S M Ong: Fake news? Explaining K.F. Seetoh’s Jewel post
Makansutra founder says A&W stands for Anybody Want?
When I say "Jewel", what is the first thing that comes to mind?
The waterfall? Shake Shack? A&W? The song Foolish Games from the movie Batman And Robin?
Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is long queues.
That is why I have avoided visiting the much hyped Changi Airport supermall since it opened last month.
If hell is other people, Jewel is brimming with hell.
Then last Wednesday morning, Makansutra founder and fellow The New Paper columnist K.F. Seetoh posted on Facebook photos showing a near-deserted Jewel with no queues outside Shake Shack and A&W.
He wrote: "The line at the Shake has slacked to kosong n A&W stands for Anybody Want? The 24 hr food hall is thr to serve some overpromised kpi n i did not even know thrs a food court hidden within the food hall. I think now Joo Chiat more happening than Jewel la. A stall manager said they, like else whr get the usual lunch crowd but picks up only on weekends.
"Did someone over rara on promises at Jewel."
Okay, if you can comprehend all that, then maybe you can explain the ending to Game Of Thrones too. (Why is there still a Night Watch?)
What I got from Seetoh's post was, woohoo, no more crowds! I can go to Jewel now, just maybe not during lunch hour and on the weekends. And perhaps I should check out Joo Chiat too.
At first, people on Facebook agreed with Seetoh.
One commented: "Well it's a over rated mall with common shops found in other downtown and heartland malls. Food stores like Shake Shack and A&W taste horrible... Furthermore if you don't stay in the east, who would want to waste time and the hassle to travel all the way to jewel for a mediocre mall?"
Well, at least it does not have an indoor cycling track.
Another was more succinct: "White Jewel elephant!!!"
TIME OF DAY
Then someone asked what time the photos were taken. Seetoh replied 9.15am.
Well, that changed things.
While A&W is open 24 hours, Shake Shack opens only at 10am.
Seetoh was asked: "Why do u take pics at early in the morn and then deduce the 'kosong' queues? Who on earth goes to any shopping mall at 9 or even 10am at weekdays. Be fair in your conclusions lah."
Someone else pointed out: "Joo Chiat got consistently long Qs on a weekday morning ah?"
Another warned: "This post may be covered under the fake news law if it goes viral."
Well, it went viral enough that AsiaOne reported: "KF Seetoh posts photos of empty Jewel Changi Airport, internet disagrees."
Oh no, will the Singapore hawker food champion have to run away to South Africa to escape prosecution under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act?
Ironically, he would probably have to go through Changi Airport.
Backtracking a little, Seetoh later added to his post: "i was there same time today, pre opening hrs at 930am, same as three weeks back and the lines then were ridiculous. But its all but disappeared now. I see the usual crowds closer to opening and regular hours, which is normal and i hope it continues. The decline is slow and real. I feel for the tenants, esp the 24/7 ones."
So his point was that even at that early hour, there were long queues when Jewel first opened but not any more.
His concern is: "If nobody at some hrs..why make them open 24/7 in these depressed manpower conditions."
Wait, wait, wait, so does this mean there are still long lines at Jewel or not?
I decided to find out for myself last Friday afternoon by travelling all the way from my home in Choa Chu Kang to Changi while listening to Jewel's greatest hits on my non-Huawei phone.
It was hell.
Who will save your soul indeed.
To answer Seetoh's A&W question, yes, a lot want.