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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What about character and soul?

Having returned for the past 2.5 weeks, I’ve explored some of the new regional shopping places (to me) like Clementi Mall and Jurong Point (got new extension).

One thing that struck me was the people! I visited Jurong Point on Sunday and its crazy! Reminded me of shopping in Shanghai – where did all these people come from?

Another observation was the cookie-cutter shops. The shops all look alike from other malls and shopping centres!? It’s the same old same old “Macdonald” like formula: put a supermarket at the basement, put a food-court near the top floor, have a Japanese restaurants section here, fill-up the rest with corporate “me too” apparel chain stores there…

I visited NEX at Serangoon last year. It was the same just with times 2 the effect! 2 supermarkets, 2 food-courts, double the amount of retail space…

Ah! Now I can see the result of this drive to increase our population size. To support the building of regional shopping malls in every town? They are even building a shopping mall at the NOL building in Alexandra road now!

Somebody must be collecting good rentals and making a bundle from sale of the land. Soon we may become like HK and Tokyo. Any “empty” space like a car-park, a town square, a green lung, etc; will soon be targeted to “unlock” its monetary value or potential!

Having once worked at Cable-car tower and at Robinsons Centrepoint, I am amazed how the former car-parks at Cable-car tower and near the former Specialist Shopping Centre have been transformed! Go forth and multiply, my dollar friends! More good years!

The property developers must be smiling to the bank – kaching! $$! Talk about windfall for themselves and their shareholders!

Cheering the small retail independents

Thank goodness I am living in Queenstown. There are still 2 old styled shopping centres, even after renovation, have retained their character and soul.

The shops are mostly independent small retailers. Small is beautiful.

Queensway shopping centre is known for spectacles, sports-wears, shoes, and jeans.

Holland shopping centre is known for home furnishings, tailored dresses, and in recent years – foot massage and manicure/pedicure.

These 2 old shopping centres have lots of charm and character. It has soul.

Don’t take my word for it. Free come and see for yourselves!

For new visitors, it’s like looking for “treasures” along the narrow and sometimes confusing maze of small shops. That’s the fun of it silly!

I’ve never liked the "centralised" town centre concept of the newer HDB towns. I prefer the “decentralised” and less organised style of Queenstown. Of course I am biased! Having live in Queenstown all of my life.   

I am not going to take them for granted. Better enjoy them while I can!

Up up and away!

It won’t take long before some elite pencil pusher will figure out that tearing them down and replacing these 2 old shopping centres with newer and more modern “commercial” retailers can bring in more kaching! Can build condos on top of the shopping centres too! More $$!

Buildings will go higher and higher. The sky’s the limit you say! More floors = more money. It’s a bull market! (The trick or key ingredient is to have increasing population growth!)

Soon I may see less of the sky and the sun. Living in the shadows could be my future fate.
It’s my fault since if I want to see the sky and the sun, all I have to do is to buy penthouses on top of the buildings. Ah! The joy of having the world at your feet! (So that’s what you do - look down at me from your penthouse)

That’s if I can afford it.

But what about character and soul I asked? There you go laughing I just don’t get it…

I guess I have to stick with my songs and stories.


  1. Hi SMOL,

    Actually I like the decentralised concept of shopping too. I don't really like the one stop shopping malls with their standard formatting. It may be convenient, but it's also clinical.

    So, now I know the term for such things - it's called a soul-less shopping mall, where there's a lot of people but nobody knows each other. Isn't it great that your neighborhood grocer tells recommends the freshest produce today? Isn't it personal that your you tell the mee pok stall that you want the 'usual' and he delivers it without flaw?

    Gone are such personalized services. I do welcome decentralised town centre, as you do :)

  2. you forget to start saying this post is for your oversea friends.

  3. Yes LP!

    It's like the old US sitcom "Cheers!" - it's nice to go to a place where they know your name!

    And it's so nice to visit the same family GP that's been with you since my primary school days. He will ask about my mother on her bad knees, and why my brother (working overseas too) never come visit...

    And just got scolded by my dentist for not coming every 6 months. The dentist younger than me; but I've been with him since joining IKEA 14 years ago. I like this kind of tell it as it is dentist! I am not a customer; I am his look after :)

  4. Coconut,

    I catch no ball.

    I though this post cannot be more "local"?

    Overseas friends will have no clue what talking me ;)

  5. nothing to write so "pook" you a little.

    understand you have much to describe and excited. nothing new to us haha. happy site seeing.

  6. Coconut,

    Ya hor!

    Silly me. I not very up-to-date.

    2nd time someone tells me that :(

    Story of my life. I always behind...

    I very excited that I've learned some new lingo from the Sunday Times - FTW, Face-palm, etc.

    Only to learn from a young blogger telling these lingo were already in use sometime back...

    And my previous post on IE9... Then realized most people using Firefox nowadays!?

    I was so proud I found an IT solution!!!


  7. Hi SMOL

    I also prefer older township like AMK and Queens Town.

    I used to stay near AMK Ave 4 and today I went to the hair saloon I used to frequent for my haircut. The aunty charged me only $8 for my hair cut. When I ask her why no increase for the CNY, she replied, 'No increase for regular lah'. The friendliness really makes my day!

  8. YJ72,

    You made her day by showing up too ;)

    With mobility and progress, many customers of these small mom and pop businesses have left for new estates...

    I am impressed. With your current situation, you go for $8 hair-cut.

    Like the aunty, it's not the money. You remembered her. It takes 2 hands to clap ;)

    Human connections.

  9. Hi Jared

    That is why sometimes people refer to Singapore as Singapore Inc. :-)

    Culture and history is bound to some degree by the preservation of familiar landmarks and spaces. Development for economic progress is good but the benefits trickle by varying degrees.

    How to develop that culture and soul when the approach typically is how can money be made out of this project?

    Be well and prosper.

  10. Yes Panzer,

    That's why I am so glad to have found two Nostalgia bloggers to remind me what we've lost...

    Now I understand why my mom feels "lost" when she ventures out of Queenstown...


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