Jan 19, 2013

A Very Short History of Plaza Singapura

Ex Carrefour at Plaza Sing

Last weekend we made a special trip to Plaza Singapura to check out its recently completed wing which I came to know from a friend's Facebook update. We met up with her friends over lunch, and I was introduced to the Swedish husband of her friend. A short tour of the new wing ensued ... so it is a small extension after all. I was more excited to head to the basement to check out the fate of the Carrefour shop space in the post-Carrefour era. A store I had forgotten the location if not for her reminder (hmm, I didn't realize all the while Carrefour was so near the entrance). For those with similar concerns, you can see from the photo Cold Storage is taking over the space.

While touring the upper level, I saw a mini heritage exhibition CapitaMalls Asia put up ostensibly to commemorate their new wing. Too good to give it a miss, I snapped the following photos.

One of them may surprise some of you, like my mum and I did. I did not realize what was amiss then, till I overheard mum making a comment at home about the name change by Capitaland. She was not with me at Plaza Singapura nor did she see my photos. The comment was probably made in response to a prospectus or newspaper article that she read. Look carefully at the photo below, when did Capitaland change its Chinese name from 嘉德 to 凯德?

Tell Us Why You Love P.S.
CapitaMalls Asia and its sudden name change
Plaza Singapura is a modern mall with long history stretching back to the 1970s. The exhibition goes further back than that, however, by placing its genesis or inception at the area's founding by the Indian immigrants the dhobi who did their laundry service along Sungei Bras Basah. After the inception, a great many years must have passed (though the exhibition does not tell us that) before we reach the 1970s and the whirlwind tour by posters then begins.

From the exhibition posters, I learnt Plaza Singapura was more than just Yaohan or Yamaha. For example its completion in 1974 made it one of the largest malls in Singapore at that time. The price tag was S$50 million, designed and constructed by BEP Akitek Pte Ltd and Loh Keng Huat(S) Pte Ltd respectively. Akitek Tenggara came into the picture in 1988 with their design of a new landscape forecourt. Interestingly Hon Sui Sen who was Minister of Finance then was the VIP for the official opening. I do not know why a private retail mall was officially opened by the MP of Havelock constituency and Minister of Finance no less. Has this to do with the enormous price tag?

Plaza Sing Inception
The Inception
Plaza Sing 1970s
The 1970s
Plaza Sing 1980s
The 1980s
Plaza Sing 1990s
The 1990s
Plaza Sing 2000s
The 2000s
Plaza Sing 2010s
The 2010s
Heritage exhibitions nowadays tend to incorporate input from the public and this one is no different. We see a few personal photographs on the posters and the organizers also tried to solicit feedback from the public. The question - tell us why you love p.s. Small rectangular papers are provided and you are to hang your response on the clotheslines. Like they say "never air dirty linen in public", so I'd like to believe there are no overly negative comments being aired or at least on the censorship being most minimal. I am quite encouraged by what I read so far. On why they love Plaza Singapura, one wrote about "a really handsome guy" and the other on having "found my movie ticket".


peter said...

Hon Sui Sen was invited bcos the bdlg owner was DBS Land, whcih was a part of DBS Bank.

Icemoon said...

thanks to Peter, guess that explains it. didnt realize Capitaland was a merger between DBS Land and Pidemco Land.