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(a) Read the articles below:

1.Pink Dot 10 –We are ready for a truly equal and inclusive Singapore.

2.‘Only Singaporeans, PRs allowed to attend Pink Dot 2017’’ 

‘MHA says foreign sponsors not allowed for Pink Dot or other events at Speakers’ Corner’ 

3. ‘Traditional Values’ Wear White Campaign Returning on Pink Dot weekend’ 

The articles show that Pink Dot 2018 is into its 10th year (article 1). Sociologically analyse why it seems that while the state may be concerned about an event like Pink Dot (see articles 2a and 2b) they also seem to be willing to let it take place despite opposition from some quarters in society (article 3)?

Your response should be an attempt at applying the sociological imagination and sociological perspectives in a reasoned analysis, and can include insight from your own broader understanding of this issue in Singapore. Further research may be needed to support your arguments. 

(b) A researcher trying to understand how Singaporeans feel about Pink Dot decided to attend the event and interview some of the people there. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of his chosen approach? Critically discuss.

Support for Pink Dot event through Sociological Perspectives

Pink Dot is an event which was started in 2009 with an aim to campaign for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in Singapore (LGBT). This event is organized annually where the people in attendance form groups creating a pink dot. The pink dot is seen as a representation of freedom, love as well as inclusiveness diversity. This event features booths and other concert performances which are sponsored by institutions that maintain the LGBT society. Based on the article (i) provided, Pink Dot 2018 is into its 10th year due to some reasons.

In reference to functionalism which is a sociological perspective, Pink Dot seems to be at its tenth year as it has received much support from the day it was established. This event was seen as a milestone for the individuals in the LGBT society in Singapore. The local celebrities act as the ambassadors for this event which has attracted a large multitude in the recent years (Van Zomeren, Postmes & Spears, 2008). Pink Dot event is also supported by the local and international media and this earns it more support from the society. The international media includes the Reuters, Associated Press, as well as the BBC which are deemed to have a significant influence internationally. Schaefer (2011) argues about the importance of supporting families in a sociological dimension which do not exclude the LGBTs.

Using symbolic interaction as a sociological dimension, Pink Dot seems to be at its tenth year due to the details and symbols of the daily life of Singaporeans. This perspective depicts how the people in Singapore relate to each other which results in more support for the LGBT community ("'Traditional values? wear white campaign returning on Pink Dot weekend," 2016). Sociologist Max Weber asserts that the symbolic interaction perspective holds that people behave based on their perception of the meaning of the universe. In connection with the Pink Dot event, it means that the people in Singapore interpret the LGBT as a community that ensures equality in the society. Therefore, within the past ten years, people have shown much love for the LGBT to avoid conflicts which may arise. Based on symbolic interaction, the Singaporeans are attached to the LGBT symbols and details and they act according to the meanings of the symbols. The symbols for the LGBT may include the dressing, music, flowers, and ceremonies ("Only Singaporeans, PRs allowed to attend Pink Dot 2017: Organisers," 2017). For example, the music may display unending love for the LGBT community which may attract other society members hence the LGBT continues to be supported in the tenth year in Singapore.

Singaporean State’s Support for Pink Dot event

Functionalist sociological perspective can as well be used to explain why the Pink Dot event is into its 10th year in Singapore. This perspective holds that each element is interdependent in the society and has an impact on the entire functioning of the society. In this case, it is evident that the Singaporean government supports the LGBT community as well as the Pink Dot event. From the functionalist perspective, the LGBT community is dependent upon the government to run its activities hence it continues to exist (Burrell & Morgan, 2017). It is clear that the government does not encourage the international sponsorship of the Pink Dot event in Singapore. This step results in a more stable and productive LGBT community. Also, the functionalist community portrays how people join together through cohesion where they agree to work and achieve common goals (SIN, (n.d.). This may be another reason why the Pink Dot event is into its tenth year as they create an LGBT community which intends to work and achieve what is best for them in Singapore. Robert Merton who is an American sociologist divides the functionalist perspective into manifest and latent functions. In regard to the Pink Dot event, manifest function of attending the event is to support the LGBT community while the latent function is to help the Singaporeans discern the values for the LGBT community.

Finally, the conflict perspective in sociology can be used to explain why the Pink Dot is into its 10th year. Marx Karl shows that this perspective challenges the status quo and supports the social changes (Turner, 2017). For this reason, the LGBT community in Singapore maintains its status quo from the support received locally and internationally. This perspective uncovers the humanitarian efforts based on the civil rights, democracy, and altruism which continue to support the Pink Dot event in Singapore.

On the other hand, the Singaporean state is concerned about the Pink Dot event. For this reason, the state allows it to take place regardless of the opposition from the other quarters in the community due to various reasons. The state supports the Pink Dot event to maintain its reputation and avoid deterioration of human rights which may have an impact on the country’s progress. Any state has to invest in its people and also protect their freedoms and rights (Rohall, Milkie & Lucas, 2007). Therefore, if the Singaporean state supports the LGBT community, it expects those people to give back to the nation and avoid unnecessary conflicts that may arise. The government also discourages the foreign institutions from engaging in the domestic issues that prevail in Singapore such as the LGBT issues. Through this tactic, the state protects the LGBT community and support the Pink Dot event to offer a platform that upholds equality in the nation.

Strengths of Interview Approach

There are significant strengths and weaknesses that a researcher intending to undertake an interview to understand how the Singaporeans feel about the Pink Dot event may experience. Starting with the strengths, this approach allows easy speech correction in case of any misunderstanding. The researcher can rectify mistakes that are connected to the interview before presenting the results to the interview board (Boyce & Neale, 2016). Moreover, interview facilitates the development of a good relationship between the researcher and interviewee hence easy understanding of the LGBT issue in Singapore. The researcher can save time by selecting the best responses that may help to understand how people feel about the Pink Dot event. Through the interview approach, the researcher will allow people to give their opinions and this can empower the researcher. It also offers a room for the people who do not wish to express themselves to write down their thoughts about the Pink Dot event. Finally, this approach may help the researcher increase knowledge due to the interchange of opinions.

On the other hand, the weaknesses connected to the interview approach are that the respondents may be long-winded and be out of the topic. This challenge may cause the researcher to have difficult moments as they have to move the interviewee back to the matter of discussion politely. Moreover, the freedom and privacy can be a problem in many settings due to distractions. Also, ideas obtained in the interview may entail bias that may result due to human interaction. This is because the interviewees may encourage or discourage the Pink Dot event intentionally or unintentionally ("Pink Dot 10: We are ready for a truly equal and inclusive Singapore," 2018). For this reason, the researcher will encounter challenges in minimizing bias in the interview process. Also, social desirability is an issue that may arise as people may not give responses based on their actions. In this case, the researcher may encounter hazardous experiences to predict how people feel about the Pink Dot event. Finally, this approach may be of economic disadvantage as there is a need to train the researcher before the interview process commence.

References

Boyce, C., & Neale, P. (2016). Conducting in-depth interviews: A guide for designing and conducting in-depth interviews for evaluation input.

Burrell, G., & Morgan, G. (2017). Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis: Elements of the sociology of corporate life. Routledge.

Only Singaporeans, PRs allowed to attend Pink Dot 2017: Organisers. (2017, May 15). Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/only-singaporeans-prs-allowed-to-attend-pink-dot-2017-organisers-8848488

Pink Dot 10: We are ready for a truly equal and inclusive Singapore. (2018, May 24). Retrieved from https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2018/05/24/pink-dot-10-we-are-ready-for-a-truly-equal-and-inclusive-singapore/

Rohall, D. E., Milkie, M. A., & Lucas, J. W. (2007). Social psychology: Sociological perspectives. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Schaefer, R. T. (2011). Racial and Ethnic Groups: Census Update. Prentice Hall.

SIN, Y. (n.d.). MHA says foreign sponsors not allowed for Pink Dot, or other events, at Speakers' Corner. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/mha-says-foreign-sponsors-not-allowed-for-pink-dot-or-other-events-at-speakers-corner

'Traditional values? wear white campaign returning on Pink Dot weekend. (2016, May 24). Retrieved from https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/network-churches-revives-campaign-wear-white-pink-dot-weekend

Turner, R. (2017). Social psychology: Sociological perspectives. Routledge.

Van Zomeren, M., Postmes, T., & Spears, R. (2008). Toward an integrative social identity model of collective action: A quantitative research synthesis of three socio-psychological perspectives. Psychological bulletin, 134(4), 504.

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[Accessed 14 July 2024].

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