Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holiday bungalow at Wing Loong Road

Peter’s stories about the famous Bedok Corner remind me of the time our family booked a holiday bungalow at Wing Loong Road in Changi. I am not surprised if some of our younger readers have never even heard of Wing Loong Road.

The year was around 1972 or 73. My sister who was a teacher booked this government holiday bungalow for a few days. (On another occasion, she was able to book a beautiful bungalow at Fraser’s Hill). I don’t remember much about what we did; maybe some parties and swimming. I did not spend as much time there as I wanted because my university exams were approaching, which meant that it was probably during the beginning of the year.

What I remember though, was the route. We did not use Tampines Road but rather took the Bedok Road approach. After passing the Bedok Corner, we came to a T-junction where there were a row of shops facing Bedok Road. This place used to be called Simpang Bedok Village. I remember these two places clearly because they were the prominent landmarks we were supposed to look out for to get to the bungalow. Over the next few days we traveled this way a few times. We turned right at this junction into Upper Changi Road which led all the way to Changi Village. At that time, there was no New Upper Changi Road. After some distance, we came to Wing Loong Road which was a narrow track on the right. It was a rather deserted road with much vegetation and led to the bungalow by the sea. I believe that area was known as Kampong Ayer Gemuruh.


This is what that T-junction at Simpang Bedok look like today. I took this photo 2 days ago before joining Peter and two other "Friends of Yesterday.sg", Victor and Wee Kiat, for dinner at Bedok Corner Food Centre. The food was really as good as Peter had promised.

This is what the same place looked like in 1969. This photo was taken from Upper Changi Road looking towards Anglican High School. Bedok Road is on the left. Photo courtesy of Peter Chan.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to show you. But as you can see from the map below, our bungalow was probably located on what is today the perimeter fence of Changi Airport. The airport itself was built on what was once the sea. I would guess that Wing Loong Road was located somewhere opposite the Japanese School in Upper Changi Road.

The above map is scanned from Peter’s 1963 street directory.

Latest: Eureka! I managed to find one photo taken at the bungalow. It was dated 1st Jan 1973. By the way, this type of T-shirt was very popular in the early 70's ... you know why? Bruce Lee wore it in The Big Boss! Traditionally, it was worn by the Chinese 'Ah Pek' shop-keepers.


PS – According to this website, the Chen Su Lan Methodist Children's Home was originally housed at chalets in Wing Loong Road until it was acquired by the government for building the Changi Airport runway. I wonder if their chalets were the same as the one we stayed in.

22 comments:

Icemoon said...

But Chun See, the Home was started in 1968 and your chalet was in the 70s.

Icemoon said...

According to their website (http://www.cslmch.org.sg/about_us.htm), they built the chalets! The "chalets" were not holiday bungalows, a bit misleading.

peter said...

Chun See, Fret not. Kg Ayer Gemuroh's original location lies at Changi Airport Police Station. There is a nursery and a small lake there.

The end of Wing Loong Road i.e. the sea is the area between PIE and the southern tip of Runway 02L. So instead of swimming you should now do "driving".

Lam Chun See said...

Icemoon. In that case the CSLMCH chalets were different from the govt holiday bungalow we stayed in. I did a search under "Wing Loong Road" at the NAS' Picas website and found two photos captioned: "Group photo of a family at a government holiday bungalow at Wing Loong Road.". The photos were dated 1950's.

Lam Chun See said...

Hey .. I managed to find one photo this morning. Last nite (when I was posting the article) too late and lazy to search for it!

Brian Mitchell said...

Chun See

I lived so close to these parts in the early 60s and never visited them so although I must have passed that road so many times I never went down in.

You mentioned Frasers Hill and that is a place my family stayed at probably in 1961. It was an RAF Hill Station at that time and my father got a 'holiday' posting to act as temporary Camp Commander of the station and we travelled by car up through Malaya as then was, stayed a night in KL and then took the Gap Road up to Frasers Hill. It was strange to find ourselves in the cool air, in houses that looked like English houses and with fire places! But mostly I remember the jungle and the noises from the Gibbons and other animals. I am looking forward to revisiting next year.

Victor said...

The 2 Singapore holiday bungalows in Fraser's Hill are called Singapore House and Richmond House. Both are located along the same access road and the latter is located on a higher level. I stayed in both before a decade or two ago. A very nice and cool place. "Cool" as in every meaning of the word. I particularly liked their delicious home-cooked meals at very affordable prices.

Anonymous said...

I remember also staying a day or two at the Ayer Gemuruh bungalow with the sea right in front. It was quite isolated. I think it was meant for division II government servants.

fr said...

the above anonymous is me

yg said...

your mention of ayer gemuroh and the picture (the one of bruce lee wannabee) helped me recall that part of changi. i never had the opportunity to stay in any of the bungalows there.

like victor, i also enjoyed the stay and the food at fraser's hills. not just the government bungalows; the resthouse at the gap also served very good food.

peter said...

Stay n sleep in those black & white bungalows - I am afraid I never got to it. The "equivalent" was to sleep in tents along the beach.

Chun See - the difference between a (holiday) chalet and a (holiday) bungalow are obvious. Chalets are mini accomodations without servant quarters, garages, and like a terraced house. So it looks more like a beach motel. The ones along Nicoll Drive, near Teluk Paku Road were "black & white" and were once managed by "B&H" during RAF era. "B&H" refer to Brighton & Hove, a seaside resort specialist (by the same name in England) managed those holiday bungalows.

janet said...

around 1965 and 1968 I live at no 4 wing Loong Road (Dad being in the UK force).
I have recently looked on Google earth but have been unable to identify the road. Is it still there and are there any landmarks I can look for to find it.
We also stayed at the Casurina's Hotel on the coast no far from there, I suspect that has gone with the sea reclaimation.
Can you help - If I get the chance to visit Singapore again I would love to be able to see the old place!

Lam Chun See said...

Janet. Wing Loong Rd is long gone to make way for the Changi Airport. I have not heard of Casuarina Hotel. Do you mean Cameron Hotel. My friend Peter has an old newspaper cutting of this hotel. It is still around I think.

peter said...

There was a Casuarina Hotel, later renamed as Casuarina Cabans (then Aloha Rhu I think) and a bar called Bamboo Bar. Sorry to say, it was demolished and replaced by Changi Airport. If you head into Terminal 3 where the planes come alongside the airport building, that was where the motel once stood. I think I got an article somewhere in Chun See's blog about the missing Tanah merah Besar Road - it was just after the junction on Nicoll Drive.

Wesley said...

hello.i was born in 1986 and have been living in changi since 1988.i have seen this area develop tremendously/sadly but my love for this area still remains. thank you for highlighting this areas rich history and enlightening me with information that would have been lost otherwise. wes

les burton said...

Les, I lived in Wing Loong Road from 1967 to 1970. Our house was at the end of the runway (directly in line with the flight path)I went to school at Changi Grammar

Tony said...

Our running club had their fourth run on Wing Loong Road, in 1973. Shame it is gone. Our club has records of dinners at Casuarina Hotel. I am interested in contacting anyone who remembers hash house harriers runs in the late 60's or 70's.

FRAME said...

Chks this out:

http://thelongnwindingroad.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/the-lost-idyllic-coastline-of-tanah-merah/

peter said...

"Our running club had their fourth run on Wing Loong Road, in 1973. Shame it is gone. Our club has records of dinners at Casuarina ..."TONY.

How do I contact u via email Tony?

Tony said...

webmaster at singaporeharriets dot com

Anonymous said...

Les Burton, I too lived in Wing Loong Road directly under the flight path between 1961 and 1964.

You didn't live in the last of three bungalows identical on the left-hand-side perchance? It was 774b at one point. See Google Earth for a photo I posted.

HBG said...

We lived on Wing Loong Rd in the middle of three identical bungalows on the left, from December 1960 to Feb 1963
We used to go to the Casuarina Hotel , just up the coast,where they had a lending Library . My husband was an Obstetrician at RAF Changi hospital