Sometimes, when you’re angry, it is good to sit down with some relaxing music and a hot cup of chamomile tea. Anger is a brief madness, after all, and the sooner you meditate these feelings away, the better.
Other times, however, you just want to let rip with a heavy object, your ugliest crockery, and a generous helping of SMASH. HOW DARE HE CUT ME OFF IN TRAFFIC?! HOW DARE SHE NOT RETURN MY PHONE CALLS!? HOW DARE HE KEEP TYPING IN ALL CAPITALS??
Engaging in Incredible Hulk moments like these at home, however, is unwise. Fortunately, there is a place in KL where you can express your anger in a fun and healthy way. The Smash House, located in Jalan Kuchai Lama, is a haven for hotheads. For different prices, visitors can run amok by smashing computers, shattering bottles, or hurling crockery against a wall.
I was fortunate enough to drop by the Smash House a while ago, and enjoyed expressing my inner rageaholic. Who knew that the sound of something breaking could be so satisfying?
A smash hit
The reception of the Smash House is bright and cheery, with many of its doors and fixtures in bright yellow. The floor is covered with a layer of artificial grass.
A large wall is plastered with suggestions for targets of your wrath: ‘Ex-Girlfriend!’ ‘Manager!’ ‘Teacher!’ and even ‘Corruption!’ Opposite this wall, in strange contrast, is the ‘Wall of Kindness’, which is plastered with photos of happy visitors. You can stick a note with a message on the wall for a small fee, with the proceeds going to charity.
Perhaps ironically for a place devoted to fire and fury, the Smash House was born out of teamwork and cooperation. According to marketing director and co-founder Sam Lee, he and the centre’s nine other co-founders first met at a marketing training course several years ago.
“After the course, we wanted to take action,” Sam said. “We wanted to create a business that was unique in Malaysia. We heard about places like this in other countries such as China, the USA and the Philippines, and thought of doing something similar here.”
The co-founders, comprised of Sam, Max Poon, Eddy Lee, Jerr Chan, Lucas Liew, Jerry Lai, Mr Lim, Edmund Ng, Michael Mak and Janus Lim, pooled together RM100,000 as capital, and opened the Smash House in July 2013.
Much of the crockery used in the centre’s daily operations are sourced from a wholesaler in Penang, with the broken pieces sent for recycling at a glass manufacturer in Johor later.
Lee said he felt the opening of the Smash House was timely, as stress and anger were a major part of people’s lives nowadays.
“There have been quite a few cases in the newspapers in the past few months. There was a recent report about a man from Penang committing suicide due to working pressures, and another where a university student took his life due to exam stress,” Sam said.
“The Smash House is a fun and safe way for people to express their anger. As an added effect, it also helps reduce vandalism in the community.”
Sam said the Smash House saw most of its business on weekends and weekday nights, with customers usually coming in couples or groups of two to four.
“We had one guy come all the way from Klang who spent RM400 in the glass room,” Sam said. “He was smashing bottles for over three hours non-stop! We were getting worried about him, but he told us it was very therapeutic, and he hoped to come again.”
Sam revealed most Smash House users were in the 20-30 year old age group, with a majority of them being female, he said. He added that should crockery smashing still prove insufficient to quell a customer’s rage, co-founder Edmund Ng, a licensed hypnotherapist, was on site to help calm people down.
Sam said they were currently planning a few more games for the Smash House, including another room which would also feature glass and cup smashing. They also planned to open outlets in Johor Bahru and Penang soon.
Safety is a top priority at the Smash House. Before entering the rooms, I am first asked to suit up with a jumpsuit, gloves and special safety shoes. I top it all off with a crash helmet and visor. By the end of it, I look like a shorter, chubbier member of Daft Punk.
I first visit the Ceramic Room, where I am given ceramic cups and saucers to hurl against a wall. The room costs RM50 for three people (one box of crockery), with RM45 and RM40 for a second and third box respectively.
Loud music plays through wall speakers, most of it loud techno, although Gangnam Style also sounds out at one point. Egg cartons are lined along the walls to muffle sound. If you wish, you can also stick a photo of someone to stick on the wall as you channel your rage: had I known this beforehand, I would have printed out some Justin Bieber mugshots.
Throwing cups and seeing them smash against the wall is strangely exhilarating. My heart soon pounds from the rush of adrenaline. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but I feel like a rubber band stretched taut and then released: the outflowing of tension feels glorious!
When I am done, I am taken to the Glass Room, apparently the most popular room in the Centre. Here, customers can throw glass beer bottles against a wall: a first box containing 24 bottles goes for RM30, a second box for RM25 and a third for RM20. Smashing in this room is slightly harder: on my first try, the bottle bouncing off the wall with a disappointing thud. My next few attempts, thankfully, are more successful.
The Smash House also has a Computer Room, where customers can vent their frustrations of slow computer speeds or poor Internet connectivity by smashing the loving hell out of disused processors. Sadly, however, the room was temporarily closed for cleaning during my visit.
All in all, I had a really fun time at the Smash House. I’m not sure if this is truly the best way for people to express their rage, but the place is definitely great to spend an hour or two. Come after a hard day at work, or a tense family dispute. Pick up the papers, and read all the latest boneheaded political decisions. Then buy a box or two of glass bottles, scream and let them all fly.
Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better.
Photos by Tang Chun Cheuh.
The Smash House, No 2-1, Jalan Kuchai Maju 8, 58200 KL. Open daily from 1pm – 9pm.