April 11, 2008

inSingapore: A trip to Hawaii

Posted in Travel and Culture tagged , , , , at 9:22 am by myrlinn

I was reading “Bangkok Tattoo” * by John Burdett last night, a story which revolves around doings at the Old Man’s Club, and it reminded me of my visit to a fascinating nightspot in Singapore. You probably won’t find this spot — the Hawaii Cabaret and Nite-Club — in any tourist guide book

In fact, it’s the kind of place that I wouldn’t ever have thought of stepping into if one of my ex-colleagues hadn’t waxed lyrical about how different it was (his father helps out there). So, one evening, a bunch of us got him to take us there.

And it was definitely deliciously retro, a place that I imagine would be similar to clubs my mother used to go to maybe 40 or 50 years ago. Except, of course, that in the Hawaii of today, the patrons there (mostly men) are in their 60s or older; and the women (dressed in formal full-length gowns) are mostly, well, young.

I did a quick web search and was amused when I found this flyer, which bills the place as “The Only Place in Singapore for Song & Dance Ideal for Retirees”. Very apt!

The club features live singing, by women of course. What I found really fascinating? The men show their appreciation to the singer by buying garlands and then going up and draping them over the singer, while she’s singing on stage. Not sure if that’s what they used to do in the old days, but it does provide for a good spectacle.

I’ve only been there that one time, but it’s definitely one place I’ll remember for a long time.


* Haven’t read it all, but I would say that “Bangkok Tattoo” is fairly entertaining in terms of plot and writing style, but if you are hoping to gain insights into Thai culture, forget it. I don’t know much about Thailand, but I find that this novel relies too heavily on stereotypes.


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