Monday 27 May 2019

Fake news? Are there no more queues at Shake Shack in Jewel as K F Seetoh seems to claim?

When I say “Jewel”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

The waterfall? Shake Shack? A&W?

The song Foolish Games from the Batman And Robin soundtrack?

Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is long queues.

That’s why I avoided visiting the much hyped Changi Airport supermall since it opened last month.

If hell is other people, Jewel is nothing but hell.

Then last Wednesday morning, Makansutra founder and fellow TNP columnist K F Seetoh posted on Facebook photos showing a near-deserted Jewel with no queues outside Shake Shack and A&W.

He wrote:
“The line at the Shake has slacked to kosong n A&W stands for Anybody Want? The 24 hr food hall is thr to serve some overpromised kpi n i did not even know thrs a food court hidden within the food hall. I think now Joo Chiat more happening than Jewel la. A stall manager said they, like else whr get the usual lunch crowd but picks up only on weekends.

“Did someone over rara on promises at Jewel.”
Okay, if you can comprehend all that, then maybe you can explain to me the ending to Game Of Thrones too. (Like why is there still a Night Watch?)

My takeaway from Seetoh’s post was, woohoo, no more crowds! I can go to Jewel now, just maybe not during lunch and the weekend.

And perhaps I should check out Joo Chiat too.

At first, people on Facebook agreed with Seetoh.

One commented:
“Well it’s a over rated mall with common shops found in other downtown and heartland malls. Food stores like Shake Shack and A&W taste horrible. Once you tasted the original, these are just pale in comparison. Furthermore if you don’t stay in the east, who would want to waste time and the hassle to travel all the way to jewel for a mediocre mall?”
Well, at least it doesn’t have an indoor cycling track.

Another commenter was more succinct: “White Jewel elephant!!!”

Then someone asked when the photos were taken.

Seetoh replied 9.15am.

Well, that changed things.

He was asked: “Why do u take pics at early in the morn and then deduce the ‘kosong’ queues? Who on earth goes to any shopping mall at 9 or even 10am at weekdays. Be fair in your conclusions lah.”

Also, I might add, while A&W is open 24 hours, Shake Shack opens only at 10am.

Someone else pointed out: “Joo Chiat got consistently long Qs on a weekday morning ah?”

Another warned: “This post may be covered under the fake news law if it goes viral.”

Well, it went viral enough that AsiaOne reported: “K F Seetoh posts photos of empty Jewel Changi Airport, internet disagrees.”

Oh no, will the Singapore hawker food champion have to run away to South Africa to escape prosecution under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act?

Or marry his boyfriend. Whatever, man. Follow your heart.

Ironically, he would probably have to go through Changi Airport. (Unless he flees by sampan.)

Backtracking a little, Seetoh later added to his post:
“i was there same time today, pre opening hrs at 930am, same as three weeks back and the lines then were ridiculous. But its all but disappeared now. I see the usual crowds closer to opening and regular hours, which is normal and i hope it continues. The decline is slow and real. I feel for the tenants, esp the 24/7 ones.”
So his point was that even at this early hour, there were long queues when Jewel first opened but not anymore. His concern is: “If nobody at some hrs..why make them open 24/7 in these depressed manpower conditions.”

Wait, wait, wait, so does this mean there are still long lines at Jewel or not?

I decided to find out for myself last Friday afternoon by travelling all the way from my home in Choa Chu Kang to Changi while listening to Jewel’s greatest hits on my non-Huawei phone.

It was hell.

Who will save your soul indeed.

To answer Seetoh’s A&W question, yes, a lot want.

- Published in The New Paper, 27 May 2019