Singapore

Refusal to allow pro-family event at Padang puzzling: Lawrence Khong

Refusal to allow pro-family event at Padang puzzling: Lawrence Khong
A giant screen at the Padang during the Singapore F1 Grand Prix. Photo: Don Wong
Published: 4:13 AM, May 10, 2014
Updated: 4:15 AM, May 10, 2014
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SINGAPORE — TOUCH Community Services founding chairman Lawrence Khong yesterday criticised the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) move to reject an application by an affiliate of his organisation to hold a pro-family event at the Padang.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, Mr Khong — who has regularly spoken out against homosexuality — said he was disappointed with the ministry’s move. He added: “I am puzzled by MSF’s restrictions on TOUCH to organise (the event) and also confused with their position on family.”

As part of the organiser’s proposal, participants had been asked to wear red to the event which was to be held on June 28, the same day as Pink Dot — an annual event held at Speakers’ Corner in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, where participants wear pink.

The organisers had considered calling the event Red Dot Family Moment 2014 but it settled on #FamFest 2014.

On Wednesday, the media reported that the MSF had rejected the application by TOUCH Family Services as it deemed the event unsuitable for the Padang. The ministry proposed alternative sites, but the organisers declined as they felt that the alternative locations, which were in the heartlands, were less accessible.

Mr Khong, who is also a senior pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church, stressed that the event was meant to promote family values. He said: “#FamFest 2014 is about defending the family against the onslaught of sexual infidelity, divorce, family violence and media that promotes sexual immorality including the homosexual agenda.”

He added: “With 2014 being the International Year of the Family, there is no better time for us to highlight these issues and to promote the right values.”

The MSF declined to respond to Mr Khong’s comments. Its spokesman would only refer to a sentence in its previous response to the media on the rejection of the application, which said that the ministry “will continue to support social service organisations and projects that strengthen families in a socially cohesive manner”.

TODAY understands that TOUCH Family Services had booked the venue with the Singapore Recreation Club and applied for approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the police to hold the event. The voluntary welfare organisation also tried to engage the MSF as a partner for the event. The proposal was rejected by the URA last month.

The organisers had rejected suggestions that the event was pitted against Pink Dot. The red theme was inspired by Singapore’s national colour and the SG50 tagline Celebrating The Little Red Dot, while the date had been chosen because it is the last Saturday of the June school holidays and also the weekend when the annual National Family Celebrations traditionally culminate, they said.

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