Is Smashing Things In A Rage Room As Shiok As It Sounds?
Fragment Room, a ‘rage room’ where people can freely smash things to vent their frustrations, is now all the, um, rage. Here’s how to maximise the experience.
Fragment Room is located in a shophouse in Balestier
Dubbed Singapore’s first ‘rage room’, the concept has been recently making the rounds on social media for its simple but irresistible concept: letting paying customers go into a small room to smash a crate of random junk to their hearts’ content with a wooden or metal baseball bat. Had an argument with your bae or feel like flipping the table at work? Here is the place for you to vent your anger without any harmful consequences.
There are three packages available: Single ($38 per pax, which allows one ‘player’ to go into the room at a time and smash one crate of breakables within half an hour), Double ($75, which allows two players to smash two crates of breakables within half an hour), and, for those with serious anger management issues, the Annihilation ($220, where one player can smash unlimited crates of items for a full hour).
I tried out a 30-minute sesh with my colleague and discovered the dos and don'ts of going to a rage room.
1. Bring your emotional baggage into the room
If you've been repressing your daily frustrations till you're about to explode like a bottle of fizzy soda, head to this place pronto.
Fragment Room’s young towkay, Royce Tan, 23, explains: “I feel like Singaporeans need a rage room, since we’ve so much pent-up anger. But there were no such places ’cos nobody thought it could be done — I guess they expected a lot of rules and regulations. But I opened Fragment Room with very few guidelines ’cos we were the first to do this.”
Fragment Room's boss Royce Tan
The sparse space with two private ‘rage rooms’ is done up in concrete with harsh light tubes like the set of a cool MV. And looking very out of place is the petite girl sitting opposite us at the reception lounge waiting for her turn in dainty high heels and a Chanel bag.
“I just got dumped by my boyfriend, so my friend suggested we come here to release some stress,” she tells us mournfully. “I work as a sales assistant at [a high-end boutique] and deal with all kinds of unreasonable customers. But I've to smile and bear it. I'm hoping coming here would help ease my frustration!”
The 'rage room' where you can smash breakable objects with a baseball bat. "We decided that sledgehammers are overkill. They'd break the whole building down," says Fragment Room's boss Royce Tan.
2. Yell at a reasonable volume
It's cathartic to act out your fantasy of yelling at your horrible boss while you're Hulk-smashing in the room, but try not to be so loud that you’d wake the dead. The walls are not that soundproof for two reasons: “It’s too expensive to make the walls completely soundproof, and if we put soft padding on the walls [to absorb sound], they might get damaged very quickly by customers who hit the walls,” says Royce, adding that their next-door neighbours in the shophouse can hear the horror movie-style shrieking “but were nice enough not to complain about it”.
The noise level is also why Royce decided not to set up shop in a shopping mall. Oh, and we could clearly hear the shouting in the rooms while we were waiting at the reception for our turn too, so rant at your own risk okay.
3. Blast some music
Each of the two rooms is outfitted with a small Altec Lansing Bluetooth speaker for you to plug your smartphone in to play a rousing soundtrack as you go on a rampage. Or you can just enjoy the no-frills OST of ceramics breaking. The melodious ‘clink’ is rather soothing after a while.
Our crate of junk, which includes tea mugs, wine glasses and pot lids, for our smashing pleasure
4. Suppress the thought of wastage
Our crate of breakable stuff contains a mixture of porcelain pot lids, ugly mugs, Chinese teacups and, gasp, good wine glasses. Royce sources the breakables, which also includes electrical appliances, from a karang guni supplier.
He explains “All of this stuff are headed for the junkyard anyway, so [smashing them] is another way of getting rid of them. If the karang guni man can't sell them [for profit], then there's nothing much we can do to sell it too. It’s too time-consuming [to sort out the items and resell them].”
If your inner eco warrior is still protesting, take heart that the debris will be sent for recycling.
Fragment Room's reception desk is a streetwear lover's dream — it's decorated with bricks and a crowbar from New York label Supreme, a figurine from artist KAWS and a hamburger lamp from Japanese label Undercover. You can rent the Supreme crowbar or a pair of Yeezy 950 boots to smash things in style too.
5. Don’t get too Instagram-happy in the rage room
Royce shares, “So far we don't have any problems with customers going out of control, except that some groups refuse to come out after their session is up. They spend a long time in there taking photos, and this affects the other customers’ timeslots. We hope that our customers try to come here not just for Instagram photos, which is why we don't allow people to bring in professional DSLR cameras.”
The 8 DAYS team togged out in our protective gear before our rage session.
6. Adhere to the safety guidelines
Before you enter the rage room, you have to sign an indemnity form, which Royce paid a “consultancy fee” to a Canadian rage room company to obtain.
Your package gets you a chic white workman suit, sturdy suede gloves, safety boots and a heavy-duty helmet with a full protective visor. The flying shards shoot everywhere randomly, so unless you want to risk getting a scar like Harry Potter, keep your gear on at all times.
During my visit, poor Royce had to repeatedly recite a full list of safety instructions memorised by heart to every new group that comes in: “Keep the room door closed when you smash, and don't swing the bat at your friend.”
But the cheerful chap takes it in his stride. “This is first time I’m running my own business — I invested a five-digit sum into this. I used to sell furniture before opening Fragment Room, so I know how important customer service is.”
Also included in Royce’s job scope: being an impromptu counsellor. He shares, “Some customers tell us their problems while waiting, and we try to provide a listening ear when we can. We also had mild-mannered customers who chatted pleasantly with us while they were waiting for their turn, but later you hear them screaming and smashing in the room."
1. Try to be a Fruit Ninja
Royce is open to folks bringing in stuff they want to destroy (like, ahem, stuff belonging to an ex). But don't try to be funny and attempt to bring fruits in for a round of Fruit Ninja. Royce recalls, “I once had a guy who asked if he could bring a watermelon in for smashing. The answer is no! No organic materials! It's really hard to clean up food, and it might leave a bad smell in the room after that.”
2. Treat the rage room as a place to show off your weaponry collection.
You can choose from a baseball bat or even a fancy crowbar by streetwear label Supreme to do your Hulking with. But Royce stops short at people using their own weapons: “Like this guy who wanted to bring a sword from his collection here. For safety reasons, we tell people to stick to the bats we provide.”
3. Go out of control and start whacking things in the room outside of your allocated crate of junk.
A yoga foam block has been placed in each room so you can perch your breakable object on it, swing your bat and send the item flying. Heck, you can even start whacking the concrete walls too. “But please don't hit the foam blocks,” Royce pleads. “I bought 24 of them, and had to replace them a few times. I spent a lot of time repairing them with duct tape. Heart pain ah!”
4. Think that this place promotes violence
Okay, so each tiny windowless room, with just a glass pane at the door to peek in, does feel a bit like a jail cell. But it gives you plenty of privacy to rage.
And nope, it doesn't stir dormant destructive tendencies within us. My colleague and I — both not the type of people who turn into the Hulk when we’re angry — gingerly hit a few mugs and pot lids. “I expected to like it, but it wasn't as shiok as I imagined it to be. It's just not for me,” my colleague admits. I did feel a little like a rebellious teenager compelled to destroy stuff just for the sake of it.
But some folks come in and experience epiphany, like an older gentleman who went into the rage room before us.
He walks out with a renewed spring in his step. “I thought it was only something my son would like, but it was surprisingly satisfying to smash things,” he raves to us.
“It's better to come here and vent than scold a random person on the MRT,” Royce jokes.
But would the practice of de-stressing in rage rooms become a common way of life like practising yoga, or is it just a fad? Royce admits he has no way of predicting the longevity of his business idea. He says, “But we’re planning several initiatives to attract customers, one of them being an Unhappy Hour where people can come in to try the rage room at a discounted rate.” Whatever it is, we could sure use more ways to de-stress.
Fragment Room, 3 Balestier Rd, S329671. To make an appointment, call 6291-1519 or go to www.thefragmentroom.com.
VIDEO: PYRON TAN