APRIL 14 — So, a large new mall attached to Singapore's airport opened this week.
Now in Singapore, developments related to our airport count as news.
Changi Airport is among the world’s busiest and is simply the best major airport in the world in terms of efficiency and service.
With 65 million passengers and over 350,000 passenger movements, Changi connects Singapore to the world and makes our little island effectively bigger than it is bringing in huge volumes of visitors and goods.
The new complex called Jewel Changi Airport is set to be the next phase in the airport's development with 135,000 square metres including an enormous indoor waterfall and a massive, largely duty-free retail area designed to entice millions who would otherwise just pass through the airport to make purchases in Singapore.
Of course, at this size and scale the Jewel is not just for transit passengers — it is also going to be a place for Singaporeans to enjoy some serious retail therapy.
A triumph of planning and maximising space and utility. Or is it?
On one hand, people seem rather excited about it and well it has got a Shake Shack! I love Shake Shack.
On the other hand, it does look a bit like your standard international shopping mall, albeit a giant one.
The old joke was that Singapore as a nation was something like a shopping mall attached to an airport and we seem to be feeding right into that — we’ve literally tied a giant mall to our airport.
What is Singaporean about Jewel? International brands piled into an air-conditioned space?
Everything. Everything about it is Singaporean. I see people queueing for A&W (a long beloved nostalgic favourite for Singaporeans) and going gaga over the Pokemon Centre.
Nothing could be more Singaporean than a giant trade centre. We are a trading post; people come to our shores to buy and sell. That’s how it’s always been and Jewel in its way is part of this heritage.
It’s a very serious retail play and an attempt to really establish Changi Airport as a world class retail centre.
Singapore may not be a giant shopping mall but we now do have a world class shopping centre attached to our airport – let’s hope it becomes a real Singapore icon.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.