Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Lament for a Special Place

10 years ago, I was an unassuming dude making it through my early years of secondary school. More often than not, after school, I would hang out with my buddies in Serene Centre Mcdonalds. Back then, the Macs had two levels and my group preferred hanging out in the top level as it was much more emptier and we had more opportunities acting like Idiots without having many ppl eyeing us.

It was at this point, I discovered upon venturing out of Macs a shop that looked pretty cool. It had comics that reminded me of my age old interest in Marvel and other superheros alike. While gone were the days I had a huge collection of Xmen and Spidey figures and comics, the place had a strange mystique about it.

On top of comics, it had a nice welcoming community of wargamers and a decent range of boardgames and war games alike. Upon discovering the place, I frequent it more often and it was there and then that i started to pick up games like Dungeons and Dragons.

Ahh the good old memories of Jorim, our Dungeon master, repetitively debating with us whats possible and not possible in the game and the countless of hours my friends Tristan, Me and Wei Ting would spend "roleplaying" like the geeks we were.. all to get a measly 50 xp in one session.

It was then, I discovered Warhammer from the usage of Warhammer figures for our DnD gatherings. It didn't take long for me to frequent the place on a regular basis and develop a friendship with the guys like Sudesh, Steven and Squirrel over the years and buying tons of Warhammer stuff. A great place to commune and chat about everything under the sun.

Moments that really get to me when I am in Comicsmart would be the random chats I have with Sudesh about almost anything under the sun e.g. (Politics, Girls and Life). I also like how initially Sudesh and Steven pretend not to know me..
While irritating and infuriating, it is still nostalgic. Used to coin Steven as the grumpy man cause he is always angry at me touching the stuff in the shop, especially new shipment stuff. Still do remember how he scolded me for taking a browse at some comic. Its also funny to have Steven pointing out weird ppl who frequent Comicsmart and have a few laughs about it. The occasional snide comments exchange on soccer rivalry between Liverpool and Man U was also a great part of the Comicsmart history I had with them

Ahh but all in all, it was a little cosy corner for me and my friends. If it wasn't for comicsmart, I would have never known Warhammer and also would not have gone further into wargaming and discover other platforms and modern warfare wargaming.

But most of all, it was a cool place. A cool chill place where my friends would hang out and we would just admire the artifacts and things that while technically geeky, it provided an atmosphere unlike any other comic places I have been.

At last, it is all but gone as we can see on how corporate and the business cycle of things replace dear comicsmart. Saddest part of it is that it is 7-11 of all things.

It is sad to see a part of what was a significant in my life gone.. The memories, the shop and the people that made the shop for what it is.. becoming only just history.

But i guess we all have to accept the changing of times and how society has no more space for niche communal shops such as this anymore. It is a tragedy but as we begin to become more business orientated and profit motivated, the disintegration of customer relations and communal way of doing business is being lost.

In a more personal view, its just sad for me. Nothing much else is iconic in Serene Centre. Nothing really makes serene centre what it is as much as comicsmart. And it is something that you would not see anymore. I can only somberly try other alternative hangout places but even when that happens, it can't replace the loads of memories I had there.

The only regret I have is I wished I could have hangout more often there before I had to study overseas. In any case, it is welcoming to know that Comicsmart has provided a huge impact and influence on the many lives who had made their way to that shop to chat and get their range of comics or wargaming stuff.

While many would desperately hope for an re-emergence, I can only say that i was happy to be part of that experience that was Comicsmart and lament on its departure. You will always be remembered

On a side note though, I'm not sure if it is just me, but pretty much everything I take interest in that are my main hobbies are either in a niche market or its dead. The passing of Comicsmart just makes me wonder am I being left behind?


  1. A sad story indeed. But such stuff does happen. Had my fair share of memorable shops that just disappeared due to business failure and competition I guess.

  2. My condolensces...
    Its said to see such warmly shops disappear, even on my side of the world.

  3. Ahh comics...
    Manga is dead in singapore too? As in communal manga shops?

  4. Haha, much to your delight, Manga and Shops that are filled with manga are rampant all over the island of Singapore.
    No offense to u but its like a plague...

    While the decline of comics seem evident, the establish dominance of anime is ever growing I guess.