30 Jan 2007

Tight restrictions force topless bar to kiss Singapore goodbye

Describing a city that has legal prostitution as prudish is in my mind rather strange. I have not really been following the announced closure too much other than what I have been reading on other sites. I thought all the male tourists were simply visiting other 'dens of debauchery'.

I was not aware that Crazy Horse was restricted in its advertising campaign. It is no great surprise that the authorities would block adverts with scantily clad women in them. So it would be interesting to see the actual adverts that were blocked. Or were they simply refused permission to advertise at all at airports and in taxis?

I also remember the Australian Tourism Board having difficulty over an advert that contained the utterance, 'bloody'.

Guess this site is never going to go mainstream unless I change the name.

· Parisian revue to shut down after advertising ban
· Closure a setback for city-state's tourism drive

Ian MacKinnon, south-east Asia correspondent
Tuesday January 30, 2007
The Guardian

Singapore's efforts to cast off its joyless "nanny state" image and rebrand itself as a carefree, fun city that is a magnet for tourists has stumbled with the closure of a Parisian topless revue barely a year after it opened.

The Crazy Horse Paris cabaret, on the south-east Asian city-state's riverfront, was unveiled with great fanfare. It was hailed as a leading attraction in Singapore's battle to boost visitor numbers. But tomorrow night the 15 dancers in little more than wigs, g-strings and stilettos - mostly French, with a smattering of other Europeans - will strut their stuff for the last time 13 months after their first outing.

The Eng Wah Organisation beat off strong competition from other Asian cities, notably Hong Kong and Tokyo, to bag the franchise. Yet it said poor audiences had brought mounting losses after tough advertising restrictions barred images of the women in an attempt to safeguard public morals.

The Crazy Horse venture had secured the endorsement of the city-state's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, the man largely responsible for its prudish squeaky-clean image, and even of its tourism authority.

But Singapore's ministry of information, culture and the arts blocked advertising at the city's international Changi airport, in taxis and on television and radio. Even newspaper and magazine advertisements faced tight restrictions.

The twice-nightly, 100-minute mix of music and light that has played to sell-out audiences since it opened in Paris 55 years ago, could barely half-fill the 400-seat theatre most nights, despite its prime spot in the buzzy Clarke Quay entertainment district.

The closure will force Eng Wah to write off losses of $4.6m (£2.3m). Its managing director, Goh Min Yen, said Singapore might not have been ready for the show. "We may have brought it a little early," she said. "I believe that Singapore has the potential to support a vibrant nightlife and there will be future opportunities that we can explore."

But the dark theatre does not augur well for Singapore's goal to double tourist numbers to 17 million annually by 2015 with new entertainment. Two casino resorts are planned, a further sign that some in Singapore wish to continue easing social controls.

Bar-top dancing is no longer illegal and Singaporeans can now buy chewing gum at pharmacies. The ban in place for 12 years after Mr Lee was alarmed by the sticky mess on Singapore's famously clean streets was lifted two years ago - provided buyers give their name and identity card number when they make the purchase.


Anonymous said...

The IRs will last just a bit longer.

A schizophrenic approach to the vices of the world. You love the vice but do not want the sin - a spiritual impossibility.

Anonymous said...

This is what happened as to how Crazy Horse show came to singapore...

"Hmm...we need to make Singapore more culturally vibrant, like Paris or London."

"Erm, sir, i went to Paris for holidays the last time, and i saw busloads of people queueing up for Moulin Rouge...they all look Japanese"

"Hmm...maybe we should have something similar in Singapore, so that high-income Japanese tourists will come to Singapore instead of Paris."

"Sir, i hear that HK and Shanghai are trying to attract the Crazy Horse show to their cities. i think we can potong jalan them and offer a higher price for the franchise! let's go for it. Get one of our cronies to host and fund this. this will show that Singapore is loosening up and we are culturally diverse!! Good idea, Minister... make sure you request for a good bonus at the end of the year."

a few months later...

"Oi, how come no one tell me that Crazy Horse involves displaying of breasts! this cannot do. It will destroy our moral values. make sure Eng Wah does not advertise, and the shows are toned down. otherwise, our children will have yellow minds...."

Matilah_Singapura said...

Why all the fuss over a business that failed to meet investors' expectations on the return on investment?

Eng Wah knew full well what they were getting into. They made a bad call, that's business and that's life. No one is perfect.

Eng Wah didn't do their market research properly — the Crazy Horse shows are "old fashioned", and the general opinion is that there's not enough "value received" for the prices paid.

The government's restriction on advertising did not cause the cabaret to fail. After all, they had plenty of media coverage.

In fact, it was word of mouth — i.e. the "free advertising" by general opinion — that was Crazy Horse's death knell.

That folks, is Market Democracy. The reality is that The Customer is KING.

Anonymous said...

Ya man. Real crowd pullers have whores parading naked with their pussy hairs shaved.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, good riddance to the Crazy H-orses or H-Arses......they have just trodden off to the backyards of Paris.

Good try to the self-serving investors investors and sorry for their losses. They merely copied this idea from Paris; invested and hoped to sap our conservative minds in Singapore purely on commercial and selfish reasons, not really for our mental health and souls. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose from a purely business angle.

So good riddance to those who try to exploit our country with their Crazy Plot!