Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old buildings quiz (13)

I believe even young readers will have no difficulty identifying the bridge in the above photos. But I’m interested in the buildings behind it.

I know the answer to the second photo, and I have posted a rather poorly taken ‘second shot’ of it – minus the two boys of course. As for the 1st building, I am not sure, but I think it is a different building.

Talking about those two boys, I must say I admire these two dare-devils. Since they are in swimming trunks, I presume they are diving into the Singapore River from a considerable height. But what takes greater courage is enduring the stench and filth for which the Singapore River of the sixties was well-known for. In fact, I think that was what my British friends* like Tom Brown, Brian Mitchell and John Harper remember most about this place.

But thanks to the foresight and determination of our former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, this river has been cleaned-up and transformed into a part of our water catchment system, bringing clean water into Singapore’s largest man-made reservoir, the Marina Bay. The story of how this was achieved is more appropriately posted in my other blog, My 5S Corner. But you can read the story and view some nice old photos here.

* To read their recollections of their time in Singapore, please click on the appropriate labels in the right margin.

Photo credit: The first 2 photos are from Mike Robbins taken around 1966 by his friend. Photo no. 3 was taken by me.


Icemoon said...

During the conference, I gave a short talk on it. In between the two buildings would be where PAP rallies were held. The sight of LKY speaking in the rain!

Building should be Whiteway.

Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with Whiteway. What was that ?

I would have thought the building in the first photo was Malayan Bank. There's a photo in picas taken from the shenton way side that matches the facade of the building.

The building has been rebuilt at least twice since the photo was taken, though it's still owned by Malayan Bank (now popularly known as Maybank)

Brian and Tess said...

Chun See

you are right about the view we took of the Singapore River, it was a wonderful sight to behold (crowded with bum boats) but also gave off a particular pungent smell! I am of course very glad it has now been cleaned up but my visit to it last year was a very brief one - nothing much to see here now!

peter said...

Fullerton Square was where LKY made this remark something he said....."I asked the Minsitry to check this Chiam See Tong what did he score for English.....". Then he went on toe rattle about Mah Bow Tan being an star scholar....I could hear the crowd murmuring the "F word".......That must have been in the 1980s.

Then there was the late Dr. Lee Siew Choh who spoke with a voice like thunder form the sky....the crowd clapped.

Today the square is a quiet spot....

Icemoon said...

Anon, I think you are right. PAP had their rallies at the spot from 1959 to 1980s. Earlier it was Whiteway, then later (rebuilt?) as Malayan Bank. According to Chun See, Mike Robbins was in Singapore 1966-1969. In 1966 Malayan Bank must have taken over the old building.

Lam Chun See said...

In my 1981 street directory, that building is labelled; "Malayan Banking Ltd" and it is sandwiched between Fullerton Building and Bank of China; separated from the latter by Flint St.

According to the 1963 street directory, there is this description in the appendix:

The site of the A. L. Johnston & Co's original premises - Built on land rented from Capt. William Flint, R.N., Raffles's brother-in-law, Alexander Laurie Johnston arrived in Singapore in July 1820 and retired in 1841. He was the best-known and most highly respected of the early merchants. His premises were demolished in 1848, and the firm subsequently moved to the site now occupied by the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank building. His name was for a long time commemorated in Johnston's Pier, erected about 1854 when Fort Fullerton was remodelled.