You may find this hard to believe. The very first time I tossed a bowling ball, I got a strike. You will find it even harder to believe if I told you where I achieved that feat. It was at a bowling alley named, Hyatt Bowl. Do you know where that was?
I used the past tense because, like many of the bowling alleys that I used to patronize in my younger (bachelor) days, this one has long ceased to operate. Back in the early 1970s and early 80s, bowling was one of my favourite pastimes. My brothers and I, and our friends went to many different bowling alleys all over Singapore. Most of them are no longer around. For example, when I was working in Philips, my colleagues and I bowled practically every Saturday afternoon (during competition period) at a place called Plaza Bowl. Do you know where that was? We used to have inter-departmental competitions and the better ones even represented our company in inter-company competitions. I don’t think I qualified for that privilege. I would have remembered.
|With my Philips colleagues at the Plaza Bowl. Sports is an excellent way to build bonds with colleagues from other departments.|
|Grinning from ear-to-ear as I represented my dept to receive the Inter-dept Championship trophy. This was at an event called Audio Jog held at the MacRitchie Reservoir on 24 Dec 1982.|
|This photo and several others were taken at Anson Bowl in International Plaza during a Dept gathering with dinner followed by bowling session.|
I am trying see how many bowling alleys that I can recall from that era.
4) Jackie’s Bowl. I think this was Singapore’s very first bowling alley with two outlets in Katong and Orchard. My brothers and I usually went to the latter because it was closer to our home at Farrer Road. Anyone know if this bowling centre still exists at the present Orchard Cineleisure complex?
|This is a 1994 photo (from the National Archives collection) of the Orchard Cinema at Grange Road. Can you see the side entrance to Jackie’s Bowl via the door on the left side of the photo?|
5) Kallang Bowl. Located at the Kallang Leisure Drome, it was the largest in Singapore at that time, occupying two floors with twenty lanes each. This was our favourite. My brothers and our friends often came here on Saturday evenings. After our game, we would adjourn to the nearby hawker centre at Old Airport Road for supper. My brother David loved the Chinese-style mutton soup there.
|This is the Old Airport Road hawker centre. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is still in operation.|
6) Peace Centre – cannot recall the name of the bowling centre here.
|1993 photo (from the National Archives collection) of a rather run-down Peace Centre.|
7) Kim Seng Bowl at the Kim Seng Shopping Centre. This shopping centre has been replaced by a condominium.
8) Jurong Bowl at Yuan Ching Road. It is still operating.
9) Pasir Panjang Bowl located at the complex along Pasir Panjang Road near to the famous 88 Seafood Restaurant. I believe that complex is now known as Yess Centre.
10) Finally, there is Queenstown Bowl. The one was situated in the complex that also housed the Queenstown and Queensway theatres and a KFC restaurant. It was demolished recently along with other buildings at the nearby Margaret Drive.
|The Queenstown Bowl was located within this building which was recently demolished.|
Two other bowling alleys that I’ve been to were not commercial bowling centres. The first one was at the Shell Club on Pulau Bukum. Of course you needed friends who were working in Shell company to bring you in. The other belonged to the British military. It was a small place and was next to the Kent Theatre at Dover Road.
There were probably others whose names I cannot recall; and I am not referring to the newer ones which had sprung up in recent years.
As my bowling buddies and I grew older and settled down and started our own families, we gradually stopped going to such places.
OK. By now, I trust that you have figured out the locations of Hyatt Bowl and Plaza Bowl. Hyatt Bowl was located inside Hyatt Hotel. I think it was on the second floor. Plaza Bowl was in Sultan Plaza at Sultan Road.