Jul 25, 2010

2nd Shot: Stamford Canal Uncovered

Swissotel Stamford

The arrows flew and the nation was treated to some superb archery display, for they seem to hit everybody and everything else except the archer. Finally, their choice of targets exhausted, the arrows made their way back to Stamford Canal. Two months of amazing tai-chi solid investigative work and the conclusion, sobering.

Poor Stamford Canal, it was choked in June causing the first Orchard Deluge in many years. Now its design has been found to be wanting, due to the recent weather patterns .... or our rapid pace of development, who knows?

Recently I found out, after 10 years of ignorance, that CityLink Mall actually runs close to and under Stamford Canal. It would be a disaster if the canal sprung a leak (like this clogged pipe in Ion) during a flash flood. CityLink Underwater World, anyone?

CityLink Mall and Stamford Canal
CityLink Mall floor plan (source: Hongkong Land) showing Stamford Canal (shaded in yellow) running close to the mall.

Left: Outside Raffles City, part of the mall lies under Stamford Road.
Right: At War Memorial Park, mall lies close to the burial chamber of the 'Chopstick Memorial'. Read my research here.

CityLink Mall
CityLink Mall runs under Stamford Canal at the junction of Beach Road and Stamford Road.

The sobering conclusion that no amount of engineering can prevent flooding reminds me of the days when a little human ingenuity is all that is needed to surmount a water obstacle. I blogged about Raffles Scouts of the 1970s for their effort in building a rope bridge over Stamford Canal. Fast forward 25 years, engineers designed the CityLink passageway to cross the canal, this time under instead of over it, so that the subterranean mall runs under War Memorial Park.

In order to uncover the canal, I spent many weeks at the Beach Road junction outside Raffles City. There, the canal lies underneath the pedestrian walkway with CityLink Mall built even deeper under it. These few Saturdays, there were NDP rehearsals at the Padang so pedestrians got to witness the mobile columns rumbling along Beach Road. The noise must have sounded reassuring to the tragic souls buried under the 'Chopstick Memorial' - finally the nation has a credible defence that will not chabok at the sight of enemy.

NDP Rehearsal Mobile Column
Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank outside One Raffles Link waiting for the next round of rehearsal.

Many times, my shot was compromised either by the armour vehicles on Beach Road or the pedestrians lining the walkway to view them. The distance and angle were also not very correct, after checking the position of the Raffles Institution building in the background against modern-day Swissotel and Fairmont. Finally on a slightly overcast Sunday, with no tanks and only few pedestrians, I managed the following shot. Enjoy my second shot re-creation of the 1890s photo - Stamford Canal uncovered!

Stamford Canal and Raffles Institution, 1890s


me said...

doing so much time and energy to do the research..the result is worth no more 1890's Stamford Canal!

Icemoon said...

No more 1890s bridge. The canal is under the pedestrian mall in the foreground.

me said...

oops..yes no more bridge

Dogcom said...

Reading your post on canal, memories of catching Longkang Fish came to mind. Actually up stream I believe the canal connects to Orchard Rd all the way up to Ming Court, Tangling Shopping Centre, Tanglin Mall and across the road to what was once Marco Polo Hotel, and then British Council, US Embassy and Former Mindef and that leads to Botanic Gardens. I've fished in all of the spots when I was a kid. Those days no computer so it's catching longkang fish or catching spiders... haha Happy times, FOC : )

Icemoon said...

Stamford Canal still exposed at Killiney Road and Tanglin right? Will there be any longkang fish today?

jack said...

hi, do u know where can i find out where the canal flows around the dhoby ghaut area?

Icemoon said...

Hi Jack, canal is partly uncovered at Dhoby Ghaut area. Yup, it is that big drain behind Macdonald House which continues straight before making left 90 degrees turn before Cavenagh Rd.