Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old buildings quiz (17) - Answer

I asked you to identify the old buildings in these photos. The first was taken by Geoffrey Pain’s father sometime in 1965-67 and the second is from the collection of the National Archives of Singapore, which carried this caption; “Housing Board flats for sale in Queenstown – 19/2/1964”.

The correct answer (I think ) should be Blocks 81, 82 & 83, Commonwealth Close. So I went down this afternoon (the place is only 5 km from my home) and took a few photos to confirm. But unfortunately due to the presence of many trees, it was impossible to get a ‘second shot’, which had an unobstructed view of these flats. The best I can manage are these.


And Keith was right. The view from the top of Block 81 was magnificent. The place was deserted. The few old folks that I saw, if they had been living there since 1965, must have witnessed the spectacular changes that had occurred in front of their very eyes over the past four-and-a-half decades.; and still occurring even at this very moment.


Singapore Man Of Leisure said...

I am right!? I was really intrigued as I am a Queenstowner.

OK, it's Commonwealth close; but we call it Tanglin Halt 16 storey colloquially in Hokkien ;)

I don't care. I will score myself 2 right answers so far. LOL!

Lam Chun See said...

I think you are right. In the old days, these 2 sections of Queenstown were not so clearly separated by the MRT track. As I pointed out here, Commonwealth Drive used to join these 2 sections. And the old flats were all built at the same time.

The first time I saw this place was in 1968 when I visited a friend.

Keith said...

The black cloud in your 2nd last photo looks like Ginny from Alibaba staring down at the 3 buildings. LOL !

Azy said...

While Tanglin Halt is known as 10 storey (Chap Lau), Commonwealth Close is known as Chap Lak Lau (16 storey). Queenstown are more commonly known as Chap Si Lau (14 storey). Note that Commonwealth Close also has 14 storey building.

Term "Chap Lak Lau" is also used back then as a 'gang' term (eg "I am from Chap Lak Lau Gang").

Taken on 5th December 2011 -

@Mr Lam Chua See: Thanks for the post. Based from a survey, little people knew where 16 Storey is located, and always misdirected to Tanglin Halt instead.

@Icemoon - Hope to see your version as yours are more precise. :)

Lam Chun See said...

What a amazing coincidence.

I mentioned earlier that I first visited Commonwealth Close in 1968. At that time, a classmate of my elder brother, David's, brought us to attend a party at a place which I think was the St Johns or Salvation Army or something like that. He lived at Commonwealth Close.

I just came back from a trip to Kota Kinabalu; and guess who I bumped into; not once but twice; at the Changi (departure) and KK airport (return). This very same person!!!

Outbound Call Center said...

The black cloud in your 2nd last photo looks like Ginny. Its nice post...LOL !

sehsuan said...

hello Chun See, i've met a client who's 73 this year, and she shared that the price of the upper units was about 6200 SGD in those early 60s, and the monthly instalment was 50 SGD or so. however due to cultural preferences at that time, she said that most people didn't prefer the upper storeys (13th onward) and it seemed then that anyone who wanted to buy the unit, could just get it easily.


Lam Chun See said...

Thanks for sharing that interesting info Sehsuan. That is a very nice location. Today's private developers would gladly use it to build a nice condo, I believe.

Tah Chung said...

One of these blocks has been visited by British and Japanese royalty in the past. I guess it is a strategic place to showcase Queenstown due to its vantage point.

marrythaigirlsingapore said...

Wow, didn't know there was such a history on these 3 blocks, by the way I am in the process of purchasing one unit at block 83, will cost me $250K.

Anonymous said...

interestingly, i sometimes share a cab home from town with a friend who lives at "Commonwealth 16-storey" flat. I was quite intrigued at that, and she said most cab drivers would know exactly what she means, so I guess it's not all forgotten!