1) Roundabout Quiz No. 1
1) Bukit Panjang Circus
2) Princess Circus
3) Alexandra Circus
4) Delta Circus
5) Shenton Circus
6) Anson Circus
7) Gillman Circus
8) Sembawang Hills Circus
9) Orchard Circus
10) Pulo Saigon Circus
"Good morning yesterday. You wake up, and time has slipped away. And suddenly it's hard to find, the memories you left behind. Remember. Do you remember?" - Paul Anka, Times of Your Life
For those who went into the catering business, their kitchens were turned into frying Bee-Hoon with Mai Ling canned braised pork and canned "Fu Yee". It cost S$2 for a big plate which could feed 4 NS men. We sat at make-shift tables and were served with small porcelain soup bowls and black wooden chop-sticks. The catering business survived because nobody was keen on the SAF Wet Ration which tasted like "Sai" on most occasions because the rice was soggy and the chicken was still raw and still had strands of hair.
2. The other thing I learned was how reservoirs were able to keep the rain water. I had wondered for a long time whether the hydro engineers laid some kind of plastic sheet at the bottom of the reservoir to prevent water seepage. Well I found my answer through our exercises in the deep jungles of the Upper Pierce Reservoir and Bedok Reservoir. Actually, all you needed were huge granite boulders piled in layers until at the very top there was a layer of smaller granite aggregates. During "Exercise Red Beret", we walked to the bottom of the Upper Pierce Reservoir before emerging at Chestnut Avenue Water Pumping Station to continue our journey to Hong Kah.
The other exercise was a platoon withdrawal at the Bedok Reservoir. In 1974, Bedok New Town was under construction and Bedok Reservoir had been recently excavated. We withdrew from one end of the reservoir near Kaki Bukit to the other end near the "Clearwater Condominium and the Prison Department Sports Club (previously called the Bedok Reformatory Center)". At that time the Bedok Reservoir had not been laid with granite boulders and contained yellow earth. I can tell you that at the center of the reservoir, the depth must be at least 20 meters deep because when the platoon withdrawal exercise ended, we were all puffing and were "dying". The gradient was very steep. Guess who I piggy-backed in full battle orders? Gerard Ee the chairman of NKF Foundation. In his NS days, he weighed more than he does now.
Photos #2, 3 & 4: Taken by me on 13 Sep 2008 from the junction of Jalan Lekar and Lorong Semangka
Photo #5: View of the popular Farmart Centre from the same location
Photo #6: I took my photos from this Landscaping company standing at the left of the photo. The road is Lorong Semangka. I am curious as to what is that tall structure with red and white stripes in the last 2 photos?
2) Icemoon’s theory.
The first is an advertisement about a piano concert at the Victoria Theatre. Notice that the concert was presented by the Singapore Musical Society. I don’t think this society exists today. Anyone know what it is called today?
Notice also the venue for the sale of tickets – Robinson, Cold Storage and C. K. Tang's. All three are Singapore icons in the Orchard Road area which are still thriving today.
The second item in the news clipping is a cinema advertisement. (By the way, please don’t be misled by that gory movie title. I think it is a direct translation of a Chinese idiom about patriotism and defense of one’s homeland.) Notice that all the four theatres listed are no longer around.
1) Metropole (presumably) was located in the Tanjong Pagar area. Today it has been turned into a church. You can read more at Bullockcartwater’s blog.
2) Venus was located in Queenstown. This theatre has also been converted into a church. I blogged about it here.
3) Marlborough. I don’t know much about this one. I think it was located in Beach Road and was demolished long ago.
4) Hollywood was located at the Tanjong Katong – Joo Chiat area. I have not been to this area for a long time. I think it is now a shopping centre. I remember seeing two movies here.
(1) 爱的天地 starring Judy Ong (翁倩玉 - not sure if I got the Chinese name right)
She was very famous in Japan. Very good singer. I loved her Chinese version of one Japanese song 祈祷. Anyway, it’s another one of those popular Taiwanese movies of the 70's (but this one not so mushy). It’s about a teacher who wanted to dedicate her life to teaching disadvantaged kids (orphans, I think).
There was one unforgettable scene. There was a man, her headmaster I think, who wrote a Chinese idiom on the blackboard. As you know, many English-educated Singaporeans of my generation … our Chinese all half-past-six. So as the guy wrote the Chinese characters, the audience started to read them, one by one.
Suddenly there was silence. Do you know why?
Because he came to one quite difficult word which most of us didn’t know how to pronounce. Everyone so malu and dared not read anymore.
(2) 刘三姐 This was a very popular movie from China. Broke some box office records if I am not mistaken. The story is typical communist-stereotype. Rich oppressive merchant exploits peasants; peasants revolt blah blah blah. But what the audience loved was the music (山歌) and the beautiful scenery. For a long time, the radio stations bombarded us incessantly with songs from this movie. I think you can get the dvd/vcd for a few dollars.
Talking about old movie theatres, do you remember the Paramount Theatre in Serangoon Gardens? This place holds precious childhood memories for me and my siblings which I blogged about here and here? I heard that the building that used to house this theatre is going to be demolished next year. What can I say? Yet another bites the dust.
Thanks to Peter Chan for this rare 1962 photo of the Paramount Theatre.
The third item in the news clipping is about army training. As usual, anything about the army brings back lots of memories. So I shall leave this one for the next time.
HAF Box Pte Ltd
19 Tanglin Road #03-32 Tanglin Shopping Centre, Singapore 247909, Tel: 6235-4560,(www.hafbox.com)
Betel Box Hostel, Bistro & Tours in Singapore
200 Joo Chiat Road, #01-01, Singapore 427471. Tel: 6247-7340, (www.betelbox.com)