Nation fever continued to build up as the party moved into its fourth year. Hailed by DNA Magazine as one of the top twelve circuit events in the world, Nation.04 cemented Singapore's emergence - albeit temporarily - as Asia's new gay entertainment capital after authorities in Bangkok raided gay establishments and enforced closing hours similar to "lights-off" schedules practiced at correctional institutes for wayward women.
Held over three days, Nation.04 comprised a Military Ball (later renamed "Make Love Not War" Party), the main Nation party and a closing party. The weekend extravaganza saw bicep-ripping and crotch-bulging party boys converge in Singapore clad in shrink-wrapped outfits and wearing more hairspray than Austin Scarlett from an entire season of Project Runway.
Unfortunately, the positive buzz (no, I'm not talking of the chemically induced kind) generated by Nation.04 and the first ever Nation Arts Programme was soon killed off by the head-scratching ban of Fridae's Snowball party in 2004. The no-go for Snowball sparked off outrage in the GLBT community and raised concerns about Singapore's future as Asia's circuit central.
Venues: Suntec City Convention Hall, Sentosa's Musical Fountain and Zouk.
Crowd: A record-breaking 8,000 partygoers out of which 40% are estimated to be tourists.
Highlights: A triple party treat regarded by many as THE best Nation party ever.
Press-worthy Quotes: "Now in its fourth year, Fridae.com's astoundingly successful Nation party is the first and only one of its kind in Singapore specifically designed for the gay community to celebrate National Day." (Men's Folio)
Did you attend the "Make Love Not War" Party, Nation 2004, Closing Party at Zouk or all of them? Share your thoughts and views here!
The GLBT community went into "woe-are-we" mode as Fridae's application to organise Nation V was rejected. On a related note, many GLBT members were reported to suffer from disorientation and confusion after looking up the terms "open and inclusive society" in their dictionaries.
Fortunately, Fridae proved to be as resilient as Posh Spice's attempts to crack the pop market and moved Nation V festivities to the party island of Phuket. Adopting the theme of "Embracing Diversity", Nation V was truly an Asian event and featured nine events involving co-organisers from Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Back home in Singapore, the GLBT community protested the ban of Nation.V among other events/incidences with a series of events organised by gay activist groups (People Like Us and Safehaven and Aldus) and individuals (Dr Tan Chong Kee, Russell Heng, Martin Loh and Dominic Chua) under the banner of IndigNation - held in August.
Venue: Crowne Plaza, Phuket
Crowd: 2,000 revellers
Highlights: Sun, sea, surf, squirt-guns and see-through sarongs - and of course, those Japanese Go Go Boys.
Press-worthy quote: "Gay tourists are an important market for Phuket, and they are well liked by people in the tourist industry. They are relaxed and easy-going, have a lot of money and will be good for the economy." (The Nation newspaper, Thailand)
Did you attend any, some or all of the nine party events under Nation.05 in Phuket? Share your thoughts and views here!
From top: DJs De León (Military Ball),Tony Moran (Danse Royale), and Kate Monroe (Feelin' Good)
At last year's Nation.V, there was so much "Ohmygod! I can't believe you're here!" screaming and hugging that the Phuket service staff must have thought that every Nation partygoer was named Mary. Having said that, the much-anticipated Nation.VI will once again turn Phuket into Asia's biggest and gayest island resort for the Oct 20 - 22 weekend.
In view of the recent announcement that Nation.VI will be the last Nation party, Fridae is going all out to ensure that Nation goes out with a big bang. Nation.VI will feature international DJs headlining three main parties: Military Ball, the Nation party and a Closing Party as well as two after-hours parties and a women's programme W@Nation, which includes exclusive events as well as the latter two main Nation events.
But before the circuit crowd starts singing "Auld Lang Syne" in the quivering key of A after the curtains fall at Nation.VI, the GLBT community should seek solace in the fact that Fridae will focus its efforts on regional expansion and advocacy work.
Dress codes for Nation.VI:
Oct 20: Military Ball - Military wear... calling all sailor boys, GI Joes and Janes...
Oct 21: Danse Royale - All that glitters is gold, for the night at least!
Oct 22: Haute Couture/Feelin' Good - The glamorous world of high fashion...
Will you be attending Nation VI? Share your expectations and well wishes for partygoers here!