Funan has been the gentleman’s alternative to Sim Lim Square for many years, but not for much longer. It closes at the end of this month, leaving our CBD area bereft of its geeky and accessible charms possibly for good. So where do we go from here?
Singapore has attempted to shape its image as that of a futuristic technocity, driven by various knowledge based industries. So it’s a bit of a national trip-up that our iconic Digitalife Mall, dedicated to all things electronic and technocentric, is shuttering down. For many years it has been the fairer sibling to Sim Lim Square (aptly named in Chinese as Jungle Square), offering a haven for timid tech shoppers, for whom Sim Lim’s myriad little lanes are as intimidating as swimming with sharks.
Funan almost feels irreplaceable, bright and amiable with the convenience of all your electronic needs centralized in a quaint little mall. More than that, it is a symbol of all things geeky. It was where Singapore’s otaku and cosplay communities first began, so its last major event was aptly the 2016 Anime Matsuri.
Funan’s iconic one-stop shops like Challenger and Harvey Norman, as well as its niche vendors such as Black Tactical and Battle Bunker are all in the midst of packing up for their departure, slashing prices in the tradition of moving out sales. One of Singapore’s longest running board game cafes, The Mind Cafe, will surely be missed by its fans - Funan’s closure leaves it with one remaining outlet at Prinsep Street.
If you’re feeling nostalgic or hunting for a good deal, most of Funan feels like it’s on discount as its closure looms closer, so there’s your perfect excuse to stop by. And if you’re worrying about where you’ll go to satisfy your needs when Funan is gone, whether it be for your geeky impulses or your electronic needs, we’ve got you covered.
Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square has been facing the same shopper shortage woes as every mall, but even more so. With high profile shopper scamming scandals seriously damaging its image, Sim Lim’s stores have seen better days. But with a bit of research, Sim Lim is still a fantastic place for all things electronic, and second to none if you’re looking to customize a desktop.
It has repair shops for computers and consoles, a PEV shop called The Wheelies, and one of Singapore’s only dedicated woodwind and brass instrument store, Dennis Musical instruments - talk about variety. Don’t let its reputation, or sex shops put you off, not every shop is out to scam you. Consult our guide on how to survive shopping in Sim Lim for tips!
Located just a stone’s throw away from Funan, Suntec City Mall has undergone some major renovations and it seems like the crowd is slowly returning to the shopping centre, besieged yearly by the inconvenience of being cordoned off due to the F1 night race.
The sprawling complex has a glut of electronics stores, including a small Challenger, Best Tech and Newstead Technologies, as well as a repair hospital for your broken gadgets. It might not be as centralized as Funan, but it has a very respectable variety of tech-related services for a family-friendly shopping environment.
It also plays host to several cosplay, gaming and anime-related conventions throughout the year, so cosplayers do gather there occasionally - which might explain the presence of Otaku House within the mall. Suntec is also home to the 7D Experience, a virtual ride that we assume might actually take you to another dimension.
Peninsula Shopping Center
Stapled onto the posterior of Funan, Peninsula Shopping Center is musky and appears somewhat dingy. It is also the place to go if you are looking for cameras, camera lenses or anything remotely related to photography. Since it is unlikely that Funan’s many camera shops will conveniently all relocate to one area, Peninsula is your best bet if you’re looking to score a good deal on a new SLR or searching for a second hand prime lens.
Bargain hunters can try Black Market Camera, while those with a passion for all things new and shiny can go to Cathay Photo’s huge shop over at Peninsula Plaza. For many years it has also been the place to get music equipment in Singapore, with the bottom floor occupied almost solely by guitar and instrument shops, like Davis Guitar and the Guitar Connection.