventful Wear White protest, Paerin has another reason to cheer. Pink Dot this year has seen an increase of 5,000 participants compared to the previous year, setting a record high for the event in its 6th year.

Welcome to the Pink Parade

Butter Factory’s owner/unicorn Bobby Luo
I’m a lion, hear me roar
Bear and runaway bride
Pardon? WHUT? What do you mean by it’s not the Pink Dog 2014 event? I’m barking mad!

Likewise, participants had upped the ante in their snazzy costumes. Pink, proud and loud seemed to be the dress code here. We spied a towering drag queen, a guy with a unicorn’s head, a runaway bride and plenty of pet dogs dressed in pink.

Photobooth fun with Ivan Heng, Glen Goei and co.

Theater director and Pink Dot 2013’s ambassador Ivan Heng, together with film director Glen Goei, might or might not have caused whiplash with their deep pink sequined samsui woman getup. A salute to the pioneer generation, it generated a considerable commotion when they sauntered in carrying shoulder poles with their crew.

RainbowParents.sg giving out lollipops

”It’s very interesting to come here for a picnic with my family and just enjoy Pink Dot’s happy atmosphere. We got to see all the beautiful costumes too. My daughter saw a unicorn and liked it very much!” chuckled Catherine Lee, a mother of 2 who brought her children along.

Participants were also entertained by performances by one of this year’s four ambassadors, Sebastian Tan, who put on his best Broadway “Ah Beng” [a colloquial Singaporean term for a gangster] persona. Audiences were in stitches thanks to his catty banter and Hokkien version of Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are”.

Crowd getting together to form the Pink Dot 2014

Nearing 8pm, participants began getting into the Pink Dot formation, as they faced the heart-shaped LED light draped on the top window of the adjacent Furama hotel. The timing was impeccable, as the nearby NDP rehearsal fireworks blossomed in the inky night sky.

Think pink

10, 9, … 3, 2, 1! Hong Lim Park exploded into a sea of undulating pink lights, as the couple at the corner of your eyes relished a spontaneous lip lock as if it’s the New Year’s countdown party. Pink seemed like the warmest color at that moment with an unexplainable fuzziness in your heart.

Couple in a huddle

Soon enough, the thousands of torchlights dimmed as the crowd continued to boogie at the after-party with guest DJ Aldrin. Amidst the revelry, you’re convinced that there’s a certain light that never goes out, where the truth might one day set people of all genders and sexualities free.

Photography courtesy of Clara Chong