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#50 If You Haven’t Been To Mambo Jambo…

December 17, 2008

You haven’t been to college. At least here in Singapore, that is.

Mambo Jambo, more commonly termed as Mambo Night or just ‘Mambo’, is the quintessential clubbing experience you can ever get in Singapore. Held every Wednesday at Zouk, it attracts scores of young people ready to the paint the town in technicolor. The queues are always windingly long, because Mambo Night is also Ladies’ Night, making it extremely popular among girls because the cover charge is waived, and the drinks are on the house, and the guys are just there to see (and hopefully pick up) the girls. What’s unique about Mambo and why people love it so much, is the DJ sets played, which feature timeless retro hit remixes with the likes of Bananarama, ABBA, Ace of Base, Belinda Carlisle, interjected with the most popular Top 40 chart toppers of today, from Maroon 5 to Kanye West. A well-balanced musical concoction from the past and present, the music is easy on the ears and comprises of tunes which most people know the lyrics and can sing them in their sleep. Another interesting thing is that there are “standard” prescribed dance moves to certain crowd-pleasing songs and there are exact hand movements that follow the meanings of the songs’ lyrics closely, with little room for free styling. (Like showing “2” and “4” with your fingers when the word “together” and “forever” comes up in a song, respectively) The crowd is great and is seemingly filled with throngs of gorgeous people and some very drunk and enthusiastic dancers.

Wow, you must be thinking, what’s not to love, right? Amazingly, Mambo Night’s allure has never gotten to me. Countless people from my school have made the pilgrimage to the holy Mambo Jambo, and many more have been hooked ever since they returned from the experience. And they keep going back for more. To the point that somewhere somehow and some point in college, it is inevitable to receive a text message inviting you to join a bunch of people for it. I would then adamantly insist that Mambo is not for me and that no way in hell could I ever enjoy a night out doing something as cheesy as dancing (or making hand actions like an eight-year-old in a storytelling competition). I love dancing to the usual club hits and do my own moves and the idea of doing the same actions as the whole dance floor crowd is a little too conforming for my liking. But then again, I love retro music and secretly imagine what it would be like to listen to them at ear-pounding volume, in a sea of gyrating bodies and bopping heads.

I felt awfully socially awkward and left out whenever people talk about Mambo Night and I would pretend to nod nonchalantly, like many of those who have gone so many times that they shudder at the thought of going again, when in fact I only have a very faint idea of how it’s like. It doesn’t matter how it’s like, as long as I don’t like it and I stay away from it. But the idea of it continues to intrigue me and I thought, it is a unique, defining social activity for many college students who are around the same age as me, and I want to find out for myself, if it is as good as it is hyped up to be. And it wasn’t that bad after all, really!

I chose a terrible day to go — the queues are exceptionally long when I arrived there with my friends, and we wanted to give up on going into the club. Yet, we are determined to get our butts in because we’re already there. The songs are catchy, feisty and very sing-able. Remixed with pounding beats, one retro song flowed seamlessly to another, and the beat just keeps going on and on and on. The crowd gladly worships the music by swaying their hips and rocking their arms to its rhythm. We finally got in past one in the morning, the dance floor was jam-packed with inebriated, perspiring people, but the spirits and adrenaline, you could almost feel, ran super high, and no one seemed to care that we’re squeezing together like sardines in a can (maybe even worse) as long as we’re bobbing up and down to the music. It’s carefree, it’s fun, it’s corny, but it works. Sounds like the perfect remedy to a difficult week, and an ideal midweek break for those who are being tortured mentally by the education system. How do I feel after I emerged from the club, just as they finished playing ‘American Boy’, with Bananarama’s Love in the First Degree ringing in my ears long after? A little woozy, giddy with happiness and overfed with a sugary symphony. Let’s just say I can finally check this off my list, but no guarantees that I will be back…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. clubsingapore permalink
    January 5, 2009 8:07 PM

    This is the first time I’ve read a succinct explanation of what Mambo night is and why it’s such a unique clubbing experience. Keep writing!

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