The pandemic has kept most of us from travelling overseas for leisure. What’s the next best thing to do? Go visit a shopping mall in Yishun.
I used to live in Yishun. It was one of my first neighbourhoods in Singapore. Back then, the neighborhood shopping mall was a simple building with an L-shaped layout. The mall sat opposite the MRT station. The bus interchange was as simple as it could get. Two sides lined with bus berths. It was open air and you can feel the humidity each time.
Before and after (from Google Street View)
Eight years later and that bus interchange is now air conditioned with a condo built on top of it. Northpoint mall is now Northpoint City and it looks like it doubled in size. A large tunnel between the MRT side and the shopping mall was built. This tunnel is lined by shops. The entire vibe reminds me of subway stations in Hong Kong and Tokyo. (Or, Orchard… of course.)
It was also pretty packed with shoppers queuing to enter the mall. Due to capacity limits brought by the pandemic, queuing to enter is normal.
Once inside, I was completely wide-eyed. Funny because most stores and restaurants you’ll find branches in other malls across the island. But it was fun because I was looking for traces of the old mall.
I was hungry and happily found a Wee Nam Kee at the basement level. I ordered my favourite roast chicken rice set with dumpling soup. I also added a glass of lime juice.
I met up with my friend G who lives in Yishun. He knows how excited I get about revisiting places in Singapore so he literally gave me a level-by-level tour of Northpoint City. He also added tidbits about shops he remembers growing up.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of people in the mall. Because I live in Pasir Ris, I’m not used to seeing so many people packed into one building. Even in Tampines, there are three malls that sit next to each other… so there’s an open air vibe there.
I couldn’t help but reminisce about my first chapter in Singapore many years ago. I remember the takoyaki stall outside the grocery store in the basement. It’s still there and the signages look welcomingly dated. I see where the old mall gives way to the new extension. The flooring changes. The way the shop signs are displayed look different. If I can add, what’s alluring here is the hodgepodge of old and new. Because finding traces of history vs development in this city is important. LOL I KNOW IT’S JUST NORTHPOINT. But for once, I’m seeing something where both co-exist. They didn’t have to knock down the old Northpoint in the process.
But yeaaaaah… hella lot of people. Social distancing ambassadors were around. QR codes for SafeEntry were everywhere. But I didn’t want to linger at the mall for too long.
Thank you again G for showing me around!