Saturday 1 May 2010

And the ‘baddest’ shopping centre in Singapore is...

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Mall Brawl!

And like any fight to the death, this is not about being the best shopping centre in Singapore – it’s about being the “baddest”.

Which is different from being the “worst”. For example, among the worst new shopping centres in Singapore are Orchard Central and Iluma.

Sure, the buildings are architecturally adventurous, but many of the shop spaces in OC and Iluma remain unoccupied. You can tell that a number of their tenants have already thrown in the towel. And those who are hanging on look very sad.

Where are the crowds?

After all, both shopping centres are in seemingly great central locations.

Orchard Central is, as the name suggests, in the centre of Orchard Road. Iluma is, uh, somewhere along Iluma Road? Actually, it’s in Bugis, just across the street from Bugis Junction.

Yet, despite being near heavily-used MRT stations, both OC and Iluma have quickly turned into virtual ghost malls.

So they may be the “worst” shopping centres in Singapore, but they’re certainly not the “baddest”.

The “baddest” shopping centres seem to keep drawing crowds because of their very “badness”.

They’re for shoppers who want that element of danger to go with the bargain hunting.

They’re like that skanky goth chick with the fake breasts and full-body tattoo you know you shouldn’t sleep with, but you do anyway. (Sandra Bullock’s soon-to-be ex-hubby can relate.)

So are you ready to rumble?

In one corner, we have Sim Lim Square, built in 1987, six storeys high and not that far from Iluma.

Recently raided for the zillionth time for selling illegal goods, it was the ironic site of a World Intellectual Property Day event held by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore last Monday.

And in the other corner, we have Mustafa Centre, built in 1995, six storeys high and open 24/7.

Last month, its ground floor was forced to close for 40 hours by the Singapore Civil Defence Force for overcrowding, which presented a fire hazard.

And the winner of the Mall Brawl is... drum roll, please... People’s Park Complex!

Fire hazard? Amateurs.

People’s Park Complex actually caught fire two weeks ago.

No one was hurt, but the fire apparently started in some illegally built storerooms in the building.

But you know what makes People’s Park Complex the “baddest” of them all?

It was reported that the illegal storeroom that caught fire contained... drum roll, please... sex toys!

Let’s see Sim Lim Square top that.

- Unpublished

UPDATE: Iluma has been rebranded as Bugis+