Singapore's Nation.03 party has been hailed a success with an estimated 4500 attendees celebrating the host country's 38th National Day. The party organised by Fridae.com, Asia's largest gay and lesbian website, has been held annually on Aug 8 since 2001. In 2001, the party attracted 1,500 partygoers and 2,500 last year.
"On behalf of the GLBT community in Singapore, we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to celebrate National Day in such a spectacular and meaningful way with the rest of the country. It is a clear display of how tolerant and accepting the vast majority of Singaporeans are, and I am proud that our government has the courage and fortitude to embrace gays and lesbians in our melting pot society," said Dr Stuart Koe, Fridae.com's co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.
Organisers estimate that at least some 1000 partygoers are visitors from abroad, most of whom bought their tickets weeks before the event on Fridae's website. The majority of the tourists are from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and as faraway as Canada and the United States.
The Sijori Resort Sentosa, which is located a few minutes from the party grounds and Hotel 1929 - the official hotel for Nation.03 - have reported a 100 percent occupancy rate during this period.
Subaru, a major sponsor of the event, has also come out showing strong support for Singapore government lifting a ban on hiring of gays within the civil service. Mr Glenn Tan, the spokesperson for MotorImage Enterprises Pte Ltd that represents Subaru said: "We recognise that there is an increasing need for Singapore to be a more open and tolerant society as we progress. We were very glad to hear of the Government's latest move to extend equal job opportunities in the civil service to gays and lesbians. We are proud to stand with all the other forward-looking brands in recognising the need to eliminate discrimination in whatever form it takes."
The party, which ran from 10pm to 6am, was co-headlined by DJ Rick Mitchell, a hot favourite on the US dance circuit and Sydney DJ-producer Mandy Rollins, a veteran DJ of her home city's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parties since 1996.
The three-day event included a welcome party at Why Not bar on August 7 and a poolside recovery party on August 9 at Big Splash, a water theme park, and Tunnel Club, also located on the same premises.
More than 1500 people passed through the doors of Big Splash and Tunnel where the 12-hour poolside recovery party was held. While some partygoers were unhappy with the line-up at the door at Tunnel, the queue eased by 12.30am and all were either having a wild time in the club or chilling out at the outdoor bar.
Rick Cheung, a visitor from Hong Kong who is in Singapore for the Nation party, said: "The massive queue was a big pain but I guess it's part and parcel of parties of this size. All of my friends were in the club by 1am - it was steaming hot by then but it was really, really wild, especially when the bar guy hosed some guys on the dance floor down. It's our first time at a party like this Singapore and we are very pleasantly surprised, this is very amazing. Singapore is now definitely part of the party circuit for us!"
This also marks the first time in local TV history a local - or any gay event for that matter - has been reported in a positive light accompanied by snippets of men dancing away on podiums.
"Nation.03 can be seen as a gauge of Singapore's tolerance," ChannelNewsAsia and its sister station, TCS5, reported the day after the event. "Surprising or not, this is the 3rd year the party has been organised and its growing popularity could make it a "must see" event on the world party circuit." To read the article, please click on the link below.
Nation.03 is sponsored by Anchor Beer, Dolce and Gabbana Parfum, Qantas Airways, Smirnoff and Subaru.