Situation improves after alcohol ban
A DROP TOO MUCH: Drunk partygoers were seen around Zouk. - TNP PHOTOS: CHOO CHWEE HUA
SECURITY: Bouncers dealing with two men who were fighting.
At 3am on a recent Saturday, The New Paper saw a young woman slumped at Jiak Kim Bridge, close to Zouk.
A fight had broken out at the nightclub's carpark. So nobody paid any attention to the woman, who was so drunk she could hardly respond to her male companion.
He eventually carried her and got her into a taxi.
Such scenes used to be played out at Robertson Bridge and Jiak Kim Bridge on most nights. They were popular spots for young people to hang out and drink their store-bought alcohol before going clubbing.
But after complaints by residents and Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah, who has pushed for no-alcohol zones at her constituency (which includes the Robertson Quay area), there has been an increased police presence to curtail public drinking there.
However, residents in the upscale condominiums that dot the area told TNP that they are seeing fewer partygoers near their homes, and that this could be the result of the alcohol ban in the area.
A male resident in the area who wanted to remain anonymous told TNP: "The situation has improved and we don't see as many drunk young people as we used to near our home.
"But sometimes, there are some very young-looking people who drink and pass out, and I wonder to myself - why doesn't the Government raise the drinking age limit?"
Singapore's legal drinking age is 18, compared to 21 in countries like the US.
Ms Shirley Wong, general manager of Riverview Hotel, which has rooms overlooking the Singapore River, is still unhappy about the public drinking problem.
She said: "The situation has not improved. On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, large groups of young people still swamp the pedestrian path behind Riverview Hotel. A cleaner clears the mess left by them on the mornings after these revelries."
Over at Clarke Quay at 3am, empty bottles and cans of booze - some still inside plastic bags from the nearby convenience stores - line Read Bridge, which links the quay to Riverside Point.
The bridge was filled with young people, including tourists and expatriates, drinking alcohol despite the late hour.
Since Oct 1 last year, liquor licensing hours have been shortened in Clarke Quay to curb drunken behaviour in the area. No alcohol can be sold after 3am on Sundays and weekdays, and after 4am on Saturdays and eve of public holidays.
But there's nothing to stop drinkers from buying their booze earlier if convenience stores are banned from selling alcohol beyond midnight.
However, the manager at a restaurant at Clarke Quay, who declined to be named, said things at the area were quieter because "there are a lot of police patrolling and the area's security guards also make sure people don't pass out in public".
True enough, TNP saw one young man passed out near the taxi stand. But he was roused by three security guards and sent on his way.