1) Fringe Car Park
The piece of land occupied by the Raffles Town Club used to be a huge car park. It was built as part of the failed Park-and-Ride scheme which was introduced as part of the Area Licensing Scheme of 1975. To encourage people to take public transport into the Central Business District, the government set aside some big car parks outside the CDB. The idea was for you to park your car there and then take a shuttle bus to work. Besides this one, I can think of two others: one at Dempsey Road, where the former CMPB (Central Manpower Base) was, and the other at the National Stadium. See photo of the fringe car park at Dempsey Road on the right.
The scheme turned out to be not very popular and the car parks were largely empty. They became better known for their durians stalls.
2) Anglo Chinese School
In 1999, the ACS campus at Dunearn Road was being rebuilt. At that time there was a great deal of protests against the tearing down of the iconic clock tower which held a special place in the hearts of many generations of ACS old boys or ‘ACSians’ as they called themselves.
During the few years of construction, the primary and secondary school were relocated temporarily to other campuses. My son was studying in ACS Primary and they had to shift to the school building at Ah Hood Road. I believe it was previously occupied by Kuo Chuan School.
Let’s see now. What can I tell you about the old ACS campus that was different from today. Well the biggest change as visible from the outside was the removal of the Barker Road Methodist Church. Previously, it was situated just beside the school, to its left side. There was a narrow winding road that led up to the church from Dunearn Road. All my years in ACS, I never step into the church grounds, even though I was often curious about what it was like inside a church. The other big change was the removal of the huge field and car park next to the main road. It is now occupied by a multi-storey car park and building. I have been to the cafeteria there a couple of times to meet up with old school mates, but I have never been inside the new campus.
But I am really glad I did not make the same mistake with ACS as I did for NJC. For many years, I lived near to the old NJC campus at Linden Drive. I often drove pass it, and still do; and had thought of dropping in just to see how the school was like. But being the procrastinator that I am, I never did. Then one day, as if overnight, the NJC campus was gone and in its place stood a completely new school; the Nanyang Girls School. That was my big regret.
So when the time came to register my son for primary 1 class at ACS, I took the opportunity to wander around the premises and try to recollect what it was like all those long decades ago. I made a special effort to explore the clock tower. One particular block brought back memories of a funny incident that happened when I was in Secondary 2. The year would be 1966.
At that time, the school had a strange system whereby during the morning session, it was occupied by ACS but for the afternoon session, it was occupied by a Chinese school. One afternoon, I had stayed back after class for some reason. Suddenly I had an upset stomach and needed to use the toilet. And so I rushed back to the toilet next to my classroom in Sec 2C. After ‘doing my business’, I had to walk pass my class to get out of the block. I noticed many of the student laughing as I walked pass. Do you know why?
The Chinese school which occupied our premises in the afternoon was a co-ed (mixed; boys and girls) whereas ACS was a boys school. Apparently, our toilet automatically became a girls toilet during the afternoon session!
You should feel privileged because you are the first people to hear this story in more than forty years.
Links to Area Licensing Scheme1) Infopedia