Sunday, January 17, 2010

Illuma Bridge

In Singapore, there are over hundreds of bridges around the island, allowing Singaporeans to cross from one point of the island to another one safely. Actually, using the word ‘Singaporeans’ is an understatement, for living on this little red dot, are millions of other permanent residents and foreigners which number to a whopping one million plus in totality! Anyway, these ‘foreign talent’ (a word which is unique to Singapore) is not my muse for today, for I should blog about the most famous bridge in Singapore.

Few years back, when you ask a Singaporean which is the most famous bridge in Singapore, the result is unanimous: Woodbridge! If you are not a Singaporean or living in Singapore for too long, you will not be able to get the joke. Woodbridge is actually the name of Singapore’s only mental hospital which is rebranded as the Institute of Mental Health today; it is not a description of a bridge made of wood. Fast forward to today, if you were ask which is the most famous bridge in Singapore, the reply, especially among Singapore’s youth would be the Illuma bridge!
Illuma is the name of the newest shopping centre nestled in Bugis, just opposite to Bugis Junction. Illuma bridge is the bridge jutting out of Illuma, however it is not merely a bridge, this bridge is a shopping bridge which contains a slew of shop in its interior.

The construction of the Illuma bridge sparked a torrent of discussion and criticism. Illuma bridge is a perfect bridge of its own. There is a destination, an end point at the other end of this bridge, however, the beef is on the ending point of this bridge.
When a bridge such as Illuma is built between Illuma Shopping Centre and Bugis Juction, it is natural to think that this bridge should, without a doubt link the two shopping centres together. However Illuma bridge does not connect these two shopping centres together. Shoppers from Illuma shopping centre using the bridge will have to go down an escalator at the other end of the bridge to find themselves on the road opposite to Illuma shopping complex while others can do vice versa.
The non-connection of this bridge to Bugis Junction is due to the fact that such connection would posses some intrusion and disruption to the business on the particular side of Bugis Junction, however such a connection is not ruled out in the future.

The Illuma bridge serves to alleviate the huge crowds of pedestrians crossing from Illuma shopping centre to Bugis Junction daily at all times. Using this bridge for the first time with my wife yesterday, I felt that this bridge has served well its purpose. Anyway this bridge is the start of the shopping experience at Illuma and not merely a bridge.

At the other end of this Illuma bridge is the wall, which when fallen down will link one to Bugis Junction! I would like to describe this piece of wall as the Berlin Wall of Singapore and Bugis Junction and Illuma were like East and West Germany and shoppers in Singapore shall await the fall of this Berlin Wall!

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