Saturday, 13 November 2010

Taxonomy of malls

Those who live in HK know that, even for infrequent shoppers like me, shopping malls are difficult to avoid. I often find myself having to traipse through one to get to a specific MTR exit, desired transport interchange or as a shortcut to avoid a polluted and congested street.

These artificially lit and ventilated spaces of captivity for humans are fairly horrible yet strangely fascinating. Hordes of people inexplicably congregate in them. They can even constitute an entire weekend's entertainment for some families, where after a fun and stimulating day of shopping, Mum and Dad can treat the kids to a fake Italian meal at The Spaghetti House followed by a low-intellect 3D screening to the aroma of plastic popcorn. But actually, this is just one kind of mall. As the taxonomy below shows, Hong Kong really does have something for everyone:

Category 1 shopping mall
Where to find one: Central, Admiralty, Causeway Bay, TST
What you'll see: Chloé, Cartier, sophisticated modernity with fluid and tactile details
What they say: "From jet-set apparel to ultra-desirable beauty products, you'll shop to your heart's content"
What you think: "Slick, swanky, soulless"
Photo: IFC Mall, Central
Category 2 shopping mall
Where to find one: Above an MTR station in a noughties new town development like Tseung Kwan O or Ma On Shan
What you'll see: Giordano, Pizza Hut, handrails painted turquoise
What they say: "Relax and enjoy a magical shopping experience for all the family!"
What you think: "I want to jump out of my 65th-floor window"
Photo: Sunshine City Plaza, Ma On Shan
Category 3 shopping mall
Where to find one: old districts like Shau Kei Wan or Aberdeen
What you'll see: Music tuition centres, manga libraries, low ceilings and possibly a shop selling beetles
What they say: "No Soileting"
What you think: "I've found my spiritual home. Or alternatively, a place to get my nails done for under 20(HK) dollars"
Photo: Manly Plaza, (no, really) Quarry Bay


  1. dear, this sounds like shopping malls in mother russia...

  2. Perhaps you'd find a lot of other similarities in HK!

  3. OMG I have to check out Manly Plaza. I'm just down the road - ilbonito

  4. yes, Manly Plaza has to be seen to be believed