Woman goes to police after people yanked her pride flag twice

Rainbow flag lying at the foot of a housing block. Photo: Sheni Nedumaran via Oogachaga
Rainbow flag lying at the foot of a housing block. Photo: Sheni Nedumaran via Oogachaga

A woman is hoping that the police would take action after unknown individuals yanked a pride flag from her window twice on Tuesday. 

Sheni Nedumaran, 33, was working from home on Tuesday when the incidents happened at around 1pm and 3pm, she said. They happened just a little over a week after police officers visited her home in response to complaints about the rainbow cloth that had been hanging at her window since the start of June.  

“Several days later, on 29 June, the Pride rainbow flag was forcibly ripped off and thrown to the ground. When it was put back up, within hours it was ripped off again. It is not known if it was the same person(s) on both occasions,” said a statement by Oogachaga, a group catering to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, or LGBT, that the woman also volunteers for. A police report has been lodged. 

“We sincerely hope that the Singapore Police Force will thoroughly investigate these 2 acts of vandalism, and bring justice to Sheni and her family, and restore safety to the neighbourhood,” it added.

Photos shared by Oogachaga showed the said flag lying at the foot of a housing block with captions that appeared to have been written by Sheni. They said that Sheni was at home, located on the ground floor of an HDB public housing block, when she heard “a loud bang” from her window that was later “trashed open as few hateful people violently yanked the flag off and ran away.”

“I was too shook to respond fast enough and didn’t see who. But put the flag up again,” the photo caption said, later adding: “Not long later someone yanked the flag down again.”  

After this article was published, Sheni told Coconuts that she had heard at least two different voices when the incident happened, but they “ran away so fast.”

“I live on the last flat, around the corner. In a second, you’ll just disappear out of my view from my window,” the diversity and inclusion manager said.

It is not illegal to hang pride flags in Singapore, and this was something that police officers had also communicated to Sheni when they visited her on June 21. During that visit, Sheni said that she found herself feeling “very confused” after being told by police that it was best she took down the flag. But she will leave the flag as it is, she told Coconuts, and might even hang another one on the front door. 

This is not the first case of Singaporeans being triggered by rainbow flags. Earlier this year, a man threw a rainbow flag at employees of the Smol food kiosk in the central business district.  

In yesterday’s statement, Oogachaga also said: “We would like to categorically state that any attack on Oogachaga volunteers and staff members is an attack on our wider community of volunteers, staff members and clients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer and gender-diverse (LGBTQ+), along with our allies, supporters, and family members.”

The group offers counseling services safe for LGBT individuals.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more details and comments from Sheni Nedumaran

Other stories:

Singapore police deny wrongdoing in arrest of claustrophobic driver
Whoops: The Sydney Morning Herald mistook Hong Kong for Singapore in newsflash

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