In writing this blog, one of my biggest frustrations is that I do not have the photos to illustrate the places I try to describe. For example, I wrote about the cemeteries of Pek San Teng or Kampong San Teng before it was converted into Bishan new town. How I wish I had some photos of what it used to look like – the hills with rows and rows of tombstones, the pavilions and even the traffic jams that took place every Qing Ming.
Many young people of today have no idea what Singapore looked like one generation ago. In his National Day Rally speech, PM Lee Hsien Loong announced exciting plans to transform Singapore. Add to that the ongoing Enbloc madness, and I fear that the next generation of Singapore will also have little idea of what Singapore looks like today; especially the many lesser known places.
Let me give you an illustration. I was at the Queenstown Library the other day and parked my car at the multi-storey car park next to NTUC Fairprice supermarket. I noticed that the car park was practically empty. The reason was obvious. Many of the nearby shops have either disappeared or shut down. Before long this place will be transformed beyond recognition. Fortunately, I had my camera with me and managed to capture some shots for you to enjoy. But unfortunately, the batteries ran out after a while.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is this. Take the advice from Paul Anka’s song, Times of Your Life and “gather moments while you may”. Take out your digital camera and take some photos of places in your neighbourhood that you think will be gone soon. Better still; do what my friend Kenneth is doing and document them in your blog. Your children will thank you for it.
OK. Enough words. Here are some photos of Margaret Drive in Queenstown, taken on 23 August 2007. Enjoy them because they will be gone before you even notice it.
PHOTO #1 – Hawker Centre
This signboard is next to the Hawker Centre. Three of the 6 items listed are no more: the emporium, shops/bank and restaurant.
This is a very old hawker centre. The most famous stall here is the fish ball noodles stall. On the upper floor, there used to be a POSB branch.
PHOTOs #2 and #3 – Emporium
On the left is a wet market and on the right is the hawker centre. There used to be a 3-storey building (Block 40B) in between. Top floor was a Chinese restaurant famous for its tim sum. I think it was called Golden Crown. They were relocated to the Safra branch at Bukit Merah. They had an outlet selling tim sum on the ground floor. I used to buy from them when I had a gathering at my home. On the second floor was a Chinese emporium. On the ground floor was a coffee shop and a Mont’ Dor cake shop. Here’s another shot taken from the hawker centre.
PHOTO #4 – Cinema and Bowling Alley
This building is just next to the NTUC Fairprice supermarket. It used to house 2 (I think) cinemas – Queenstown and Queensway; Plus a bowling alley and a KFC restaurant.
PHOTO #5 – Churches
On the left is the Fisherman for Christ church and on the right is the Church of Our Saviour. Do you know that both buildings used to be cinemas? The one on the right was called Venus; but I cannot remember the name of the one on the left.
PHOTO #6 – Banks
This photo shows the hawker centre at the top. Previously there was an HDB Block 40 blocking your view. On the ground floor, right hand corner was a Standard Chartered branch. To the right, at right angles to Block 40, next to the car park was Block 39. On the ground floor, at the corner was a Maybank branch. I used to have an account with them. Further to the right, on the other side of Margaret Drive would be my favourite National Library branch; the Queenstown branch. Along that stretch of road, there used to be many HDB apartment blocks. They have all been torn down. There are now only 2 blocks left. One of them is Block 39A.
PHOTO #7 – Block 39A
There used to be many shops at the ground floor including one photo studio called Golden Palace. Notice that their telephone number has only 6 digits.
Please feel free to download these photos and add them to your collection. You may want to show them to your grandchildren one day.
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