Picture credits: Zouk Singapore
By Amos Ang
If you haven’t heard by now, Zouk – the old-timer of the local club scene could be shutting its doors for good at the end of this year. Widely regarded as one of the most popular clubs in not just Singapore but around the world, this veteran hangout that clinched 7th place in DJ Magazine’s most recent poll of top 100 clubs internationally is on course to be the latest victim of urban redevelopment. As of today, over 25000 signatures have been gathered in an online petition to save it from developers.
Saving Zouk might not make sense in the eyes of urban planners, but there are a host of reasons why Zouk should stay.
Our commitment to the tourist dollar is well documented, as evident from the whole episode with the integrated resorts. Zouk’s standing as a tourist attraction is unquestionable, having clinched the Singapore Tourism Board’s Best Nightspot Award 10 times in between 1996 and 2013. Having Zouk close would be akin to tearing down the Merlion, a move that would see a drop in the number of visitors and a significant loss of revenue.
Financial factors aside, Zouk also leads several cultural initiatives such as Mambo Jambo and ZoukOut, the former being a music genre combining a mix of house, 70s and 80s pop music and its own unique set of dance moves. Its retro themed success has seen many imitators but not one genuine contender. In this land where original creative ideas are few and far between, Zouk’s closure would sound the death knell for one of our few cultural creations that are not just a modified rip off of what other places are offering.
More importantly though, is the Zouk experience that numerous clubbers can attest to, an experience that has and will leave an impression, even if it is one’s first, or fiftieth visit. While having Zouk relocate is an option, it is an option that will cause this unique experience to be diluted.
To top if off, the memories of many clubbers, both past and present have been forged at this iconic nightspot. From the stag nights that went a little too far, to the comical tales of the fairer sex abandoning all pretence of comfort and ditching their high heels after a rigorous night of dancing, it will be with no small pang of melancholy and regret should we be forced to bid adieu to this riverside stalwart.