Having a smashing time at Singapore's first 'rage room'
Balestier Road store allows customers to de-stress by breaking stuff
From the outside, The Fragment Room in Balestier Road seems nondescript, with nothing but a plain neon sign to indicate its presence.
It is hard to tell that within its plain grey walls lies Singapore's first "rage room" - that is, until you enter the store and hear glass shattering.
Mr Royce Tan, its 24-year-old founder, told The New Paper: "It is a place you come to, to break stuff, when you are feeling frustrated and angry. Stuff you cannot break at home."
For $38, customers can spend half an hour using a baseball bat to destroy a crate of "stuff", which includes glasses, plates and bottles.
He said most of the stuff are rejected items from factories or about to be thrown out.
His customers have the option to upgrade their packages to include more items, spend more time breaking things or use a crowbar even.
There are also electronic items that can be smashed.
Mr Tan said: "The items are usually factory rejects that people do not want. So it is not like we are wasting anything, because they would just be on the shelves or the side of the road. Basically, we are like a karung guni man."
Safety is a top priority at The Fragment Room - all customers have to wear protective coveralls, a helmet with a visor and cut-proof gloves.
There is also a mandatory safety briefing.
After their sessions, customers do not have to worry about cleaning up - Mr Tan and his team will get the room ready for their next customers.
As far as possible, he recycles the debris.
"We try our best to keep it as green as possible, and we do not encourage the breaking of plastics," said Mr Tan.
The Fragment Room drew inspiration from "rage rooms" in Canada and Russia, where people pay a fee to enter abandoned houses to smash furniture, Mr Tan said.
He decided to start the business a year ago, after feeling frustrated at his sales job.
Mr Tan said: "After I left my job, I realised that all I could do to de-stress was drink or do some sports.
"I came across this idea on Facebook, and I realised Singaporeans do not have many outlets to express their frustrations."
This spurred him to conceptualise The Fragment Room, which he put together with creative input from his friends.
Mr Tan feels that Singaporeans would take to the idea - he said life here can be "stressful".
"Singaporeans are so cooped up, one day we might just explode and go crazy. Why do that in public when you can do that here? It is safe here," he said.
But the question is: Is it a smashing good time at The Fragment Room?
On Thursday, just two days after it opened, TNP tried out a half-hour session, and this reporter found it unexpectedly satisfying.
Breaking things with reckless abandon was a new experience, and it was cathartic.
Those keen on trying out The Fragment Room have to act quick - Mr Tan said his room is all the rage now, and slots are being booked fast.
He even shared how his website crashed due to an overwhelming number of bookings, and he had to get a new web-host to accommodate all the requests.
"It is good that demand is exceeding supply. I hope it stays that way," said Mr Tan with a smile.