Over in the US, the race for the Oval Office has started.
A number of potential candidates have risen up to challenge Donald Trump in 2020 to be the next president. Over in the Democratic Party, the other major political party other than Trump’s Republican Party, candidates are going on national TV to talk about their political positions so as to win votes.
And one candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand, stood out: before running, a few of her views were, say Position A, but after “visiting Brooklyn” and seeing how wrong she was, her views changed to Position B.
But at least she stood firm to her change in views.
Over in Singapore, someone faced the same problem, but instead of doing a “visiting Brooklyn”, he decided to bail out altogether instead.
Pink Dot Singapore 2019
Lest you’re not aware, the next Pink Dot Singapore would be held on 29 June 2019 at Hong Lim Park.
The annual event, which has been running since 2009, has often attracted massive crowd and media coverage. An event in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Singapore, attendees would form up to create a “pink dot” to show support for inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love, so if you’re going, please make sure you’re not colour blind and wear the wrong colour.
In addition, there would be concert performances and booths sponsored by organizations supporting the LGBT community and causes, and ambassadors (usually popular celebrities) would also promote the event.
Last year, the ambassadors includes celebrities like Patricia Mok, Tan Kheng Hua, Adrian Pang, Lim Yu Beng, Janice Koh and more.
And this year, if you go to their Facebook Page, you’d see the ambassadors immediately, which comprises Beatrice Chia-Richmond, Internet funny queen Preeti Nair and her brother, and Tosh Rock.
Nothing wrong with the ambassadors…except that after the announcement, people realised something.
Meet Tosh Rock, aka the guy who acted as Sergeant Ong in Ah Boys to Men
Even if you’ve not switched your analogue TV to Digital TV, you would still know about Tosh Rock, the rapper who played Sergeant Ong in Ah Boys to Men.
Ever since the 29-year-old’s shot to fame since 2012, he has been active on mainstream media and new media, taking roles in both the small screen and the big screen, and coming out with singles.
With over 334K followers in Instagram and 96K subscribers on YouTube, you can say that he’s an influencer as well.
But people spotted tweets that suggested that he might be homophobic.
On the exact day that Tosh was announced as an ambassador, someone managed to dig out dirt from his past.
And it’s a series of Tweets that were less than friendly to the LGBT community.
If you can’t see, here are the images:
No doubt that has angered netizens.
Tosh’s First Apology
Like any normal human being, Tosh’s response was via Instagram, and through the platform, he did not deny the Tweets but attributed it to him being “ignorant” in the past, and now he’s matured so his views have changed.
Here’s the post in full:
View this post on Instagram
I’m one of the #PinkDot11 ambassadors this year & I’m supporting the movement because as a straight Chinese male in Singapore who is of the privileged majority, I wanna do my part & fight against discrimination & stand up for equality for ALL Singaporeans, no matter your race, religion, class, sexual orientation or gender identity. Years ago I used to be ignorant to the pain, struggles & discrimination that our LGBTQ brothers & sisters face everyday. I recall when I was much younger, saying insensitive things about LGBTQ people without giving it much thought or considering how my words would hurt people. Looking back now I feel awful & disgusted that I spoke that way. It had never occured to me back then to try & understand what life was like for them as I had never experienced discrimination in SG as a straight Chinese male and I was oblivious to the unspoken privileges I enjoyed that our minorities don’t. Over the years as I matured, expanded my circle & connected with people from various walks of life all over the globe, my views evolved & changed. I learnt to treat & respect people as HUMAN before anything else and to measure a person by the content of their character and how they treat others, rather than their race, religion, class, sexual orientation or gender identity. There are people close to me who have inspired or made an impact on me both personally & professionally, who are from the LGBTQ community. They are people I hold dear and it’s saddening to know they face discrimination & stigma from society simply for being who they are. They are our fellow Singaporeans but they’re not accorded the same rights as everyone else. They’re hardly represented in mainstream media. They’re unable to get married to the love of their lives. We’ve an outdated law like 377A which criminalises gay men & though the law is not enforced, the fact that it still exists in a first-world nation like ours, is IMO utterly wrong. The only thing that’s truly constant is change and I believe positive change we can & will achieve, together as ONE people! #LiveAndLetLive #LoveAndLetLove #AgainstDiscrimination
Okay, but it didn’t end there.
A day later, he posted this:
View this post on Instagram
I posted the above to IG in September 2018. I did it because I believe in building a society in Singapore that’s truly based on equality and I want my friends of the LGBTQ community to be accorded the same rights as everybody else. But it seems like nobody remembers when I try to do something positive. Nobody went to go dig this IG post up like they did my old tweets from nearly a decade ago, or the other posts and interviews in recent years where I spoke up for LGBTQ rights. No media covered it like they’re doing now when I was promoting something positive and spreading the message of love & acceptance. But now, all the attention is here and what is reported widely is only the mindless tweets I posted when I was so much younger & immature, a totally different person and time so far removed from who I am and what I stand for today in 2019. I’m sorry for what I did back then but I’m saddened that only the bad from the past is highlighted and focused on widely.
In it, he uploaded a screenshot of what he posted in September 2018, when he advocated for a repeal of Section 377A, which is a position to support the LGBT community. He mentioned that people only remembered the negative things he had said about the community when he was younger, and forgot about the positive things he said recently.
Think that everything’s over?
The very next day, Sergeant Ong decided that enough is enough.
He’s stepping down.
Instagram TV to announce his stepping down
If there’s anything to learn from the recent sagas, it’s this: Instagram isn’t just a platform for people like BuffLord95 or XiaoBeach73 to show others what they had for lunch.
It’s for important announcements.
Tosh posted this video yesterday:
He has decided to step down as an ambassador because he didn’t want him to be a distraction for the event. As he fought his tears, he once again mentioned his stand that he’s no longer the same person in the past, and he hoped people would judge him for the man he is now and not the boy he used to be.
Then the manly guy cried and apologised again.
Pink Dot SG Surprised
It seems like Tosh’s decision was not discussed with the organisers of Pink Dot, as they too were shocked at the sudden decision.
Here’s what they’ve written lest you can’t read it:
Statement on Tosh Rock’s decision to step down as Pink Dot Ambassador
The news of Tosh Zhang’s decision to step down as Pink Dot Ambassador has come as a surprise to us, as we were in the process of reaching out to him for discussion. Pink Dot SG has always advocated for the change of hearts and minds of Singaporeans where their views on LGBTQ rights are concerned. We believe the evolution of Tosh’s views over the years is a demonstration of the empathy and understanding that many Singaporeans are capable of. We respect Tosh’s decision to step down as our ambassador, and hope that he will continue to stand up for love and equality as a strong ally of the LGBTQ community.
Tosh Rock Social Media Turning Into Ashes Temporarily
Two hours after the emotional video, Tosh posted this:
If you can’t read, here’s what he has written as an Instagram post:
I can’t please everyone and I will not try to. I will no longer explain myself further or try to justify myself any further from this moment on. The amount of hate I’ve gotten this few days has been overwhelming and as much as I’m trying not to let it get to me, it’s getting to me. I tried to be strong and ignore it all but I’m only human and I have moments where I am weak and vulnerable. But I will do my best. I will learn from this whole experience and I will grow to be a better man. Thank you to all who took the time to send me love and messages of encouragement. To those who sent me hate, I don’t feel any hate towards you and I hope you find peace in your heart. I’m going to take a rest from social media now. Goodbye.
The summary in one word? He’s quitting social media temporarily.
One can only wonder this: is he going to be a Daryl Aiden Yow, or an Eden Ang?
I hope it’s a Daryl Aiden Yow. This guy’s talent really shouldn’t be wasted. What say you?