I posted something in a thread yesterday but thought I would share the rest of the story:
Yesterday evening I was with two fellow photographers practising night-time photography. We started off at Merlion Walk but made our way back to the Esplanade at around 8pm. They were taking shots of the Esplanade and City from the patio in front of the main entrance (I was only helping them) when a young CISCO guard sat just inside the main entrance got jumpy and came to confront us. Usual line: "Esplanade building is copyrighted so cannot take pictures here". I told him that we weren't taking for any commercial purpose and therefore he had no right to ask us to stop. So off he went for reinforcements and got a superior armed officer and two others, who again told us the same thing. Again we stuck to our guns. Off they went on their walkie-talkies. After fifteen minutes of this, the main officer said that he had spoken to management and they had approved us being there provided we gave our names, which we duly did.
Anyway, today I decided to speak to someone at the Esplanade about this. I was quite forthright with the first lady I spoke to (who was very polite and apologetic) and subsequently I have received two phone calls from Esplanade management. Both apologised profusely for the over-zealousness of their security officers. I explained and I think they understood, that using a tripod does not make one a professional photographer and should not be a reason to be pounced on by a security guard. They agreed and said they will brief there security manager to keep better track of the staff. I hope this will relieve the headache for all the hobbyists in Singapore who want to photograph the Esplanade and do so without the hassle of security guards and their stupid questions/demands.
And if you do get hassled, I suggest you call their Customer Service number and complain. Maybe in the end they will get the message!