Levi’s world without Borders

Posted on March 2, 2011



Borders Singapore at the corner of Scotts and Orchard Road, Singapore.

Good morning Melbourne and anyone else curious enough to stumble across my blog.

When the car crash that was the collapse of Borders Australian parent group RedGroup Retail made Australian headlines two weeks ago, I followed the news with much interest.

I don’t care why RedGroup went bust. Personally I don’t even care if online shopping is the sole factor and Borders have not taken preemptive measures to protect themselves from what is a very salient industry.

There are lots of news media out there citing doomsday prophecies about the end of the brick and mortar shops and how the online shopping industry will dominate and transform the way we conduct purchases in future.

I highly doubt that will happen as there are still hundreds and thousands of millions of people who prefer the see-touch-feel approach to purchasing goods. Power to them. I honestly don’t care if their excuse is ‘I’m rich I can afford it’, ‘I don’t have the Internet’ or ‘I’m George Washington and I am the first President of the United States’…

But I digress.

As an emigrant from Singapore since 2005, I was concerned Borders in Singapore would be affected. Fortunately my fears seem to be unfounded as it appears Singapore may be the final bastion for Borders International.

Borders Changed My Life

Borders is an institution to me. Personally, it was the first place where I could sit comfortably with a few choice magazines, plop my sorry ass onto a cozy corner and just read. Occasionally I would doze off but would be awaken by the jarring choice of music the Borders staff is playing.

A library was my first introduction to the world of books in my childhood year but I was 18 when I first discovered Borders.

Borders introduced me to a world full of brand new books with perfect spines proudly displayed outwards and right side up. They were never dog-eared and never had a missing page. The smell of a brand new book is akin to the smell of a brand new car; it lingers for weeks after purchase and the crispness of the page when I run my fingers through it is almost comparable to running my hand through Michele’s hair.

Then there are the magazines – always freshly stocked chockers with the latest editions. The videogames and PC magazines were always in abundance while football magazines are never in short supply.

The Internet was still an anomaly back then so Borders really was my gateway to the world outside Singapore’s shores.

Borders is huge. The Borders outlet along Orchard Road was, until recently I believe the only Borders in Singapore. For a good decade it was the choice du jour for any books or magazine aficionados to meet and hang out. It’s location literally sold itself and was also the choice meeting point for people of all ages before setting out for their destination.

Poor Levi

Borders was and still is a big part of my life. Having moved out to the burbs the nearest Borders only a drive away but I will miss the availability and accessibility of this iconic book store.

If it does shut down in Australia, Levi – and his future siblings – will never experience the literary joy and pleasure Borders gave me.

Borders shaped the way I viewed the world, transformed my outlook towards my life and became almost a literary beacon in my everyday youth.

It will be a sad day when Borders closes her doors to Australians. Future Australian children may never have access to such a wonderful smorgasbord of facts versus fiction in their lives.

I’ll definitely take my children to a local Borders (if it still exists) when they’re older.

Will you?