Alright this is going to be a crazy post…and yes I won’t be mentioning the boiling issues which bubbled up before the opening of Jollibee Singapore.
The Crazy Queue
You probably have heard what Jollibee is all about. If you’ve been to the Philippines you’ll be pretty familiar with the smiling logo of a bee with a red-striped butt. It’s a very popular fastfood in the Philippines. It’s almost next to every child’s surname.
12th of March, aside from the birthday of my friend Cam, is also the GRAND opening day of Jollibee Singapore. When I say GRAND, I’m not exaggerating. Well maybe the venue isn’t as big as an entire shopping mall or as grandiose as the fireworks in Beijing olympics, but the number of people who attended and queued was really massive. It’s probably 25% of the Filipinos in Singapore. According to Wikipedia, there are 163,090 registered OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) here. If you multiply this by 25%, that’s probably 40K, ok maybe I overestimated it (or maybe not!).
To give you a clearer picture: my friend Tania queued from 5:30PM and got in at around 9PM. We thought it’s only going to be an hour queue…and we got caught unprepared.
Why Did We Queue In The First Place?
We felt that this is a monumental event of Jollibee in Singapore. We can say that WE sacrificed our BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS on the Grand Opening day just to get hold of the Jollibee chickenjoy and spaghetti! Ok, this sounded too much. Honestly, we were there just for fun! We wanted to feel how it is to be present at that day, at that moment when all the people surrounding you have the same gusto of biting the yumburger, dipping the tasty crispy chickenjoy in a mouth-watering gravy, and twirling the sweet-and-sour Filipino-taste spaghetti. If you’re there, you’ll see various emotions from their faces. Some are annoyed, some are getting impatient, some look so withered, but you’ll feel that there’s this internal force that make them withstand the hot waiting room and the never-ending queue.
Aside from that, I thought it would be COOL to print an “I WAS HERE” signboard and pose with it for a picture. Initially, my intention is to ask the people around me to hold the paper and pose. But I didn’t have enough courage to talk to them. I managed to ask a few people though and they gladly joined the craze! You can see their photos in my facebook album, Grand Opening of Jollibee Singapore or you can scroll down. In fact, one of the organizers liked our concept and asked us to be photographed. I’m not sure if it’s for their official FB page though. Haha!
What Made Jollibee So Popular?
I have one friend who still can’t understand why we are so crazy on Jollibee and why we’d spend our time queueing on its opening day. Here is my opinion:
- Jollibee has been part of our childhood.
- He’s like your childhood friend in the neighbourhood.
- Its products, though some are copycats of western fastfood chains, are formulated according to the Filipino taste. The spaghetti is sweet and sour. The burger’s spread is mayonnaise mixed with sweet and sour ketchup. They have a rice and a gravy together with their chickenjoy!
- The brand was marketed to families as a whole. They have been promoting the Filipino culture of close family ties. If there’s a saying, “the family that prays together stays together”, then Jollibee’s mantra would be, “the family that eats in Jollibee together, stays together.”
Who Were There and How Did It End?
Surprisingly, there were quite a number of non-Filipinos there and they didn’t mind queueing at all! They are all in for fun I guess.
The service was quite slow, but that’s very understandable! There were 8 counters (or more, I can’t remember) and all were fully occupied. I can empathize with the aunties, uncles and the rest of the crew who were really exhausted serving the customers. I remember the auntie who was preparing my order, she said she’s already very tired and she only had three breaks on that day. She said it’s almost 9PM and people are still coming in. In response, I told her that I know it’s a crazy day, and thanked her for exerting extra effort to provide us good service. She smiled back and said, “Thank you for that and I hope you’ll enjoy your meal.” From there, I knew I made the right choice to spend 4 hours of my dinner in Jollibee’s opening day.
***Updated with the Jollibee menu