Vincent’s Lounge – 11th Anniversary
Almost before we realized it, another year has gone by and on May 18th 2000 it will be 11 years since Vincent’s Lounge first opened for business.
Once again, our heartfelt appreciation for your continuing support and may we look forward to many more years of happy times and fond memories at Vincent’s.
Through the years one of the many questions that is put to us, a zillion times, is; how’s the “climate” in Singapore these days?
Maybe it is appropriate at this point to offer our observations and opinions on the situation in Singapore today.
The gay scene here is certainly more open now, and the atmosphere more relaxed, than a decade ago. That is without a doubt. The word ‘gay’ is also more audible and visible now, whereas ten years ago, people were afraid even to breathe it. Vincent’s Lounge, for many years, was the only gay-friendly establishment, but now, there are about a dozen other venues of varying levels of commitment.
Although the laws still penalise ‘unnatural acts’ and ‘acts against the order of nature’ they are hardly ever enforced except in situations where criminal force is used or which involve an unwilling partner. No-one is likely to come knocking on your door checking on you J
Recently there was a write up in the local papers on the subject of these ‘archaic laws’ – on whether it’s time to do away with them. There were quite a few responses to that write up – most rather positive.
A public forum on ‘Gays and Lesbians Within Singapore’ is scheduled on the 28th of this month. However, the application for holding the forum is still pending. Hopefully, permission will be granted. That, in itself, will be a milestone for the gay scene here. In relation to this forum, a survey is being conducted on the attitudes of the Singapore public towards homosexuality.
Things are changing – albeit slowly. In this modern age of MTV and the Internet, mindsets and attitudes are bound to change as people gain more exposure to the outside world and its influences. The younger generation of gays are, as always, more daring, restless and rebellious and this has also given the general public a greater awareness of the gay population.
And before anyone bemoans the pace of change one should think for a moment how ready you are for the change.
Indeed, we find that people are more afraid of their straight friends and family, than the government, finding out about their sexual orientation. Decriminalisation of homosexuality in this case would not help much.
Change has to come also from within the community, from the individual as well as society and government. If all the gays in Singapore ‘come out’ to their families and friends, and they can gain their support and acceptance, then half the battle is won. It will be easier to talk about changing the laws then.
Even our Senior Minister has said as much; it is not for the government to decide on the subject of homosexuality. Rather it’s whether the people are ready to accept others who lead an alternative lifestyle.
And we believe the government would be more than happy to go along with the sentiments of the population than to have to rule on the acceptance of homosexuality which might make them unpopular with many people.
Personally, we think many gays here are quite happy with the situation as it is. That is – being left to live their lives. Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies. Indeed, in Singapore, one is quite free to go about their life so long as their lifestyle doesn’t impinge on others.
Sometimes you hear people complain about how boring Singapore is. Well, if you look hard enough, you will find that it is the people themselves who are boring, who don’t know what they want, or have misconceptions on how life is elsewhere.
Some of you might not agree fully with our views, but they are our own and we are happy to air them for your consideration.
It was time for the balloons and streamers again in Lucky Plaza last night as the oldest gay bar in the Lion City celebrated it’s eleventh anniversary. Eleven years is a long time for any bar to survive, and in fact Vincent’s now ranks as one of the oldest bars of any persuasion in Singapore. As well as floral presentations and other gifts to mark the occasion, attached to the notice board were copies of many e.mailed messages of appreciation and support from around the world. Although Vincent’s Lounge is not everyone’s cup of tea there is no doubt that for such a small place it does have an extremely global presence.
However, apart from my personal appreciation of a very enjoyable evening - the drinks were flowing, and priced even lower than when the bar opened in 1989 – I wanted to draw Signellers’ attention to Vincent’s Anniversary Message, which may give scope for a fair amount of discussion. Reproduced below in plain text, you can also view it in living colour, – and see the rest of his site if you wish – by clicking the following link;
Food for thought ??