Updated: Jan 4, 2020
From ‘CNB to keep very close watch on Escobar eatery named after Columbian drug lord’, 8 Feb 2018, article in CNA
The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will be keeping a “very close watch” on a bar named after Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, following an angry complaint lodged last Friday (Feb 2) by the country’s embassy to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“CNB and the Singapore Police Force will be engaging the owner of the bar and will take the necessary action to uphold our strict anti-drug policy,” said a CNB spokesperson.
“It will also be keeping a very close watch on the bar and its patrons to ensure that no illegal drug activities take place there,” said the spokesperson, adding that the agency understood that the Colombian embassy and community, as well as some Singaporeans were upset about the matter.
In a three-page letter, the Colombian embassy expressed “serious concern” over the eatery in China Square Central, saying that it was paying tribute to the “worst criminal in the history of Colombia”.
The way that Pablo Escobar’s name and image are being used to promote the outlet runs counter to Singapore’s approach towards drugs and government efforts in preventive drug education, the CNB spokesperson added.
“The glamorisation of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible and insensitive.”
CNB should also be keeping an eye on Mcdonalds’ because they name one of their breakfast staples a ‘HASH’ brown. They should also check out ACID bar at Peranakan place, and review a classical performance named ‘Poem of Ecstasy‘. Seriously, what exactly is CNB expecting? If I’m going to run an underground drug ring, the last thing I want to do is blow my cover by naming it after a crime lord, and choose something seemingly playful and innocuous like Gudetama cafe instead.
Some years back, people complained about a pub that called itself Aushwitz because it reminded everyone about the Holocaust. Yet nothing was done about a hotpot restaurant that honoured a brutal Chinese dictator responsible for 45 million deaths (House of Mao Hunan Hot Pot). Nor did we touch restaurants with suspiciously subversive communist elements, like Red Star Restaurant.
We disapprove of exhibitions that summon the sufferings of our forefathers under the yoke of colonialism, yet we celebrate the legacy of a man who was borne of that very same system, a man whose name graces a world-famous hotel that also is the birthplace of our very own Singapore Sling.
Would Christians complain if I opened a hipster cafe called ‘Satan’s Lair’? Would the Russian embassy knock on my door if I open a gallery of Soviet kitsch? Would the police run checks on Hannibal restaurant to make sure they don’t store human corpses in their fridge?