In a country renowned for cracking down hard on narcotics traffickers, users, and drug culture as a whole, you’d think the authorities would have known about a bar that seemingly celebrates the life of an infamous Colombian drug kingpin.
A day after Yahoo News found out that the Embassy of Colombia in Singapore expressed dismay at a newly opened Pablo Escobar-themed bistro bar in Chinatown, Escobar (the bar) has come under the grim disapproval of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). Uh oh.
According to TODAY, CNB highly objected to the bar using Escobar (the man) as a marketing theme, as it highly contrasts with Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach towards drugs. “The glamorization of a drug kingpin and associated drug use is irresponsible and insensitive,” said CNB to TODAY.
It’s not that surprising for CNB to take such a firm stance — just yesterday, the agency highlighted that the proportion of new drug abusers arrested in Singapore last year remained at a high number, with abusers in the 20-29 age group continuing to form the largest group in 2017.
Right now, both CNB and the police are keeping a close eye on Escobar and its patrons to ensure that no actual illegal drug activities are taking place there. So much for using Narcos as a basis for a restaurant/bar.
As for Escobar’s owner Stan Sri Ganesh, he never expected the matter to escalate to the point where he was asked to the Police Cantonment Complex for a chat with investigators. Already, he’s received online backlash from the public regarding the theme of his bar, according to his comments to TODAY.
“If you enter the bar you will realize for yourself that there is nothing that glorifies him as a hero or a legend or someone who is a saint,” Ganesh stated.
It’s hard to take his words seriously though, considering there’s a mural in the bar that inserts the violent narcoterrorist into a painting of The Last Supper.
In a Facebook post made on Monday, Ganesh presumably alluded to the backlash he received from actual Colombians over Escobar (the bar).
The letter sent by the Colombian embassy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb 2 took issue with the bar modeling itself after the false reality of Narcos, because “Colombia is not what ‘Narcos-Netflix’ portrays anymore”. The embassy also reminded the public that the infamous Colombian drug lord was responsible for the deaths of around 20,000 people, and that idolizing him undermined the work that successive Colombian governments have been doing.
Probably ignoring the historical facts, Ganesh said that he picked his Pablo Escobar theme to stand out from the competition, and he liked the name “Escobar” because it contained the word “bar”.