I last trampled upon the grass at Hong Lim Park in 2015. The occasion was the Purple Parade (I also showed my face at the preceding editions) and, before that, Pink Dot a further couple of years back. On Sunday, I’ll finally be back.. for the concert by an international pop sensation: “The Fabulous Recalcitrants: Songs, Poems & Passages for Jolovan Wham”.
By the way, I’m not sure what colour the “large cloth” will be (the one we’re supposed to write messages of support on) but I hope it will be fabulous rainbow hues – to represent all the people, regardless of race, language or religion or nationality, Jolovan has been helping for so many years.
Jolovan’s best friend is.. someone else. I’m not a good friend of his either. In fact, I’m not even more than an acquaintance. So why? We first met during a workshop or some event at NCSS, I think, seated at the same table (I was with a VWO then). And I already know of him by reputation alone, to be more precise, because of his gritty nose-to-the-ground work with HOME and his run-ins with MOM and assorted authorities, always fighting the good fight for exploited migrant workers and foreign domestic workers. And I admire and respect what he was (and is) doing because, unlike him, I lack the courage of my convictions.
After that, we managed to catch up twice over makan and beer and tea, swapping stories about work and life (and fundraising ideas! we’re always parched for cash it seems). It was clear from our chats, and as anyone who gets to know Jolovan will realise, that he cares for people and their rights and welfare and dignity. Sure, we all do. But most of us don’t do. And that won’t do!
Now, in the eyes of the law, he is deemed a vandal, a recalcitrant offender accused of illegal assemblies, and even a disrespect-er of our national flag. But in the eyes and minds and hearts of many, Jolovan represents justice, service to others, community spirit and, yes, patriotism.
He is not alone.
And we are not alone.
Written in response to Community Action Network’s post.