What do students at NUS do? Shop of course. Why, it’s the National University of Shopping Singapore. Is this a shopping centre in disguise? Week after week, it is one bazaar after another. At multiple locations, no less. And some stalls even have “branches” at different locations.
At the start of this acad year, I thought there was a lack of the usual buzz. After matriculation, it was so quiet. Then a week later, bazaars after bazaars soon started running, sometimes even back to back. But something has caught my attention. Since a year ago, I was beginning to notice an obvious trend of repetition, no theme, no innovation, no creativity. It was becoming like a regular pasar malaam, albeit one running from 9-to-5.
Bazaars are typically organized by student groups. In the past, bazaars were organized with a purpose (yah, raising fund is usually the ultimate goal, but they don’t make it so obvious). But a year or so ago, it became different. The same old stalls were coming back over and over again, regardless of who organized the bazaar. It almost seemed like there was a standard list of stall holders. Sometimes when the bazaars run back to back, it becomes even more obivious: The exact same stalls are there, nothing changes… except the banners that proclaim the organizing body.
Another oddity was the kind of stalls found in the bazaars. In the past, typical stalls sold IT products and accessories, fashion accessories, magazine subscriptions, cute T-shirts, finger food, ice cream, etc. If you don’t come to NUS, you wouldn’t guess what this has become. How about undergarments? Yes, brassiere, panties. All sorts of things that you’d think are atypical to a university bazaar. When you step into it, kind of reminds you of your neighbourhood pasar malaam.
Last week, Tangs (yes the one from Orchard Road) had the entire shop floor. I was just remarking to my friend: Maybe Metro next week and NTUC after. And he said, Sheng Siong too.
NUS Forum. The new NUS Shopping Centre. It has become so routine and commercialized. Remember I mentioned the stalls even have branches? Yes. The same brand of otah in both Forum and LT27. The same brand of ice cream at both Forum and LT27.
By the way, the things sold at the bazaars are not cheap either. As a working adult, I’d imagine I have more spending power than students. Even then, I see the prices and gasp in horror. (Oh maybe I’m underpaid? *hint*) I can’t imagine that rental prices in these bazaars are more than outside, so they are probably making handsome profits.
Well, maybe these bazaars have become a new student business enterprise. Just like the Munchy Monkey restaurant at YIH. It is operated by students. Gives them some experience in running a business. Oh by the way, the folks at Munchy Monkey have one thing they gotta learn… businesses do not take 2 month holidays.
NUS. World class shopping university.