Wednesday, 20 April 2005

An Explanation for the Borders Hatred

Since I lambasted Borders Times Square so badly yesterday, I kinda feel obligated to explain just exactly why I lashed out so fiercely.

First of all, I HATE Berjaya Times Square. The place (As I’ve told people countless times) is like a termite warren, with haphazard layouts and escalators jutting out of nowhere, and lifts that take forever to arrive.

I also can’t stand the crowd that goes to Times Square. It’s as if the entire population of Ah Bengs and Ah Lians migrated from Sungair Wang to Times Square as soon as it opened.

More on the Borders side of things: I’ve been to Borders Singapore, and I think it’s nice. THAT was what I had in mind when I heard Borders was opening here. I thought, “Hey, if it’s like Borders Singapore, then MAYBE, just maybe I might take the effort go there more often.”

Borders Singapore is still a very commercial type of bookstore, but at least some effort was taken to make it cosy and appealing to customers. It has nice carpeting you can sit on and read (don’t need armchairs wan…), wall to wall bookshelves with every book imaginable (and which you don’t have to walk through a MILE of open space to get to), and the bloody café doesn’t take up one quarter of the store. Staff members there are a lot friendlier and helpful too.

It’s a place one can hang out, and read, or meet friends, browse, and just relax if you want. I know I go there to chill out whenever I’m in Singapore.

Kinokuniya KL also gives me the same kind of feeling. It’s less cosy than Borders Singapore, but at least it seems as though it’s full of books, rather than just open spaces. Its café is nice and comfy, and I like the graphic novels and fantasy section. It’s also a place I like to hang out.

Ditto MPH 1 Utama, which may seem empty most of the time, but still feels rather cosy to browse around in.

Last night, when I went to Borders Time Square, I just didn’t feel like staying very long. It gives out a very… cold feeling. I just didn’t want to hang out there very long. Plus the World of Feng Shui irritated me.

At one point, the three of us were just standing in the middle of the floor, chatting, not even looking at books. I can’t remember the last time I actually stood in the middle of a bookstore and did nothing.

It was a far cry from Borders Singapore, and maybe that’s what irritated me the most. That the so-called ‘biggest bookstore in the world’ was nothing more than a sham, an excuse to get into record books, and with no effort put towards making it a more bookstore-like bookstore, which the Singaporeans obviously set out to do.

Maybe when it’s had time to ‘grow into itself’ like Amelia says, then Borders Times Square just might be a cool place to hang out. Until then, I’m sticking to Kinokuniya, and MPH 1 Utama.

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