Friday, January 26, 2007

Singapore too conservative to have unbridled horseplay?

Poor turnout closes Singapore Crazy Horse

Channelnewsasia: 25 January 2007 1851 hrs

SINGAPORE : Little more than a year after making its Asian debut in Singapore, the famous Crazy Horse Paris cabaret will close its doors this month because of poor audience turnout.

"This is a business decision. The attendance is lower than expected, that's why we have decided to close it," Goh Min Yen of entertainment firm Eng Wah Organisation, which brought the show here, said Thursday.

Goh said the decision was made after months of consultations with Crazy Horse Paris when the Singapore show failed to achieve its target of filling 65 percent of the 400-seat theatre.

She declined to give specific figures but said the theatre was less than half filled on most nights.

The Singapore show, like the original in Paris, features a scantily-clad, all-female troupe.

The poor turnout was partially due to Singapore's tight guidelines on where the show could be advertised, said Goh.

She added the show may have succeeded had it been introduced to Singapore later, since the city-state's two integrated resorts (IRs), which will include casinos, are expected to be fully operational by 2010.

"I guess we need a bit more like the new developments like the IRs," said Goh. "On hindsight, maybe I think that would be a better time to bring in Crazy Horse."

The company invested S$7m (US$4.57m) to bring the show here and has lost $3.8m, she said. Crazy Horse Paris opened in the city-state in December 2005.

Singapore, a tiny island nation lacking natural wonders, is striving to boost its appeal to tourists by building man-made attractions to augment its reputation for efficiency, cleanliness and safety.

The city-state lifted a 40-year ban on casinos in 2005 and issued gaming licences last year to two foreign companies, Las Vegas Sands and Malaysia's Genting International.

The two firms have promised to invest a total of over 10 billion dollars to build the integrated resorts, which will also include entertainment and convention facilities.

Singapore's long-term target is to attract 17 million visitors generating, who could generate $30b in revenues by 2015. - AFP /dt

My comments:

Hi friends,

I have great admiration for risk-takers and entrepreneurs.

Hence it is with a tinge of sadness that I hear of the premature demise of the Crazy Horse.

From a cursory straw poll in the doctors’ tea-room, none of my colleagues had gone to watch it. Even if they had, they would not have openly admitted to patronizing it, perhaps for fear of spousal complications.And I am not even talking of "porn"!

Crazy Horse’s target consumers are definitely not people like “us”- “Us” being the conservative and mostly professional-types.

The target groups are the millions of tourists that pass through our shores annually. Also ...not just any tourists but the high-end sort.

The average tourist stays for ?2 or 3 days? It would have taken smart marketing to tempt our tourists to commit big bucks and precious time to the show instead of going to the “almost mandatory” visits of Sentosa; the Night Safari, and of course shopping at Orchard Road!

Eng Wah’s marketing strategy was hampered right from the start. As there was nudity, Crazy Horse was classified as “adult” entertainment and hence the show could not be publicized properly in the mass media.

This was like going into battle with hands tied behind the back! Defeat was inevitable.

Shareholders (of which I am not) would be interested to know if the management had known how prudish Singapore’s government agencies were about advertising or did the strict criteria for advertisements land like a ton of bricks on the management’s heads after Crazy Horse's contract was secured?

It seems more like the latter as Ms Goh said, “. “For the first eight months, we could advertise only in the newspapers’ movie listings. No images. No pictorials. Even famous brands like Prada or Louis Vuitton have to continuously advertise. Also, on hindsight, I guess we came in a bit too early. Crazy Horse is a premium product that needs time to nurture.”

It is now water under the bridge for Eng Wah. I hope that the lessons learnt will spur them to succeed in the future.

"Today" newspaper reported, “After the topless revue arrived at Clarke Quay, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew saw it as a centrepiece to help Singapore shed its squeaky clean image and become “the Paris of South-east Asia”.

I guess we can safely say that unless we morph away from the top-down micro-management style that our rulers ( and the ruled) are so used to, Singapore cannot expect to be Paris or New York. Singapore will only ever remain Singapore.

Loosen up lah!

Cheers

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

10 comments:

travailingdoc said...

Hi all,

Let's hope that the Casinos will not go the same way because of over-regulation and prudishness.

If I am a visitor to SE Asia and into some raunchiness, I will vie for Bangkok which is just 1 hour and over away or to frolic in Patong beach.
My male nurses here are familiar with Phuket and its sleaziness and are always enquiring about going there.

So, what sector of the tourists' pop will Crazy Horse attract?

Europeans, Americans,Japanese and Aussies all have their own naughty revues back home which exposes more
and easily accessible in every
metropolitan.
Our Islamic neighbors frown on such activities.
The mainland Chinese do not appreciate French virtuosity.

That only leaves the home market. But who wants to be seen frequenting this theatre and then be labelled as a dirty old man. Singapore being so small and with busy body neighbors. Rather be dead than seen oogling at half dressed damsels.
So, not surprised at all..
But cross over to Batam, Bintan, and Hajiah and you will see the amorous male Singaporean at his unhibited best.

So, any more brilliant ideas Singapore???


Cheers

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Travailingdoc,
Welcome back!
Yes, I fear the Casinos plus property-market associated with it is a bubble waiting to be popped!

The Crazy Horse for Eng Wah Organisation is certainly a case-study for some MBA course somewhere. Marketing failure ( to put it mildly)

If I wanted rauchiness, I would do to Bangkok ( notwithstanding the military govt)!

Well, we in Sg hope the Casino succeeds. We have already sold our solds, some want us to sell our organs! We have to go Desker Rd to sell our body next! ha ha

Cheers

Dr.Huang

nofearSingapore said...

Hi travailing doc,
sorry too many typos!

Too early in morning!

"do" should be "go"
"solds" should be "souls"

Dr.Huang

shimure said...

"The Crazy horse" was a disater from the start.

The only reason in which it would succeed is to have a continued market and a appeal which will ensure repetitive customers.

With so many nite clubs, KTVs, bars and social escort services available in singapore, it did not stand a chance.

Tourists would rather spend time shopping for cheap goods then to pop over to see the show.

Yes i do agree, if i were to look for some sleaze, Batam, Bintang even malaysia has too.

Well concerning Casino and the IR. I suppose if there are people who like to gamble, there bound to have business.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Anonymous said...

No. The Crazy Horse is just too conservative to the public liking. The PAP's silly tasteful, artistic requirement is just silly.

Anonymous said...

Well, I happen to think that risk-taking without first having done your research is just silly.

kh

Marc said...

I guess Crazy Horse got done in by the crazy asses that makes the crazy rules. And instead of being the Paris of the East, what we have suceeded in becoming is the Paris Hilton of the East.

Anonymous said...

Paris Hilton of the East!!

HAHAHA! That is such an appropraite statement. The top seems to be whoring us away to foreigners...

Dr. Huang, i heard that Uncle Khaw wants to import foreign doctors...its sad at how they are not seeing the med students killing their brains in NUS.

Maybe the swedish doctors they import will be singaporeans who left because they didn't have a spot in singapore.

travailingdoc said...

Hi all

I too read about the flood gates being opened and doctors with 5 years following their specialist's qualifications are allowed straight access into the private sector.
With the added recognition of 150 medical schools, Singapore is practically letting in sundry and all.
They have obviously forgotten about the renegrade neurosurgeon of German training who was performing unethical procedures with very questionable skills.We know of many others with very unscrupulous practices and dubious backgrounds.
These doctors are very easy to let in but difficult to eliminate, like a Trojan virus.

As a foreign graduate, to practice in the USA requires many more tough years in training programs and testy examinations before one can even begin the arduous task of getting a license.

This ease of getting into Singapore to practice Medicine will remove safeguards and any supervisory opportunities to vet these doctors before they are allowed to treat Singapore patients.

This is not to say that foreign graduates are not good doctors. On the contrary, I have met many from very diverse countries and schools with excellent clinical skills and knowledge, and impeccable morals.
But they have mostly come through a very tough and stringent screening process in the USA.

I just read from the American Medical Association newsletter that J1 doctors ( those with a temporary visa to train in the US) and who must return back to their home countries on completion of their training, are now less likely to remain to apply for US PR status because the pay is better in Europe, India and Singapore.
....yes Singapore was specically mentioned. So even AMA had caught on to MOH's sell in America.

The Singapore medical scene will change certainly but significantly the character of it will be drastically different from what it is now. There will be enclaves of
foreign doctors from similar origins who will monopolize certain geographic localities or specialty leading to in group referrals and control
The Singaporean doctors with their rather go it alone mentality will be pushed out of the competition.
After visiting Toronto and London after a good 2 decades I have appreciated a change of character in these two cities. I used to love these cities for their charm, history and culture. But my recent visits were marred by rude and haughty residents of foreign extraction and " FTs" who had a ubiquitous presence in the cities.

People were not as warm and hospitable, and it does not feel the same.
Many visitors travelling with us shared the same sentiments.
I reckon that when I visit Singapore in year 2009, I will not be able to identify with the citizens anymore.
Looking at Lucky Plaza and its weekend residents will give an idea of what I mean..

10 years down the line when all the damage had been inflicted, no decision maker will be held accountable.By then, Singaporeans had again paid the price for another disastrous half baked concoction.

ViVa Singapore

The Uncharted Waters said...

In business, you need to be at the right place at the right time. Crazy Horse will have a higher chance of success if it is opened with and within the IR.

It is bad business decision in the first place, has not much to do with the lack of marketing medium.