Bill to regulate public drinking unpopular with young clubbers

SINGAPORE - Proposed laws to ban public drinking from 10.30pm to 7am could prove unpopular with young clubbers, but have been welcomed by residents living near entertainment districts.

The late-night happenings around Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay have caused many living there to complain about the noise and littering that takes place on weekends and on Wednesday's Ladies Nights.

When The Straits Times visited the area on Friday night, as many as 500 people - mostly young adults in their early 20s - were drinking in public after buying alcohol from retail shops such as nearby 7-Elevens. In the vicinity of nightclub Zouk, groups of friends sat in circles on the floor drinking. On Read Bridge at Clarke Quay, young people, including exchange students, lined the sides, many with drinks in hand.

They said they preferred to get a buzz first from cheaper alcohol bought from convenience stores, before heading to clubs where drinks are more expensive. Even at midnight, there were long queues for drinks at these stores, which currently cannot sell alcohol from between 3am and 6am. The proposed Bill will not allow retail shops to sell alcohol after 10.30pm as well.

Student Desiree Chen, 21, said: "I can understand the rationale behind this, but maybe they can be more flexible about it, such as pushing back the timing of the ban in drinking places like Clarke Quay or restrict it to only residential zones."

Another student, Mr Khoo Wei Hao, 19, added: "There shouldn't be a ban here as it is a commercial entertainment spot. It will be less 'happening' if there is a ban. Businesses will be affected too."

But residents there said that they welcome the new Liquor Control Bill. A resident of Watermark condominium at Robertson Quay who wanted to be known as Mr Tan, 42, said: "There are broken glasses and a lot of littering on Wednesdays and weekends. The restrictions will help address the problem."