Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Memories of Queensway Shopping Centre

It is sad to see many parts of Queenstown that I have been visiting for decades disappear one by one. When I was living in Farrer Road, I often went to Queenstown for my shopping and leisure needs.

Even after I got married and moved to nearby Sixth Avenue, my family continued to go there regularly. Among the places that we frequented were the wet market at Tanglin Halt, Queenstown Library, the NTUC Fairprice Supermarket and Big Bookshop at Margaret Drive, Margaret Drive Hawker Centre, Tah Chung Emporium, the BP petrol station at Queensway and Queensway Shopping Centre. Most of these places have disappeared but Queensway Shopping Centre is still a landmark in that part of Queenstown; but I suspect that its days are numbered.




My earliest memory of Queensway Shopping Centre was in the mid-1970s when I was still doing my National Service. I remember going to a Malay barber who was operating from some makeshift stalls at the fringe of Rumah Bomba Circus just before returning to camp on Sunday evening. I think, at that time, Queensway Shopping Centre had not been built yet. Subsequently, after Queensway Shopping Centre was completed, these stalls moved into the complex and I continued to patronize the Malay barbers there. But when my favourite barber, a quiet, gentle old man by the name of Din retired, I stopped going.

Besides the barbers, I also became a regular customer of a tailor there called Benz Tailor until today. I cannot recall how I came to know this shop which is run by a gentleman by the name of Simon. 

During my NS days in Mandai Camp, our S1 (Manpower Officer), a Lieutenant Tay introduced us to a spectacles shop there run by his relative. Other than that, there are the famous photocopy shops on the third floor.

At one time when LDs were the rage, I signed up a membership with a video rental shop at the 3rd floor. Subsequently, the shop closed and moved out before I could redeem all my coupons. Also on the 3rd floor was Christian book store. I bought some books and CDs here. And I also bought some CDs from a shop on the ground floor; including this Bread CD.

There was also a Jumbo Coffee House on the 3rd floor which served pretty good western meals. You can see the name of the restaurant in big letters on the glass window facing Queensway. 

When I was working at the National Productivity Board in Bukit Merah Central, I had to pass by the Queensway Shopping Centre on the way home. Sometimes, I would stop here to buy some kueh tutu and muah chi for my children to snack at night.  It’s fun to watch them prepare the snack. Makes one feel like a kid again.

Another thing I remember about the Queensway Shopping Centre was the basement carpark. The layout of the parking lots were rather strange, like in concentric circles. The entrance is from Queensway and the exit is at Alexandra Road. Exiting the carpark is rather difficult especially if you drove a manual gear car as you have to stop for a long time for the heavy traffic at Alexandra Road.

Today, I seldom go to Queensway Shopping Centre. I feel out of place there with the many shops selling sports goods and shoes and the loud funky music. Still I will miss the place when they finally demolish it.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Had my school pants (Sec 4, Queenstown Tech, 1980) tailored at Benz too. I remember when it first opened, kids from nearby (Mei Chin, Queenstown, Queensway, Tanglin Tech used to hang out there. Still patronize the place once in a long while and sad to see that Queenstown has changed so much.

Chun See Lam said...

Such a coincidence. Two days after I posted this essay, an article appeared in the Straits Times this morning about Queensway Shopping Centre.

Anonymous said...

I stayed opposite queensway shopping center all my life, I have moved to sengkang but my mum and sister still lives there. I was born in 1973 at stirling road (my uncle's house), moved into my parent's house early 1974. I saw the huge transformation of this area, the rumah bomba circle, apb brewery, queenway shopping center, alexandra village, bukit merah safra, the ktm railway line serving the apb brewery, the building of aye expressway, etc. Queensway was The place to visit since young. Emporium was there, first floor and mid floor, where they have supermarket, clothings, toys, etc. Music shops were plenty, selling vinyl and cassettes, photos shops, sporting shops where all other owners were related to each other (because they will get what you want from other shops as well). Tailor shops, barbers, food, and the most sort after..... photostating shops. We used to bind our final year reports from them, Ultra supplies. Jumbo coffee shop, on the 3rd floor. So many memories that i had there, can even memories the shops whenever i drop by this place. Hope that thus place will be there forever, as this is the landmark for Queensway, other will be alexandra village and alexandra hospital (where me and my sister were born!)

FL said...

I think due to space constraint, Queensway SC is one of the few which has very few eateries compared with modern or new shopping malls, and you can't find those branded F & B outlets there, unless they cross opposite to Anchorpoint SC. I also notice that there is another new shopping centre coming up at the same road junction, so there will be competitions. Soon.

Anonymous said...

I believed we got the jackets tailored for your wedding at Benz's.
I recommended to my son to visit the shopping centre for sporting products.

Chuck

Philatherapist said...

When Queensway SC was under construction which I think around 1971,facing Alexandra Road opposite Alexandra Hospital & ABC Breweries, there was a row of wooden shop houses which was part of Alexandra Village. I visited a tailor shop to make my first 'tailor made' school pants!. The craze back then for lower secondary boys were shorts or rather short pants with slanted side pockets and back pockets with flap cover with button hole. It is definitely not shorts as the length is usually a couple of inches above the knee. Match it with 'football' or long socks and lo and behold! you belong to the coolest group of young dudes in the school!. Just at the back of the tailor shop, there was a 'Commercial School' running typing and short hand classes! Yes , typing classes using the old manual typewriters. Around 1974 and 1976 when Queensway SC was in its full swing , I stop making tailor made school pants at the tailor shop but instead bought the 'Lee' Boot cut plain white jeans from Wahab Store at 2nd level of Queensway SC. Yes, jeans was allowed as school uniform. The Wooden Alexandra Village was demolished around 1979 to make way to the present day concrete village of the same name. Queensway SC bring so many happy memories for me and yes, I fully agreed that its days are numbered.

Anonymous said...

I doubt they will demolish this in the near future as there is the shops are like 'strata'titled' similar to those in Lucky plaza and people's park Chun See.

Still i agree many shops have gone already.

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Chelsia said...

Dear Mr Chun See Lam,

I am Chelsia, from Balestier Hill Primary School (Singapore). We are doing a Schools Digital Media Awards project on Balestier Road and we chanced upon your blog post ( http://goodmorningyesterday.blogspot.sg/2008/09/balestier-thomson-road-heritage-trail-1.html ). We would like to do an interview with you regarding your views on Balestier. We would like to know if you are in town.

I can be contacted at: leong_le_ting_chelsia@moe.edu.sg

Thank You so much. We look forward to your favorable reply soon.

Thank You.

Best Regards,
Chelsia Leong.