Singapore’s iconic nightclub, Zouk, is more than just a club for 35-year-old Jona Neo. She met her future husband at the venue.
“It was 1998 and Zouk was having its Halloween party that night,” said Neo who has been married for 13 years now and has two children. “When we got married, we even took our wedding pictures there.”
She is among the thousands of Singaporeans rallying online to convince authorities to save one of the world’s best nightclubs from shutting down.
The club’s Jiak Kim Street lease will cease at the end of the year. Its owner had said previously that he would shut down the club if he was unable to get a three-year lease. There are no plans to relocate the establishment which many say helped put the country on the international clubbing map. It has been at the same address for 23 years and plans are already under way by the club to host farewell parties.
Zouk’s current location has seen many new residential developments popping up over the last decade and residents have been complaining about the noise and litter left behind by club-goers.
The club – ranked No 7 in a list of the world’s top clubs by the influential DJ Mag in the UK – is well-known for its fiercely loyal customers and for constantly hosting the world’s best DJs.
The magazine called for support against the club’s closure and encouraged fans to use the hashtag #SaveZouk. The save-zouk.com website had garnered more than 20,000 signatories by Saturday afternoon. A video of local celebrities expressing their support has also been making the rounds on social media.
Shabnam Melwani, director at Jay Gee Melwani Group and a popular business figure in Asia, holds fond memories of the venue.
“I got my first job at MTV after I met one of the producers at Zouk,” said the former communication director at MTV Asia. “It’s a bit similar to the former National Library when it was demolished to make way for an expressway. We are losing many of the places that hold special memories for many Singaporeans.”
The old National Library building at Stamford Road was demolished in 2005. It was an iconic destination for many.
There was also widespread disapproval when it was announced that a road would be built through Bukit Brown cemetery, which contains rich biodiversity and the graves of many important pioneers of Singapore.
Singaporeans have also been lamenting the demise of other iconic buildings and areas that have historical relevance and hold special memories. However, to their credit, the authorities have also tried to ensure certain structures and historical buildings have been well preserved or used by businesses without changing the look of the premises.
Hinn Ong, a Singaporean architectural designer, said most of the places were being altered due to market forces. He said the reality was that there was much pressure for limited space in Singapore.
“It is a pity that we are losing so many places that are part of our national, social and personal memories, of course. We should consider preserving parts of older government housing estates as they are part of our national heritage as well,” said Ong, who pointed out the vast changes that have taken place in Queenstown, Singapore’s earliest housing estates.
But the designer says that finding the right balance between preserving places that hold fond memories for Singaporeans and modern development is not easy.
Online campaign launched to save famous Singapore nightclub Zouk