Just a few months ago, the mere thought of a desolate-looking, curiously-empty Jewel Changi would’ve been absolutely unthinkable.
Fraught (yes I used fraught) with snaking queues and human-congested walkways, Jewel Changi was anything but desolate, anything but empty.
It was vibrant, gloriously so, and shone like a beacon as horde after horde of humanity arrived to
stain admire its brilliance. Businesses thrived, and everyone was happy. Truly, Jewel Changi was some mall, indeed.
But life’s a fickle thing, in the sense that it doesn’t always progress in a linear route. And it seems that once again, it has thrown a curve ball in the face of humanity: a curve ball that has Coronavirus outbreak signed across the top.
As the world cowers before this particular Thanos-level threat, businesses have submitted to its will, dulled by the vacation of once-present regulars.
And unbelievable as it sounds, Jewel Changi, a site that somehow seems unshakable regardless of circumstances, has seemingly fallen prey to the outbreak’s after-effects as well.
Businesses At Jewel Changi ‘Heavily Affected’ By Wuhan Virus
According to photos taken on Wednesday (5 February) evening by local site MustShareNews, the once-congested Jewel Changi Mall is now vacated, with empty aisles and lifeless shops lining the perimeter of what look like overly-constructed walkways now.
Food establishments, once the main attractions of Jewel Changi, have seen their appeal drop faster than my niece’s grades in school: on Wednesday, there were at least 10 vacant seats at A&W.
Simi sai, don’t need to queue for A&W?
Burger chain Shake Shack, too, faces the same crippling reality. Gone were the long queues of old; instead, a curiously wistful air fills the space where dozens of customers used to wait impatiently, keen to feast on a good ol’ Shake Stack or their imaginary staple Shake That Ass.
To add wound to the salt – I mean, salt to the wound, they’re opening a second outlet tomorrow.
According to the same report, other parts of the mall were left in a “deserted” and “barren” state. While store lights were on as per usual, the usual customers were missing. Prominently so.
And the spacious walkways that barely accomodated the large crowd of old? They now look like end-game dungeons where huge bosses have yet to spawn.
Even Pokemon Center, Jewel Changi’s pride and joy, has seen its budding Pokemon masters dwindle, as Ash and co. scamper back to Pallet Town in fear of the Coronovirus outbreak.
But to be fair, they don’t seem to have medicine for humans in the game.
Even So, There’s One Single Silver Lining
Even as its peers gradually wither away before the intimidating presence of the Coronavirus, one aspect of Jewel Changi held strong and true:
The site’s genuine pride and joy (sorry Pokemon Center), the Rain Vortex fountain.
Grandstanding in all of its brilliance, the Rain Vortex fountain manages to attract a fair share of visitors, despite the listlessness that has crept to other parts of the mall.
And yet even so, the size of the crowd still pales in comparison to the throngs of old.
Truly, how the mighty have fallen.
Coronavirus Or Other External Circumstances
While one would naturally look towards the Coronavirus outbreak as explanation for Jewel Changi’s ‘absence’, my good peers Messi, Suarez and Neymar have provided alternative reasons for the mall’s desolate state:
- A travel ban imposed on visitors who recently travelled to mainland China
- Time, which has slowly but surely chipped away at the appeal of this mall
The first, a travel ban, would tie-in with the repercussions of the Coronavirus outbreak, and seems sufficient to explain the mall’s absence of visitors. The second, however, does provoke thought:
Is it truly the Coronavirus’ presence at fault, or a mere implication that Jewel Changi’s just not as popular as it used to be?
After all, there were reports of sales dipping at Jewel Changi, months after the unconventional mall first exploded onto the scene. But I guess only time will tell.
Though for now, one thing’s for sure:
Getting your hands on all that Jewel Changi has to offer has never been easier.
Though at what price, exactly… is yet unfathomable.
So if you’ve not been to Singapore’s jewel, now might be a good time.