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The Borders store at Wheelock, Singapore

On the 16th of August, the Borders store in Singapore was “closed due to a dispute with the landlord”. The official statement now is that it’s closed for good.

In Singapore, we’ve seen Tower Books close down, several branches of MPH disappear (to be replaced by establishments of lesser cultural value) and Times downsize into becoming a traveller’s stopover.

It’s sad. And it is sad to see Borders close permanently, as:

– it has been a source of cheap books when others were outrageously overpriced (although some say this has changed over the years)

– it has carried an interesting selection of books (although many say this has changed over the years)

– it has had a warmer atmosphere for browsing than most other bookstores in Singapore

– our friends used to work there

– it is where many have read their first fantasy book, or have gotten their first taste of world music that they would thereafter enjoy and possibly professionally pursue, or have rummaged through thick piles of trashy romance books to find Stephen Hawking recounting how he stood on the shoulders of giants, or have met strangers they would eventually end up starting semi-acclaimed post-punk bands with.

For a country with vanishing cultural landmarks, Singapore has lost yet another arguably major one.