Though I shopped a LOT in Melbourne, I made sure to set aside money for my Singapore stopover. Aside from the fact that I’m too old to get baon (allowance) from my brothers, I have specific items in my shopping list: Pinky Street dolls and manga.
Both these items are available in the Philippines, so why am I buying here?
Well, for one, they are cheaper. You could argue that with my airfare factored in, it’s not worth it. BUT, my airfare was paid for by my sister, and my transport card provided by my brother so I don’t have any transportation expense.
How much cheaper are they? Pinky Street dolls are about 25% cheaper than those sold in hobby stores in Manila, while Japanese comics are almost 50% cheaper. There is a local publishing company (Chuang Yi) that makes a local release of popular mangas, hence the cheaper price. It’s sale is (supposedly) exclusive to the Singapore market, but I’ve seen their releases in Australia, albiet at twice the price (but still cheaper than releases by USA publishers).
Another is the variety of available stocks and number of stores that sell them. In Manila, Pinky Street dolls are mostly sold at hobby stores or specialty toy shops. Last December though, Rustan’s department store have started selling the dolls. However, as reported by fellow collectors, only some of the regular releases and a couple of special edition dolls are available; none of the more recent releases are available yet.
Oh, and according to my computations, Crocs shoes are cheaper by about Php150-200 here. They also have some of the latest models as well. Unfortunately, because of my doll and comic purchases, I have to pass on buying (yet) another pair (my Athens is due for a replacement).
Where do I buy my Pinkies and manga?
I buy my manga mainly at Popular bookstore. Popular is like our National Bookstore. They have branches around the country, and sells office and school supplies aside from books. They have a branch at the Orchard MRT station (about halfway from the train platform and the street level), Tiong Bahru Plaza and Junction 8. View the complete store listing at the Popular website. Chuang Yi mangas are also available at Page One (though they sell some titles at SG$8.30 and some at the usual price of SG$7.90).
When I was still in the Philippines and later on in Melbourne, I used to lurk at Yahoo!Auctions Singapore. That’s where I got a great bargain for some of the special edition dolls in my collection. I met up with one of the sellers last Sunday, and he requested we meet up at the China Square Central. I was sure glad he did (and understood why he wanted to meet up there) because there’s a LOT of hobby and specialty toy shops inside. Apart from that, there’s a weekend flea market where some people are selling from their private collection. Pinky Street dolls can range from SG$15-SG$25. I was also happy because in one store, I stumbled upon a 2nd hand (good condition) copy of Sarah McDonald’s Holy Cow! selling for only SG$10. To get to China Square Central, you can get off either at either the Raffles Place or Chinatown MRT. There’s a bit of a walk involved though, so better bring some water or umbrella.
The store I went to this afternoon (and where I eventually bought my Pinkies) was at Tiong Bahru Plaza. Foolishly, I set off this morning without checking the name of the store I’m supposed to go to. Good thing the store had an advertisement by the escalators, because you won’t see it if you’re just wandering around the mall. Hobby Point is located at the 5th level, accessible only by the elevator. Regular release Pinkies are sold for SG$11.90, Range Murata and Wild Arms Pinkies for SG$19.90. They also have a stock of Pinky markers, the set selling for SG$24.90 (I think). Like most hobby stores, they also carry a wide range of collectible model figures and accessories.
With eight volumes of Ouran High Host Club and eleven Pinkies now in my possession, my only concern now is how to fit them all in my already bulging (and overweight) luggage. That and whether I should buy more.
Hobby Point have 4 stores in Singapore:
Tiong Bahru Plaza
302 Tiong Bahru Road
#05-05A Singapore 168732
Phone: (65) 6275 2376
No. 9 Raffles Boulevard
#02-25B Singapore 039596
Phone: (65) 6339 9701
2 Tampines Central 5
#05-08 Singapore 529509
Phone: (65) 6260 0056
Jurong Entertainment Center
2 Jurong East Central 1
#02-03A Singapore 609731
Phone: (65) 6425 3989