Monday, February 05, 2007

And so we mark the demise of the Demented Equine in S'pore. It was an experiment that never really had a chance to succeed and, after less than a year of prancing and high-kicking, it's gone. I can't say I'm surprised.

The sad thing was, someone had thought that bringing underdressed fillies from Paree into stuffy S'pore was a license to print money.

On the surface, it does look like a lucrative venture -- bringing into the market a rare and tempting treat means the entrepreneur should be able to charge the sky for the commodity, and there'll still be a crowd snaking around the block for it anyway. And in S'pore there's nothing rarer than the opportunity to throw off our restrictive taboos without the fear of serious repercussions as a consequence. Unfortunately, this show just wasn't of the sort to break the piggy bank for.

First, the show didn't know what it actually wanted to be. It purported indecency by S'pore standards, and yet sold itself as an aesthetic experience, which literally whitewashed over the taboos our potential audience might have wanted to ogle break in the first place. No taboo, no product. No product, no consumer. Simple.

Conversely, if there's no chance of getting into trouble, there's no point to breaking a taboo anyway. Strike two.

Admission was too prohibitively expensive for the audience who might actually have wanted to go see the show, aesthetics be damned. A ticket to a Chinatown movie house is way cheaper and promises more excitement anyway, so there's no incentive for the old guys with umbrellas to move their tastes up a notch because they're already quite satisfied where they are. And they're just the offline market, 'nuff said.

The show did not have the critical mass that it had in Paree. Here, it had 1) no competitors to constantly keep it sharp and fresh, and 2) neighbours that provided neither complementary nor relevant products or services; making it 3) stand out like a sore thumb awaiting a mercy amputation, which has finally occurred.

Ultimately, the show that promised thrills for the multitudes of deprived S'poreans (and equally depraved regional tourists) only turned out to be a freak show -- which might have worked if they actually did show freaks. Instead all that was on display were gorgeous, talented, coordinated, articulate(d) human beings who ruined the show, and the box office, for everyone.

A nugget of Hokkien business wisdom succinctly and graphically sums up the state of our market: ai chee, ai pee, ai tua liap nee, which loosely translated means, "stupid customer, you can't have everything!"

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