As is usual on this stuffy island, queues formed on the first of July. This crowd was different, however. More smartly-dressed than those stuffed cat aficionados (and infinitely more patient) they obediently held out their identity cards upon arrival at the gantries. All for getting into a park.
Dressed in various shades of pink, the mass shifted and squirmed within the confined space, but appeared unseasonably cheerful on a humid day. On a raised platform, individuals were making passionate, almost angry, speeches. Shouts of “377A” penetrated the ungiving air. Amongst the humans were several four-legged furries. A small winged dog weaved in and out of the crowd while an intolerably fuzzy pomeranian puppy stumbled around joyfully with a rainbow tiara perched on her head.
Every being present was undeterred by Roadblocks and Barriers. The identity check was just part of daily life. For a single cause, everyone put up with being enclosed. Locked up by their fight for equality, yet somehow liberated. On that day, pink didn’t stand for saccharine sweetness. Pink stood for empowerment. For the first time, many were told they were loved and supported by various communities. Many didn’t know of the existence of support groups in local institutes of higher education. But they exist. But they also cannot be associated with their home institutions. It is a strange thing—to exist but not exist.
Some basked in the temporary freedom. Flamboyance was celebrated, not silently decried. Chunky space heels, wire dresses, feathered hats, jarring face paint. For many, just an old pink crew-neck. Nobody cared. Nobody asked if you were man or woman, straight or gay. You were free to move in-between or stick to the tried and tested. You were all different, and yet you were all the same—you were all drenched in sweat. And let’s be real: the queues for free food were almost obscene.
As night descended upon the pink horde, the stage lit up. More emotional speeches. But it was alright to be emotional. It is one thing to be alive. But it is another thing to be alive only to serve as a negation of normality.
The breathing got slower, heavier. Bodies huddled together, mocking the pen, figuratively and literally.
“…3, 2, 1, Pink Dot!”
A Haka of love and freedom was unleashed, seething from the exhilaration of despair, exasperation, and humbly so, relief. The enlightening narrative of the pink-collared chorus illuminated above and beyond the lights in our hands. Where the broken lights dance, the hearts will too.
However heartening it was to see a rainbow amidst the bright pink light, there was still an overwhelming darkness pressing around, opposing, silent, a giant black blob of righteousness. Nevertheless, we ought to take pride in our courage to light up in the midst of the majority, pushing our way outwards, expanding, gathering strength. Eventually, as in all fairytales, light will snuff out the darkness. All it takes is a little belief.
The OOWA Team shot all the images and videos above with the OOWA 15 mm and 75 mm lenses.