Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Balestier-Thomson Road Heritage Trail (1)

Peter's recent post about the buses has triggered a string of comments and inputs from readers - one of them as far as California, about a part of Singapore that figured quite prominently in my secondary school days. As I have written before, I used to study in ACS in Barker Road and commuted daily between Newton Circus and my kampong in Lorong Chuan passing by the Thomson-Balestier junction. Often I would be traveling with my elder brother David and two of classmates who lived in Serangoon Gardens, David Wu and Ong Leong Chye.

And thanks to the anonymous reader's (Hello .. why don't you at least give us your initials. Very strange referring to you as Anonymous leh!) mention of the Tay Koh Yat bus terminus, my memory of that place is slowly coming back. For example, I now remember there was a police station next to the Singapore Telecom landmark which has been there like forever. But still, many blank spaces of this area that I pass by every afternoon (how come no recollection of morning - maybe too sleepy.) in the 60's remain. For example:

1) The area that is now Thomson Medical Centre. What was it like before?

2) The church at the junction of Chancery Lane; opposite the Novena. YG and I were debating about its name. YG is right. It is the Seventh Day Adventis Hospital. I found this picture at the National Archives collection.

3) I remember the block of low rise appartments near the junction of Jalan Novena because my friends and I went there to sell Fun-O-Rama tickets in 1968. It is still there I believe.

4) And then there is the Toa Payoh Flyover. I wonder how many young people know that this was Singapore's first flyover*. I had the good fortune of watching it take shape before my very eyes. What was it like before the flyover was built? (Well maybe one of the first because the one at Oxley/Clemenceau could be the earlier??)

5) Next to Toa Payoh Flyover is another prominent landmark called the Chequers Hotel. It is now the Europa Country Club Resort.

So I am starting this thread hoping that more readers will fill in these and other blanks for me.

By the way, I have a spare copy of the National Heritage Board publication; Balestier - A Heritage Trail. Anybody want. Email me with you mailing address. First come first served.

Below are some photos that I took yesterday of the Balestier-Thomson vicinity that should bring back some memories for our anonymous friend from California


Anonymous said...

1. Thomson Medical Center. Was a block of low-rise 3 storey flats with a large bitumen paved carpark in front of the block and facing Thomson Road. The old block was nearer to the petrol station/side road. There was a road from Thomson Road up the steep gradient to get to the car park. An artificial fence was made with planted hedges. The common staircase that lead to the upper floors faced Thomson Road. The present carpark of the Thomson Medical Center was a large bungalow house (like a Pernakan design) - not sure whether it was owned by the present owner of the medical center Dr. YC Cheng.

2. The 7Day Adventist Church was never a hospital. The hospital with the same name was on Upper Serangoon Road near the Woodleigh Water Plant. The building still stands but as the Salvation Army secondhand store.

Anonymous said...

Chun See
U forgot Police Training School?

Anonymous said...

The 7Day Adventist Hospital was called Youngberg Hospital.

Chun See, you forgot the ever famous Novena Church where worshipers came to pray and petition for miracles? I believe this was the first church in Singapore which practised "Miracle Healing" and were originally staffed by Redemptorist priests from Australia. The present church building dates back to the 1950s.

yg said...

the chequers hotel became the europa country club resort but it closed down some years ago. a former mediacorp actor announced plans to develop it into an exclusive celebrities resort club but i do not know whether it has taken off.
when they were building the toa payoh flover over thomson road, one of those heavy beams fell and someone was killed.
i do not know why i have very vague memories of the police station. it was more like a police post and when i was doing my part-time national service in the vigilante corp, i was assigned to carry out duties there a few times.

Lam Chun See said...

Peter. I did not forget the Police Trg School and Novena Church. These two are still around so no need to mention.

About the old Thomson Medical Centre, I still cannot picture it inmy mind, but if you go to National Archives Picas website and do a search under Thomson Road, you can find many photos about its official opening. I also saw some photos of the serious flooding around the Police Academy area but have no recollection.

Anonymous said...

Chun See
If u drive along Grange Road to the junction with Chartsworth Road, there is a 3 or 4 storey building. The building at the TMC site looked something like that except got big garden on both sides of the road leading to the flats from Thomson Road.

BTW that building at Grange Road was the residence of Singapore Poly staff in the 1950s.

Floods I remember - the PUB used to release water from the reservoir during big rain and this flooded the present nursery sites. Also Derbyshire Road area - my father's car in the workshop kena flooded and he was forced to sell the car.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys, Sorry for not mentioning my name cos when I commented earlier, I accidentally pressed "Anonymous" and when it got interesting, I gave more comments and was stucked with the name "Anonymous" so many times. Actually, I also commented on your other topics e.g. Braddell; Nam Kok Theatre and LKK's blog on Katong and Bedok.

I think Thomson Medical Centre was a peranakan house before owned by Dr Cheng W.C. It was torn down to build the medical centre. Beside the building was a row of old shophouses which had Thomson Police Station and Telecoms next to it. The Tay Koh Yat bus terminus would be on the right hand side after Thomson Road like you would travel from Novena and its right after Thomson/Balestier junction. It would be directly behind Jalan Raja Udang and facing Thomson Road. Remember I said there was a kampong with the chap gee kee den ? It was behind Tay Koh Yat bus terminus and facing the row of shophouses as shown in the Jalan Raja Udang photo with the green/blue 3-storey shophouses. Sorry, I mentioned that it was a 2-storey but it's actually 3-storey. The spiral staircase at the back was our unit (2nd storey). I am surprised that the duplex behind our unit is still there. I knew all the people there. There was a hair salon and the owner and family are still our friends till today. That was like 50 years ago. Next to the duplex was a peranakan house. I also knew them - my childhood friends. I think it is now an apartment building ? In fact I knew almost every kid including some Malay kids in the kampong and the grandchildren of the chap gee kee operator. We used to go to the same school.

As for the flyover - it used to be a big canal with squatter huts along it. When they were building it, there was an Indian man who was selling teh terak under the flyover. His customers were mainly the construction workers building the flyover. When it collapsed, he was smashed and killed instantly of course. I think that was in 1970 when I was in pr 6 at Lee Kuo Chuan Pr Sch. The Indian man had planned to return to India before the accident. I walked home from school everyday and that's why I am so familiar with that stretch of road. Along the canal there was also a kampong which would lead to the back of Jalan Raja Udang which is now Tan Tong Meng Building etc.

Chequers Hotel was next to Lee Kuo Chuan Sch and we would sometimes play in front of the hotel and the owner of the hotel would complain to our school principal. Rumours had been that the hotel was haunted !

It used to flood like crazy when it rained. I remember we would watch from our balcony cars die down or people falling into drains. When it flooded, the people living in the kampong had to evacuate and my father would invite them to come to our house for hot meals. The women and kids would sleep in our living room and the men would sleep on the staircase or in front of the shops below. Most of them were Malays and they would in return give us cakes during Hari Raya in appreciation for our hospitality.

Chun See, can I pay you a visit to say "Hi" when I visit Singapore sometime next year ? I really like your blog a lot ! I voted for your blog. Did you win ? Thanks for all the interesting memories you brought to all of us!

yg said...

hi katherine a.k.a. anonymous, i was going to respond to your question about balestier wet market when chun see made the request on put things on hold. they have renovated the market place but it has now been turned into a 24-hour food court. i have some pictures of it which i will post in my blog at a later date.

Anonymous said...

The Thomson medical Center is a merger of 2 properties- WC Cheng's Pernakan and the modern 3-storey building owned by Chartered Bank the executors of the estate. My school was called the Aitkens School of Music was on the ground-floor and the lady owned the flats. After hear death the executors offered to Victor Doggett Music School but the man didn't wan because he already had his studio at Eastern Mansion in Jalan Seaview. The govt acquired much of the land which is now the road towards Whiteley Road from the private proeprty owners.

Anonymous said...


I think I read that in the Straits Times on the death of the Sarabat Indian man when a beam collapse on him. There were photos in the newspaper article that day. I thibk the accident took place on the Whitely Road side facing the police training school entrance on the flyover going towards Toa Payoh (before flyover was widened)

Maybe someone can tell me this strange-looking road just after the Thomson flyover towards Toa Payoh. You will notice that the highway goes under a superstructure and above it are blocks of HDB flats. The superstructure looks like a road that is truncated at one end.

I remmeber that Tan Swee Leong wa sthe GM of Chequers Hotel. Tan joined after he left RTS as a compere for the Talentime Show.

Lam Chun See said...

Thanks Katherine for those valuable inputs. You cannot find such infomation anywhere nowadays. That's one reason why I started this blog - to document such knowledge for the younger generation. After our generation is gone, nobody will remember such things. I am particularly concerned for the not-so-prominent places which the historians tend to ignore.

About that competition, I am afaid I did not win. The winner for my category is this lady who blogs in Chinese. Too bad the judges didn't award any points for readers' comments because if they did, Good Morning Yesterday would win hands-down. You guys are simply fabulous. Do you know that your 'comments' are longer, and contain more substance than many of the main articles posted by other bloggers. The reason of course is that your comments are not comments in the real sense of the word but actually inputs. So GMY is more like a forum than a blog.

About the Whitley Flyover, I used to go there around '78 to '84 for dinner after jogging with my colleagues at MacRitchie after work. Food is nice and the environment quite unique.

Oh yes; when you come back pls let me know. We can always have a get-together. Like I told John Harper, we are like old friends here in Good Morning Yesterday.

Lam Chun See said...

Katherine, you mean that house with spiral staircase in my Jln Datoh photo is the house you used to live in? I took a close up actually becos of what I read in YG's blog. I will add it later. Have to rush off now.

Lam Chun See said...

Sorry. That NHB booklet already given out. Don't email me anymore. But I suspect our friends at NHB should have plenty more.

Lam Chun See said...

Peter. About that funny road leading to Jalan Toa Payoh from Thomson Rd. Previously, it was a normal slip road. But I think it was added relatively recently when they expanded the flyover and added a separate viaduct on the left side in the Changi direction. Previously that part of a slope going up to the HDB flats. I had a friend who lived there in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

Chun See, no, our house was no on Jalan Datoh. It was on Jalan Raja Udang. It's the blue/green crescent shaped bldg and the spiral staircase on the 2nd floor was our house. Behind our house was a two storey white duplex. You could see our balcony in front facing Balestier Road. Directly below was Peking Photo Studio. On the other side of Balestier Road is a row of shophouses. The corner was a coffee shop selling very good char kway teow and also a chendol stall on the small lane next to it. They were all later located at the hawker centre at Whitley/Thomson which was kind of under the flyover.

I am sorry you didn't win. Hope you will next year and you can always count on your readers !

YG - thanks for the info about the wet market. I will check your blog regularly.

Unknown said...

yeap.... balestier is an interesting area.... my concern it may become too "develope" and start to lose it's old world charm or even worse, a tasteless rojak of old and new ....can start to see some of it creeping it... ie. the building at the junction of kim keat road & balestier....some of my memories are Hoover & President cinema, Emporium Store, the kampong or slum next to the present Kim Keat CD Building (formerly Kim Keat Pri Sch...i came from there)....

Lam Chun See said...

Hi TheSoundone. No point worrying ahout the development and modernisation of Balestier. It's happening all over our island anyway. Just at Jalan Raja Udang alone, I saw two ongoing condo projects and several nearby already completed. Only thing to do is to take lots of photos to have a record as I did here.

Lam Chun See said...

Actually, some memories of Chequers Hotel is coming back. In the morning when I took the bus towards Newton, I remember seeing the big sign. I think it was on the grass slope and at night it was neon blue in colour.

The police station was mainly a wooden building grey and blue in colour. Pretty much like those in small Malaysian towns.

Anonymous said...

back in the early 90s, I came to understand that when it was managed or owned by Europa people, they had this big selling point. Each KTV room has either a pull-out bed or an adjoining room. I am sure I read about it from the newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Nice thread which have been very informative to the ever changing landscape. I'm not sure if anyone can recall that there was a Jewish cemetery where the present Novena Square Velocity now stands. I remembered when I was a little kid attending primary school at St Michael's at Essex Road, the school bus travelled along Thomson Road and once it passes Novena Church, up ahead about 50m, the entrance to the Jewish cemetery can be seen with a mud-track leading further in. There was a signboard describing the name "Jewish cemetery" with the Star of David symbol.

Anonymous said...

Chun see

go n see the Sloane Hotel in Balmoral Road - popular place with british soldiers bcos they serve very goo steak. later became popular with locals bcos can rendevouz with mistress. The refurbished bdlg also same-same like Chequers

Anonymous said...

chun see
u forgot shaw brothers studio at Jalan Ampass in Balestier Road? Now u talk about this place, I used to come to this place when i first became a computer salesman. My customer was Sum Cheong Piling at the corner of Moulmein Road (after the Middleton Hospital) and Balestier Road. I think it is now a hotel right? When times were bad, had to eat at kopi-tiam for cheap lunch until can get big order.

yg said...

peter, i remember sum cheong piling at the corner of balestier and moulmein roads. next to it was a company/shop selling construction materials. yes, they built a hotel there. its original name is robinson international hotel; now it is called quality hotel singapore.
sloane court was one of the few places that offered cheap western lunch. no longer cheap. take mistress to restaurant or hotel?

Lam Chun See said...

Ah ... Ordinary Guy. You must be new to our GMY corner. Last year when I was blogging about the Bt Timah stretch near Kg Java and New Cemetery Road, we had a good discussion about this Jewish cemetery. Read it here.

YG who used to live at the nearby kampong has also blogged about it recently here.

Victor said...

Peter said:

Sloane Hotel... later became popular with locals bcos can rendevouz with mistress.

Hey, I went there with my wife, ok? (And I only got one hor.) :)

For Balestier, I remember the Tua Pek Kong Temple. When I was a kid in the 1960s, I used to visit a bedridden relative living in a very old house just next to the temple. My mum and I had to navigate a long and narrow passageway beside the temple, then climb a long flight of wooden staircase to reach the 2nd floor unit. The floor was made of wooden planks and there was a hole in the wood through which you could peep at another family's activities in the ground floor unit. Haha.

Icemoon said...

Victor's description of the hole in the wood reminds me of the Korean movie 'Summer Time' (爱的色放).

By the way, could Peter have seen Victor long time ago at Sloane Hotel? Maybe Victor rendevouz with wife for some excitement and to be away from kid.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links to yours and YG's previous posts about the Jewish cemetery.

Zen said...

To comment on topo, I need something to jog my mind. After going through the sketch on the Thomson area, I saw the police training school and that reminds me of our rehearsal for a cultural item put up by our association for NDP, sometime in the late eighties. Our association was searching for a open area which could accomodate some one thousand participants but couldn't find a suitable place. Luckily the police authority graciously allowed us to train at their parade ground (of the training school). Now whenever I passed by the police training school, it brings me back fond memories and the sound of policemen firing practices near our rehearsal area is still ringing in my ears.

Anonymous said...

Chun See
Balestier Road starts from junction with Serangoon Road to junction with Thomson Road.

U remember Baiis play hockey (circket???) at this sports field opposite Rumah Sakit? There was also Indian Club, Ceylon sports club and Malay football club. Malay football I can rember very well because the building had a tower that resembles St Andrew School tower. Now Malay football club is the exit from CTE to Balestier/Moulein Road.

You remember tuition school called Singapore Institute of Science? Just passed by and building still the same place. There was also a technical school before St Michael's estate - aiyah cannot remember name but always see students carry those big wooden set-square taking bus.

Anonymous said...

Sloan Hotel was very secure (privacy and discrete). so rooms very popular.

Anonymous said...

Hi. On Katherine's comments about Chequer Hotel .. I studied at Lee Kuo Chuan Primary in early 80s. To get to school, I had to walk along a 2-minute muddy path behind the hotel to school. That muddy path used to be a kampong and the hotel was covered with dense vegetation. From time to time, the grasscutters came. They would clean up the place a bit and we could see the hotel peeking out from the trees. I remembered being very scared when I had to walk home alone after school for rumours had it that the hotel was haunted. Our principal had repeatedly warned us not to visit the abandoned hotel. Being young kids and parents probably scaring us to avoid that place, we also heard there were wild tigers! Those were the days. Lee Kuo Chuan Primary is history. Occupying its premises is now Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.

The row of warehouses/industrial building just behind Lee Kuo Chuan Primary, my mom used to bring me there to buy books during warehouse book sales. That's when we stock up on Beano and Dandy Yearbook magazines.

zanas said...

wow...what a small world. my mom used to be a school cleaner at acs barker rd, and my dad used to sell mee rebus at the canteen. i always hang out there to help my mom after school and cleaned the place. anw, i linked your blog coz i enjoy reading your posts. it really brings back lotz of memories...i hope u don't mind.

Lam Chun See said...

Thanks to Ms Vivien Tan, Senior Librarian at the Lee Kong Chian Ref Library who responded to my query through the the NLB's ASK service, I can confirm that the Toa Payoh Flyover at Thomson Road is indeed the first flyover in Spore.

Below are excerpts of Ms Tan's reply.

Dear Chun See,

Thank you for your patience. Your enquiry was escalated to us by our public library colleagues at ASK!. I had gone through a number of resources without much success until I chanced upon this book published by the Singapore Heritage Society. It lists the Toa Payoh Flyover as the first one:

Title: The book of Singapore’s firsts / Kay Gillis & Kevin Tan.
Author: Gillis, E. Kay
Publisher: Singapore : Singapore Heritage Society, 2006.
Call No.: RSING English 959.57 GIL -[HIS]

"The first flyover in Singapore was built in Toa Payoh and was completed in May 1970 at the cost of $3.2 million. It spanned Thomson Road and was intended to relieve congestion at the Thomson Road/Jalan Toa Payoh/Whitley Road junction."

This is my feedback/comment:

"Thank you very much. As usual, I am very impressed by your efficiency and professionalism."

Unknown said...

just wanna add another recollection... there was a "Hoover Cinema", which later screen predominately Tamil movies and then became a church ....also next to Hoover was "President Cinema" and located in the same building was "Oriental Emporium" .....

k said...

Hi there,

I remember that there was a small food centre beneath the Toa Payoh flyover.

It was in the early 1980s, if i remember correctly.

Cheers on the good work done on your blog.


Lam Chun See said...

Yes I remember the Whitley Road Hawker Centre. As I mentioned before somewhere in my blog, in the 80's, my colleagues and I used to go there for dinner after our weekly jogging sessions at nearby MacRitchie. Besides, Whitley, we sometimes went to the food centre at Lakeview/Thomson Rd. This hawker centre and its nearby shops have been cleared and now it is just an open field.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Lam. I was born in 1980 and I used to stay at along Jalan Datoh. I remember I used to cut my hair along Jalan Datoh roadside at a shelter covered with aluminium everywhere. I was too young to rememeber how it really looks like.

Anonymous said...


I also always walk to a shop near Jalan Raja Udang to buy Lao Fu Tse Comic book every once a week. Check it out who am I refering to

Anonymous said...

this may seem way back dated. copies of various trails can be found on

happened to come across your site for pple emailing u on the balestier book from u. URA, NHB, CSCDC or the relevant organisations should have more copies I believe.

Vivien Tan said...

Thanks, Chun See, for your kind feedback.

Feel free, everyone, to address your heritage enquiries to our Reference Point service either via the online form on our National Library Singapore website (click on ASK) or directly to

Hauser said...

I remember there was a food centre, hawker style, at the bottom of the PIE Toa Payoh flyover. Very nostalgic. Was there in the earlier part of my life until the government probably deemed it unsuitable for hygiene reasons. I wonder if anyone has any recollection of that place and any photos?

Unknown said...

Wow! It's great to see so many who remember the history of this area. I grew up in the Novena (Jln Novena) area and can recall many of the things spoken about. Thomson Medical Centre is on a site where a huge bungalow stood. It was owned by Dr WC Cheng. Yes, I remember the slope leading up to the house.
The 7th Day Adventist place at the junction of Chancery Lane was San Yu High School (it still is). Where Novena Ville is now, used to be houses, I believe. There was a mosque too. I used to walk home from ACS and I remember that was the path we took- through Gilstead Road.
Speaking of Chancery Lane, I remember vaguely that one of the houses along the way had a pillbox. And then of course there was the late Mr Rajaratnam's house with sentry post.
The police station beside the Singtel exchange is a vague memory too.

Lam Chun See said...

I was looking hard at that photo of the bungalow published by ST. But sadly, I could not recall. I used to pass by this area everyday on way to school :(

Lam Chun See said...

So OneJuggler, you also from ACS? I don't remember any pillbox along Chancery Lane. But I remember this bungalow with big garden and lots of red-seal palms.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember there seemed to be a house with a pillbox along chancery lane. It's on the left side of the road after you enter from Novena.

Anonymous said...

It was nice reading all yr comments. I used to live in boon teck road, which is directly opposite the wet market. Gang fights were common then (1970s). Remembered our neighbors would call out in the middle of the night whenever there was flooding. As kids, we would hurriedly scrambled to pick our slippers, emptied all bottom drawers, got bricks to elevate our beds, and be greeted by centipedes in the flood waters as it entered our house. Not forgetting the food pedlars that sells laksa, tok tok mee, kuehs, ice balls and the ice cream man at night.

persimmone said...

I remember when in the very early days of the construction of the Toa Payoh flyover, there was a tragic accident involving one of the upright slabs that hold up the Flyover, toppling and crushing an Indian man running a cart selling drinks. The site is directly behind where the bus shelter stands today under the flyover, facing the Whitley Road-Thomson Road junction.

Anonymous said...


Has anyone visited Nam Ah Dentist before? It is opposite the current Quality Hotel and Temple. The dentist is retiring and the place is up for rent.

The place is still in its original condition. I am so afraid the next person who rent it is going to tear everything up I am thinking of renting the place myself for some small business. Its a shame loosing the heritage.

If anyone has photos please share :)

James Tann said...

peter said...
The Thomson medical Center is a merger of 2 properties- WC Cheng's Pernakan and the modern 3-storey building owned by Chartered Bank the executors of the estate. My school was called the Aitkens School of Music was on the ground-floor and the lady owned the flats.

Peter, I remember that Yamaha Music had their 1st music school at the grd flr of the 3 story building cos I learnt to play the Electone organ there. Originally their music 'school' was just 2 small studios at their shop along Serangoon Road just after the Indian temple, but as the popularity of the organ increased, the school had to move to the site where TMC is (would be ard 1968?) The Yamaha Music School later moved to Plaza Singapura.

peter said...

Magdelene Aiktens - strict elderly lady. She had a grand piano in the living room which had many carpets and photo frames. Were you there? I was there together with Mervyn Tan. I still can think of the school layout. You enter from the side and not the main door through a common starircase area. She grew lots of orchids and plants . Then you open a door which lead you to a long corridor, the corridor access several rooms with the toilet in the middle. You walk through the kitchen area and there were 2 rooms at the back - one facing Thomson Road.

Mervyn Tan and I were sent for our first music recording at Tadio Singapore and got paid. Whilst Mervyn got the Straits Times scholarship to study music @ Yehudnin School of Music in London, I didnt make the grade.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you know anything about a tree along Jalan Datoh, next to The Arte condo. There seems to be quite a number of people coming to this tree to pray to it. What is the history of this tree? Thanks


Lam Chun See said...

Sorry BK. Don't know anything about this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mr Lam. BTW, your blog is very interesting. -BK

Anonymous said...

I like to add more information about the area as I also grew up in the area.
Under the Thomson Flyover, there was a squah court belonging to the Police Training School. Open air cinema showing movies once a week was next the squah court - PTC club house. We have to pay like 10 cents to see the show.
There wa a Whiteley Primary School next to Onrate Road. It was torn down in maybe around 2000? One could walk through the parade square after school then.

There was a small kampong at the present Balestier Shopping Centre behind the 639 Tau Sar Piah shop - Loong Huat.

Balestier Hill School ground was a Chinese cemetery also. Balestier Hill East Primary School and Balestier Hill West School were torn down to just Balestier Hill Primary School.

There were seveal cane factories along Balestier Road. One at the junction of Balestier Road and Jalan Dusun. A few inside Ah Hood Road.

There was a Chinese School inside Shan Road.

STC bus terminal for Bus no. 19 is at the Jalan Raja Udang corner.

The famous Hoover rojak used to ply/sell at the bus terminal. He then move to Mandalay Road opposite Hoover Theatre before finally settling down at Whampoa Food Centre.

Anonymous said...

I grew up at a cane factory in Ah Hood Road. My family (father's side) owned the land in the area and some of the tenants were also in the cane business. My mother's family was also in the cane business and the factory was in Ah Hood Road (or Jalan Dusun, can't really remember).

When it rained heavily the area used to flood.

I remember one of my favourite food was laksa sold by an itinerant vendor. He would carry the stove, cooking utensils, the pot of laksa gravy, noodle etc using a bamboo pole on his shoulder.

Unknown said...

Hello all
I found this blog when I googled the Chequers Hotel. My mother lived there in the 1950s with her aunt her ran the Hotel so a lll this is very interesting. I think she will be relaighted that the building still seems to be there

Lam Chun See said...

This article was posted in 2008. Since then, I believe the place has been redeveloped. In March this year, I tried to bring Mike Robbins to see this place, but the area was all fenced up.

Unknown said...

Has anyone here have any photos of Jln Rama Rama row of terrace house. I remember an old chinese temple at the end of the terrace house. Is the place still standing?

Unknown said...

Hi Chun See,

Firstly, thank you very much for starting this Blog. I have also read your Blogs on "Good Morning Yesterday" about other topics on growing up during the 1960s' and 1970s' in Singapore. It really brings back fond memories of that "Baby Bloomers era" !.

I shall start my comments from this Blog as I am very familiar with the Balestier Rd / Thomson Rd area; reasons being, I used to live in a small kampong at Boon Teck Road till 1978 when our family was resettled to Ang Mo Kio Newtown and also completed my Primary education from 1964 to 1969 at Balestier Hill East Primary School.

Having also read the many comments form other following this Blog, I just want to add-on some information that was recalled from my memories ............ and hopefully can re-connect with some of my long-lost ex-classmates, ex-play mates or ex-neighbours.

I have also noted that the bulk of the information / comments were uploaded almost 4 years ago !. To keep the comments short; I shall only include sites or actitivies that are no longer there or has been demolished. Here goes:

1) The Tay Koh Yat Bus Depot - Coming from Upper Thomson side, it's located just before the Balestier Road x Thomson Road junction, diagonally opposite the Singapore Telephone Board (STB) building, next to the Thomson Road Police post.

2) The STB used to function as a small telephone exchange and the Police Post was later to be demolished to make way for the new extension building of the Thomson telephone exchange.

3) The STC Bus Service 19 Terminal was located along Balestier Road, infront of the Balestier Rd x Jalan Raja Udang junction as described by Katerine (aka Anonymous). Next to it was a shop dealing with timber and other construction materials (Tai Sun ?). This shop site is now a Hotel. I could not recall seeing the Hoover Rojak man selling his famous stuff around here as mentioned by another Blogger. I vividly remembered the Rojak uncle sited at the Jalan Kemaman X Balestier Road junction, tossing up his rojak ($0.10 a serving)and serving it on a CB leaf that was folded into a cup-shape receptacle with the aid of a tooth pick. Oh, in case anyone would ask what is CB leaf; we call that type leaves by that name in the Army. Btw, read in the news recently, the Hoover Rojak uncle just passed away earlier this year (GOD Bless his soul).

4) The building where Katherine used to stay; housing the Peking Photo Shop and Chang Chiang Stationery Shop and the Seasons Cake Shop - As primary students from the nearby Balestier Hill East Primary School; we used to buy "discarded" cake slices at $0.10 a paper bag (A5 size). It was actually not "discarded" but "re-cycled" edible cake slices; whenever the cake shop have orders for odd-shaped Birthday cakes; they have to bake the cakes in Square / Rectangle / Round shapes and then cut out the required shapes; those days; Mikey Mouse and other animals were the rage !

5) Opposite side where the current corner coffee shop selling Tau Sar Bun was the end Bus Stop for STC Service 19. Location where now Balestier Shopping Complex was, was a row of make-shift food stalls and shops. I remembered having eaten plain roti prata at $0.10 !. The motor cycle / bicycle shop where Blogger YG mentioned could be Teck Seng shop - this shop specialised in repairing and providing spare parts for Vespa scooters. The shop owner had passed away two years back.

I think will stop here for the time being and may continue (Part 2)at a later date.

Once again, thanks to Chun See and other Blogers who had provided so much memories of this Balestier / Moulmein area. Wishing all Good Health to enjoying reading such fond childhood / adulthood memories of the past era !.

SIEW Peter

YeoPL said...

Hello! I chanced upon this blog. My grandma's house was 50 Thomson Road (first house after the red bridge. I am curious about a church at 1 Derbyshire Road. Used to see the words "Jesus Saves". but now I just cannot find it. anyone knows what happened to it? Thank you