International Malls: Singapore Shopping Malls
I really want to thank esteemed MOA reader, Cora Buhlert, for taking the time to send me these great photographs and accompanying commentary recently (she also contributed Edgewater Plaza pics here). It's truly fascinating stuff and I really appreciate it! :) Take it away Cora...
I found a few photos of Singapore shopping malls at my parents'. Since you occasionally do non-American malls on your blog, I thought you might be interested. All photos were taken in 1982/83, when my Dad was working in Singapore.
My Mom and me (above) standing in front of a mall called People's Park Complex. People's Park Complex was located near Chinatown and frequented mostly by locals. This mall was less flashy than the touristy malls on Orchard Road. There were no fountains, just a maze of narrow hallways with tiny shops, the vast majority of which were fabric shops. The mall was partly open to the outside (in the pic you can see an open gallery on the second floor), not air-conditioned and perpetually stuffy. And since it held nothing of interest to a ten-year-old, I didn't like it.
No idea if it still exists.
This is the inside of People's Park Complex. The entire mall looked like this. The red-haired lady in the picture is my Mom. I'm there as well, standing behind her, because I was probably bored out of my mind by that point. You can just make out my shoes.
Exterior of the Far East Plaza with fountain and myself, aged nine or ten. The Far East Plaza was newly built at the time (that would have been 1982) and already open for business, though construction work was still going on in some parts. It was billed as the largest mall in Asia with 800 shops and had four or five stories of retail space (Singapore being a small island state, malls like everything else are built high). Inside was a spectacular court with a huge fountain and strings hanging down from the ceiling. No idea why no one snapped a photo of that. The windows in the background with the red banners belonged to a department store called Metro.
The spectacular Asian styled building is Tang's department store in Orchard Road, the main shopping and hotel mile in Singapore. Tang's was an upscale department store. The adjacent Dynasty Hotel (not in the photo) was owned by the same family and also done up in Chinese style and topped by a pagoda roof. The Tang building was new at the time (built around 1980, I guess). The old Tang store was located round the corner and was being demolished at the time. It was also a Chinese styled building, though the colour scheme was more subdued. Blatantly Asian styled buildings such as this were (and probably still are) surprisingly rare in Singapore (much to the disappointment of my ten-year-olf self), most malls, hotels, office blocks, etc... were built in modernist international style.
The tan building to the right of Tang's is Lucky Plaza, another multi-storey shopping mall. It was less spectacular than Far East Plaza, though it also had a courtyard and glass elevators. According to their website, it was built in 1978. Far East Plaza was on the other side of Lucky Plaza, by the way. The tenants of both Far East and Lucky Plaza were mainly jewellery and upscale fashion shops. I think Lucky Plaza had a department store anchor as well, though I'm not sure what it was called.
Apparently, both Tang's and Lucky Plaza still exist. Not sure about Far East Plaza.
I hope you like the pics and the look into a slightly different shopping culture. Keep up the good work with the blog.