I don't go to the Raffles Place MRT often. While it's close to the Singapore River, it's on the business district side; City Hall or Clarke Quay have more fun things around them. But I went today and was surprised to find a full subterranean mall growing out of Raffles Place. I've been there before and there were some shops, but never this many. Weirder, the signs pointing from the mall back to the MRT referred to the station as ``C1 Raffles Place''. C1 is the old station number, used before July 2001. I can be pretty oblivious but I can't have missed this much for four solid years.
As I wondered what sort of strange conspiracy would hide a mall for four years only to unveil it now, or how I could have consistently missed it on every previous time I exited or entered the station, I found a plaque announcing the mall was officially opened 24 February 2005, which makes it more reasonable I hadn't seen it before. Yet there's still the C1 mystery.
Another anomaly: There's a 7-Eleven in the mall. That's not itself strange; generally, walk 300 paces in any direction in Singapore and you'll step into a 7-Eleven. This one's got imitation hardwood giving it actually a high-class look, for 7-Elevens. But not only did they have no iPods, they had no soda fountain: you couldn't buy a Big Gulp there. Between this and the C1 thing obviously this is a hastily constructed set designed to deceive me into thinking there's a mall there. But to what possible purpose?
Trivia: Mariner 10 was the first space probe to visit its target planet in multiple encounters. Source: The Voyage of Mariner 10: Mission to Venus and Mercury, James A Dunne and Eric Burgess, NASA SP-424.
Currently Reading: Proteus Combined, Charles Sheffield.