Diner en Blanc in Singapore: More like Diner en Blah

It’s no secret that last week’s Diner en Blanc Singapore—the first all-white dining flash mob in Asia—caused quite a stir. If you haven’t yet heard, blogger Daniel Ang was told by the event organizers that local foods (including tau huay, chwee kueh and chicken rice) weren’t allowed, causing a great social media uproar about the organization’s elitism and lack of cultural understanding. The French organizers eventually blamed the whole unfortunate affair on miscommunication and apologized but the damage was done. Inclusive rebel picnics like It’s Super White and Diner en Singapour were launched in protest. Still, that didn’t seem to have hurt the party much. More than 800 folks tuned up for the fancy shindig by the ArtScience Museum.
And it was lively. Someone proposed, dancers moved to upbeat (albeit cheesy) tunes like Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate Good Times” and there was free Champagne for the media (courtesy of sponsor Perrier Jouet).
But we weren’t impressed. First of all, the wisdom of holding any event where a table—between 28 and 32 inches (71 and 81 cm)—two white chairs, a picnic basket (filled with an elegant meal) and tableware are required at 6:30pm on a weekday is questionable. Not to mention having to get dolled up in all-white.
Also, it just seemed a mess. Bus pick-up points for transport to the secret venue were changed at the last minute, invites were sent out, retracted, and sent again. Plus, as part of the media, they said we would be fed and needn’t bring food. They did feed us but tiny Lilliputian bites (all insipid white). All that did was build a real hankering for a heaping serve of chicken rice.
We reckon it would have been more fun if we weren’t underfed and lonesome in the media corner. There’s fun to be had setting up a meal of our choosing and we did see other diners sharing a few communal laughs. But as it was, it was more Diner en Blah than Diner en Blanc. Let’s hope for a better next round.