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Denis Wong

Beyond consumerism, let’s talk culture: How mall culture shaped SG’s shopping experience

Singapore is well known for its unwavering dedication to mall culture. There’s a constant sprouting of new shopping malls and the revamping of old ones. Just a wk ago, I was shopping (yes, I admit I am a shopaholic), at Plaza Singapura and realised that the interior landscape has changed quite a bit. They had a facelift in 2012 to integrate the neighbouring Atrium@Orchard mall to offer shoppers like us more choices. Nowadays, we use the term megamalls to describe malls like ION or Vivocity. They offer an all-in-one experience where they can shop, eat, watch movies and indulge in retail therapy. You can actually spend an entire day there without getting bored.

But how did Singaporeans develop such a strong connection to mall culture? I believe it’s all because of the veteran shopping malls that set the tone for the future. During the 70s and 80s, those malls were the place to be and be seen. That started a mall movement that many considered revolutionary, innovative or even award winning. Sadly, their glory days are way past them though they are still surviving.

Here’s an infographic depicting 10 of the oldest shopping mall still in operation:

Before they are gone for good, take some time off to pay a visit to these pioneer malls. You never know, there might be some hidden gems to be found there. In any case, it’ll surely bring back some fond memories or it might even create new ones!