Sep 29, 2011
Posted by Icemoon
As I pay more attention to the surrounding, observing and trying to recall what it was like just few years ago, it is shocking just how much has changed in barely a decade. Previously, I blogged about how Forfar House and the old flats at Dawson were still standing nearly a decade ago but today replaced by new and upcoming premium housing. When I read about some commemorative bronze sculptures at the site of the old Simon Road market, I feared for the worst. Clearly the word "commemorative" does tell you something.
The bronze sculptures of a fowl seller and a lady buyer in samfoo along Upper Serangoon Road. They commemorate Simon Road Market? A bit misleading because the man, in straw hat, looks like a itinerant hawker with the transaction taking place outdoors. I'd expect the market to be sheltered at least.
A market with 50 years of history before it was demolished in 1999, it was known for its delicious Mee Rebus and also Hokkien Mee and Pork Congee. Read this plaque beside the sculptures, which tells us there was even a "Muah Chee Stall where customers were even provided free tea to drink", and where many of the stall holders continue their business today at ... where else but Hougang. Speaking of Au Kang (Hougang before pinyinised), this was one place the catch from the vicinity of Kang Kar and Serangoon River were brought in, and attracted many from the neighborhood.
Simon Road Market (西门路市场) photo from the plaque. I shot this for comparison.
The same location today. Simon Road, much widened, and Kovan Residences in place of the market. From the old photo, I think the market was on one side of the carriageway.
If location is everything, then this bygone market at 6th milestone Serangoon was at one pretty strategic place because this is where Tampines Road meets Upper Serangoon Road. The market would have served the folks going to Punggol and Kang Kar or, using Tampines Road, to Changi. From old street directories, Tampines Road met Upper Serangoon at an acute angle, a V-shape, and unconnected to Simon Road; today Tampines Road forms a cross junction with Simon Road and Upper Serangoon.
My personal memories of the place was when we used Tampines Road to visit my grand-dad living, or rather interred, somewhere inside the many private estates tucked between Upper Serangoon, Hougang Ave 2 and Yio Chu Kang Road. I was familiar with Tampines Road as we used to go but not very often to, I think, the market at Kovan for food. After the long and straight Tampines Road, we would reach a junction; after that a few confusing turns before reaching our destination. When I sat behind the wheels later, I was given directions and assurance, " just travel to the end of Tampines Road and go straight" and the guiding would start after the junction. After the visit, we would take to Yio Chu Kang Road and exit somewhere near the Japanese cemetery. Thus Simon Road would have been part of our route. I cannot recall whether I saw the market then but I'm pretty sure there was no condo.
Before my exploration in June 2011, I found some old photos of Upper Serangoon Road at vicinity of Simon Road market (leave a comment if you know the photographer). Gosh, I'm overawed by how much the place has transformed!
Upper Serangoon Road in city direction. Simon Road market is at first side road on right. Tampines Road on the left before the overhead bridge.
A similar view today. I believe Tampines Road was realigned slightly and Simon Road much widened after the market was demolished, with the result that both roads now meet at the cross junction. Kovan Residences at right foreground.
Entrance of Simon Road showing the market. I'm not sure if the market includes the zinc-roofed shops fronting the main road. One good news: the coffee shop opposite outlived the market.
A similar view today. Evidence that Simon Road was recently widened. Note the same coffee shop at the corner.
Labels: Hougang ·