Monday, April 12, 2010

Hot Kopi

From what I saw yesterday, the businesses situated in Kopitiam Square (KS) aren't doing that great. Already I am seeing 'For Rent' signs going up in no less than 8 stalls that have recently been vacated. Somebody told me that whereas there were 3 chicken-rice stalls 2 months ago, it has been reduced to one now. And there used to be 2 roti-prata stalls. One announced that it was moving its stall to another part of KS, and that it will resume operations on 1 April 2010. It is now 11 April, and it is still not open, leading one to wonder if it is not an April Fool's Day joke. It is only slightly over 3 months since KS first opened for business with much fanfare back in December 2009. One of the complaints about that place is it is hot hot and hot. Add in the natural humidity of our weather and you feel you are in a gym working out instead of eating out.

It isn't that Kopitiam is not doing anything about this problem, it seems. I visited KS this morning and saw a number of un-assembled giant stand fans in one of the vacated stalls. I assume that they are meant for diners in the Square, to help blow away the heat and humidity. Singapore has been experiencing very hot weather of late and these fans will be a relief, though I wonder how diners will feel eating and having a blow-dry all at the same time. Maybe Singaporean diners can view this as value-for-their-money?

I suspect that stall holders are giving up their leases prematurely or trying to rent out their spaces due to the possibility that they cannot make enough money to cover the high rents they must undoubtedly have signed onto. Kopitiam has to pay half a million dollars every month to the government, who are the landlords of the piece of land KS is sitting on, so they can only reduce rental so much before they start to bleed cash themselves, if they have not already started bleeding, i.e.

KS has turned out to be quite a good place to have around Sengkang, and I would hate to see it becoming a shell of a foodcourt. Fortunately, the wet market appears to be doing well. At least the number of these business occupants appear to have increased, and the wet market looking really like a wet market. And the dry good shops are still there - a bonus for shoppers visiting this place. Fortunately they haven't closed, yet. Well, lets see if the giant fans will save the place.

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