I can’t hold on to my pink IC if I don’t complain more, so I’ve decided to rant about the worst shopping centres in Singapore. To be fair, some of them are pretty decent; it’s just that the industry is highly competitive, so being “decent” is no longer good enough!
Sun Plaza (Sembawang MRT Station)
People who are not familiar with Sun Plaza will think that Sembawang Shopping Centre is next to Sembawang MRT Station. Nothing could be further from the truth: next to the MRT Station is Sun Plaza, the shopping mall that is so small that you just need thirty minutes to walk in and out of each shop. When we enter a shopping centre, we usually see familiar retail chains; but here, we see shops that we’ve never heard of before, almost like walking into Far East Plaza. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s different, and we don’t like change. Right?
CityVibe (Clementi MRT Station)
If you’re a tertiary student or were once one, you will be familiar with this “shopping centre”—I give it an open and close quotation because honestly speaking, I really don’t know whether this is considered one. On the first floor is a small few F&B outlets; second floor comprises…erm, comprises what? My polytechnic and university are both near Clementi, and I live in the west, yet I’m not familiar with what is on the second level; all I know is that there is a Kbox or Party World on the third level.
If I don’t know, I can’t imagine anyone living in Tampines and studying in NTU would know whether this shopping centre exists. Oh, by the way, this is not Clementi Mall. This CityVibe doesn’t even have a car park.
When it opened (conversion from Katong Mall to 112 Katong), there were high expectations; the roads around there were jammed and people were excited. But now? It looks like a Paragon wannabe, the roads are now clear and people still call it “one one two Katong” instead of “I want to Katong”. Wait, is it 112 Katong or I12 Katong?
Don’t know and don’t care lah.
West Mall (Bukit Batok MRT Station)
You want to know how small it is? Try standing in the middle of the mall and look up. You can almost see all the shops from there. And to make things worse, Jurong East MRT Station, which is one MRT station away, has got three big shopping centres within walking distance. Given a choice, which one would you go?
This is within walking distance from Ang Mo Kio MRT Station, people living in Ang Mo Kio know about this and it has a nice website. But people not living in Ang Mo Kio might not know this exists at all. Other than familiar chains like Subway, POPULAR and Popeye, you may wonder whether you’re in a small Malaysia shopping centre. I kid you not.
JCube (Jurong East MRT Station)
I’m telling you, as a Jurong-er, I have high expectations for this mall. It took forever to be built after it took the land of Jurong East Entertainment Centre, and when it opened, it didn’t meet my expectation. Then Jem came. Then Westgate came. And now, if you want to see how bad it is, just imagine this: during dinner hours, you don’t need to queue for any of the restaurants. In fact, you can count the number of diners in each restaurant.
Without the ice-skating rink, this JCube would have reverted to Jurong East Entertainment Centre. But at least Jurong East Entertainment Centre had a niche: students. JCube? Erm, ice-skaters?
Sim Lim Square
Ok, this isn’t considered a suburban shopping centre, but I just want to include this. Don’t know why? Boy, have you been living in a cave?