by Leona

Supporting the Freedom to Love.

That is the message Pink Dot Singapore wants to spread. Freedom for a person of any race, gender, religion or sexual orientation to be true to themselves and love as they wish.

Pink Dot SG, an annual event in support of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community in Singapore was founded in 2009. Since its first public event that drew at least 1,000 supporters, it has mushroomed into a staggering 28,000-strong crowd in 2015. The success and support it drew from the initial years have even gained traction overseas, with similar events sprouting to as far as Anchorage, Alaska.

The annual event is a chance for the LBGT community and their supporters to celebrate love and life in a carnival-esque atmosphere with concert performances and activity booths by organisations supporting the LGBT community and cause. Supporters would dress in pink and come together to form one giant “pink dot” as a sign for inclusiveness, to celebrate diversity and support the freedom to love.

Through Pink Dot, more Singaporeans are aware that the LGBT community are as normal as the next person- they live, they love and they hurt just like everyone else. If anything, they are more sensitive beings, mindful that people who are ignorant of the topic tends to be uncomfortable with it. Pink Dot challenges all of us to be more open minded, think logically, and accept differences. It gives the largely alienated LGBT community a sense of belonging, a boost of confidence and a chance to open their hearts.

This year, Pink Dot SG seeks to start conversations with the man on the street on how being LGBT doesn’t mean different. Watch this video to see how four Singaporeans speak with the elderly about their sexual orientation:

To conform with what’s acceptable by society’s standards have forced many to suppress their true sexual orientation, causing conflicts, heartaches and sometimes even tragedy. Here are four examples of how people struggle and manage their sexuality in these films.

The Wedding Banquet

The Wedding Banquet

It’s the case of hidden sexuality that results in a false marriage and a struggle between filial piety and freedom to love. The Wedding Banquet is the perfect illustration of how it’s almost second nature for one to hide his true sexuality in a traditional cultural setting to avoid deviating from social norm. On the other hand, it also shows that sometimes, people are more accepting than we give them credit for.

Wai-Tung Gao (Winston Chao) is a Taiwanese who resides in Manhattan with his lover, Simon. All is well between the pair until Gao’s parents back in Taiwan decide to engage a dating service to find their son a wife. Worried about his parents finding out the truth, Gao convinces a fellow tenant in his apartment building, a struggling artist from mainland China, to marry him. In return, she gets a green card and it’s a win-win situation. In a string of events that follows, Gao has to choose between revealing his secret or conforming to society’s standards.

The Wedding Banquet is one of Ang Lee’s earlier works, and is the second in the “Father Knows Best” trilogy that explores the complexity of family relationships and the struggles between Eastern values and Western cultures. It’s also Lee’s first of three movies that centres on homosexuality. The other two are Brokeback Mountain and Taking Woodstock. The movie took home the Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe and Academy Awards. The Wedding Banquet collected a total of eleven awards, both national and international, catapulting Lee onto the global stage. 

American Beauty

American Beauty

It’s the twist at the end that makes American Beauty such an enjoyable watch. While we are all so focused on the movie’s subplots, we missed the hints dropped throughout the film. The movie gives us a glimpse into how a person’s sexuality can be so suppressed that it drives him overboard.

Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a disgruntled middle-aged advertising executive who despises his job and is unhappily married to his neurotic wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening). Going through a mid-life crisis, he develops a crush on his teenage daughter’s (Thora Birch) sultry classmate (Mena Suvari) and decides to change his lifestyle. He blackmails his boss, quits his job and starts to work out extensively. Meanwhile, a new family moves in next door- the Fitts, with homophobic retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) holding a tight leash on his son Ricky (Wes Bentley) and is controlling of his listless wife (Allison Janney). The Burnhams and the Fitts cross paths, leading to a disaster.

Murmur of Youth

Murmur of Youth

Murmur of Youth is a delicate portrayal of loneliness, the fragility of adolescents and young love. The main theme of the story isn’t about a person’s sexual orientation, but about the bond that joins two individuals so firmly that their connection surpasses even gender.

The movie centres on two girls who share the same first name from opposite sides of society. Chen Mei-Li (Rene Liu) has a middle-class background with a distant father and a preoccupied mother, while Lin Mei-li (Jing Tseng) comes from humble circumstances surrounded by a loving family. By chance, the two girls end up working together in a movie theatre box office. In the close confines of their workspace, their class divide does not matter, and they bond over general topics like school, families and friends, to more intimate subjects like boys, sex and their menstrual cycles. What unfolds next is the growing closeness between two friends that leads to something further.

Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs

Adapted from the novella by George Moore, Albert Nobbs paints the sad tale of Albert Nobbs (starring Glenn Close in an Oscar-nominated turn) as a woman who chooses to live her life as a man in fear of the vulnerabilities of being a woman, and to survive financially in a male dominated world in 19th century Ireland.

After suffering a horrific teenage encounter as a girl, Albert decides to live her life as a man, and gets a job as a butler in a hotel. He leads a miserable existence, finding ways to fade into the woodwork, only to stand out with his eccentric manners. He feels utterly alone, until a painter named Hubbard (Janet McTeer), engaged to revitalise the hotel, catches his eye. Opening up to his new friend about his hidden identity, Albert finds a new sense of liberation, especially when he uncovers his new friend’s concealed sexuality. Homosexuality is not a topic discussed or even known in these days, and the two friends lean on each other for emotional support. Albert Nobbs is a poignant tale about a person’s search for love, acceptance and understanding of oneself.

★ CATCHPLAY ON DEMAND Pink Dot Movie Treat!  

► Enter the promotional code 【PINKDOT17】 to watch any of these four films for FREE! The code is valid till 15th July.

Note: Please register free as Movie Fan on CATCHPLAY ON DEMAND, select the movie and click to redeem the promo code at checkout point. Only one promo code may be redeemed per user account for any ONE Movie. User can start watching the movie from a personal computer, tablet or mobile; can also be cast on TV using Chromecast or AirPlay for better viewing experience!