NMP Janice Koh: It’s a matter of time before 377A is repealed

But only when Singaporeans are ready, she said at the press conference before Pink Dot 2014.


With Pink Dot evolving from a fringe event to a mainstream corporate-sponsored carnival replete with the whole sight and sound shebang pulling in the young and the heterosexual, what’s the foreseeable next step for the most massive social movement in Singapore’s recent memory?

At the press conference held at the Parkroyal on Pickering before the start of Pink Dot 2014 on June 28, 2014, current Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Janice Koh, who is the ambassador of Pink Dot, said:

“For me I think it’s a matter of time before 377A is repealed.”

“The issue was debated in parliament and I believe that government legislation will change, but only when more Singaporeans signal their acceptance and readiness for that change.”

“There was a time when we’re not allowed to vote. There was a time when black people were fighting for equal rights. There was a time when left-handed people were persecuted. And all those changes were the result of some form of social movement or civil rights movement.”

“I’m not equating Pink Dot to any specific example, but I’m just saying that it does start from the ground. That’s why it is about touching the hearts and opening the minds of just the regular person.”

“When Pink Dot no longer needs to exist is the day, we will see when LGBT people have been included and counted and accepted.”

“When that day comes, we don’t need a Pink Dot, maybe we’ll have something else.”

“But I think the reason why it even exist is just to get more people to understand and to see this from a view and to open their eyes, and open their hearts and their minds, that’s all it is.”

Her comments are transcribed based on this video recording of the press conference:


Well, it is not as if Singapore’s increasingly untenable position on homosexuality has not been discussed before. Because in a leisure and lifestyle story by the BBC last year, that’s exactly what happened.

Interestingly and coincidentally, in this BBC video news piece published on Oct. 28, 2013, it was Koh’s husband, Lionel Yeo, who was quoted speaking in the capacity as a Singapore Tourism Board spokesperson about how Singapore doesn’t have any problems with homosexual foreigners visiting our country.

This is how the Q&A went:

BBC question: Do you welcome gay visitors to Singapore?

Lionel Yeo: We do, we don’t discriminate against any type of visitors.

BBC question: If homosexuality is technically illegal, are they breaking the law by being here? What’s the score with that?

Lionel Yeo: I think the government’s position on this has been that, you know the statutes has been there, and they would like to leave it on the books for the time being, and at the same time, it is not being actively enforced.

BBC question: So you can just be happy for, say, two gay people to share a room in a hotel?

Lionel Yeo: That’s perfectly no issue at all.

Check out the video here:


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