The Weekend Flu Past And I Had A Mall Experience

You get a lot of time to think when you're not feeling well enough to go out and do stuff. The alternative is to simply occupy your attention with mindless videos and games. I did a fair bit of latter, to the point that I figured that I'd better do something more productive.

I headed down to Golden Mile Complex to get some Thai brand goods on Saturday and saw many locals there. I've always thought of the building as a seedy, dank place. Once there, however, I realised how wrong I was. The place was not the swankiest of malls, but it had a definite character - something sorely lacking in our mainstream malls.

Having heard news of how bad the retail environment is, I cannot help but wonder if it's simply the generic nature of almost every mall we see near the MRT stations. Though they are brightly lit and sparkling, they feel uninspired and insipid. 

The same products (usually from the same brands) are repeated in every other mall, making consumers wonder what the point is of travelling all the way to the city area if their heartland malls have the same goods.

Perhaps, in order to 'save' our retail sector, we need to allow malls to build a 'flavour' of their own. If there isn't anything remarkable about it, why would people bother going there? 

I'm still a fan of some of the old malls: Far East Plaza, Lucky Plaza and Katong Shopping Centre (which I hear may be sold soon). Now, I have Golden Mile Complex to add to the mix. 

Some Thoughts on Christmas

What is Christmas?

It depends on your worldview, the culture you are in and the commercial world around you.

As a typical Singaporean, when you hear the word "Christmas", what comes to your mind? Snow? Reindeer? Christmas trees? Santa Claus? Presents?

All of the above?

In Singapore, go to any shopping centre, hotel or town centre and you see decorations of all sorts, banners of all kinds, and advertisements of all colours. Go to Orchard Road and frenzied shoppers are jostling with each other to get that present that they didn't have enough time to look for earlier, simply forgot to buy, or had to purchase because of some last-minute invitation to a "gift-exchange" party.

Can I take a second here to state how much I abhor mandatory "gift-exchange" parties? The premise of a mandatory exchange of gifts undermines the purpose of a gift - which is given voluntary and done out of love.

To get over the feeling of being forced to get a gift, which incidentally has no target gender or purpose (because what if that feminine face mask pack gets "given" to a man?), guests to such parties buy useless, generic, boring items which many shops are happily advertising for sale.

Nobody goes home with an item they can really use or that they really need or that they really like. The solution? Stop this ridiculous practice!

I think it is safe to say that Christmas is the most commercialised holiday in Singapore, followed closely by Valentine's Day (a future blog post in the making, it seems).

But hang on, what about the Christian community?

Though many Christians take Christmas as a celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus, a number of biblical scholars have placed His birth day a few months before December. There was also no such celebration in the early church.

Nevertheless, it is always good to gather in His name, share some food and stories, and sing carols. And that is exactly what I'm going to be doing this Christmas!