Thursday, December 13, 2007

Taman Jurong Heritage Trail: Old Buildings Quiz (2) - updated

The photo below was taken at my OCS Passing Out Parade on the 30th of April, 1977. Surprisingly, the venue was not Safti (the present Pasir Laba Camp) but at one of the sports stadiums. Can you identify which stadium this was?


The other day, I went down to take some photos of this place. It was quite run down and looked deserted. I told the care taker that I wanted to take some photos before the government tears it down. He thought I was an ex-footballer. He told me not so soon, at least another few years.


(16 Dec 2007) - Chuck is right. It is the Jurong Stadium. Here is what it looks like today. Can you see the new mosque in the background? That place used to be an army camp called Taman Jurong Camp - not sure if it's 4 SIR. Two camps actually, separated by Corporation Drive.
I had a friend who used to be a recruit there in the early 70's. He told me that when they did their 5BX early in the morning, the flat dwellers nearby got angry with their shouts and singing (remember how they always made us sing nonsensical army songs when we did our 5BX exercise) and threw pebbles at them.


The area is now very quiet. The big car park in front is used by learner drivers to practice parking; not just passenger cars but lorries as well. I saw a group of men queuing in front of the stadium and thought there was a foot ball match. Actually they were buying lottery tickets (either 4D or Toto).

12 comments:

chuck said...

My Guess - Jurong Stadium

Zen said...

My guess is also Jurong Stadium. I remember that year I went with our parents to witness this occasion and felt very proud that my younger brother Chun See had finally passed out as a military officer (2nd Lt?), but at the same time a bit disappointed, why? no sword was awarded to him, what a let down!

According to Chun See, it seemed that the military had run out of stock for this item, probably due to the fault of the supplier. What an excuse! If this incident happened in UK or Japan, there would certainly be an uproar. Just imagine the British tradition of a warrior (knight) without a sword or a samurai being swordless, very unthinkable. In fact a samurai must have two swords, a longer and a shorter one, both tucked at his waist. I am surprised why no complaints were made then. I always think Singaporeans are a 'kiasu' lot. Maybe in Chun See's time, the 'warriors' were quite forgiving. Now Chun See has nothing to show to his children and the government is harping for its citizens to be patriotic.

Lam Chun See said...

Actually the real reason why we were not awarded a sword was because the SAF was trying to cut costs. Only the top 10% were awarded one and so your brother obviously did not qualify. But the SAF was kind enough to allow those who were romantic about these things to 'purchase' one by signing a SAF1206. In other words, officially, you have misplaced your sword and so you have to pay for it as a compensation.

In the SAF, if you lost your rifle, it is a court martial offence. Apparently, a sword has not practical value. That's Spore-style pragmatism for you.

Actually I have forgotten about this incident. Now that Zen has brought it up, it leaves a bitter after taste.

Zen said...

I sometime think that presently the complaint culture of Singaporeans has sometime gone overboard, but compared to our generation, we are indeed a subdued lot, prefering to see-not, hear-not, say-not and actually suffering in silent. What is the use of spending millions on military hardwares if the softwares are found wanting. Swords considered not important? Why did the victorious Allied forces make sure that the surrendering Japanese troops giving up their swords one by one witnessed by all and sundry, including top Allied commanders. The message was crystal clear to the Japanese forces, giving up their swords meant accepting total defeat and disgrace to the military that brought suffering and humiliation to the country.

Lam Chun See said...

Zen has a good memory for this sort of thing. If he said I told him the army ran out of stocks, I probably did. I guess what could have happened was many of us wanted to purchase a sword and they ran out of stocks.

As to why they decided to implement this cost-cutting measure, only the top brass knows. You know anyone like that? I recall one of my readers is in Canada and says that our mad CO, Col Jimmy Yap (ex-ACS) has migrated there also. Hope he is reading this.

chuck said...

I rememered besides the stadium, there is also a swimming pool. Wonder if it is still there...

Lam Chun See said...

Chuck. The swimming pool has closed down but they they have not torn it down yet. Yes, I took some photos and will blog about it later.

Zen said...

The military explained that only 10% of the officers deserving the sword award was because of cost cutting is to me an illogical justification. Let say if Singapore is involeved in an armed conflict, can the military tell the so-called elite officers(sword bearing ones) to plunge into the battle first and tackle the enemy fearlessly, while the less elite guys just to follow behind. To me all these throwing of 'smoke' is because the top brass wants to lessen their own job pressure.

Anonymous said...

Happen to surf thro ur piece here, the Jurong stadium bring back memories. We once had our National Parade held there (demobilsed Parade from Padang to various venues). Yes, that army camp was Taman Jurong Camp or rather The School of Artillery.A recruit camp for Arty recruits and home of 22nd Battalion Artillery. I was there as a recruit in 1972...oh..sure bring back memories...

Danny said...

Ever since I came upon "Time of my life" blog, I would search for other links and came upon yours. Yes, it's Jurong Stadium and I was there in 1975 Natonal Day Parade (an NS men from 22nd Artillery, Taman Jurong Camp)and it was raining heavily. You should see those participating female University student wearing white slack! Wet and transparent! (Hey, I am young then..)

Tan Siong Huat said...

Taman Jurong Camp was home to 21 Singapore Artillary, 120mm mortar. I heard some old told me that Lee Hsien Loong was once CO there.

Man Owen said...

Danny is right. Taman Jurong Camp was home to 22 Battalion Singapore Artillery and Reserve Infantry Training Centre.

I was the BRO of Alpha Battery from 1978 to 1979. To go to our MT line and mortars, we need to cross the road.

PM Lee was the S4 of 21SA not 22SA. He posted out to an Infantry Brigade sometime in 1977 after I joined 21SA. He was posted back to 23SA as CO where he introduced the HP41CV programmable calculator. It was used to calculate fire data for guns and later to mortars.