Thursday, August 30, 2012

Save Pearl Centre: the unorthodox jewel of predictable Singapore

Once Pearl Centre is pulled down to make way for Thomson MRT Line, Singapore will be 100% predictable with no unorthodox shopping centre offering a unique perspective of Singapore.

In fact, I will not even call Pearl Centre a shopping centre as Pearl Centre is so unorthodox that it does not fall within the limits of what a shopping centre in Singapore should be. Wanderlust Singaporeans will equate Pearl Centre with Nam Ho, a reputable local tour agency here, but that is not all.
While the religious may frequent the slew of shops selling religious artefacts there, Pearl Centre is actually quite a havoc place with seemingly contradicting –to pure religious devotion- offerings like the iconic Yangtze cinema showing R(A) movies perennially drawing crowds and crowds of (dirty?) old men there. I even heard one disgusting fact that take place (what some old men did) at the movie theatres once the desired footage of the R(A) movie is played. Despite this, I have great respect for this cinema as I think it is the only one in Singapore which still advertises its movies on painted posters instead of going digital. This practice may hence stop once the centre is pulled down.

Apart from this cinema, there are also taboo salons, KTV parlour, massage parlours and toilets which I heard are haunts for some gays. All these really make Pearl centre seedy and havoc! The rest of Pearl Centre are filled with (not sure whether they are still there): a Vegetarian restaurant, a Burger King outlet, Chinese tonics outlet and Singapore Pool outlet.

You may ask why I am so familiar with Pearl Centre? Well it is because it was one of the places I actually like to go many years back as I like to explore unconventional Chinatown as opposed to the myriads of identical similar and uninteresting giant shopping malls sprouting up one after another in Singapore. I hope URA will not bulldoze all old buildings (I believe the next one to be targeted for demolition is Golden Mile Complex) and make Singapore a Shopping Centre Planet.

Pearl Harbour was attacked by fighter planes about 70 years ago, fast forward to today, Pearl Centre will be attacked by bulldozers soon. In my opinion, Singapore needs to preserve old buildings in our landscape; these are our Singapore’s treasured memories and identities. We will have a sense of identity crisis once we convert Singapore into a shopping centre planet.

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