Archive of Vincent’s Lounge’s 11th Anniversary message (18 May 2000)

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.

Cheers,

Vincent

……………………………

Comments:

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;

http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/8218/Anniv.html

Food for thought ??

Andy.

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About groyn88

Ultraliberal advocate of universal human rights, justice and fair play.
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