The decisively retro Bras Basah Complex is home to many hobbyist joys, outside of books.
Bras Basah Complex is a place that I’ve regularly visited for 20 years, and not just because of the humongous Popular Bookstore located there.
Back when I was managing a graphic design agency, it was my go-to spot for digital and instant prints.
After that part of my life faded away, I continue to drop by every few months or so, the purpose being to check out a particular second-hand bookstore. Nope, I wasn’t hunting for pre-loved novels. As I mentioned in an old post, I discovered Evernew Book Store often sells used Electone textbooks and albums.
Within the huge multi-floor Popular Bookstore, there used to be hard-to-find-in-SG Cantopop repertories too. These saved me a lot of work hours when arranging Cantopop hits for the Electone.
The above aside, I always enjoyed strolling down the quiet corridors on the upper floors, especially during early evening hours. For some, the near deserted corridors could be dispiriting. For me, though, it’s a serenity that represents many of the things I’ve loved since young.
It’s a serenity that’s, somehow, also comforting.
It’s Books, and More, at Bras Basah Complex
Before I proceed, let’s me just share that this visit was right after my Central Public Library one. The two complexes being right next to each other, I always visit them together.
By the way, Evernew still has a phenomenal collection of Wuxia books for rent. Stepping into that section is like, being at the gates of a fantasy world.
Hobbyist Interests on the Upper Floors
To share again, I used to “haunt” Swee Lee between 2010 and 2014. Convinced that there wouldn’t be any new Electone models, I considered getting some Roland keyboards to do up my own funky “set.”
Didn’t happened, of course, with the release of the ELS-02 series. Shamefully, after all those visits, the only things I ever bought from them were a music stand and a keyboard bag too.
Speaking of food, a Ngoh Hiang stall at the ground floor food court was my must-eat-at in the past, after visiting the print shops. Unfortunately, it’s no longer there!
The Largest Popular Bookstore in Singapore, Still
No write-up or picture essay about Bras Basah Complex is complete without at least one picture of Popular Bookstore, right?
Back to Used Books
Allow me to end on a sentimental note, starting with this picture.
Back when I was in Secondary School, the sight of such shelves, packed with pre-loved novels trashy and great, never failed to thrill me. Don’t laugh, but more than once I promised myself that when I can afford to, when I have the time, I will rent/buy everything and read them all.
Yeah. How’s that for a lofty literary aspiration?
Never remotely happened, of course. I doubt I’d even have the patience to go through one shelf nowadays.
But, it’s a cherished memory for me. It’s also something that I reflect on when appalled by my own writing, i.e. when editing my online articles.
I ought to get back to reading at least one novel each month. The last novel I read, jeez, was well over a year ago.
All pics taken with my Samsung S20+
Read my other Home Tourist photo essays.