More than 2500 people gathered in Sentosa, Singapore last night to come together as a community to celebrate the country's 37th birthday. Nation02, co-organised by Fridae and Kinemat Productions is widely recognised as Singapore's coming out party since the first time it was held last year.
Dr Stuart Koe, COO of Fridae said: "Nation02 was extremely significant: by repeating the event, we are making a statement. We are for real, and we are here to stay, to be us, and to be a part of you. Our community is not going to hide behind a mask."
Organisers hope that Nation will demonstrate to outsiders that Singapore is not as staid and unforgiving as it is often perceived to be for its gay residents. Many now believe that the government, which is thought to be conservative and anti-gay, has taken a more affable and pragmatic position towards its gay people.
Attendance at this year's event drew higher numbers than the last with close to 500 visitors from the region mainly originating from Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan.
Anthoni Chan, a Hong Konger who is in Singapore for the weekend told Fridae: "This is amazing, I've never been to anything like this in Asia. Whoever said we should skip Singapore because it's dull and sterile should experience this for himself. There was a lot of talk about Nation in the community back home and we are definitely not disappointed. We are really looking forward to Nation03!"
Nation02 which ran from 10pm to 5am, featured two dance areas with top Sydney DJs Luke Leal (long time veteran of the world-famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras) and Mark Alsop (who DJs recurrently at the Mardi Gras Recovery "Frisky" parties); DJ Lisa C. and DJ Borhead as well as a specially produced laser show by Entertainment Media Group (EMG) who produced for the Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as well as other major local events. The party also saw the first appearance of Los Angeles-based Asian star Van Darkholme in Asia.
Organisers will also donate a portion of the proceeds of Nation02 to Action for AIDS (Singapore), which has received more than S$10,000 through Fridae's events last year.
Nation02 is sponsored by Qantas, Pepsi, Planet Fitness and The Gallery Hotel (formerly The Gallery Evason).