Borders (Books) in Penang

I totally succumbed. I told myself I wouldn’t but curiosity didn’t kill the cat for nothing.
I visited Queensbay Mall, Penang’s newest shopping mall two days in a row! (On a side note: whoever named it Queensbay didn’t realize how regular Aunties might mispronounce it – I overheard someone call it Keenbay. We’re Malaysians-lah!)

Penangites have a fondness for shopping but then again, Malaysians have a proclivity for shopping anytime, anywhere. That’s why we go nuts over Malaysia Mega Sales and our eyes widen at the mere mention of sale be it warehouse sale, jumble sale, charity sale, etc. Shopping and eating best define Malaysians.

When Queensbay was not Queensbay yet, the building was partially built before it was shamelessly abandoned due to the economic recession a few years back. It was an eyesore particularly as this huge and long building was so near the Bayan Lepas factory area – the place where you get many of the multinational companies such as Intel, Agilent, Motorola, Dell etc. The location of Queensbay was strategic; it sat on a narrow strip of land which fronted the Pantai Jerejak beach and now with the new Jelutong Expressway, it’s easier to spot and faster to reach!

Anyway, the many Penangites I know (and who are living around that Queensbay area) have opted to stay away until things are calmer. When the buzz dies down or something. I was scared too because I saw long lines of cars snaking their way to the mall on opening day on December 1st. Plus, a long line of cars parked OUTSIDE on the side of the road.

Vern told me something about some hantu but I reckon it’s probably some jealous businesses over at other malls who spread the rumour. Then again, people might just want to go and see for themselves if there’s really any hantu’s about. Maybe shopping hantu!

Short of making this a review (which I won’t coz it’s too trite yeah?), I can say that finally we poor, pathetic Penang people can get a quality bookstore. Borders is officially opening tomorrow (three yays for that). Popular Books is there too though I have a problem with its narrow aisles! They’re on separate ends of the mall so no direct competition.

Jusco is the main tenant and that’s really wonderful because Jusco’s in house brands (particularly its Chic Avenue clothes) are affordable. I’ve been a Jusco fan for the longest time now but I only get to shop at Jusco whenever I am back in the Klang Valley. Jusco the supermarket on the lower ground floor is also bright and cheerful. It was teeming with dozens of shoppers; it was as if this was the only supermarket in the whole of Penang – Jusco folks must be smiling from ear to ear.

Much of the mall is still being renovated and refurbished – the many contractors and workers move in to do work once the mall’s official business hours are over. Many outlets are still unopened but the ones which have opened in time are doing really good business, especially food outlets like Kenny Roasters, Auntie Anne Pretzels, McDonalds, Sushi King, Chicken Rice Shop, Manhattan Fish Market, Laksa Shack, Starbucks, Wong Kok Kitchen, Siam Express and lots more.

Oh yes, TGIF’s is in the mall too together with Haagen Daz, Purple Cane Tea House, The Body Shop and all those shops I used to wish were in Penang when I was in KL. The makan places are so packed during meal times (as if one has never tasted McD!) that one has to line up to wait for a table but the rest of the mall is spacious and one does not truly get claustrophobic (though one might initially get lost trying to find the mall entrance from the multistory car park). I guess it’s not called the longest mall in Penang for nothing.

Queensbay Mall The mall is just 10 minutes’ away from my place and I just hope they’ll include a cineplex soon to complete the whole mall experience. Parking is presently free but I see signs that it will be chargeable once all equipment is in place. Probably be just like Gurney Plaza.

Me…I am just satisfied that Borders is finally in Penang! (Plus they have really beautiful and tall Christmas trees in the foyer!)

0 replies
  1. Erina Law
    Erina Law says:

    I were told by my friends saying that the place is too empty for now. Hear of the Hantu story even b4 the building were open many years ago. Like you say lor, now wat they have are Hantu Shopping. Hehehe……. To me, I am happy coz Borders is here – finally…….

    Reply
  2. Maya
    Maya says:

    Hi Keat: Ha, well, it looks a bit pale…. agree. But not yet done up properly I guess. Still lots of renovation and decoration to be done.

    Hi Erina: Yes, it is empty…. yes, hantu or no hantu, Penangites have to go and check it out. We bookworms will love Queensbay now that it has both Borders and Popular… hmm, wonder if MPH will decide to open an outlet this side of Penang? Maybe Kinokuniya even?

    Reply
  3. d
    d says:

    I like this sentence:

    “When Queensbay was not Queensbay yet, the building was partially built before it was shamelessly abandoned due to the economic recession a few years back”

    My friend, the kids and I went there on Sunday 3rd and it STILL looks partially built to me! So darned dusty, so many vacant shoplots and the car park is a mess. Desperate to get it all done before Xmas I suppose.

    The women in the office are most excited about:

    1. TGIF
    2. Borders
    3. Jusco

    Everyone seems to rave about TGIF so look forward to giving it a try. J & I are most excited about Borders (but not excited enough to stay in Penang). My friend is very excited about the House of Pancakes – the ‘fruit pancake’ is the way to go apparently. The food places are PACKED OUT and we were dying for a drink to relieve our parched, dusty throats but all the drinks sold out! Anyway write a follow up review on it – I refuse to go back there in its current state for another week at least (or more likely until 2007).

    Oh and there will be a cinema opening soon.

    Reply
  4. Maya
    Maya says:

    Hi D

    You HAD to go on a weekend! Ah but you’re Hongkie what to do … you should ask Penangites whether to go on a weekend or not. Most locals will say, NOOOOOO… stay away from malls on weekends. Parking is a problem, finding a good eat or two is a problem, even strolling around the mall is a problem. Did you see the lines of people in Jusco? In McD? Actually EVERYWHERE. It’s manic. It’s like nuts. Even awful Roasters (cold chicken!) was full of people (the muffins are good though…yum). I’m going on a weekday – avoiding lunch and dinner times so I can have a good look at the mall. Yep, it’s dusty and the parking is horrendous. They should put a warning – no young children or babies because the dust (everywhere) and the paint smells will cause health probs.

    Reply
  5. Kopi O Kaki in Taiping
    Kopi O Kaki in Taiping says:

    Shall we all get together and TGIF someday???

    Since moving into Penang….have totally laid off the following:

    1) Coffee Bean (as you can see from my Name. Sadly no longer excited being at the Bean’s altho I passed by probably 3 Bean stores in a recent trip ronda’ing Singapore)
    2) American Chilli’s (Ooo those buffalo wings just makes you fly!! ahem! Am in KL now and will probably have many portions of buff wings before leaving to return to Penang)
    3) TGIF (now that its in Penang and at Q’Mall, there is still hope to save my appetite for the Fajitas!! Not to forget the Mocha Mud Pie!!! You all just gotta have it…forget the calories, there will always be next year’s resolution!)
    4) Delifrance (of all places its now located in some hotel in Ferringhi…..tsk tsk tsk…)
    5) Burger King…..have anyone seen a King shop in Penang, please report!

    Apart from food…..hurrah (as spoken like Bridget Jones!) to Q’Mall….welcome JJ to Penang. Good place to shop. Us KLite would never leave JJ off our shopping haunt. But how I crave to start a cult for Isetan in Penang….great am nowing burning with Isetan fever….

    Will be heading down to KLCC and spending the rest of my days buried in the 5 floors of Isetan…..If you are a sushi lover, and happen to be there around 8 pm, all Sushi’s in their supermarket goes for 50% discount or more….fabulous and money’s worth on sushi. Dun play play with the Japs…those Sushis are all fresh!

    Reply
  6. Maya
    Maya says:

    Hi Kopi O Kaki

    Ha, so now you’re back online and lurking around ya? Yes, we must do TGIF’s when you get back after your long leave. How was Singapore and ahem, the retreat? Enjoy yourself to the fullest… btw, I have yet to blog about Taiping hor? If I do that, Kate will say, wah, these days all food posts only. Well, it’s always been that way since I do much more eating these days – erm, entertaining friends as well as myself! We should do Taiping again – if only for the roti and kopi. Ah yes, I DID go to Borders… and it is SUPERTASTIC! If there’s a heaven for bookworms, it has to be Borders. And you can sip Starbucks and have a view of the Pg Bridge from inside Borders itself! And Borders is spacious, lots of great titles and I could not help myself – bought 2 books when I went 2 days ago.

    Reply
  7. Kopi O Kaki in Taiping
    Kopi O Kaki in Taiping says:

    Hi

    Yes back on line and lurking …..at 1am….feels good. Have not surf and net for a long time. Maybe its a good idea not to blog about Taiping…its our little secret food haven, dun want to give out our special Kopi O place!! heheheh (selfish me talking now). We are definitely heading back there for our popiah and soya bean and of course, our favourite hang out now….toasted bread with nice hot tea and kopi OOOOO…move over Starbucks!

    Been back in KL for almost 1 week now and had invaded Kinokuniya and MPH at Mid Valley. Refraining very hard from purchasing books with the pile of new ones still sitting at home. Will need to make my final visit before leaving town to TAKE IN ALL of the “air” of these bookstores and not to mention some Xmas shopping. Am tempted to go back for the Devil in Prada book or is there someone here who has a copy I could borrow? Then again, a self own copy would be good and may serve as “bible” for my current situation.

    Borders in QMall does sound fantabulous. Hey, we should make a trip to Singapore together…there too has quite a good collection. There are books I understand cannot hit the bookstores of Malaysia. Definitely need to visit QMall outlet and spend the whole day there probably. Wonder whether I could pick up decent gentlemen there while searching for books…yak ah ah…..!!! Can you imagine my pick up line ….”Excuse me, could you help me reach for the book on the top shelf??”

    Reply
  8. Mayakirana
    Mayakirana says:

    Hah, Kopi o Kaki

    Well, well, yes I suppose we could be selfish and not reveal where we had our lovely kopi o and roti bakar… you know, the last time I blogged about the kimchi at Cold Storage, Gurney Plaza….when I went there to get a box just to stave off my fermented cabbage yearnings, there was NONE. Not even one box left. Nic turns around and says, “See lah, you blog about it and now they’ve all bought up every box of kimchi on the Cold Storage shelf!” I could be utterly narcissistic and think well of myself and ahem my blog but you don’t think it’s because of my blog post , do you? Anyway, for you kimchi fans out there, I found even better kimchi in Jusco! Yep, Vern told me to share my info with everyone… mustn’t be selfish. But please people, don’t rush off and buy all the kimchi ok? Leave some for me… but just to be on the safe side, I buy more than 1 container of kimchi these days…just to store up. Mana tahu, some kimchi maniacs might go and grab them all in one go.

    Reply
  9. rine
    rine says:

    HI
    GSC is having FREE movies screening on 20 Jan 2007. If u wanna watch the shows, keep an eye for GSC press advertisements…though the movies are old ones but hey, i heard their cinema seats are DAMN CHUN!!!!

    Reply
  10. eYeLeNe
    eYeLeNe says:

    Apparently there is a Kinokuniya in Penang… Heard it from my friend who kept on insisting on it. I did a Google search and found the location below:

    Penang Store Wisma Gama,
    No.1 Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia
    Tel:4-227-5062
    Fax:4-227-5067

    Reply
  11. Slasherbaven
    Slasherbaven says:

    Kinokuniya’s been in Gama for a loooooooooong time already!
    Gama’s deteriorating, they really should move their store elsewhere.
    Queensbay’s a really good choice.

    Reply
  12. Danial
    Danial says:

    For me I always look forward for jcard day sale but , the jcard privillage is less attractive than jcard day sale. Only a few items are on 50% sale, others at 15% discount.

    Do you know or have you notice which item have discount more than 50% on jcard privillage day?

    Or what category of item that have generous discounts say 50%. I seldom found interesting item that have been discounted other than supermarket and ladies items here in jusco Taman Universiti JB.

    Reply
    • Maya
      Maya says:

      Hi Pauline – I knew of one but he moved to Kuching, Sarawak. You can contact Robert Raymer – he’s our client actually – at http://www.BorneoExpatWriter.com
      Just say you came from MayaKirana’s blog. ;-) I know Beth Yahp but she does not live in Penang. If you contact Robert, you can probably reach other fiction writers in Malaysia as I believe he knows them well (and in fact, collaborated with them recently) for some short stories. Hope this helps!

      Reply

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