When yg read that I work at Si Pai Por now, he suggested I do a second shot of the demolished Si Pai Por Post Office. He did not reveal its location, neither was I aware of this historical landmark. My only clue lies in the archives, a color photo taken around 1969 showing the colonial two storey building. I stared hard for clues and was reminded of something I saw the other day.
The other day, resting between sips after lunch, a wall across the road from New Bridge Road Bus Terminal caught my eyes. Since the land behind was empty, the wall was probably remnant of a fence parapet. Wow, that got to be some heritage! I was intrigued as to what used to lie behind.
What used to lie behind the heritage wall? Photo taken behind the bus terminal at New Bridge Road.
Later, what I saw in the old photo of Si Pai Por Post Office triggered this memory: the Y-intersection, townhouses and what looks like a Everton Park housing block hinted to me the post office was located at the place I saw the heritage wall. Gotcha!
Or not. After I did a site survey, checked the angles and took a second shot (see very first photo), I realized the mysterious wall did not belong to the post office. I missed by a small margin. The post office was located just next door and to my pleasant surprise, I could still find the fence parapet and steps leading to the former post office compound.
Since this was not the Si Pai Por Post Office, what could have been behind the wall last time?
The two compounds share an adjoining fence with a pillar marking their boundary. Today if you were to walk along the pedestrian path, you would see this scary sight (don't say I never warn you) of a tentacle-like shoot from a tree twisting around and penetrating through the pillar, which looks like it could disintegrate if the shoot squeezes harder. Ouch!
On the post office side, the hedges block the fence parapet and steps from the pedestrian's view. I do not know why the authorities have these plants senselessly covering up our heritage, certainly the compound has no lack of plants. In fact it is so shady that on that day I saw a few people - presumably foreign labours - enjoying what nature has to offer.
The steps leading to the former Si Pai Por Post Office lie behind these hedges.
Heritage steps leading to the Si Pai Por Post Office, looking towards New Bridge Road. Here is another one looking towards Kampong Bahru Road.
The Si Pai Por Post Office was established in 1921 as a district post office and savings bank. I do not know when the colonial building was constructed. The savings bank was POSB, established in 1877 by the British government as a part of the Postal Services Department. It became a statutory board in 1975 after it was hived off from the post office. In June 1979, a daylight robbery (literally!) was committed that made it to the news:
In one of the slickest hold-ups committed here recently, the POSB branch was robbed just before noon of $1732. The gunman chose a moment during a heavypour, when he was the only customer, to strike.
Sadly with the closing down of the Si Pai Por Post Office (when did it happen?), there is not a single POSB/DBS branch in Si Pai Por today. Everytime I uses the branch locator on the bank website, it tells me the nearest branch is at Tanjong Pagar Plaza.
Former grounds of the Si Pai Por Post Office. What are your memories of the place?