Party on as if there is no tomorrow. The saying threatens to become a harsh reality for Zouk, Asia’s most popular dance venue. Located on the Singapore River, amid waterfront skyscrapers, the club on Jiak Kim Street has received many complaints over the years: Too many people, too much noise, too much dirt. In other words, too much fun. But now it seems the irrate bourgeois neighbors have won out: The island state’s strict government ordered the dance club shut down.
Immediately, some 40,000 fans petitioned to save their beloved party location. Thanks to Save Zouk, Singapore officials granted the club a suspension: Managers have until close of June, 2015, to find a new home for their rave parties; if they manage to present a new lease contract by then, Zouk’s parties can go on for a few more years, however if they fail... well, then, some of Singapore’s citizens will revel in a good night’s sleep.
Three sheds, one vision
The Southeastern melodrama began in 1989 near Robertson quay at the Singapore River’s mouth: Lincoln Cheng, businessman, furniture importer, and Hong Kong Chinese immigrant, bought three dilapidated warehouses, envisioning a night club — and not just any club, parties like the ones he enjoyed on Ibiza, where he regularly vacationed. No club in Hong Kong played house music like what he’d heard on the Balearic Islands. Cheng turned from importing furniture to importing the sound of contemporary Europe.
He restored the old buildings to their original 1919 style, built water pipes, paved the road. He ordered stark white walls and dance floors for multiple levels. Two years later, Zouk opened its doors. The logo, written in pseudo-Arab signs, symbolizes the sun, ocean, and a magic eye; the name calls to mind souks, oriental markets, as well as the music style of the same name, a Lambada-like dance with a creole name that translates as party.