Photographer Captures Geylang Serai Market In Black Hues, Makes It Look Futuristic

Geylang Serai Market Looks Mysterious & Futuristic In Local Photographer’s Pictures

Photographs taken from an unusual perspective make everyday spaces seem like they’re from another time and place. This seems to be the case for local photographer – Nur Alym Juma’at – who captured a futuristic-looking Geylang Serai Market in black hues.

Nearby residents can recall the hustle and bustle of the busy market, but this album makes it seem like a setting of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite film — at least in terms of color grading.


While the future will always be unpredictable, we imagine that the dystopian version of Geylang Serai Market would look like this.

Dystopian market with black hues

Traversing the cramped market to peruse ingredients is a common task. But the sight of this fish stall at contrasting lighting conditions makes the mundane task of browsing fish a much more compelling sight.


Due to the pandemic, we often refer to the present as “dark times”. However, you’ll literally feel that your present prospects are dim upon spotting this lone uncle waiting for customers.


This photo captured from behind some sort of safety net adds to the sense of desolation, as though you’re looking out to a strange version of a familiar place.


You may have gotten used to the new normal in wet markets, but here’s the view from the merchant’s side. We sincerely hope that this auntie has enough patrons to keep her business running.


We’ve seen cityscapes from up above, but this is an overhead view of our local market at present. Eagle-eyed readers can tell passersby are consciously maintaining a distance from those around them.


Cautious shoppers in a busy market

In this day and age, we never venture outside without face masks. As we enter Phase 2, it seems we’re getting our old lives back, though we have to be wary of everything around us.


While before, the crowds at Geylang Serai Market were signs of life and exuberance, now the sight of people in masks creates a more mellow atmosphere.


Even amid the current crisis, it’s business as usual for these merchants. This photo mirrors the gloomy undertone of current times, so we’re hoping we can see a brighter version in the next few months.


A darker side to Geylang Serai Market

The photo album by Nur Alym Juma’at makes our local market seem like a scene from a dark dystopian film. It manages to capture the gloomy and uncertain atmosphere, yet make it seem strangely beautiful.

All of us are waiting for the present to pass and move on to a better time. However, this album reminds us that there’s always beauty in our day to day life.

We’re curious to know how the Geylang Serai Market will evolve as we tide over the Covid-19 pandemic, but we’re hopeful that brighter days are coming.

Featured image from Facebook.

GNC Files For Bankruptcy Due To Covid-19, S’pore Stores Remain Open

GNC Files For Bankruptcy As Covid-19 Causes Massive Debt

The storefront of GNC is almost ubiquitous in Singapore’s various malls.

Selling various supplements and vitamins, many a gymmer obtains their supply of whey protein from these wellness outlets.


However, due to Covid-19 heavily impacting store sales, Bloomberg reports that GNC Holdings Inc – the parent company of popular nutrition supplement chain GNC – is filing for bankruptcy protection and has plans to close stores.

Despite this, the United States-based company’s franchise and international operations weren’t included in the filing.

Stores outside of the United States, such as in Singapore, won’t be affected by the proceedings.

GNC facing dwindling sales, bankruptcy

GNC is known for its presence in various malls, but this has been a double-edged sword amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Footfall has dropped drastically and they were running on a loss even before lockdowns began.

At least in Singapore, stores were ordered shut during the ‘Circuit Breaker’ as they were deemed non-essential, further jeopardising matters.

Although GNC has invested in their digital presence, they’ll still have to close down numerous physical stores and may even sell the entire company.

According to Bizjournals, they’re looking to close at least 800 to 1,200 stores.

Supplements of all varieties

All manner of supplements exist within GNC’s walls.

From fish oil to organic products, GNC appears to have them all for the health-conscious.


Gymrats looking to boost their recovery also partake in the giant whey jars they offer.


GNC online & physical stores still available

Despite the bankruptcy filing, GNC stores in Singapore will still be open for business, according to their statement:


Hopefully, there shouldn’t be cause for worry, as buyers can still get their products online.

This being Phase 2, stores and gyms are reopened as well, so there should be little fear for those gymrats who are getting back to their workout routines.

Featured image adapted from The Gardens Mall.

Choa Chu Kang Residents To Get 2 New Hawker Centres & Safra Clubhouse By 2026

Choa Chu Kang Gets New Hawker Centre & Transport Options

Choa Chu Kang residents can look forward to some new amenities in the coming years, including 2 new hawker centres.

Choa Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad took the chance to remind residents about the upcoming developments in the area he oversees on Monday (22 Jun).


The hawker centres in Keat Hong and Yew Tee are expected to open in 2026.

Indeed, there’s also possibly no better time to remind residents of new amenities, what with the General Elections right around the corner.

2 hawker centres in Keat Hong & Yew Tee

Stating that Keat Hong residents gave feedback on the need for more makan options, Mr Zaqy said they can look forward to exactly that when the 2 new hawker centres are completed in 2026.


One of them will be located within an Integrated Transport Hub (ITH) — which’ll also include a Jurong Region Line (JRL) MRT station.

Besides Foodfare, CCK residents currently have 302 Foodhouse which serves up freshly fried ngoh hiang & famous wanton mee into the wee hours of the night.


The upcoming ITH is expected to include a vast array of shopping options to provide residents other alternatives besides Lot 1 and Sunshine Place, further into the estate.

Speaking of Sunshine Place, there’s work on doubling F&B spaces within the establishment to cater to feedback on having more food options.

So that’s a lot of exciting developments for Keat Hong residents come 2026.

Massive SAFRA Choa Chu Kang complex in park

SAFRA Choa Chu Kang is slated for completion by 2022, near a sectioned off area of CCK park.


Complete with an aqua gym, sheltered pool & sky running track, the clubhouse is said to be one of the largest SAFRA branches yet in the West — also the first SAFRA located within a park.

Yew Tee hawker centre & polyclinic in the works

Yew Tee residents can look forward to a second dedicated hawker centre & polyclinic within the development as well — previously, there weren’t any hawker centres in either CCK or Yew Tee.

Those yearning for local options previously only had coffee shops and food courts to pick from, so this is definitely good news.

Developments in planning since 2019

The impending hawker centre news isn’t exactly new. Back in Sep 2019, Mr Zaqy already announced the plans for its opening, and they haven’t changed since.


So we guess the only reason why an MP would casually mention these developments at this time of the year – 6 years before completion – is to remind residents of what’s to come.

Pretty good timing for reminders, we’d say.

Featured image adapted from Facebook & Facebook.

Otters Frolic Freely Near Zouk Bridge, Exactly Capture Our Phase 2 Mood

Otters Get Sunbath Near Zouk Bridge

After 2 months of ‘Circuit Breaker’ and another fortnight of Phase 1, Singaporeans were stoked when the nation finally entered Phase 2 of reopening on 19 Jun.

Most activities finally resumed during this phase, and we rejoiced at the chance to see friends and loved ones again.

On Wednesday (17 Jun), a video was shared on Facebook showing a romp of otters frolicking on the steps near Jiak Kim Bridge, accurately capturing how we felt as we embarked on Phase 2 of reopening.

Otters getting a taste in the sun

In the video lasting 57 seconds, a romp of at least 10 otters was seen sunbathing along the banks of a river.


No doubt, some Singaporeans were probably doing the exact same thing somewhere else.

Some otters are apparently nuzzling others in their brethren. For humans, this would be an excessive Public Display of Affection (PDA), but anything goes for these creatures.


The scene reminds us of the elation we felt when we were finally able to go out during Phase 2.

Based on the surroundings, the scene appears to take place along the Singapore River, near Jiak Kim Bridge.

Some may recall that this area is close to where Zouk is, hence it’s popularly known as the ‘Zouk bridge’.


Otters spotted in various areas of Singapore

While the video poster commented about the ‘rare’ sight, the family of otters have actually been spotted numerous times around Singapore.

For instance, they were also spotted at The Float @ Marina Bay mere weeks earlier.

Otters Blissfully Play On The Float At Marina Bay, As Happy As Soldiers Celebrating POP

Unfortunately, their antics may lessen after Phase 2 began, since more hoomans will be out and about.

As we enjoy our Phase 2 freedom, we also need to remember that Covid-19 isn’t quite over yet, and that we should still follow safe distancing guidelines.

Featured image adapted from Facebook and Wikimedia Commons.

Holland Village Restaurant Closed Due To Large Crowds, Shops Told To Follow Rules

Holland Village Restaurant Closed After Large Crowds Gathered There On 19 Jun

Photos of large crowds gathering in Holland Village on Friday (19 Jun) have sparked safety concerns among netizens and ministers alike.

The authorities promised prompt action, and sure enough, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong confirmed on Saturday (20 Jun) that a restaurant there has been shut down.


Proving how strict they are about those guilty of flouting the rules, this serves as a reminder for everyone else to abide by them.

Holland Village restaurant & patrons face punishment

After images of the crowds circulated on social media, the authorities wasted no time in carrying out inspections.

This led them to identify British Indian Curry Hut as the main point of congregation, thereby closing the establishment down.

All other Outdoor Refreshment Areas (ORAs) within the vicinity will also no longer open.

British Indian Curry Hut’s ORA on a regular evening before Covid-19

Restaurants will thus have to keep their customers within the indoor dining areas only.

The individuals who flouted safe distancing rules have also received fines from enforcement officers there, and may face other charges.

Work-pass holders among them could have their passes revoked.

Businesses have to comply with rules

Following the incident, Mr Wong advised all other Food & Beverage (F&B) as well as business outlets to strictly abide by the safe distancing rules.

They are, after all, for the sake of everyone’s safety and not just the patrons themselves.

Businesses that fail to comply risk facing “possible penalties and charges”.

Rather than rushing to reopen and welcome customers, Mr Wong suggested taking time to implement safety measures to avoid inadvertently flouting them.

We’re still in the thick of battling Covid-19, and should not take our little bit of freedom now for granted. So let’s be more responsible while we’re out and about, and remind each other to stay safe.

Featured image adapted from Google Maps.

Ya Kun Opens Outlet In Shinjuku, Spreads Kaya Toast Appeal In Japan

Ya Kun Kaya Toast Opens New Outlet In Shinjuku, Japan

UPDATE (22 Jun, 2pm): An MS News reader has visited the outlet and shared that the brand is “unable to sell food due to import constraints” till July 2020.

Image courtesy of an MS News reader

Additionally, only drinks are available on the menu & opening discounts are not ongoing yet.

We may not be able to travel for leisure yet, but this hasn’t stopped us from discovering new places to explore.

While waiting for travel to resume again, why not add Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan, to your list? Aside from Japanese street food, clubs and karaokes, you can now find a familiar Singaporean shopfront there — Ya Kun Kaya Toast.

Local breakfast food may be the last thing on your mind when there’s fresh sushi everywhere, but a cup of piping hot teh or kopi can sooth any soul in the country’s occasionally cold weather.

Not the first Ya Kun outlet in Japan

Now this won’t be Ya Kun’s first outlet in the land of the rising sun. There have been a few in the capital Tokyo alone, like this one at Lalaport, Toyosu.


Sadly, this outlet closed a few years ago, so the new one opening at Shinjuku marks Ya Kun’s return to the Japanese market, bringing Singapore’s iconic dishes to the Far East.

You can bet that the menu will be the same too, with favourite staples like kaya toast with butter, soft boiled eggs and kopi.


Of course, the price will be steep there, with this meal setting you back a good
¥860 or S$11.22, according to Ya Kun Japan’s website. But once the craving for Singaporean dishes kicks in, any amount means little compared to your homesickness.

Twitter user @nemumingjptw, however, which shared about the Shinjuku outlet opening, shared a poster indicating that the set is only ¥490 or S$6.39.


Perhaps there’s a special promotion in lieu of the opening?

Savoury dishes like chicken rice, laksa and mee rebus are also on the menu, if you prefer a more filling meal.

Outlet design resembles local branches

Interior design and renovation firm Alpha Formation Pte Ltd, which is responsible for setting up many Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlets across Singapore, posted artist’s impressions of the Shinjuku store on Facebook.


Everything from the restaurant’s colours to the wooden stools replicate the ones we know so well in Singapore, you’d feel like you’re stepping into a neighbourhood coffee shop.


Now you’ll know where to go when you’re missing home while in Japan.

A familiar spot to gather at once the pandemic ends

Once the Covid-19 pandemic blows over, there’s no doubt that those with travel plans will start packing as soon as they can.

If your destination happens to be Tokyo, why not make a stop at one of Ya Kun Kaya Toast’s many outlets there. Better still, check out this recently opened one in Shinjuku.

Complete details aren’t available yet, apart from the location of the building it is reportedly situated in.

Address: Shinjuku Sumitomo Building, 2 Chome-6-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 163-0290, Japan
Nearest train station: Tochomae

You may enjoy all the sake and sashimi you’d like, but nothing beats the comfort of warm toast and kopi on a cold morning.

Featured image adapted from Ya Kun Kaya Toast Japan and Facebook.

Crowds Form In S’pore On Phase 2 Day 1 As People Can’t Wait To Shop Again

Crowds Form At Various Shops & Eateries As S’pore Enters Phase 2 Post ‘Circuit Breaker’

The likelihood of crowds forming at shops and food places as Phase 2 starts today (19 Jun) is undoubtedly high, as many are raring to go out again.

Sure enough, within hours of the day starting, photos circulating on social media showed just how big the crowds are.

Check out this line of people apparently queuing to enter a Daiso outlet.

The store resumed operations today, reopening the gates to $2 heaven for budget-hungry Singapore shoppers.

Many other places witnessed similar sights, a far cry from the desolation we’ve been used to for the past 2 months.

People queue to enter shops & dine at restaurants

Since safety precautions are still in place, some of these queues begin from as far out as the mall entrance.

Take this line outside Plaza Singapura for example:

Image courtesy of an MS News reader

Not all retail outlets have opened yet, so our best guess is that these were lunch time crowds as people hurried to get the sweet, sweet taste of outside food.

We’re sure 2 months of eating at home has sharpened many of our cooking and baking skills enough, but it’s about time we switched our palettes.

Apart from food, however, massive discounts at certain shops are also attracting shoppers. According to Singapore Uncensored, these folks are at Takashimaya Shopping Centre for the 50% off sales at LV and Versace.


The snaking queue went all the way out to the roadside, with many patiently waiting in the afternoon heat.

Image courtesy of an MS News reader

Looks like the office workers nearby are happy to find a quick escape for their lunch break.

Neighbourhood malls also see crowds as Phase 2 starts

For those who may still be apprehensive about venturing out, the neighbourhood malls may be an option to consider.

Though we can’t guarantee that they’ll be any emptier, like this photo of Compass One in Sengkang:


The crowd at NEX in Serangoon is no better, looking almost as busy as peak hour timings in the days before Covid-19.


Take safety precautions & only go out when necessary

We understand how exciting it must be to finally meet friends or lovers after months of being apart.

It’s crucial to remember, however, that the virus is still a threat, and safety precautions like wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance are still very important.

Considering the large crowds at malls and eateries, you might want to hold off on your plans, at least till the excitement subsides. These places will still be around for a long time after all, so you won’t really be missing out.

Featured image adapted from Twitter and Singapore Uncensored.

Underwater Restaurant In Phuket Makes It Look Like You’re In Atlantis For Fancy Dinners

Andasi Phuket Restaurant Lets You Dine In A Spectacular Glass Tunnel Among Fishes & Stingrays

Numerous couples were forced into long-distance relationships during ‘Circuit Breaker’. Even though this pandemic is far from over, you can bookmark this fancy destination to celebrate with bae once travelling is possible again.

Andasi Phuket in Thailand is the world’s largest underwater restaurant.

Similar to our very own SEA Aquarium, it has a transparent tunnel that lets guests immerse themselves in a sub-aquatic wonderland.


The outlet is located inside Aquaria Phuket — a large aquarium with over 25,000 sea creatures.


Underwater restaurant lets you view over 300 species of fish

Andasi Restaurant is home to more than 300 species of fishes. We imagine if Atlantis had a restaurant, it would offer this scenic view of marine animals swimming with their friends.


Their intimidating statues of sea gods like Suvannamaccha and Hanuman may inspire you to learn Thai folklore and myths during your stay.


Stingrays usually reside on the ocean floor so diners have the rare chance of getting up-close and personal with the endangered species.


Young kids who are too young to dive can watch these schools of fishes so they can better understand Thailand’s rich marine life.


Mermaid performances

Taking a cue from Princess Ariel, the luxe destination has mesmerising undersea dance routines by professional Russian athletes.


It takes years of training to swim like a real-life mermaid so their enchanting performances may seem like watching a fairy tale come to life.


Delicious culinary creations

Their menu offers mouth-watering culinary creations such as Mai Khao Beach sand crabs, coconut gelato desserts, and sous-vide lamb. These fine dining experiences are priced from S$129 (2,888 baht) per person.


Whether you’re celebrating your birthday or anniversary, the restaurant provides the perfect ambiance for special occasions. Once the pandemic ends, don’t forget to order your favourite wine and toast for being able to travel once again.


Aquaria Phuket aquarium

Besides dining in a restaurant, visitors can go on a magical underwater journey at Aquaria Phuket.


The amazingly beautiful aquarium is home to dolphins, turtles, and jellyfish that’ll leave you in a daze. Here’s to hoping you get more opportunities to witness nature’s wonders.


Bookmark underwater restaurant for now

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Andasi restaurant has temporarily closed to protect its staff and guests.


Hopefully, the rapidly declining cases in Thailand and news of possible affordable vaccines, are signs that we could travel like normal soon.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in booking a fancy date with bae in the future, here’s what you need to know about this location.

Address: No. 199, B01, B Floor, Central Phuket Floresta, Wichit, Mueang Phuket District, 83000, Thailand
Contact Number: +66 61 172 6144
Website: Andasi Phuket

Be sure to add this destination to your bucket list so you can schedule a date under the sea.

Featured image from Instagram.

IKEA To Reopen On 19 Jun With Limits On Number Of Visitors

IKEA To Reopen On 19 Jun After Closing For 73 Days

As the Covid-19 situation appears to be under control, Singapore is commencing Phase 2 of reopening, allowing dine-ins and the resumption of many activities.

And along with this second phase, IKEA will also reopen its doors on Friday (19 Jun), after 73 days of closure.


However, the furniture company is doing it with caution, as customer safety remains of paramount importance.

As such, IKEA will be reopening with steps in place to mitigate risks of transmission.

Limiting the number of visitors

To ensure that overcrowding doesn’t occur, IKEA will be limiting the number of customers allowed to enter the store.

Following governmental guidelines on building capacity, they will only allow 1 person for every 10 square metres of floor area – this applies to both their outlets at Alexandra and Tampines.


Customers who intend to visit IKEA should also take note of changes to its operating hours.

  • Alexandra
    • Sundays – Thursdays, 10am-9pm
    • Fridays & Saturdays, 10am-11pm
  • Tampines
    • Sundays – Thursdays, 11am-9pm
    • Fridays & Saturdays, 11am-11pm

Restaurants and playground closed for now

If you’re heading down to grab the classic Swedish fair of meatballs, you might want to rethink that decision.

The IKEA Restaurants, Bistros and Swedish Food Market will be closed for the time being, and only gradually open in the next 2 weeks.


Småland, the playground inside IKEA stores, will also be closed temporarily for the safety of young visitors.

SafeEntry for safe entry

The other standard Covid-19 measures will still apply during this period.

Hence, workers and customers must wear masks at all times, and have their temperature taken before entering the store.

SafeEntry check-in is also mandatory for visitors, to help facilitate contact tracing in the unlikely event of transmission.

Try to make essential trips only

While IKEA reopening is exciting stuff, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and still practise some restraint when it comes to visiting.

Do make a trip only if it’s really essential, and while we’re there, let’s not forget the good habits we’ve picked up over the past few months.

Featured image adapted from IKEA.

Japan’s Harry Potter Theme Park Opens In 2023, Could Feature Diagon Alley & The Great Hall

Harry Potter Theme Park Opening In Tokyo, Inspired By London’s Harry Potter Studio Tour

Japan already has a Harry Potter section within Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, but tourists and locals in Tokyo will soon be able to visit the magical world of The Boy Who Lived in the Japanese capital too.

According to The Japan Times, a Harry Potter theme park will replace Tokyo’s Toshimaen Amusement Park, which is scheduled to close on 31 Aug.


Modelled after London’s Harry Potter Studios

When the theme park is completed in 2023, the Kyodo Times confirmed that it will mirror the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.


Rather than rides for thrill-seekers, the upcoming destination will let Potterheads get up close and personal with movie sets, magical props, and costumes.

This means you could visit Diagon Alley, The Great Hall and The Forbidden Forest without going to Osaka.

The Tokyo theme park’s attractions haven’t been confirmed yet, but here’s what you could expect based on what we’ve seen from its UK counterpart.

1. Platform 9 ¾

The Studios in London has an array of locations for visitors to explore, including Platform 9 ¾.

Here, aspiring students can push a luggage-filled trolley “through the wall” to get to the Hogwarts Express Train.

Potterheads still waiting for their owl-sent letter can finally visit their dream school.

2. The Great Hall

Students from the four Hogwarts houses eat their daily meals at The Great Hall.

Fans who have completed numerous Sorting Hat quizzes could stay in the designated location of their house, with your favourite headmaster watching over you.

Just like the film version, eagle-eyed fans may notice authentic robes and antique silverware, or kitchenware with animal carvings that represent each house.

3. Forbidden Forest

The gateway to the Forbidden Forest is heavily guarded by nightmarish gargoyles towering atop massive columns.

You can venture into the forest without any spells and wands, but you may encounter acromantula (giant spiders) falling from above.

4. Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley has an array of shops where students can buy the supplies they need to learn spells.

Here’s to hoping we can enjoy Butterbeer whilst strolling through these cobble-stoned streets.

5. Gringotts bank

Gringgots bank features marble interiors, opulent chandeliers, and luxe interiors. As a customer, we bet you’d feel like royalty despite your dwindling savings.

The Lestrange Vault also includes 210,000 coins and magical treasures that would make anyone green with envy.

6. Yule ballroom

The Great Hall turns into a winter wonderland during the Yule Ball, which commemorates the Triwizard Tournament.


Since the festivities take place in the winter, this version of Hogwarts castle is blanketed in snow. Similar to your non-magical prom night, singles may be pressured to bring a date like Harry and Ron.


7. Hogwarts rooms

Fellow muggles can also catch a glimpse of popular locations in Hogwarts castle such as Dumbledore’s Office, Umbridge’s Office, Common Rooms, and the Potions Classroom in the studio.

The Potions Classroom will conjure memories of Professor Severus Snape, who may reprimand you for touching the mysterious ingredients in the cupboard.

After a long day of studying, Gryffindor students can relax in the common room, which includes squashy armchairs, wooden tables, and lost posters. You might also meet fellow housemates along the way.


8. Wizard-themed menu

Tourists who need an energy boost could enjoy a foaming glass of Butterbrew from Hogsmeade. Share a mug with your friends and fellow students while reminiscing over your childhood.


The menu may also feature freshly baked burgers, friends, and hot dogs to keep your stomach full.

Coming in 2023

While, we can’t go to Japan now, as Singaporeans and residents from 110 countries are currently barred from traveling to Japan due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, By 2023, we expect to get our travel plans back on track and visit after the theme park opens.

The official attractions of the Tokyo Harry Potter theme park aren’t confirmed yet, so stay tuned for updates. But what we’ve seen from the Harry Potter Studios in London makes us feel optimistic about the future.

Don’t forget to drop by the upcoming Super Nintendo World and the Studio Ghibli Theme Park, too if you manage to make it to Japan.

Featured image from Instagram.


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