IN A trip to China a few years back, our tourist guide called our attention to tricycle vans parked outside the cargo section of the airport where its drivers were loading boxes and packages.
Those are for online shopping, he said. Very few Chinese go to the malls to shop, he added. Most of the people you see in the malls are Indian and other Asian traders buying stocks.
In one of the malls we visited, including the huge “fake mall,” his information was confirmed. The Chinese inside were the sellers not the buyers. The buyers were tourists and Indian traders.
The past year, I have discovered online shopping (I'm a late bloomer) and have since not been shopping at the mall except for groceries and a visit at Booksale. I still went to the mall to pay my credit card and utility bills. But this year, this was no longer necessary as my ATM card allows payment of my credit card and light bills. There is now just the water bill, which I pay at Victoria Plaza.
I'm sure many are now like me, who prefer the convenience of shopping and paying online. I just wish the water district will soon offer this.
From a major shopping destination, malls have now become a place to socialize in. Pretty soon, the focus will have to be transformed: from trading, malls have to be repackaged as an experience.
We see signs of that transformation now, but just as an offshoot of marketing campaigns, not as the focus of these campaigns.
Along with this transformation will be a major shift in space and manpower needs. I'm sure the malls are already working on this. But with all transformations, the hardest hit will be the small and the vulnerable, the ordinary workers. We just hope that the education system is able to transform as well, because that is where all manpower and human resources emanate from.
Although, for as long as I hear “shupervisor” and “shuperintendent,” I doubt it can.