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Give Me One Reason
Tracy Chapman & Eric Clapton

Saint 2.0

Saturday, June 7, 2008
| 11:51 AM

Saint2 : I am truly appalled by the establishment's blatant discriminatory practice!

June 6, 2008
Free entry for all students
Both local and foreign tertiary students can now get into Powerhouse free before 11pm
By Frankie Chee

NEW POLICY: St James Power Station changes its door policy for entry to its dance club after a complaint by a Singapore student. -- ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

Saint2 : So who says it's wrong to complain? I always believe that if something's amiss, let the organisation know. I cannot stand people who whine nonstop about service or working conditions and do nothing about it for fear of backlashes. Way to go - whoever that local student is!

SINGAPORE'S biggest nightspot, St James Power Station at the Harbourfront, has dropped a controversial door policy giving free entry to foreign tertiary students but not local ones.

From tonight, all tertiary students over 18, both local and foreign, will get in free before 11pm to its main dance club, Powerhouse, if they produce a valid student pass.

St James chief executive Dennis Foo announced the U-turn on the two-year-old door policy after newspaper reports on Wednesday quoted local students as saying it was unfair.

A 25-year-old Singapore student complained to My Paper about being asked to pay a $20 cover charge last Saturday while his four foreign student friends got in free.

Powerhouse, one of St James' nine clubs and live-music rooms, had a sign at its door stating the policy, but it was a surprise to Mr Matthew Rao, 25, a National University of Singapore student, who said: 'Why should foreign students get different treatment? If they live here, why shouldn't they pay as well?'

A contrite Mr Foo told Life! on Wednesday night: 'Where we have erred, then the thing to do is to change. We will grant free entry to all tertiary students.'

Powerhouse is open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

On why it had the policy, he explained: 'Powerhouse, being a dance club, targets the younger set, some of whom are tertiary students.

'But there are so many tertiary institutions here, we can't offer it to all, so we chose foreign students to start with. It was also to give the place a more cosmopolitan feel.

Saint2 : Did I just heard the lame duck quak or does this man have no conscience at all???

'This policy has been in place since Day One and we've had no complaints till now. I nearly fell off my chair when I read about it in the newspapers.'

Saint2 : That had better be an expensive chair which probably broke under his massive weight. The reporter was just trying to be polite. :)

He added: 'If you say I discriminate against locals, that is not true because more than 80 per cent of my patrons are local. I would be mad to discriminate against them.'

Saint2 : Sigh. Some people sure live under a thick veil of denial. Just gracefully admit the folly of your discriminatorhy policy and get on with life.

But are such door policies commonplace among clubs?

Zouk nightclub offers free entry for certain credit card-holders on some nights and has industry nights such as Aircrew Night on Saturdays, when air crew get free entry and a 40 per cent discount on drinks.

The club's marketing manager, Ms Tracy Phillips, explained: 'We are trying to appeal to a target group relevant to our business, and we picked air crew because who else can party and not worry about having to work the next day? But the night is open to others, too. It's just a sweetener for a niche group.'

Students don't get preferential treatment there.

Saint2 : Well put! Zouk does not discriminate within the same group of people unlike some power station.

Over at Ministry of Sound (MOS), both local and foreign tertiary students get in for free before 11pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while air crew go in free daily and get discounts on drinks at the club's Sky Lounge.

Saint2 : Aha! Mr Foo better hide under those broken pieces of the chair in shame.

Mr Bernard Lim, executive vice-president of LifeBrandz, which runs the club, said: 'The patrons at MOS are younger, plus there're not that many working people out on weekdays anyway, so we give students some privileges. They can party on weekdays as they get up later than executives.'

On cover charges, he noted: 'Door policies are under more pressure now because everybody is trying to attract somebody, but the crowd is so small. Bar costs, rental and alcohol have all gone up, but cover charges have not gone up in the last 15 or 20 years because no one dares to do it.'

Others, such as Imaginings Group which runs joints like Balaclava at Suntec Singapore and Wala Wala at Holland Village, do not offer any privileges, apart from occasional ones run with credit card companies.

Group marketing manager Carol Wah said: 'We believe everybody should be treated equally. So, no ladies' nights, media nights or whatever.'

Saint2 : No ladies night? That's a bold move against the scales of economics.

As for Powerhouse's U-turn, a recent graduate from Temasek Polytechnic, Ms Alicia Santa Maria, 20, said: 'It's great for students. The free entry will benefit us because we may not have that much money to spend, but the club might lose its appeal as it may be overly frequented by students.'

Saint2 : On a final note, I know many students enter clubs despite being underage, I just hope that they know what they are in for. Whatever the case, just stay away from shady establishments yeah?


Source : The Straits Times

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