So since I posted the latest blog post, I’ve had some people ask me why I decided to take a stand on this, given that this seems like something so small and inconsequential. After all, Lawrence Khong is just putting on a magic show and he is not putting on an “anti-gay” show.
Someone asked me to “Grow Up”
What does it mean to Grow Up? If it means to make logical and well thought out requests, I think I have done that. I have not thrown any tantrums. I have not called for a boycott of IKEA or campaigned for Lawrence Khong’s show be cancelled. I have not requested the other sponsors/partners of his show to stop supporting him. After all, I don’t know who they are and they have not made a public and global stand for diversity and equal rights over the last 20 years. However, I’ve been a loyal customer of IKEA and part of the reason is because I agree with their values and policies. So now all I ask is that IKEA review whether promoting Lawrence Khong, a man known for his anti-gay views, is in line with their global policy of having “a positive influence on societies” in the countries that IKEA operates in.
I say this because there is evidence that it is not just a magic show.
The magic shows produced by Lawrence Khong are evangelical vehicles. My proof comes from their website about a similar show they did in Hong Kong last year called Magic Nova.
Screenshot from Gateway Entertainment website
Do note that they do not talk about what the “stars” were, however, they talk about the “novas that will carry and continue that light”. So what are the stars?
From FCBC’s website, same picture, with more information captured below.
Screenshot from FCBC website
The stars are actually audience members who “responded to the altar call” and “made the commitment to shine for Jesus”. There is no mention of this evangalising on the Gateway Entertainment website. However, more details are available on the FCBC website including how it was mostly children who responded to his altar call.
Screenshot from FCBC website
It is clear from the almost similar press releases found on both Gateway Entertainment & FCBC websites that these two entities are closely linked and related. In fact, Gateway Entertainment is owned by FCBC. However, the part where the children were the ones who responded to the altar call was again conveniently left out in the Gateway Entertainment website. The entire segment does not even exist on their website – proof here.
So what am I trying to prove?
I am simply pointing out that this is not just any magic show. It has long been documented that the magic shows put on by Lawrence Khong are a way of getting people exposed to his church. It is a pathway for people to join FCBC. In fact, VISION is touted as their gateway into China and one of their five focuses for this year. I have no problems with it as long as Gateway Entertainment and FCBC are upfront and honest in the advertising and promotions of the event. This includes highlighting that it is led by a Christian pastor who will be sharing his Christian values and organising an altar call.
So yes, I have a problem with a show that is masquerading as “a theatrical illusion performance that offers high family entertainment value” when it’s really the sales funnel for a church. A church that is led by Lawrence Khong who has publicly stated that accepting the LGBTQ community is “no good for Singapore.”
My biggest frustration stems from the fact that people think I am making a mountain out of a molehill. However, in this case, I felt that IKEA had no idea what they were endorsing when they signed up to promote Lawrence Khong’s magic show. Did they know it’s an evangelising vehicle? Are they comfortable with continuing to support an event that seeks to convert its audience? If yes, can IKEA please include this information in their promotion of the event so that IKEA Family members who may want to see the show are aware of what they are about to buy tickets to see?
As LGBTQs living in Singapore, we are often told to just lead our own lives and not to bother anyone. Every time, we try to stand up for our rights, we are told that society is not ready. Even when we try to hold a peaceful, love centric event like Pink Dot, there are groups that insist the government should shut it down. The LGBTQ community has constantly been accused of trying to polarise society by raising various issues including this and “Penguin gate”. Yet, when other parties raise it, it’s for the good of Singapore. I think it is ridiculous to expect us to sit down and shut up, especially when we see something that needs to be called out. Personally, I am standing up for this because I feel the sneaky agenda has been quite well hidden from public view, as you can see from the 2 different press releases. I think it’s time the truth was exposed. I really hope IKEA sees and understand the true meaning of what their association with Lawrence Khong means. With this information, I hope IKEA makes the right decisions.