Selfie-stick ban at countdown parties for safety reasons

Revellers heading to three big countdown parties this year will have to think of alternative ways to take photographs of themselves, now commonly known as "selfies" and "wefies".

Organisers of the Siloso Beach Party at Sentosa, Celebrate SG50 at The Float@Marina Bay and The Fantasy Countdown at Zouk have all banned the use of selfie sticks for safety reasons.

Around 4,000 to 20,000 people are expected to show up at each of the three events on New Year's Eve on Dec 31.

Also known as monopods, selfie sticks are handheld, extendable poles that can be attached to smartphones and help users take pictures of themselves.

Made mostly of aluminium alloy, some can be more than 1m long when extended.

A spokesman for Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), which is organising the Siloso Beach Party, said: "At many concerts and events, people are not allowed to bring anything that might potentially hurt others, such as umbrellas. The selfie stick is in that category, too. It could hurt someone accidentally."

Dance club Zouk banned selfie sticks at its dance music festival ZoukOut last weekend. Partygoers had to deposit them in lockers before entering the festival venue. The device is also not allowed at the club in Jiak Kim Street.

Zouk operations manager Francis Lau said the club decided to implement the ban after meetings with the authorities. "They serve as potential weapons," he said.

Attendees of the Celebrate SG50 party have been told about the ban online, said Mr Paul Chan, vice-president for channel branding and promotions at MediaCorp, which is organising the party.

Security checks will be carried out at all venue entrances to screen for prohibited items, including selfie sticks, he added.

The Singapore Sports Hub also does not allow event-goers to use selfie sticks inside the National Stadium, according to its website.

Selfie sticks became popular here earlier this year, according to a Sunday Times report in March. They cost from around $10 to more than $50 each.

They are also trendy around the world. In South Korea, for example, they are so widely used that the government recently clamped down on uncertified ones with Bluetooth functions. There had been concerns that such sticks might interfere with the radio frequencies of other devices. Sellers of such gadgets may face jail terms or fines.

While some users of selfie sticks in Singapore, such as 26-year-old creative strategist Yin Loh, feel that comparing the lightweight device to weapons is rather "far-fetched", others are glad that organisers are keeping them out of events.

Corporate communications executive Jason Khor, 28, who went to ZoukOut, said: "They are great to have when you are travelling outdoors. But they could be really annoying at events like ZoukOut. It is crowded and you do not want people swinging those things around and blocking your view."

This article was first published on December 20, 2014.
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