Our little red dot is clean, green and everything in between. Many have also likened it to being a “fine city.” Here are one of the reasons why.
Did you know this “dystopian homeland” as Lenne Chai describes, is a place where homosexuality is criminalised by Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code and punishable for up to two years in prison? That’s rough.
Raised in Singapore and based in New York, Lenne Chai is a photographer and director by profession. Having shot for magazines since the age of 19, her work has been featured in titles such as Elle, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, NYLON, TeenVogue, V Magazine, and more. Pretty impressive portfolio you’ve got there, Lenne.
While she’s based over on the other side of the world, Lenne was still heavily inspired to release a series of pictures visualising a same-sex wedding celebration. The dreamscape takes inspiration from her own parents’ wedding in the 80s’ – the bright lights, the yellow tint and that faint blur that makes us all nostalgic.
In an article for Dazed magazine, Emily Dinsdale, who had the pleasure of speaking to Chai, likens the pictures to “someone’s family album”.
Chai christened this mock wedding collection A Singaporean 377A Wedding. Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code refers to the law by which Singaporeans can be punished for homosexual acts by up to two years in prison. In naming the photo collection as such, and depicting a Chinese wedding, it is a subtle but powerful rebellion against the law and the strict values that Asians have against homosexuality. You go, girl!
Even as Pink Dot takes place every year, and discourse surrounding the LGBTQIA+ has grown in recent years, Chai feels that this does not mean that Singapore has accepted the community – instead, as a society, homosexuality is merely tolerated.
But she takes another perspective – the people in the photos wear bright, genuinely happy smiles. This is Chai’s projection, that one day, Singapore will break through the haze of age-old values and embrace the LGBTQIA+ community with open arms. Before then, these pictures give hope to people in the LGBTQIA+ community to continue fighting for their right to love.
I’m hopeful that Section 377A will be repealed, but I’ve got to admit that the fantastical mood of the series reflects how impossible it feels to me. I desperately want it to happen in my lifetime though. Don’t let my dreams be dreams, Singapore!
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