Top image: The Huffington Post
Pink Dot, with the help of Darius Cheung (CEO of 99.co), has turned to local companies for support for its annual event. The campaign, Red Dot for Pink Dot, aims to be a platform for local businesses to lend their voices to advancing the values of diversity and inclusiveness. Around 50 companies have already done so, and we expect that the target of 100 will be reached with ease.
At the same time, we found ourselves with a niggling sense that something is still missing. Most of the companies that have come forward are hip, contemporary, and millennial-oriented (and driven) brands. Their backing, while praiseworthy, still feels a little like we’re preaching to the choir in terms of corporate support for LGBT rights.
In our opinion, it would be a truly powerful statement if brands we didn’t expect—brands that are familiar, traditional, “uncool,” and mass-audience oriented—actually stepped forward to show their support for the community; brands like the ones below.
1. Sheng Siong
If you think about it, Sheng Siong has kind of always been the anti-NTUC. Their sponsorship would hence be symbolic in its tongue-in-cheek opposition of the Singaporean government and its stand on LGBT rights. For homegrown brands like these, pledging support can only lead to good publicity. After all, it’s not like anyone is actually going to boycott the brand.
Unlike companies like Edible Garden City and Carrie K., there is nothing trendy about POPULAR and its bookstores. Instead, they serve a very essential and utilitarian need. In the same way, the goal for LGBT rights has always been for them to eventually become banal and commonplace. Nothing captures this aspiration better than the support of a regular, unsophisticated brand like POPULAR.
3. Eu Yan Sang
Here we have a brand that was literally built by one of Singapore’s founding fathers. Apart from the fun fact that Eu Tong Sen Street is right down the road from Hong Lim Park, how cool would it be for them to show that their values have progressed along with their business? Even their company slogan is ‘Caring since 1879.’
4. TungLok Group
If companies like The Lo and Behold Group can show their support for Pink Dot, why can’t TungLok Group? The restaurant group, with more than 15 brands under its portfolio, has always been known for the family-centric dimension of its restaurants. As such, the brand is aptly positioned to acknowledge the importance of familial support in the lives of queer folk who often struggle with coming out.
5. Kim San Leng
Nothing is more central to Singaporean life than the humble coffee shop. The Kim San Leng group, with more than 30 food centres across the island, is the very definition of mass-appeal. This is exactly why its support would go a long way towards demonstrating that queerness is nothing bizarre. Instead, it’s perfectly normal, just like our undeniable cravings for hawker fare.
For these brands, there’s nothing to lose by doing this. You might get a few idiots talking shit online as a result, but trust us, they’re still going to be eating at Kim San Leng and shopping at Sheng Siong.