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.
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.
December. It’s a month of nostalgia, of reflection, where you look back at the past eleven months, and marvel at how much you’ve progressed (or regressed?) since. It’s the Friday of the months, the season of giving, and a month of school holidays (and clearing leave, now that I’m an adult). And in the absence of snow in Singapore, at least we have the annual Christmas light-up along Orchard Road, a staple since 1984.
With some spare time on my hands, I made my way down to the Promontory at Marina Bay, camera in hand, on 29th July, the final National Day Parade preview before the actual day. My intent was to get some practice with my new camera as well as to soak in the festive atmosphere despite not having a ticket to the show itself.
I had done this once before some eleven years ago with a Canon PowerShot camera. Back then, the parade was still held at the old National Stadium. But after that, it felt like such a chore having to lug a tripod around and camp for a good spot hours before.
This time around, I wasn’t that prepared either. I adopted an “anything goes” attitude and brought my D7500 with kit lens and 55-200mm along.
10th July 2017 marked the last day of operations (if you can call it that) for the second-hand flea market at Sungei Road, more popularly known as the Thieves’ Market. It being a weekday, I didn’t get the chance to witness its last closing, but I was present on the last weekend on both evenings. …
It’s been nearly nine months since Funan shut its doors, and perhaps now’s a good time to take stock–where have all the shops in Funan moved to?
While other shops have come and gone over the years, Challenger was a mainstay at Funan. The Funan outlet was Challenger’s oldest and biggest one, spanning an entire floor divided into themed sections. It had a far wider selection compared to your neighbourhood Challenger store. There were sections dedicated to gaming, networking equipment, laptops, smartphones, cameras, and even office furniture.
While Challenger initially said that it had no plans to set up a new flagship store, it eventually signed a lease to takeover the basement floor at Bugis Junction which was formerly occupied by Virtualand. The new flagship store is slated to open in Q2 2017. Here’s hoping that it will feature a similarly eclectic mix of products as with the Funan store.
An old Singapore patriotic song goes “you can take a little trip around Singapore town, in a Singapore city bus”. That may be true 50 years back, but ‘Singapore town’ is much bigger today, and with it the number of transport options have also risen considerably. With skyscrapers and similar-looking high-rise apartments towering all around, it can be easy for one unfamiliar with Singapore to get lost in this concrete jungle. What, then, is the best way to move around Singapore for the inexperienced?
What were we doing at the start of August this year? Well, obsessing over 纯粹。喝 (Chun Cui He) milk tea bottles. Because we Singaporeans are savvy hoarders and flippers (just look at the number of opportunists on Carousell), 7-Eleven had to limit each person to just six bottles.
I managed to get my hands on it only after the craze died down somewhat–and the milk tea tasted almost exactly like Mineshine as I remember it. Nothing too special, and certainly not up to the standards of Gong Cha or Koi. The latte was slightly better, but nothing worth queueing for.
Of course, within the same month itself, the AVA discovered that the milk tea version contained a food additive that was banned in Singapore. The latte version is still being sold sporadically, though the demand has mostly subsided.
A few weeks ago, someone wrote in to the Straits Times Forum, urging Singapore (or rather, the authorities?) to think twice before giving Pokemon Go the go-ahead. While she has a point–I’ve seen people standing beside dustbins looking silly just because it was a Pokestop (apparently dustbins with graffiti artwork on it qualify)–she has neglected the main reason why Pokemon GO will probably be given the go-ahead anyway.