Bar top dancing a go-go as strait-laced S'pore loosens up

  Agence France Presse
July 10, 2003

BAR top dancing has finally been given the green light in normally strait-laced Singapore as authorities, who for years have kept a tight rein on fun, show gradual signs of loosening up.

Police this week revoked a law that banned revellers in bars and clubs from dancing in places deemed unsuitable, while also expanding the number of entertainment outlets allowed to operate 24 hours a day.

Getting up on a bar was one of the areas deemed out of bounds, with party goers facing a fine of S$750 (US$430) if they climbed up to perform.

Establishment owners faced losing their licenses if caught twice allowing patrons on top of the bar.

A police spokesman told AFP Thursday the ban had previously been considered a "safety and order" issue, with the high possibility of fights and disorderly behaviour after excessive alcohol consumption.

"The bar-top is also pretty narrow and high, it's not made for dancing and with excess alcohol, you may get yourself hurt and others as well," he said, adding that the onus was now on owners to ensure safety.

The announcement has generated excitement within Singapore's entertainment industry.

"We have already called some designers in to look at putting in various elevated platforms and railings around the room, including bar tops and ledges," the general manager of the popular China Jump bar and restaurant told

"It certainly adds to the atmosphere of the room," the general manager, giving his name only as Jonty, said.

Other regulation changes include 24-hour licensing for entertainment venues in non residential districts.

Restrictions on performers at nightclubs and bars mingling with the customers, put in place to discourage prostitution, have also been relaxed.

Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong last year hinted in his National Day Rally speech that Singapore, famed for censorship of racy films and magazines, would relax some social restrictions as a part a drive to encourage creativity.

"Maybe we shall allow dancing on bar tops," Goh had said prophetically.