Oct 8, 2011

What I Discovered at Circle Line Discovery Open House

Having missed the two Circle Line Open House in 2009 and 2010, I told myself not to miss the next one in October 2011. This time round, the theme is Circle Line Discovery; from Caldecott to HabourFront, 12 new stations in all. The moment I got hold of the news, my mind started churning; the places outside the staton I can visit, for free; the photos I can shoot inside the station, no holds barred; and not least a meaningful way to spend the Sunday. Creative organizers and the unpredictable human nature made it all the more interesting.

Since there was no train service from Marymount to Caldecott, I had to dismount at the former and find my way - by hook or by crook - to the latter. Just as well, I made plans for some historical exploration nearby. At Marymount after exiting from the station, I was much surprised by the crowd waiting for the shuttle service below the HDB flat that I walked in the opposite and wrong direction. Other than the queue looking like the video game Snake, there were just too many "old folks" in it. I mean, why are these people looking like typical "uncles and aunties" interested in the Open House?

Long Queue for Shuttle Bus
The queue for the shuttle looking like a game of Snake outside Marymount station. Most were ... elderly people.

I had hell of a good time during the discovery tour. In fact I was so engrossed in my activities, alighting and exploring each station, that I did not realize the station was closing! I was at Telok Blangah, exited the station, and was about to re-enter for my last leg to HarbourFront when they pulled the shutters! Okay, I admit I did not bother to check the opening hours for the tour.

Shiok! Taken outside Botanic Gardens Station, I did not know where these belly dancers were performing that day. They were not at the station when I boarded my next train to Farrer Road.

The new stations made it much more convenient to explore certain places like Botanic Gardens and Haw Par Villa, which one can do leisurely after the line begins service on October 8. Know why I list the two examples? Because they are free-entry and worth a visit, better than washing your money sorrows down at Holland Village. I also discovered Cluny Court, a 1928 shophouse beside the Gardens' Bukit Timah Gate. Like most people, I find the Tanglin Gate more convenient (short trip from Orchard Station) and did not pay attention to this heritage building previously.

Cluny Court
Cluny Court with history from 1928 and a branch of Cold Storage. The new station will help bring more customers and business to the establishments here.

The truth is that by themselves, the stations and trains are nothing to shout about for most people. To cover all bases, to attract different segments of the population, the organizers turned it into a lifestyle event that would have something for everybody. There was the Football Train, Snakes and Ladders, a giant Jenga set,  and other activities; guess which one I participated in? Not one requiring agility, knowledge or intellect and certainly not playing against the kids but one where I would surely win ... the game of tikam-tikam! There was something for everybody. I got for myself a small swivel notepad.

The tikam-tikam game table or more aptly ... the gift table. The short queue to get the sure-win gift was worth it. There was something for everybody.

After moving heritage into the heartlands, I guess NHB fiddled with the idea of moving them underground and the result is a series of kampong exhibits at Kent Ridge Station. Most fall into the "games we played" category - like the goli panjang that had kids rolling marbles in a pit; the five stones that were were left untouched; and not to forget one famous public amenity ... the jamban! Amazingly it didn't stink that day. I wonder how historically accurate is this model of the real thing.


The side view of the jamban or kampong toilet. For a closer look at its operations, look here. It was covered, no wonder it didn't stink when I took the shot.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Beautiful shots Icemoon. Didn't know you are one and the same Second Shot.

Will be roaming your pages more these days.

Icemoon said...

Thanks Andy! By the way, the photos, all 140 of them, are available for download in high resolution. Just click the mosaic.

Lam Chun See said...

So glad that the diversions and obstructions at N. Buona Vista are finally gone. I have been driving there for years, and I cannot remember a time when there was no construction; even way before they started building the Circle Line.

peter said...

So strange to be driving on the road @7.30 am and 8.00 am and yet cant find traffic jam along AYE. I find it more straneg that Eunos LInk also no traffic jam despite the downpour this morning.

I wonder whetehr that's due to the Circle Line? If this pattern continues for the next 2 weeks then it must be the Circle Line impact.

If that's true where did the cars disappeared? Cant be everybody decided to leave their cars at work? Cant be the case the Mrs need not be chaffeured to office.

Icemoon said...

When I took the Circle Line on the first day the extension went into service, man it was so crowded at Paya Lebar Station. Reminds me of North East Line at Outram during peak hours.

Icemoon said...

Chun See is right. North Buona Vista was never peaceful after I enrolled into NUS. Realignment of the road, pilling, pollution .. made it all the more unpleasant.