It’s almost no surprise that the most common reaction from netizens about the proposed law to ban public consumption of alcohol in public places from 1030pm to 7am is outrage and torrents of verbal abuse hurled towards the law makers.
I’m in the age group that this law is most probably targeted towards – early 20s, and always pre-drinking outside Zouk and Clarke Quay because all my peers are too broke to afford to buy drinks inside establishments. Having said that, I can see the benefits of the law, even if I hate it on the sole basis of having to pay more for alcohol or finding alternative places to drink.
It’s really a long time coming. Earlier last year we’ve seen and heard complaints from residents near Jiak Kim Street (where Zouk is located) about the noise and mess that revellers make three times a week. Barring that, any person can just take a walk on the alleys behind Zouk to find puddles of vomit, leftover liquor bottles, melted ice, empty cigarette boxes and upended plastic cups strewn all over the place.
It is the anti-social behaviour that the Bill is seeking to curb.
Anti-public drinking and intoxication laws are common, especially in Asia. For instance, public drunkenness is illegal in Japan, and drinking in public is illegal in India. It remains to be seen, however, if this law in Singapore is going to be a law that will be strictly enforced. Similarly, it is technically illegal to drink in public in both the United Kingdom and United States, but these laws are rarely strictly followed unless the person in question is acting disorderly.
Perhaps the timing of this Bill could have been better. After all, it’s been a scarce few months since the banning of shisha was made legal, and many citizens are still up in arms about how Draconian and controlling the government seems to be. While reactions would still undoubtedly be negative, citizens would probably be more accepting if it didn’t come so hot on the heels of the shisha ban.
And why not? If you get protection by the law from a fierce dog and their owners, why not be accorded the same protection from an unpredictable drunk?