Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Stall at centre of alleged homophobic incident will keep pride flag up, says owner

SINGAPORE — A woman whose stall was at the centre of an alleged homophobic incident on Monday (Jan 18) said that she will continue to leave the pride flag on display despite having a passer-by throw it at her.

Stall at centre of alleged homophobic incident will keep pride flag up, says owner

In an account and video of the incident on the stall’s Facebook page, Ms Charmaine Low said that the man, whom she does not know, had noticed the flag after browsing other stalls nearby.

  • On Monday, a passer-by threw a pride flag at Ms Charmaine Low, the founder of grain bowl stall Smol
  • She had displayed the flag at the stall’s outlet in Lau Pa Sat in support of the LGBTQ community
  •  Ms Low said that she was stunned, but will continue to display the flag
  • Some customers and online users have shown support for the stall
  • The police confirmed that a report on the incident was made and investigations are ongoing

 

SINGAPORE — A woman whose stall was at the centre of an alleged homophobic incident on Monday (Jan 18) said that she will continue to leave the pride flag on display despite having a passer-by throw it at her.

On Monday, at around noon, a man had thrown the flag at Ms Charmaine Low, the founder of grain bowl stall Smol, after asking why the flag was there.

The rainbow-coloured flag, which is intended to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, has been on display at the store’s counter at Lau Pa Sat food court since the outlet opened last November.

Despite being “stunned” by the incident, Ms Low, 25, told TODAY on Tuesday that she will continue to keep the flag up in support of the community.

Although she said that she did not file a police report, she was informed by the police that several reports had been made about the incident after she put up closed-circuit television footage of the incident on Facebook.

She added that she provided a statement to the police on Tuesday afternoon.

In response to queries from TODAY, the police confirmed that a report was filed and investigations are ongoing.

In an account and video of the incident on the stall’s Facebook page on Monday, Ms Low said that the man, whom she does not know, had noticed the flag after browsing other stalls nearby.

After Ms Low replied that the flag was to show support for the LGBTQ community, the man then allegedly said: “Do you know that this is a public food court? Not everybody supports LGBT. How can you put this flag?”

He then proceeded to throw the pride flag at her and accuse her and her staff members of “destroying Singapore”, Ms Low said on Facebook.

Speaking to TODAY on Tuesday, Ms Low said: “From the moment he asked, I felt that something was about to happen. From his tone, he seemed to already know what the flag was for but had asked to incite a conversation that was just not nice.”

Ms Low said that the stall’s other outlet at Paya Lebar Quarter has also had a pride flag on display since the middle of last year.

While most customers usually question what the flag is for or ask why the stall supports the LGBTQ community, nothing of “such a hateful nature” occurred up till yesterday, Ms Low said.

The other staff member on duty, who is hearing-impaired, became aware of the altercation only after the man threw the flag, Ms Low said.

She added that the staff member was “quite wary” on her way to work on Tuesday morning because she was concerned that the man may return.

Ms Low said that she also put the flag back up right after the incident because she wanted to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

"I believe in conversations, and that is what the pride flag is for and about. You may disagree with us, but at the end of the day, we are all Singaporeans. There is no need to resort to violence."

Twice as many customers visited the stall at Lau Pa Sat on Tuesday compared with the day before to show support for Smol, Ms Low said. Many have also sent her supportive messages online, she added.

There was an outpouring of support from online users on Smol’s Facebook page.

Facebook user Kenneth Woo commented that it “is people like (the man) who destroy Singapore because such attitudes pervade their lives and ethics”.

Another user, Mr Kamy Yeow, described the man’s actions as “uncalled for” and said that he should have spoken nicely with the people manning the stall.

“Behaving in such a manner only degrades society as a whole,” he added.

In response to queries from TODAY, Pink Dot SG, which organises the annual rally in support of the LGBTQ community, said that it is not aware of any instances where businesses have gotten into trouble with the law for supporting the LGBTQ community.

“Certain groups or individuals may not feel as supportive of the LGBTQ community in Singapore. They may also disagree that businesses should be allowed to show their support, even if there is no rule prohibiting it,” a Pink Dot SG spokesperson said.

“While it is their right not to patronise these businesses, they should not be allowed to take matters into their own hands and confront these businesses in a threatening or hostile manner.”

Related topics

LGBTQ homophobia F&B Smol flag

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa