Party days at Zouk

Party days at Zouk

Among the 75 old buildings in Singapore that were gazetted for conservation last week, I noticed a familiar address - Jiak Kim Street. I don't know why but my heart suddenly started racing.

One Google search later, I realised my hunch was right: The famous nightspot Zouk was being conserved.

More accurately, the old restored warehouses that house the 23-year-old dance club were being conserved.

That means the building can never be demolished and whoever owns it in future has to maintain its facade so that the way it looks will be sealed for all posterity.

I could hardly contain my excitement. I even did a little fist pump.

"Now this... THIS is the true objective of conservation," I declared loudly to bemused colleagues. "Zouk is the ultimate repository of collective memories of a whole generation of Singaporeans and it shall never be razed to the ground!"

Minutes later, I felt somewhat deflated when a reporter quietly told me that the building was, of course, not conserved on account of Zouk being located there.

Apparently, the warehouses were used to store goods such as rice and coffee, and they are being conserved because they "played a big role in entrepot trade that was conducted along the Singapore River".

Yeah, yeah, I grumbled. Whatever.

To me, those warehouses on Jiak Kim Street will always be special - and should be conserved for a whole host of reasons that are actually applicable in the current century.

From the economic development perspective, for instance, one could argue that Zouk was one of the early outward symbols of how globalised Singapore was becoming.

At the turn of the millennium, every famous international deejay was lining up to play at Zouk. Big names such as Dave Seaman, Danny Rampling, Derrick May and David Morales were regular visitors and it seemed like Paul Oakenfold would come as often as every few months.

Some of these deejays said Zouk was a unique marvel in the world because its clientele were always on a "natural high, without the drugs".

As its fame spread and music magazines started to name it one of the top clubs in the world, more and more friends overseas heard about Zouk and some would come to Singapore just to visit it.

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