Big Box Jurong East Is So Deserted It Looks Dystopian; Beleaguered Mall Seeks Buyers Till 23 May

Big Box Jurong East Is Empty Following News Of Sales

It seems like many buildings in Singapore have become the victims of unfavourable circumstances lately.

First was Queensway Shopping Centre, and then Pearl Bank Apartments, and now the closing down conundrum has reached the far West.

Big Box in Jurong East may soon face a similar fate as witnesses report an empty mall, following rumours of a sale that surfaced some time in 2018.

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Shuttered outlets and empty retail spaces

Westies familiar with Big Box would know that the mall houses the most random assortment of shops. Not one of them rings any bells for us.

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So the sight of many shops with their shutters down may leave most of us feeling indifferent.

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But you’ll have to admit, an entire mall completely void of all signs of life is quite an eerie thought amid the regular bustle of our city.

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Okay, there were a few lost souls wandering around, but they were probably trying to find an elusive shortcut to JEM or IMM nearby.

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We’re not sure whether we should take comfort in the fact that huge ads are still up and the escalators are still running.

Bids from buyers due on 23 May

An Expression of Interest (EOI) for Big Box has been ongoing since April and is due to end on 23 May, according to The Straits Times.

This came after Big Box business owners voluntarily offered to close down in September last year.

If anyone indicates interest by 23 May, operations will resume immediately, to take advantage of the building’s prime location in Jurong.

For now, the fate of Big Box hangs in the balance.

Also read:

8 Reasons Why Everyone Saw Big Box Sale In Jurong East Coming

Featured image from Google Maps, Facebook and Facebook.

KL Bubble Tea Street Is Boba Heaven With 10 Shops Open Till Late Including Gong Cha & The Alley

KL Bubble Tea Street Is Every Boba Lover’s Fantasy

Visit any popular bubble tea shop in Singapore and you’re sure to find a snaking queue.

The boba obsession is real, and having to queue to satisfy your craving can be quite the mood-killer.

Good news for those who like to travel across the Causeway though — Kuala Lumpur (KL) has an entire street full of bubble tea shops, and most stay open till late.

If you’re planning a KL trip soon, drop by SS15 Subang Jaya to get your boba fix any time, even in the late hours of the night.

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1. The Alley

Singaporeans went crazy when famous Taiwanese brand The Alley first reached our shores in Apr 2019. The line at their Jewel Changi outlet is still insanely long, and we can expect the same at Cineleisure too.

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If you haven’t had a taste yet, we’d suggest heading to their KL outlet and making a mini vacation out of it. The new addition Early Grey Tea will pair perfectly with their signature brown sugar pearls.

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Address: 84G, Jalan SS5/4, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: 12pm-1am daily

2. Gong Cha

Gong Cha‘s iconic return saw throngs of customers lining up at the first outlet at SingPost Centre. With a few more outlets gradually opening, the craze will only spread.

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Thankfully, Gong Cha in KL doesn’t have such ridiculously long queues, so you won’t have to wait for eternity to get your milk tea with pearls.

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Address: 3, Jalan SS15/7, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-12am

3. DABOBA

Want to depart from the bubble tea brands everyone keeps talking about? Why not try DABOBA, a brand that claims to have started the brown sugar craze in Taiwan.

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Their brown sugar pearls are said to be extra decadent and not too cloying at all, so it might prove to be worth the long trip there.

Address: 25, Jalan SS15/4, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 12.30pm-11.45pm, Fri & Sat 12.30pm-12.15am

4. JLD Dragon

JLD Dragon takes brown sugar fresh milk to another level by adding a luscious topping of whipped cream and creme fraiche.

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Since you’re having your little sugary treat, why not indulge in the full experience?

Address: No. 7-G, Jalan SS15/4E, SS15, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: 12pm-12am daily

5. Xing Fu Tang

We know, another brown sugar pearl joint, but the twist here is that they stir fry their brown sugar pearls in-store in a huge wok, so you can be sure that the caramelised taste will really shine through.

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Another interesting item on the menu is their mango smoothie, which is topped with panna cotta in the shape of a rabbit. How totally random but super cute is that?

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Expect a long queue though, as the fairly new outlet is still welcoming waves of excited first-time customers.

Address: 88, Ground Floor, Jalan SS15/4, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: 12pm-1am daily

6. Tea Amo

Perhaps a play on the Spanish expression “Te amo” which means “I love you”, there’s every reason to love this bubble tea shop.

Their milk tea doesn’t just stop at the traditional option — you can opt for a variety of other milk flavours like rose, peach, caramel and even hazelnut.

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Go for the soft serve ice-cream with pearls, served in a cup or cone, if you want to switch things up a bit.

Address: 51, Jalan SS15/4, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: 11am-1am daily

7. OneZo

We have PlayMade, Malaysia has OneZo, the Taiwanese OG in flavoured pearl toppings. You can choose from brown sugar, cactus and caramel pearls to go with drinks like taro milk tea and cocoa latte.

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OneZo also famously created the Poké Ball pearls, so Pokémon fans can truly eat, live and breathe Pokémon.

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Address: 70-G, Jalan SS15/4, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: 11am-1am daily

8. Cha Wan Jia Tea Bubble

Cha Wan Jia is basically what you’d imagine the love child of PlayMade and LiHo would be. Pearls in flavours like sakura and dragon fruit, and teas with foamy cheese toppings give you the best of both worlds.

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You’d be so blown away by the menu that you’ll start tripping over your words and calling bubble tea “tea bubble” instead.

Address: No. 34, SS15/8, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 11.30am-12am, Fri & Sat 11.30am-1am

9. Pin Tea

Not your typical boba store, Pin Tea offers healthier versions of thirst-quenching, ice cold beverages. Pick from fresh fruit teas like grape, kiwi, berries and mango, some of which also come in ice blended form.

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If you really can’t do without dairy, they also have frappes in flavours like double chocolate chip, caramel black tea and hojicha.

Add their unique “pin balls”, a supposedly healthier substitute for tapioca pearls, for some chewiness. These are said to contain zero fats and calories, and even help with digestion.

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Health nuts would appreciate this less sinful option for bubble tea.

Address: 86G, Jalan SS15/4, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: 12pm-1am daily

10. Chatto

Slightly further away from the rest, Chatto is the only shop that’s also a full-fledged cafe complete with a savoury food menu. Fill your empty stomach with Japanese and Korean delicacies like a kimchi chicken sandwich or a curry bento set.

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Wash everything down with a cup of matcha pearl latte, among other delicious drink options, for a satisfying meal.

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Address: No. 24 Jalan SS15/4D, 47500 Subang Jaya
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 11.30am-12am, Fri & Sat 11.30am-1am

Late night bubble tea haunts

With over 10 bubble tea shops open past midnight, SS15 Subang Jaya in KL is really the place to be for crazy boba fanatics.

The area is easily accessible from the SS15 LRT station, but of course, you can just Grab your way there.

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June holidays are less than a month away, so you should probably start planning a holiday in KL to try all these wild and wonderful bubble tea options.

Featured image from @steffylovesfood and @eva_t0807 on Instagram.

S’pore Photographer Takes Final Photos Of Pearl Bank Apartments Till Last Residents Leave

Pearl Bank Apartments’ Last Photos Make Singaporeans Nostalgic

Word of Queensway Shopping Centre‘s en bloc sales disheartened Singaporeans as they anticipate the loss of an iconic building.

While people talk about Queensway, another iconic building saw its time come to an end on Tuesday (30 Apr).

Pearl Bank Apartments near Chinatown which has been around since 1976 saw its last occupants leave on Tuesday, and photographer Darren Soh was there to witness everything.

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Last residents leave the building

According to Mr Soh, residents of the building had until 5pm on Tuesday to clear out and leave their apartments, and surrender their keys to management.

As the evening came to an end, Mr Soh captured what remained of the building after everyone had left.

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The 43-year-old building was a mere shadow of its former glory, with windows of every unit pitch black, save for one on the 28th floor.

Mr Soh reckoned the light came from the public toilet which operates on motion sensor, but he reconsidered the idea after remembering that the building was meant to be empty.

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He ended his last post on the Pearl Bank Apartments with a solemn, “It is done. 30th April 2019.”

Building no longer accessible

The fear of losing something forever often compels us to hold on before it completely disappears.

Likewise, Singaporeans are wondering if they could catch a final glimpse of Pearl Bank before redevelopment begins.

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Unfortunately, the building will no longer be open to public as the new developer, CapitaLand, starts taking over.

Those who wish to see Pearl Bank in its current state will have to settle with watching the vacant building from afar.

Singaporeans sentimental for the past

These recent photos weren’t the only ones Mr Soh took of the Pearl Bank Apartments.

He has tirelessly compiled an album of over 51 photos and growing, recording views of the apartments over the last 5 years. You can see the full album here.

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Residents and non-residents alike felt sentimental about the photos, reflecting on a part of history that may soon be gone.

A resident who spent 30 years at Pearl Bank sincerely thanked Mr Soh for the photos, which captured the essence of the “beautiful place [he] called home.”

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Even those who made a quick stop or two at the building had fond memories, sharing the somber mood felt by former residents.

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Suffice to say, the breathtaking views from the building are what many will miss, which says a lot about the beauty that will disappear with Pearl Bank’s closure.

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Future of Pearl Bank still uncertain

While CapitaLand has taken control of the building, there’s no confirming what the next step will be.

Pearl Bank will most likely be redeveloped, but whether the building will be demolished remains to be seen.

If demolition is on the books, Mr Soh has promised to document the process and update his followers.

Till then, you can get your last look of Pearl Bank through Mr Soh’s album, or make a quick drive or walk by the building if you’re ever in the area.

Address: 1 Pearl Bank, 169016
Nearest MRT station: Outram Park and Chinatown

Featured image from Darren Soh on Facebook and Facebook.

Queensway Shopping Centre May Close After 43 Years As En Bloc Sales Begin

Queensway Shopping Centre Begins En Bloc Sales

Sports enthusiasts would be familiar with Queensway Shopping Centre, a mall famous for shops selling a wide variety of sporting gear.

More than 20 sports shops there have seen generations of athletes passing through since the mall opened in 1976.

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The impending closure of the iconic mall will surely put a heartbreaking end to its 43-year history.

En bloc sales have started

En bloc sales for Queensway Shopping Centre and the adjacent 78 apartments have started since 22 Apr, according to a report by Berita Mediacorp.

The news comes after a series of failed en bloc sales that started in July 2018, when the government tried to cool the market.

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Residents and shop owners reportedly received news of the sales at an important meeting that happened the weekend before.

A special committee put together for the sales had convened the unprecedented meeting, but no information of the members are available.

Shop owners willing to sell their business

Though not all shop owners attended the meeting, some were still open to the idea of selling their businesses.

One of them who has been running a store there for the past 26 years claimed that business has declined in recent years due to the falling number of customers.

No more cheap sport apparels

Netizens who got wind of the news expressed disappointment at potentially losing their one-stop sports mall.

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That the shops sell sportswear at lower prices than most other places in Singapore is common knowledge, so their impending closure will be felt by many.

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Other stores that hold nostalgic value for regular visitors will also be sorely missed, like The Original Katong Laksa – Janggut Laksa and 328 Katong Laksa.

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We’re not sure if any of the stores will be finding a new home, but we hope they do. That way, we can still hold on to some remnants of our past.

Featured image from Google Maps.

JEM Marks & Spencer Closing Sale Has Up To 80% Off Clothes & Snacks Till 8 Jun

JEM Marks & Spencer Closing Down Sale Till 8 June 2019

Many of us would associate Marks & Spencer with uniquely British sweet treats and snacks.

Of course, they sell other essential items like clothing and toiletries too, but those are often too costly for budgeteers.

Good news for spendthrifts though — Marks & Spencer (M&S) at JEM is having a storewide sale with up to 80% discount on selected items till the store’s closure on 9 June.

Discounted clothes for everyone

One reason why clothes are slightly expensive at M&S is that they are made of the finest quality material. So those willing to fork out more are making a valuable investment.

If you usually hesitate to buy at regular prices, you won’t have to think twice now that the items are selling at half price.

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Now S$60, down from S$114.90, this no-frills midi dress is the perfect outfit for work. The simple silhouette works for both a formal setting and a casual evening out with friends.

You can bet that the material will keep you warm against the office’s chilly air-con, but isn’t too thick to make you sweat buckets outside.


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Heels add that extra ‘oomph’ to any outfit. Ones with exclusive designs such as this black velvet pointed heel is going bring your fashion game to a whole new level.

While you’d usually need to spend at least $100 on stylish heel designs like these, they can be all yours at just $20.

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Guys who already have the entire collection of Uniqlo smart shirts should try the unique designs from M&S instead. The sexy British gentleman vibe you’ll exude will definitely be worth the money.


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If you’re looking for a more daily-wear and simplistic style, you can shop for the cotton button-up shirts that are going for just $25.

Families who shop together can even find clothes for kids of all ages at $20 or below.


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This pretty red dress will be perfect to doll up your little princess and at the same time be guaranteed of her comfort in the premium quality of Marks and Spencer’s clothes.

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Dress your little ones up in a collared shirt so they’ll at least look presentable while running around and screaming at the top of their lungs.

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There’s enough on offer to give the whole family a makeover.

Other items on sale too

M&S hasn’t released full details for the sale online, so you’ll have to check in-store to find out what else the promotion covers.

But since they’re clearing the store to move out soon, we won’t be surprised if the wide array of food is selling at lower prices too.

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And let us remind you that JEM’s Marks & Spencer has an in-store bakery, which means you can select from a variety of fresh bakes for your breakfast and tea time menu.

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Make your trip to the West soon to shop for the last time at JEM’s M&S before it permanently closes.

Address: 50 Jurong Gateway Road, #02-24/25/26 & #03-27/28/29, Singapore 608549

Opening Hours: 

  • Sun – Thurs (10.30am – 10pm)
  • Fri – Sat (10.30am – 10.30pm)

Nearest MRT station: Jurong East


Article updated by Mugdha Jaruhar.
Featured image from Google Maps.

Funan IT Mall Reopens On 28 Jun With Indoor Cycling Track, Robot Shoppers & Rooftop Farms

Funan IT Mall Gets Massive Upgrade & Opens On 28 Jun

We remember Funan Mall as a haven for tech geeks who want to find the latest and greatest gadgets, laptops, computers, printers and digital cameras.

The old Funan DigitaLife Mall closed in 2016, but it’s scheduled to return by 28 June 2019 with a massive 887,000 square feet upgrade — about the size of fourteen football fields!

From co-working spaces, robot shoppers to edible gardens, here’s a sneak peek at the confirmed vendors at the new and improved Funan.

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Just take a look at the TFX flagship fitness centre’s new swanky swimming pool to be housed in the massive complex.

Now you – and your wallet – will know exactly what to expect.

1. Robot shoppers & cashless shopping

Funan IT Mall is determined to blur the lines between traditional retail and online shopping, with some exciting and innovative tech features.

Expect hands-free shopping with robots that deliver your orders to a ‘Click & Collect Lounge’.

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Those with vehicles can drop by their drive-through facility and get their shopping bags handed to them by a robot arm. Think McDonald’s drive-through, but for your electronics.

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As for purchasing stuff within the retail sections, you won’t actually have to use cash anymore. All you need apparently is their app, to make purchases & receive recommendations for deals you’ll be interested in.

2. Indoor cycling track

We all know that owning a car comes with a hefty price tag and walking isn’t always convenient.

Brompton’s folding bikes provide a portable and practical solution for millennials who want to travel from point A to point B via their indoor cycling track.

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Going to the gym will no longer be a hassle because you can lose a few carbs and stay healthy by biking around in an air-conditioned mall.

3. Ark Futsal

The Ark Futsal facilities at Funan will let kids and adults play street soccer, football and tennis.

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Parents who want to get their kids away from computer screens can schedule a trip during family days and birthdays. Companies can also ignite their employees’ competitive spirit through company tournaments.

4. Climb Central

Climb Central is an air-conditioned sport climbing venue.

Image courtesy of Funan IT Mall

They have easy-to-learn safety systems and auto belays that can guarantee your safety, especially if you’re a complete beginner.

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In case you’re tired of running in the treadmill, you can try something new and reach new heights here.

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5. Urban rooftop garden

Organic produce is definitely healthy, but pricey.

While many don’t have room to build a garden or plant crops in their HDBs, you can volunteer to grow your own food at Edible Garden City.

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Buying from a grocery store is a lot faster and more convenient, but we can’t wait to experience farm fresh produce.

6. Massive Golden Village Cinema

Movie-goers who crave the ultimate big screen movie experience, will be happy to chill at the Golden Village Cinema branch at Funan.

With more theatres, CBD workers don’t have to travel far for the upcoming release of Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker in December.

7. Co-living serviced apartments designed by millennials for millennials

lyf – owned by The Ascott Limited – will offer vibrant and Instagram-worthy coliving serviced apartments for technopreneurs, start-ups and creatives.

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lyf’s properties will feature spaces where tenants can host workshops, network with millennial professionals and exchange ideas with industry experts.

Workshops featuring artisans, innovation talks and hackathons with start-up accelerators will also be organised regularly.

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Ordering fast food everyday? The social kitchen lets you sign-up for cooking classes, learn culinary tips and exchange exotic recipes with attendees.

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8. WeWork office spaces for startups

Office space for entrepreneurs, startups or freelancers isn’t cheap.

Fortunately, WeWork – a confirmed vendor at Funan – will provide beautiful and flexible workspaces with super fast internet, IT support, business class printers and roasted coffee.

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9. Facial recognition offices

New start-ups will be housed within office areas with facial recognition technology at the entrance. This means hands-free entry into your office spaces.

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You won’t have to fumble around in your bags any more for your ID just to enter the office. Plus points for convenience if you’re the one arrowed to do the morning coffee run.

10. Chope parking lots online

Say goodbye to circling around a carpark endlessly hunting for a parking lot. Funan is apparently introducing a way to chope your slot online.

We hear that guests can reserve parking space ahead of time and pay for tickets too, regardless if they’re going to the mall or just staying in the neighbourhood.

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11. eSports Tournaments

eSports fans, brace yourselves. GamePro is set to host eSports tournaments at the eSports zone within the mall. This could mean League of Legends, Overwatch or Dota competitions hosted right at the heart of the CBD district.

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We can’t wait to support local gamers and watch heart-stopping tournaments.

The mall of the future

We’re still gushing over Jewel Changi Airport’s opening but we’ll have something new to visit very soon.

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Funan is an all-in-one serviced apartment, office and shopping destination for those who prioritize speed, accessibility and convenience. If this is what the malls of the future will look like, then keep ’em coming.

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Address: 109 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 179097
Opening On: 28 Jun
Website: Funan


Article updated by Mugdha Jaruhar.
Featured image from CapitaLand.

This Vietnamese Haw Par Villa Has Bizarre Water Slides Featuring Buddhas & Mythical Folklore

Vietnam’s Suoi Tien Theme Park Has Buddha-Themed Water Slides

Die-hard fans of Haw Par Villa in Singapore should bookmark this Vietnamese version which is a major upgrade.

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Located in Ho Chi Minh City, Suoi Tien Theme Park is a mythical amusement park and a cultural monument to boot.

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The park is decorated with massive golden Buddha statues, colourful dragons and majestic castles.

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If you’re sold by the bizarre mish-mesh of traditional mythology and water slides, here’s what to expect besides a surprise Harry Potter cameo.

Towering monuments to mythical figures

The water park includes statues of mythical creatures and colourful monuments not dissimilar in style to the famous figures at Haw Par Villa.

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However, these sculptures don’t represent the levels of Hell or punishments for wayward believers. Instead, they inspire a sweeping sense of awe for the rich religious and cultural roots of Vietnamese society.

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The Chinese Guardian lions or food dogs symbolize prosperity, success and guardianship — and we hope they’ll pass some of their good luck to us.

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Buddhas at every turn

Those who want to calm and control their minds can mediate with this Buddha statue that looks towards the fountain.

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Avalokiteshvara – the compassionate Bodhisattva – is often depicted with multiple heads and arms. Since he is believed to hear the cries of the world, those struggling with life can share their problems here. Alternatively, go hang with Smiling Buddha if you’re in an awesome mood.

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Water-themed adventures to flaunt your bikini bod

Suoi Tien Theme Park is the perfect place to flaunt your fit or flabby bikini body.

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Those with a taste for adventure can slide inside gigantic sea creatures and emerge from its fanged mouth.

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Planning to bring the kiddos along? They will adore the collection of slides and as they marvel at the face of an ancient king.

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If your kids are bored with kiddie pools, how about sliding through a Chinese dragon’s mouth?

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Theme park rides & Harry Potter castles

Millennials who grew up with the Harry Potter books will stop and stare at this Western-style castle inspired by their favourite books. We don’t think it is a legit partnership but the replica is amusing nonetheless.

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This group of house elves are bizarrely chained to the entrance and we’re hoping we can grant them some freedom if we visit. Better pack some extra socks just in case.

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On a random note, we couldn’t help but notice that Dobby the house elf got real buff. See for yourself.

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You can also have memorable carousel rides or opt for the thrill-seeking roller coasters.

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We all have mixed feeling about rides that spin endlessly, but what matters is that you don’t get sick or puke until it’s over.

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After the fun-filled day ends, you can take a boat ride and conclude the day by catching a mesmerising sunset.

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We’re sure Vietnamese families love the cheeky references to pop culture while educating their kids about their religious heritage.

How to reach the theme park

Suoi Tien Theme Park is the ideal place to beat the heat and have summer fun, but how do you get there?

You can book a flight from Singapore to Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Jetstar Airways. From there, take a 30-minute taxi ride.

Vietnam having an upgraded ‘Haw Par Villa’ of sorts makes it an ideal destination for thrill-seekers looking for water-filled adventures during the hottest time of the year.

At only S$6.78 (US$5) for adults and S$3.39 (US$2.50) for children, it’s an affordable price for an afternoon with mythical creatures. Not to mention, you’ll get to see how buff Dobby the house elf got as a bonus.

Opening Times: 8.00am to 5.00pm
Location: 120 Xa lộ Hà Nội, Phường Tân Phú, Quận 9, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
Website: Suoi Tien Theme Park

Featured image from 91 Days and Instagram

SGD Hits Yearly High Against M’sian Ringgit; Time To Shop Before The Dollar Drops

SGD To 3.06 Ringgit, Here’s Where You Can Shop In JB

You’ve probably made countless trips across the causeway by now to shop, since the Singapore Dollar (SGD) has been strong against the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR).

But don’t take a breather just yet, because the SGD just hit a 17-month high against the MYR on Wednesday (17 Apr), according to a report by CNA.

Demand for MYR has recently fallen, as fears of Malaysian bonds falling out of a major global bond index arise.

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Bad news for Malaysia, but good news for us — a long weekend is coming up and a trip across the causeway is surely on everyone’s minds. So get ready to join the snaking queues at the money changer.

While you patiently wait in line, why not check out our list of malls you can shop at in Johor Bahru (JB)?

1. R&F Mall

Getting through the massive causeway jam is enough of a pain that you’d simply want to get to the mall with as little fuss as possible.

Luckily for you, the new R&F mall in JB is only a 7-minute walk from JB customs, which it’s connected to via a sheltered link bridge.

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With over 100 stores like a gigantic Carl’s Jr. and the atas Emperor Cinemas, you’ll find everything you’ll need there.

In case you didn’t know, Emperor Cinemas hails from Hong Kong, and promises a top-notch movie experience with luxurious leather seats fitted with USB charging ports.

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Unfortunately, Avengers: Endgame won’t be out yet this weekend, but there’s still good news for Marvel fans — R&F Mall is having a special exhibition in preparation for the movie.

You can take pictures with life-size models of the characters, participate in workshops and buy exclusive Avengers: Endgame colour-changing mugs.

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The mugs are only RM39.90 or S$13 each, which is a steal for something you can’t get anywhere else.

Even if you’re not much of a shopper, cool, limited edition merch should be reason enough to drop by R&F Mall.

Address: Tanjung Puteri, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily
Nearest train station: JB Sentral

2. Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru

Touted as the “largest shopping mall” in Johor, Paradigm Mall is one to visit, especially if you like to marvel at huge malls like Suntec City or VivoCity.

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The mall boasts more than 500 stores, including departmental store Parkson which spans across four storeys.

They have A&W there too, so you can skip the crazy queues at Jewel Changi. No Shake Shack though, but there’s a Shake Shake, which sells a variety of bubble tea flavours.

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When your eyes are tired from looking at retail outlets, you can turn your attention to other fun activities at the mall which the whole family can do:

  • Ice skating
  • Indoor Skating
  • Indoor climbing

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Address: Jalan Bertingkat Skudai, Taman Bukit Mewah, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily
Nearest train station: JB Sentral

3. Capital City

Renamed Capital City after the underwhelming soft launch of Capital 21 in October 2018, the now complete mall is the perfect family destination.

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The retail outlets don’t offer anything very unique, but one thing that sets this mall apart is the massive theme park on the 4th floor.

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With thrilling indoor rides for visitors of all ages, the young and the young-at-heart are in for the time of their lives.

Attractions like Garfield Family Escape Playland and Bumper Cars are sure to keep you entertained for hours on end.

Address: 83, Jalan Tampoi, Bandar Baru Uda, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am-11pm daily
Nearest train station: Larkin Sentral

4. IKEA Tebrau

Think IKEA Tampines is big? Have a look at IKEA Tebrau in Johor Bahru, which happens to be the largest in Southeast Asia.

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Its existence may be old news, but those who have yet to visit must know that prices there are cheaper than in Singapore.

We’re not sure how you’d lug a four-post bed or a table home, but you can always buy bed sheets and other small furnishings.

Don’t miss the Swedish furniture giant’s signature meatballs, which only cost RM15 (S$5) for 15 pieces.

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Address: 33, Jalan Harmonium 23/13, Taman Desa Tebrau, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm
Nearest train station: JB Sentral. Free shuttle bus services are available from Larkin Sentral and KTMB Museum (next to JB Sentral).

5. Johor Premium Outlets

Let’s be honest, we go to JB to spend like royalty, but by that we mean buying tonnes of things for cheap.

And there’s no other place fit for budget kings and queens than Johor Premium Outlets, which offers a wide range of famous luxury brands at marked down prices.

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From Armani to Burberry, Coach and Gucci, you can find the biggest names in fashion all at one place, and in a pretty fancy setting.

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You’d think you were strolling around a quaint little town somewhere in Europe or America.

Address: Jalan Premium Outlets Indahpura, Kulai District, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.
Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily
Nearest train station: None, but there are direct buses from Singapore.

Long weekend, short holiday in JB

For those of us without any plans for the Good Friday weekend, perhaps a trip to JB will be a great idea.

There’s no need to plan any complicated activities, just hit the malls and make your ringgits rain.

Featured image from Instagram and Capital City.

Central i-City Shopping Centre Is An Exact Replica Of Bangkok, Just 1 Hour From Kuala Lumpur

Central i-City Shopping Centre Is An Exact Replica Of Bangkok

Malls start to look similar and boring, especially if you go shopping often.

Central i-City Shopping Centre at Shah Alam keeps things fresh through Thai street food stalls, gorgeous installations and even workshops endorsed by Tourism Thailand.

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Located 1 hour away by car from Kuala Lumpur, the mall is the brainchild of the owners of popular megamall Central World Bangkok — managed by Central Group.

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Their Thai-inspired installations are a part of the Sawasdee Thailand event which runs until 5 May.

If you’re planning a weekend getaway to Kuala Lumpur, here’s why you should stop by Central i-City Shopping Centre, to visit mini-Bangkok as well.

Replicas of Thai huts, tuk-tuks & street life

Central i-City Shopping Centre has huts and stalls that mimic traditional Siamese architecture and Bangkok’s street life.

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We’re familiar with tuk-tuks which are the cheapest way to visit Bangkok’s many shopping destinations — and we’re hoping to catch a ride.

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A trip to Bangkok isn’t complete without the sight of their popular floating markets featuring friendly vendors, traditional fishing boats and fresh goods.

While the shopping mall doesn’t boast of an indoor river, their small pond includes water lilies and colourful sampans that make the replica seem more authentic.

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Thailand’s dress codes changed a lot in the past few decades but you’ll be able to revisit the era through viewing these silk wrap-around garments, Thai dresses and stitched garments.

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Elephants have been revered in Thailand since ancient times. Their association with royals and constant presence on battlefields have made them a symbol for wealth and power.

We’re not sure how you feel about meeting a massive elephant up close, but we’re sure you’ll love these sculptures.

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Authentic Thai food & stalls

Those who have a passion for authentic Thai cuisine can binge on local delicacies at their Bangkok Street Life area.

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We’ll never get enough of irresistibly sweet and diabetes-inducing Thai milk teas. We’ve been obsessed with many tea brands in Singapore, but we’re hoping to buy lots with a Ringgit price tag.

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Thai supermarkets boast of sweet and spicy concoctions that will surely tickle your taste buds.

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Feast like a king thanks to the favourable 3:1 exchange rate, if you change your currency at the right opportunities.

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Thai workshops

Cultural connoisseurs can spend their weekend by attending free workshops about pandan-leaf folding, Batik painting, traditional dessert-making and Muay Thai.

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Get your kids away from their iPads through activities that are guaranteed to help them learn something new or strike up friendships along the way.

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Listen to the beat of classical music trying your hand at traditional Thai cultural activities.

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Have a taste of Bangkok

i-City Shopping Centre’s Sawasdee Thailand event runs until 5 May.

To get to the mall, you can book a trip from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur International Airport via Scoot, Jetstar or AirAsia. From there, take a 40-min cab ride.

The mall can trace its origins to Central World Bangkok which belongs to Thailand’s holy trinity of massive mega malls.

Similar to its Bangkok branch, we’re sure you’ll find retail shops and food stalls which are native to Thailand or found internationally.

Address: No. 1, Persiaran Multimedia, Seksyen 7, Jalan Plumbum 7/102, I-City, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Contact details: +60 3-5525 0099
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Website: Central i-City

Featured image from Instagram and Retail News Asia.

7 Bookstores In Singapore That Struggled Over The Years

RIP Iconic Bookstores In Singapore

Hanging out at a bookstore and discovering new series has always been a pleasurable experience for many locals, regardless of age.

While we all love reading books and imagining adventures in fantasy realms, operating a bookstore is another thing altogether. The rise of ebooks and other digital media have led to the decline of the publishing industry over the years.

In this article, let’s take a look back at the bookstores that have risen and fallen from grace. You might be able to spot some of your favourite outlets when you were little.

1. Borders

Borders – a popular US bookstore chain – entered Singapore in 1997.

In 2011, it closed its Wheelock Place branch due to a dispute with the landlord. They also ended their tenancy at Orchard Road and Parkway Parade.

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The Straits Times reports that the US Borders Group and REDgroup Retail, owner of Borders’ operations, closed down which led to its rapid decline.

In 2013, Popular Holdings attempted a comeback by opening an outlet at Jurong’s Westgate mall. Unfortunately, it immediately closed 3 months later and turned into a regular Popular bookstore.

Arrived in Singapore: 1997
Went Extinct: 2013

2. MPH Suntec Outlet

MPH brands itself as the #1 bookstore in Malaysia with a vast collection of stationery, gadgets, toys, Chinese books, children’s books, school references, books and lifestyle magazines.

Some locals will remember that its Suntec Outlet opened in 2010 and closed in 2011.

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Fortunately, bookworms will be happy to know that the brand is still going strong with outlets in Malaysia. Your best bet for a visit is probably the one within City Square Mall in JB.

Arrived in Singapore: 2010
Went Extinct: 2011

3. MyEPB

MyEPB Bookstore arrived to Temasek Boulevard in February 2000.

It was one of the country’s biggest bookstores but it cancelled its operations in July 2017. We suspect that it left a few years earlier because we couldn’t find a trace on the Internet.

Yes, not even a picture. If you’ve been a longtime MyEPB fan, do submit your photographs of the iconic store at Suntec City in the comment section. We’ll be sure to update this article ASAP.

Arrived in Singapore: February 2000
Went Extinct: July 2017

4. Liang Court’s Kinokuniya

Most locals will remember Liang Court’s iconic Kinokuniya outlet, which opened in December 1983.

It was a popular hangout spot for otakus and Japanese bibliophiles thanks to its collection of more than 150,000 titles of manga, Japanese magazines and cute stationery.

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The store has been around for three decades but not all good things last forever. The company announced the closure of its first branch on 18 March.

Fortunately, you can still check out their other outlets at Ngee Ann City, Bugis Junction and Jem.

Arrived in Singapore: December 1983
Went Extinct: March 2019

5. Harris

Harris Bookstore was the go-to store for kids and adults in the 90s. Many an uncle or auntie wishing to pass the time before picking up their grandkids, could be spotted browsing through magazines at their outlets.

Harris established a presence in the 1960s and expanded to 7 stores at its peak.

During the 2000s, the brand struggled and closed its Jurong Point outlet in 2011 and its Great World City outlet in February 2012.

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At a final attempt to revive the brand, they stocked their 313@somerset store with popular merchandise and graphic novels, but the branch closed shortly after.

Arrived in Singapore: 1960s
Went Extinct: 2013

6. Prologue

Prologue Bookstore’s opening at Ion Orchard was met with a lot of fanfare thanks to its 2-storey book haven and cafe.

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The store differentiated itself from its parent company Popular Holdings’ — owner of Popular bookstores. The interior of Prologue featured chic and modern architecture that was poised to attract a lot of millennials.

Unfortunately, it closed around 2013 due to its failure to secure a large following.

Arrived in Singapore: 2009
Went Extinct: 2013

7. San Bookshop

During the early 2000s, San Bookshop had a big presence in Singapore.

Readers could find a fine selection of English & Chinese books or comics at their outlets in the Funan The IT Mall, OUB Centre, Tampines Mall, West Mall, United Square, Heartland Mall and The Amara.

They’ve built a name for themselves for offering more affordable books and the option to purchase second-hand books.

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They’ve opened and closed several branches for the past few years but it seems that their stores in Tampines, Jurong West, Hougang Street and Marine Parade are still open.

Arrived in Singapore: 2000s

Bookstores will be missed

Is there hope for books?

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All of us grew up in bookstores. However, as ePubs and digital media continue to gain ground more people prefer buying their favourite titles online.

It’s sad that a lot of bookstores have struggled, but perhaps having an online store like MPH will help these brands thrive. Meanwhile, go out to your local bookstore and share your favorite series.

Appreciate what you have before it turns into what you had.

Featured image from Facebook, MPH and Google.

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