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Fridae.com still planning for Nation.05 (Today [Singapore])
10 Dec, 2004

DESPITE a recent clampdown by the police on its annual Christmas bash, online gay portal fridae.com will continue to plan for its other mega party, Nation.05, next August, timed to coincide with the National Day holiday.

Mr Stuart Koe, CEO of fridae.com, said he was "shocked" by the decision of the Public Entertainment Licence Unit to reject the application - submitted in October - to organise Snowball.04, meant to be a ticketed indoor event at the Warehouse disco on Havelock Road targeting some 2,000 revellers.

Plans to bring in chart-topping American DJs came to a halt on Wednesday night after the police deemed the event a potentially "gay party" which is "contrary to the public interest in general".

However, fridae.com had been granted eight public entertainment licences over the past three years for similar ticketed events "targeted at the gay and lesbian crowd", said Mr Koe.

"The police have been present at every single event ... We have had a good working relationship with the police in past events."

In a press statement, the police said it "cannot approve any application for an event which goes against the moral values of a large majority of
Singaporeans", and that "future applications for events of similar nature
will be closely scrutinised".

Mr Koe urged the authorities to "reconsider their position".

Mr Paul Tan, a law student and Today letter contributor, asked: "Why the sudden cancellation? Have we become more traditional?"

According to the police statement, "several letters of complaints were
received from some patrons about the openly gay acts at (Nation.04)", organised by Jungle Media, the Singapore subsidiary of fridae.com, this August.

Some 8,000 partygoers turned up for Nation.04, which included an outdoor party at Sentosa.

Said Mr Robin Goh, a spokesman for Sentosa Leisure Group: "We worked with the organisers in ensuring that logistics support and security were more than adequate."

Pointing out that no complaints had been received, he said: "Mega events held on Sentosa have brought much vibrancy and colour not just to Sentosa, but to Singapore, putting us on the map as one of the most unique, exciting and vibrant cities in the world."

One month before fridae.com's application was rejected, Senior Minister of State for Health Balaji Sadasivan had warned of an "alarming Aids epidemic" here, pointing to the "promiscuous and unsafe lifestyle practised by some gays".

MP Charles Chong thinks otherwise, but acknowledged that the Nation parties have become a well-known event - even as far away as Bangkok.

"I think we may be moving at too fast a pace for the authorities or
conservatives to handle.

"It may be better to proceed at a pace that will not result in a backlash
from conservatives." - Tor Ching Li

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