Sin­ga­pore bar named af­ter Colom­bian drug lord apol­o­gises, to change logo

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

FOL­LOW­ING a back­lash over its name and logo, a lo­cal bar named af­ter Colom­bian drug lord Pablo Es­co­bar has apol­o­gised and said it would be “re­vamp­ing” the logo that cur­rently de­picts an im­age of the for­mer king­pin.

The bar at China Square Cen­tral at Cross Street, how­ever, did not say if it would be chang­ing its name, which is also a point of con­tention with the Em­bassy of Colom­bia here and the Cen­tral Nar­cotics Bu­reau (CNB).

“We’re aware of the re­cent con­tro­versy con­cern­ing our brand­ing and would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to apol­o­gise to any com­mu­nity or in­di­vid­ual who was of­fended by it,” Es­co­bar wrote on its Face­book page on Wed­nes­day at 10:30pm.

Re­peat­ing that it was not the bar’s in­ten­tion to glo­rify or con­done the ac­tions of the drug lord Es­co­bar, the three-week-old nightspot asked the pub­lic for sug­ges­tions on the re­design of its logo.

The venue cur­rently fea­tures themes re­lated to the late Colom­bian crim­i­nal, who led the Medellin drug car­tel known for its co­caine trade.

The owner of the bar, Stan Sri Ganesh, 36, told TO­DAY in an ear­lier in­ter­view that he would meet the po­lice on Wed­nes­day for a chat at the Po­lice Can­ton­ment Com­plex. The au­thor­i­ties had con­tacted him on Mon­day.

The Colom­bian em­bassy con­firmed on Tues­day that it had sent an of­fi­cial note to Sin­ga­pore’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs to de­nounce the bar.

A CNB spokesper­son ear­lier said that the man­ner in which Pablo Es­co­bar’s name and im­age are be­ing used to pro­mote the bar is highly ob­jec­tion­able, and runs counter to Sin­ga­pore’s zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to­ward drugs.

“The glam­or­i­sa­tion of a drug king­pin and as­so­ci­ated drug use is ir­re­spon­si­ble and in­sen­si­tive,” the CNB spokesper­son told TO­DAY.

Pablo Es­co­bar be­came one of the rich­est men in the world in the 1980s by deal­ing in co­caine. He was also be­hind a vi­o­lent cam­paign that bombed, kid­napped and killed thou­sands of peo­ple, in­clud­ing politi­cians, judges and jour­nal­ists who stood in his way. In 1993, he was shot and killed by Colom­bian po­lice.

Some ne­ti­zens con­tin­ued to crit­i­cise the Cross Street bar de­spite its lat­est an­nounce­ment.

Am­resh Ku­mar dis­puted the bar’s claim that it did not in­tend to glo­rify Pablo Es­co­bar, point­ing out that the es­tab­lish­ment had been quot­ing “Plata O Plomo” on its of­fers on Face­book, which is a phrase in Span­ish for “sil­ver or lead”, mean­ing “take the money (bribe) or I will take your life”.

– TO­DAY (Sin­ga­pore)

The Colom­bian em­bassy and com­mu­nity in Sin­ga­pore are up­set about the name and theme of a bar in China Square Cen­tral. Photo: Es­co­bar Sin­ga­pore/face­book/ TO­DAY

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