What is blue and white in colour with round hands and feet, and can grant all kinds of wishes?
Yes, it’s Xiao Ding Dang (小叮噹)!
More appropriately, his name is Doraemon (ドラえもん). Xiao Ding Dang is the nickname given to Doraemon in Asia by pirated translators.
Many of us grew up with the Doraemon manga and anime series. Originally illustrated by the manga writing team Fujiko Fujio, the series was adapted into a successful anime series and media franchise. The story revolves around a robotic cat named Doraemon, who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a pre-teen boy named Nobita Nobi (野比 のび太).
Admit it, when you were a kid, you probably long to own one of Doraemon’s gadgets. I did and I can certainly identify with poor Nobita sometime. Doraemon’s gadgets saved Nobita countless times.
Despite the changes in time, Doraemon remains one of the best-selling manga in the world, with over 100 million copies sold. The stories are simple and easily relatable. The characters are iconic and unforgettable. There is really nothing not to love about Doraemon.
I watched Doraemon when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s; my son now watches Doraemon as well. It is a cultural and entertainment icon which is truly timeless.
Now, the exhibition has been brought to City Square in Johor Bahru. When I knew about it, I must attend it (and I did)!
Getting there is actually quite simple via public transport. Take bus 170 from Kranji MRT station, right in front of the station. Another blogger, Gordonator has detailed travel instructions with photos on getting to City Square from Singapore.
I went during the Hari Raya weekend when traffic was at it’s peak. Nonetheless, it still took me under an hour to get there and the journey was relatively smooth. The walk from the Malaysian custom to City Square is linked and sheltered, making it safe and convenient. No additional traveling is required.
The exhibition is located on the ground floor of the mall. Admission is priced at RM25 (~S$10) for adults and RM15 (~S$6) for kids (4 to 12 years old).
What’s there to see?
Upon entering the exhibition, the first thing to greet you is a yellow Doraemon with ears. Do you know this how Doraemon looks like originally? His ears were bitten off by rats which scared him blue as a result. This explains Doraemon’s morbid fear of rats thereafter.
Next, there are 100 Doraemon figurines to take pictures with, each with a different gadget:
How many gadgets can you identify? I overheard many visitors reminiscing about their favourite gadgets and what each of the gadget can presumedly do, reliving their childhood memories. Totally priceless.
The next few galleries featured iconic scenes and characters:
Up next, there are walls with props for visitors to take pictures and pose with:
Right at the end, there is the Doraemon merchandise store for visitors to buy licensed Doraemon products as well as special 100 Doraemon merchandises:
For non-ticket holders, there is also a merchandise store on the 3rd floor which is open to public. If you like games of luck, there are booths littered around the mall which are open to public too:
Don’t miss the special Doraemon cafe on the 5th floor. Over there, you can buy Doraemon chocolate and snacks for gifts as well as enjoy some Doraemon-themed food. I recommend ordering the hot chocolate or cappuccino, just for the bragging rights:
If you are interested to visit the 100 Doraemon Secret Gadget Expo at Johor Bahru City Square, here are more details:
Date: 30 August 2014 to 4 January 2015
Time: 10am to 10pm
Venue: Johor Bahru City Square – Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Kids (4 to 12 years old): RM15
**FREE Entry for senior citizen 60 years old and above, children 3 years old & below and below 90cm admitted with a paying companion & OKU with one paying companion.
For Official Information:
Buy Ticket Online: http://www.myticket.asia/
Malaysia: (603) 8080 8700
Singapore: (+65) 6492 1000