Saturday, January 05, 2008

Old Buildings Quiz (4)

Can you recognize the building in these two photos? The one on top was taken in the early seventies whereas the one at the bottom just a couple of days ago. I am not asking where this building is located. I want to know the name of the organization housed at this complex in the past.


I think the older readers, should have no problem, but those below 40 or so may find it a bit challenging. So please let them have a go first.



ANSWER (6 Jan 2008, 6.00 pm)

7nine is right. (See comments) It used to be the Spore Polytechnic located at Prince Edward Road and is now called Bestway building. And as you can see from the photo below, it houses the Mediacorp TV12 and other organisations.


But did you know that it was also home to the University of Singapore's** Engineering Faculty? I studied there. This was during the early years of the Engineering Faculty and so they were temporarily housed at what was called the Prince Edward Campus. The main campus was at Bukit Timah and the Medical Faculty was at Singapore General Hospital. When the Kent Ridge campus was completed (in 1977?), the Engineering Faculty was shifted there making it the first faculty to occupy the new premises.

I was in the area last Thursday and decided to pay a visit and have lunch at the canteen. Of course I was armed with my camera and took several photos. Unfortunately, it was an cloudy day, and the pictures did not turn out well.

Anyway, when I have more time, I will blog about my time in this place. I hope they don't tear it down soon. But I realized that some portions to the rear has already disappeared to make way for the viaduct.

** In those days, there were only two universities in Singapore. People referred to them as SU and NU - that's short for University of Singapore and Nanyang University. And, yes, there was also only one polytechnic.

35 comments:

Victor said...

I know, I know. It's the NKF Building in Kim Keat Road. The top photo was taken in mid-2006 after vandals defaced the building because of a scandal. (Note the black spray paint on the facade of the building).

Oops... but the top photo is an old photo? Hmm...

Only kidding (=acting below 40), of course. But you really ought to give some clues to the younger people, like "it provided entertainment to the masses but was not a nightclub". Otherwise nobody will dare to guess, like what happened for your some of previous quiz questions.

Lam Chun See said...

I always thot that the younger generation are not so shy when it comes to answering questions. I know the older guys - and that includes you Victor, tend to be quite timid when comes to answering questions in public. They are afraid people will laugh at them if they gave the wrong answer. Of course I am only referring to Singaporeans here.

pinto said...

I was going to guess Singapore Polytechnic, but I don't think SP provided entertainment for the masses, so I am probably wrong.

Lam Chun See said...

OK lah. I admit the masking of the name on the building was rather crude. But unfortunately, I do not have Victor's photo-editing skills.

Neverthelss, it's not the end.

Victor said...

In a sense, I was right. The old NKF did provide entertainment for the masses. :p

Zen said...

The top picture appears like the former Singapore Poly. but then the bottom pictures with HDB flats in the back ground throw me off balance a bit. However on examining the recent photo carefully, the backdrop buildings could be around Tj Pagar area.

Victor said...

I think I should clarify 2 things:

1. When I said that the old NKF did provide entertainment for the masses, I meant the yearly TV charity shows that it hosted and not the courtroom drama in 2006.

2. When I mentioned "it provided entertainment to the masses but was not a nightclub", I had in mind Rediffusion Building but I realised that it is not.

Now I know the answer but I am not spoiling the game for those below 40 of age. Come on, make your guesses. What are you waiting for?

7nine said...

I confirmed that place is the location of our Singapore Polytechnic in the early days. Now it house our mediacorp malay channel and some educational centre.

7nine said...

Oh to add on, its call Bestway Building now.

fr said...

"older readers, should have no problem" - Chun See, I think this is a misconception. I have no ideas about the buildings in your old-building quizes.

[ .k.3.L.v.I.n. ] said...

i know.. its the building for mediacorp tv12 now right..?

Lam Chun See said...

Well done 7nine. And you are not even 30.

Victor said...

Oh, 7nine is his year of birth, not his age ah?

Lam Chun See said...

Sorry for being so presumptious,Frannxis. Although Spore is a small place, still there are many places that we are not famiiar with. Of course I only put up quiz for those places I know.

But never mind. Many more quizzes to come. Sooner or later will get to your territory.

peter said...

Chun See
Besides Faculty of Engin and others u mentioned, there were also 2 faculties who operated outside the Bukit Campus since their inception.

Architecture n Estate Management were at Ladyhill, opposite the Shangrila Hotel.

chuck said...

I think the sane building used to be a school under the NIE.

Lam Chun See said...

I believe it was the Spore Institute of Commerce.

chuck said...

I am sure it is NIE or maybe at that time it was known as the Singapore institude of Commerce. The reason is that I was based at Finger Pier building during my time with the immigration department in 1983. Our uniform at that time was brown pants and milky top... similiar to that of the NIE. A colleague of mine went to their canteen but was stopped by a security guard there as it was not recess time. He was mistaken as a student there as he is small in size and can be passed off as a student there.

peter said...

Yah its Singapore Institute of Commerce at one stage in the 1980s or 1990s. Could it be the fore-runner of the ITE or the replacement for Outram School - in my mind Outram School was the only govt-run commercial school teahcing accounting and book-keeping. We Kiat was it part of NIE?

Chun See - you should head down to Palmer Road, behind the old Singapore Poly before they pull it down. It was called the Metropolitan YMCA in the 1960s/ There was is it still there, a concrete diving board which was abandoned after the place was opened due to a lack of funds?

Zen said...

Since it was the first polytechnic in Singapore many students were competing to get a place there. Later it introduced nautical studies, producing the first batch of locally trained harbour pilots.

peter said...

Oops my mistake. Not Singapore Institute of Commerce but National Institute of Commerce - that is where NIE acronym comes from.

Stephen Teo said...

In the 80s, this building is known as the National Institute of Commerce (NIC), the commerce vocational training institute of the Vocational Institute Training Board (VITB) where I was a student there. Courses offered there include accounting, secretarial practice and etc.. The school was eventually relocated to the Cuppage Centre before settling at the ITE Bishan.

Lam Chun See said...

Thanks you Stephen Teo for enlightening us with that piece of history.

Anonymous said...

and on the opposite side then (in the early 1980s) was a bus terminal (it's now behind Bestway Bldg) and NTUC Shenton Way clubhouse (now a KTV joint).

Anonymous said...

btw, the street names - Prince Edward - was carried forth into the Singapore Poly campus in Dover.

Icemoon said...

Historically, I wonder what's the relationship between Princess Mary and Prince Edward.

SP was once Princess Mary Barracks.

Anonymous said...

Hello:

Wow. Oh my, I googled my old school - NIC (National Institute of Commerce) so many times and got nothing and finally I found this here! Thank goodness!

Like Stephen Teo, I was actually the very first batch of students to enter NIC and also the receive certificates. The school catered mostly to girls. I entered in the year 1982, it was part of the Vocational Institute Training Board (VITB). I studied & received the 2-year Accounting certificate in 1984. Yes, I knew the school was eventually relocated to the Cuppage Centre because I went there to get my transcripts to study overseas in England (which I am now a PR over here). I have memories of my good old NIC - nice tuckshop, small volleyball court, 2 badminton courts. We even had talentime in 1983. Most of the lecturers of the school were Fillipinos and thus we all had to adapt to American English. This was an era before Fillipino maids were popular. I heard that NIC eventually didn't renew many Fillipino lectures contracts. The accounting subjects there were hard but most of us pulled through, they made us study hard! The subjects were a lot tougher than what I had to deal with in England when I went there 2 years later after I graduated NIC.

I had no idea that the school moved to ITE Bishan. I have totally lost contact of ALL my classmates and school mates & old girlfriends.

I am so happy to have found your blog. The early 80's were tough times for me, going to NIC being known as VITB was a stigma at that time. It was not a good thing when you have that on your resume in the 80's. I am happy to have moved on to bigger and better things. But NIC served it purpose for me during that time. If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have gone to NIC.

Thank you so much for reliving memories of the past.

--

John Tan

Victor Foo said...

National Institute of Commerce also offered 1 year course called Certificate of Office Skills ( COS ) beside the standard 2 years course.

The 1 year course was taught at the Dakota Crescent, along Old Airport Road.

I went for the 1 year course during 1989/1990 batch.

I am also trying to locate all my long lost friends at NIC Dakota Crescent though.

Anonymous said...

That building was indeed the old National Institute of Commerce (previously under VITB). We had a couple of courses there - Certificate in Business Studies (Secretarial Practice), Certificate in Business Studies (Accounting), both of which are 2-year course. The 1-year course was the Preliminary Certificate in Business Studies. When I was there in 1983, the place was very vibrant. Yes, we had many Filipinos and Myanmarese Training Officers then. Although we were second class citizens then (because of the stigma attached to VITB), many of us moved on to better things in life, after we graduated from NIC. Many undertook professional and degree courses to improve themselves. I myself have a Masters degree. VITB was merely a stepping stone to better things, for most of us. I truly cherish the time I had in NIC, and the friendship I forged.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is nice to hear what others say of the old National Institute of Commerce. I am so glad so many have moved on.

I have to say that my experience in National Institute of Commerce was not a pleasant one. There was a very strict disciplinary teacher that makes sure that you are not late and boy's hair are not too long. Making the passing grades in NIC were tough and much tougher than my overseas degree exams experience. I recalled a classmate of mine at NIC quit after 4 weeks and went over to UK to study. Graduates from NIC in PCBS couldn't get good jobs after graduating and they usually end up working in restaurants. CBS graduates end up working in entry level accounts clerks. Many went on to do degrees because their NIC certificates couldn't get them jobs. There were many unhappy graduates of NIC.

I now live and work in UK and am now glad that this is all behind me. I wished I had gone to UK earlier rather than spending 2 years at NIC.

John Tan

Anonymous said...

well, i am also a graduate of NIC - CBS (Accounting), graduated 1987. I thank NIC as it had provided a very solid foundation for me to later pursue ACCA. Infact after graduating from NIC in June 1987, i registered myself as a private candidate sitting for GCE "A" level Principle of Accounts , Business Management and GP. Guess what ? without going thru any "A" course, with just NIC knowledge, i sat for the exam and i passed them all :) Most of my peers, after NIC still pursue ACCA like me and most of us are now a CPA holders ! Thanks to NIC !

Anonymous said...

@John Tan. Are you the same person doing your NIC CBS at Cuppage Centre during 1987 or 1988 ?

Please reply me through vfoo@hotmail.com. Thanks.

Harry Klass said...

I studied there from 1983 to 1985, CBS in accounting it was. After which I enlisted and stayed in the Singapore Combat Engineers for the next 7 years. I only remember the bus interchange, the canteen next to it that served very nice prata and teh alia..the school seemed like it was falling apart with leaking ceilings. I didn't particularly like the lessons, except for computer lessons. I was pretty good in writing out programs in BASIC. Enjoyed the canoeing eca, our canoes were stored on old pier road near the commando camp. We played lots of basketball on the court. My fav stall in the canteen was the noodle shop that served fried wantan. I was a prefect for a year and did some assembly stuff. Was recently there and walked around a bit, place looked almost the same except for the windows on the corridors.
I think I never ever picked up my cert..or graduated?

Anonymous said...

With response to "Anonymous said...

@John Tan. Are you the same person doing your NIC CBS at Cuppage Centre during 1987 or 1988 ?

Please reply me through vfoo@hotmail.com"


My name is John Tan. I went to NIC from 1982 to 1984, I was at the Prince Edward Campus. I wasn't at the Cuppage Center Campus. I went there because my "O" levels grades were not good enough for Junior Colleges or Polytechnic. I was very dissatisfied with the S'pore educational system that I decided to move to England, get married, have kids and live in here. My kids are all grown up and now in University here in England.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is by far the best part of my life!!! With all the memories there! I was studying there in 1987 to 1989!!! It was known as National Institute of Commerce ("NIC"). I can still remember the school song very well, words by words, and can still sing the song too!!!
I was then in the Secretarial Practice, with all my classmates, friends, memories...... I guess I will never forget that!

So sad that in the year 1988, we need to move out to Cuppage Centre for about half a year till graduated in 1989!! But still, we are using that building in Prince Edward Road for our CCA, on Saturday!!!!