Worldwide icon-chevron-right Asia icon-chevron-right Singapore icon-chevron-right The best of Peninsula Shopping Centre

The best of Peninsula Shopping Centre

It is the colourful tenants of Peninsula Shopping Centre that keep the place alive. Photography by Christopher Sim

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Just a short walk from City Hall MRT, Peninsula Shopping Centre stands tall but looks a little sad. Surrounded by the spanking new Funan and with the swanky Capitol just down the road, the greying and shabby building does not exactly exude charm. Since its opening in 1974, the mall has largely stayed the same. But beyond its looks, it’s home to a bunch of shops run by passionate individuals who make Singapore’s retail scene more colourful.

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Yoke, Ruby Photo
Photo by Chris Sim
Shopping

Ruby Photo

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Ruby Photo has come a long way since 1945. It has established a reputation for quality photography equipment and materials. It also does film processing and sells many types of film like the Kodak Portra 400 35mm and Ilford HP5 Plus 400 35mm. Yoke, a long time employee at the store says that a lot of her customers are students because its services are more affordable than most. Although not a photographer herself, she has learnt a lot about the craft in her time at Ruby and has observed that more people are picking up analogue photography.

Tony Lim, New China Opticians
Photo by Chris Sim
Shopping, Fashion accessories

New China Opticians

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If you have oddly specific tastes in frames and styles, chances are you’ll find a match at New China Opticians. The shop was founded in 1927 and is currently run by owner Tony Lim. He has served three past presidents, as well as some cabinet ministers and media personalities. The store excels in its collection of vintage glasses and also more unusual frames designed by Tony himself. 

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Mustaqim, Davis Guitar Music Centre
Photo by Chris Sim
Shopping, Musical instruments

Davis Guitar Music Centre

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Davis Guitar has been peddling gear and instruments since 1989. The store occupies a huge unit in Peninsula and has branched out as a major distributor and retailer of guitars and musical instruments in Singapore. It carries everything from exclusive Flying Vs to guitars made from Lego. It also holds classes for anyone looking to be a musician. Regular part-timer, Mustaqim, has been going to Davis Guitar since he was 17 years old. It’s where he bought his first guitar and he returned years later – even with a full-time job – as a part-timer on the weekends as a form of thanks for nurturing his love for music.

Alagirisamy (right) and his brother Sreedharan (left)
Photo by Chris Sim
Shopping, Music and entertainment

For The Record

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To R. Alagirisamy, his vinyl store in Peninsula Shopping Centre is a sanctuary. He moved to Peninsula in 2011 and the store is filled with records he has amassed over the years. Being a customer of Alagirisamy is also quite the experience. On some days, or with familiar faces, he bombards you with interesting trivia and facts about vinyl and bands. But a word of warning to those who are only interested in the monetary value of things: he might be reluctant to sell you his records. Alagirisamy knows how to navigate his way around the clutter to find what he needs. But some things are too precious to leave in a pile. Alagirisamy’s most valuable record is by British hard rock band, Leaf Hound and is worth $8,000. Ask if he’s willing to sell it to you and the answer is a resounding no.

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Don Teh, The Camera Workshop
Photo by Chris Sim
Shopping

The Camera Workshop

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It’s hard to believe that this well-known and often crowded camera store used to be a one-man operation. And only as a humble camera repair service stall, no less. These days, you’ll find a crowd of people – both young and old – peering curiously at the displays of cameras even before opening hours. Owner and photographer Don Teh runs the bustling store dealing in brand new and used digital and film cameras, trade-ins, servicing and maintenance of photographic equipment. You can also find photography equipment and accessories like tripods and dry cabinets on sale too. Running a camera store when you’re an avid photographer yourself can be handy. It’s clear to see Don’s passion when he talks about his favourite cameras from his collection (which he safely keeps at home). His store carries the usual brands like Canon and Kodak, but also lesser known and vintage brands like Mamiya and Pentax.

Shopping, Fashion

Jumbo Skinny

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With its multicoloured signage and chain of shops within the mall, it’s hard to miss Skinny Puppy. Maybe it is the rows of band tees, psychedelic tie-dye shirts or skinny jeans but it could also be the fact that the store sign says that it has sizes available up to 7XL. Just how big is it? Owner Sharifah Munirah Al-Adros, who runs the store with her husband pulls out a pair of trousers that’s just about seven times the size of her waist.

Old, but still gold

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