The Central Narcotics Bureau (CBN) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a joint statement on Friday, February 9, in reference to the bar ‘Escobar’, saying that local businesses should take on themes and marketing campaigns that are “consistent with Singapore’s policies” for the security and safety of the country.
‘Escobar’ was inspired by the life and times of the late leader of the Colombian Medellin drug cartel, Pablo Escobar.
The food and beverage establishment’s owner, Stan Sir Ganesh, said he would take away the references to the drug lord and to drugs in general, according to the SPF and the CNB. The agencies will be watching the establishment carefully to make sure that modifications are made.
The Colombian Embassy made a complaint to Mr. Ganesh, and the owner has also received death threats via anonymous calls. While the establishment will keep its name, the owner assured that the bar’s logo will be changed. He also said that he never meant to cause offense with choosing the bar’s name.
In the statement, the agencies made clear that while the establishment’s interior design, logo and theme, are not under the purview of the SPF’s licensing conditions for public entertainment outlets, they objected to the use of the deceased drug lord’s name as being blatantly against the zero tolerance approach of Singapore toward drugs, as well as the initiatives towards preventative drug education.
The agencies said in the statement that “The glamorization of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible.”
Netizens were quick to point out that while ‘Escobar’ was found fault with, drinks with questionable names are being allowed
Netizens brought to light other seeming inconsistencies as well
Still others argued that the bar owner’s main objective was publicity, and that the establishment actually had a “catchy” theme