Funan has finally reopened its doors on 28 June, nearly three years to the day it was closed for redevelopment.
In the early 2000s, the area around Upper Paya Lebar Road and Paya Lebar Road (which we shall now refer to as the Paya Lebar region for simplicity’s sake) was Singapore’s equivalent of a chaotic mess, with major road diversions, temporary roads and the terrible traffic that ensued, all in the name of development.
Many times, people conveniently look to the 1990s and 1980s as a basis of comparison when looking back to the past. Perhaps for those born before the turn of the century, the year 2000 was a sub-conscious cut-off between the past and present. But 2000 was eighteen years ago. There are now an entire generation of school going kids who never witnessed 9/11 unfolding before their eyes on television.
So let's do something a little different here and look back to 2008 instead, which, to me, doesn't feel that long ago.
When it rains, it pours. In 2009, three shopping malls opened along Orchard Road in succession–Orchard Central, ION Orchard and 313@Somerset. Prior to this, there had been no new mall openings along Singapore's prime shopping belt in over a decade.
Both ION Orchard and 313@Somerset found their footing and thrived rather quickly, in part because they were located right next to the MRT, and in part due to their selection of tenants. Meanwhile, Orchard Central struggled.
Not to be confused with Marina Bay’s i Light festival or the Singapore Night Festival, the second edition of the Light to Night Festival, which is currently ongoing until 26 January 2018 as part of the Singapore Art Week, spans Singapore’s historic Civic District, from Esplanade Park to Padang and all the way to the Asian Civilisations Museum.
It was quietly revealed by Apple a few days ago that the iPod nano and shuffle would be discontinued. This marks the end of the non-iOS lineage of iPods, and leaves the iPod touch as the sole carrier of the iPod line. Given that Apple is trying to get people off the 3.5mm headphone jack, it’s not difficult to deduce that the iPod touch, too, is probably on life support.
Being one to jump quickly on the nostalgia bandwagon, I started reminiscing of the times when I still used an iPod. Let’s start at the beginning…
I first knew of the existence of the KTM Singapore-Malaysia route some ten years ago, when we were whisked to a train station in the middle of the night, on the last day of our Secondary 3 overseas adventure camp at Taman Negara. I alighted at Woodlands terminal, not knowing that had I stayed on, I would be able to enjoy a rare glimpse of the disappearing Singapore wilderness through a train at ground level. That was something I never got to do before the Tanjong Pagar-Woodlands route closed for good in 2011. The only silver lining? Someone made a video of the entire train experience before it shuttered and uploaded it on YouTube.
When you mention Rochor Centre, the one image that pops up in everyone’s minds is that of four colourful blocks, draped in the richest shades of red, blue, yellow and green. The place has become a popular hotspot for Instragammers eager to take their last shots before the place fades away into history.
As it turns out, Rochor Centre wasn’t always painted this way. If not for the colours, would we even bother? Perhaps.
What’s your primary tool of communication nowadays? For me, and I guess for many of you, that would be WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or one of the many other chat apps available on the your mobile phone. I think the mobile phone is the natural end-game for where such apps reside. After all, it was designed primarily to be a telecommunications device.
By the end of the June
next this year, one of the Civic District’s most iconic malls will be gone forever. Officially, it will be closed for redevelopment for the next three years, but one thing’s for sure: Funan, as we know it, will no longer be the same again, with plans of it being transformed into an “experential creative hub”.