Sep 30, 2009

A Secret Tunnel under Orchard Road?

Pedestrain Underpass Notice

I was at Orchard Road doing heritage research when I came across the notice. It was a total surprise as I did not know of a "pedestrian underpass connecting Specialist Shopping Centre to Centrepoint Shopping Centre".

Sep 28, 2009

What I Ate in KL (1) - Roti Canai, Teh Tarik and Limau Ais by the Pool

Egg Prata Close-up
I watched the cultural theft across the causeway with amusement. For Pedra Branca, we lost our chilli crab and Hainanese chicken rice. Let's see whether we will lose all our food featured in Uniquely Singapore. Of course, the food listed are not uniquely Singaporean, I'm sure you can find them pretty elsewhere. Rather it is the way they are prepared and presented that's unique.

Sep 23, 2009

Fun and Nostalgia at Army Open House 2009 (II)

Previously I blogged about fun at AOH'09 and how Yours truly the civilian soldier nearly lost to Ah Tiong at SAR-21 firing. You can read my adventure, including witnessing bobo shooters, here. While I brought Ah Tiong to marvel at our latest military gimmicks, I also relived some army nostalgia - at Pasir Laba Camp.

Sep 19, 2009

Fun and Nostalgia at Army Open House 2009 (I)

I'm not a fan of military open house in general, but this year I'm making an exception for my Ah Tiongs and to give SAF a chance to show off their gimmicks. My Ah Tiongs were skeptical initially; they thought the Open House is not open to foreigners. I assured them the Open House is not only open to all but free - free entry, free photo-taking, free shuttle service and no dress code. I painted them a carnivorous carnival setting with opportunities to shoot live rounds and ride combat vehicles into our sacred training grounds. They were sold.

Sep 14, 2009

2nd Shot: Peranakan Place at Orchard Road

Peter was kind enough to share with me a 1948 photo of Orchard Road at the junction with Emerald Hill Road. Following his suggestion that I do a 'then and now', I made a trip to Orchard on a Sunday morning. I suppose this is one 'mission' oldies like Chun See, Peter, Victor or YG will loathe to undertake.
Peranakan Place at Orchard Road
Foreground shows an itinerant fruit hawker, an interesting sight for me because I've read about roaming hawkers of yesteryear selling Laksa and Nasi Kandar but not fruits. I see pears, bananas, cut watermelons and what I think is a chopping board on the pushcart. I wonder whether the cut watermelons are plastic-wrapped like today.

Background shows the original double-storey shophouses dating back to 1902 that would become, through URA restoration, Peranakan Place in 1985. A pity the 'now' version is too heavily decorated with banners and a sidewalk cafe occupies what was once Emerald Hill Road. So I searched and found the following from the archives. Peranakan Place in her stark naked form:

Peranakan Place

The restored facade can be seen clearly and note the facade in the 1948 photo is very similar (other than the roof). You can see on the Emerald Hill side, the third and fourth porticoes (sorry, what's the proper architectural term for that structure along the walkway?) are higher than the first three. I love such nitty-gritty details.

The archive photo should be dated around 1985. You can see Centrepoint Shopping Centre (opened 1983) in the background. By then, bus lanes had been introduced.

Sep 7, 2009

Vignettes in Time: Singapore Map and History Through the Centuries

"This exhibition depicts Singapore as seen by cartographers, geologists, mariners, military generals and town planners. Beginning with the arrival of the British from the East India Company, to military strategists of Imperial Japan and postwar city planners, Vignettes in Time provides eclectic snippets of an emergent Singapore seen over the past two centuries."
I visited the much anticipated exhibition on Saturday, September 5. There was an English Tour conducted from 3-4 but I only came to know of it at the NLB building lift lobby. The queue was empty so I went up on my own. I was halfway into the exhibition when the Tour arrived, announced by the crisp voice of the guide. Surprise surprise, the guide was a pretty librarian the curator Lim Chen Sian ("Chen") who was in the exhibition before the group offered to lead the tour.

I was really lucky. According to NLB website, from September to October, a Tour is scheduled every Saturday - four English Tours, three Chinese tours and one Special Curator's Tour in English. I'm guessing Curator Chen will appear in the last one on October 10, but I caught him on September 5!

There is just too much to absorb from the exhibition. According to Chen, the librarian guides were put through a gruelling 5-6 hours of training to prepare them for the role. As visitors, we get to choose the galleries and exhibits to focus on. Here are the five galleries:
  1. Metropolis: The Growth of Modern Singapore 1965 - Present
  2. The Post War Aftermath 1945 - 1965
  3. The Rise and Fall of a Gilded Age 1900 - 1945
  4. 19th Century Origins 1819 - 1900
  5. Obscure Origins Pre - 1819
Here is the floor plan from the pamphlet, so you have an idea how the exhibition is organized:

Note that the galleries are arranged in reverse chronology. This was Chen's plan and I think he is smart. Lim Chen Sian is an archaeologist by training, but he did not follow the conventional chronological arrangement for galleries.

The two star attractions are the Secret Papers of General Utsunomiya on Operation Nanpo and The Earliest Images of Singapore.

If you like Singapore map and history, do head down to the National Library. The exhibition will end 31 October 2009.

Sep 4, 2009

Beautiful Landscape at Choa Chu Kang

Now, this is a topic which yg and seen this scene that might not have blogged about.

I won't tell you where exactly is this place. If you have served your time, this place should not be unfamiliar.

A gigantic residential complex sprawling a few neighborhoods, the units collectively set a record of having the shortest TOP to En-Bloc time. 15 years to be exact.

Blk 2En-Bloc
Left and right: What was once neighborhood 2 is now empty land. Even the tree and branches do not wish to live.

Pictures were taken in October 2008. As you are reading this, old units are coming under the wrecking ball and new units are built.

Rows and Rows
These are some of the smallest units around. I wonder who live inside them.

This shall be my blog contribution for the 7th month.

See more places. Live more life.

This was not meant to be a quiz, but it somehow turned out that way. As requested by Chun See, here's a map of the place. Don't be misled by the crosshair, the location should be beside the cemetery office. But weird, my photo shows the street sign as 'Chinese Cemetery Path 7', but there is no such road in the street directory! I'm spooked! Maybe I'm seeing double during the 7th month, not a good sign.

Perhaps I should throw an ad-hoc quiz this time. Why was I in Choa Chu Kang Cemetery? Not there to ask for 4-D, not there to find a 'good brother' (好兄弟), and of course not there to investigate the soil condition.

Answer will be revealed in a future 'second shot' blog post. Stay tuned. :)