Press statement: Rejection of PELU Application for Snowball party to be held on 25 Dec 2004
8 Dec, 2004
Singapore - The Singpapore Police Force issued a press release today announcing that they had rejected an application for a public entertainment license for Snowball, an event to be held on 25 and 26 December in Singapore. The application was submitted by Jungle Media Pte Ltd, a Singapore subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Fridae on 20 October 2004.
2. The application was rejected on the grounds that the Police are unable to approve any application for an event which goes against the moral values of a large majority of Singaporeans. This action was apparently prompted by “several letters of complaint” about the “openly gay acts” at our events.
3. This is not the first time that Snowball is being held, or indeed that Fridae or our Singapore subsidiary Jungle Media Pte Ltd are applying for the public entertainment license. Similar licenses were issued for past events, namely Snowball in December 2002 and 2003, Nation in August 2002, 2003, 2004, Squirt (April 2004), Boys of Summer (June 2003) and Paradise Ball (December 2003). On each occasion, there was full disclosure of the nature of each event, which is a dance party featuring a DJ. In fact, we have had a very congenial working relationship with PELU and various police jurisdictions for all our past events.
4.. Our events are known to be extremely professionally organised, and have earned both domestic, as well as international acclaim. Nation.04, which attracted 8,000 participants, has been featured in Far Eastern Economic Review, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Reuters, AFP and AP newswires, Asahi Shimbun, Sydney Morning Herald, South China Morning Post and countless other newspapers around the world. Not only have our events been named as one of the top 10 gay events by Australia’s DNA Magazine, Nation.04 has also been nominated for "Best Event Experience" in the 2005 Singapore Tourism Awards. Our events have created an invaluable buzz that Singapore is a hip and exciting city to visit.
5. Independent studies and informal surveys, have shown that our events generate significant tourism revenue for Singapore. Based on a study commissioned by the STB, Nation.04 was estimated to have generated S$10million in tourism revenue, exceeding even that of the 2004 Global Entropolis convention, which generated an estimated S$6million in the same period of time.
6. In the 4 years that we have been working with the police and PELU for our events, not once have we been made aware that there was anything illegal about our events. We are law-abiding citizens, and we have gone through great lengths to ensure that no laws are broken in the organisation of our events. Our events are essentially dance parties with international DJs, and we are absolutely certain that nothing about our events are illegal.
7. Our company, Fridae, has recently been "signed up" by Senior Minister of Health Dr Balaji with the Ministry of Health to work as a partner in addressing the recent increase of HIV amongst gay men. We believe that it is important to maintain open channels between the government and the gay community to promote an aggressive public health campaign that has the potential to save many lives. Our events are an important means to reach this otherwise difficult to reach demographic, many of whom already feel increasingly alienated, disenfranchised, and discriminated against in their own homeland, and may be driven underground if the environment turns unfavourable.
8. Whilst we understand that not everyone in Singapore society agrees with homosexuality as a concept, and that social attitudes will take time to change, it is nevertheless not mere concept but reality for the many gay Singaporeans who live and breathe it every day.
9. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech was inspiring for many gay and lesbian citizens of Singapore who saw this as a clear indication that we too had a role to play in Singapore's future. "We should have an open society which is welcoming of talent, which welcomes diverse views, is yet cohesive and has a sense of common purpose. And we should be a community where every citizen counts, where everyone can develop his human potential to the full and everyone participates in building and repairing and upgrading this shared home which is Singapore," said PM Lee.
10. It is outside the scope of the Singapore Police Force, whose mission is to uphold the law, maintain order and keep the peace in the Republic of Singapore, to make a decision based on what it perceives to be the “moral values of a large majority of Singaporeans”, a claim that is unsubstantiated and subjective.
11. Fridae believes that it is unconscionable and a grave mistake to allow intolerance and discrimination to sidetrack and derail our vision of a Singapore that embraces ALL Singaporeans regardless of creed. In fact, it has been a very vocal minority of fundamentalist Christians and conservative Christian-linked groups such as Focus on the Family that have succeeded in swaying our secular government to their moralist beliefs.
12. Snowball may only be a singular, insignificant event to most people, but to the gay community that doesn’t have many outlets and channels to begin with, it is a major event that they look forward to, a safe space for them to be themselves, celebrate the year end, and feel proud that they are doing so on home ground.