No. 1 used to house the Singapore Family Planning and Population Board located at the junction of Dunearn Road and Gilstead Road. When I was studying in ACS in the 1960s, I often walked past this place to get to Newton Circus from where I would take a Tay Koh Yat bus to my home at Lorong Chuan.
No. 2 was a cluster of buildings which housed the SAF Married Quarters at Upper Jurong Road. Located near the junction with Benoi Road, it is today a dormitory for foreign workers – judging from the laundry hanging out to dry when I took that photo a couple of weeks ago. But back in the early 1970s, it was the only sign of civilization in that part of Singapore. For us NS boys serving in SAFTI at that time, the sight of this place and the bright lights of Safti, would cause our spirits to sink right to the floor of the Green Bus no. 175 as it turned the corner of Upper Jurong Road and brought us back every Sunday night to begin another week of drudgery.
My friend and regular guest blogger, Peter Chan, recalls doing guard duty here – which for some strange reason, I never did.
“The SAF Married Quarters guard duty was less exciting except that when it came to food we had this coffee-shop at one of the unoccupied four blocks. There was one Hokkien Mee food vendor and so you had little choice except to eat many bowls of Hokkien Mee soup.
Doing prowler duties at Married Quarters was boring. I still can remember one Sunday during SSL I was assigned to Married Quarters duty. The only sound I could hear by day was our radio set. By nightfall, there was no sound except crickets. In our time, the blocks were totally unoccupied so the silence was to be expected. There was nothing much to do except to read the newspapers over and over again. The arrival of the lunch ration land Rover from SAFTI only temporarily brought cheers to us. The one sickening part of doing guard duty at this place was the long walk along old Upper Jurong Road because Married Quarters was outside the SAFTI compound. We took a good 15 minutes to march in single-file back to SAFTI main gate because of the narrow 2-lane road and on a busy Monday morning at 0700 hours was certainly a bad start to a new week.”