Recoloured memories

21 03 2013

It is in the silence of a once familiar world disfigured by the winds of change, that I often wander, clinging on to what little there is to remember of a forgotten time that the winds have not swept away. The memories I have are plenty. They are of wonderful times past painted in the colours of a world we have sought to discard. They are today, recoloured by bright hues that mask the grayness painting the world today.

A recoloured memory seen silos that seek to recolour another memory -  the former Stamford College repainted in the colours of the Oxford Hotel, seen through construction storage silos on the site of the former Stamford Community Centre.

A recoloured memory seen silos that seek to recolour another memory – the former Stamford College on Queen Street repainted in the colours of the Oxford Hotel, seen through construction storage silos on the site of the former Stamford Community Centre.

Along with the recoluring of the reminders, a gust from the winds of change has recently blown through, taking buildings which once belonged to the community which since has been dispersed – that of the former Stamford Community Centre on Queen Street. Rising in place of that will be a building that looks like another that will take attention away from the ones we should really be paying attention to.

The former Stamford Community Centre - where with schoolmates I often climbed into to kick a football on the basketball court has been demolished - in its place, a China Cultural Centre is bing built.

A window into a changing world. The former Stamford Community Centre – where with schoolmates I often climbed into to kick a football on the basketball court has been demolished – in its place, a China Cultural Centre is bing built.

The new building will be the home of the China Cultural Centre, intended to promote the understanding of Chinese culture and deepen ties with between China, which is setting it up with Singapore. The setting up of the centre in the heart of a historically rich district of Singapore is representative perhaps of the growing influence of an economically powerful and increasingly influential China and the influx of the new Chinese immigrants from that new China which all have the effect of recolouring the rich mix of Chinese cultures and sub-cultures that were brought in by the early Chinese immigrants who gave Singapore a huge part of its culturally rich and diverse flavour.

Signs of the times - the growing influence of a people descends on a world once built for the people.

Signs of the times – the growing influence of a people descends on a world once built for the people.

The school that I spent four wonderful years in, has also since moved, a contemporary art museum now occupies the buildings which were left behind. The main building – with its beautiful façade, its curved wings and portico giving it a very distinct and welcoming appearance, was one that welcomed the many white uniformed schoolboys – as many as 2200 were enrolled at its peak. Gazetted as a National Monument in 1992, it is one that I am thankful is being preserved, allowing me to keep some of my memories of the space intact, recoloured or otherwise.

A building that was the school I went to - recoloured as a museum for contemporary art. The far corner to the right of the portico was where a fish pond shaded by a guava tree was in my schooldays.

A building that was the school I went to – recoloured as a museum for contemporary art. The far corner to the right of the portico was where a fish pond shaded by a guava tree was in my schooldays.

A view recoloured - looking towards at the end of the wing where the 2104 Pelandok Scout Den had been.

A view recoloured – looking towards at the end of the wing where the 2104 Pelandok Scout Den had been.

Another that is recoloured, the former Middle Road Church at the corner of Middle Road and Waterloo Street, thankfully in this case for the better, is a favourite of mine for the curious sight it offered in my younger days – a motor workshop. That is the subject of a very recent post and a memory that, as with the others I am still fortunate to have, I will long hold on to.

The recoloured former church which was coloured by the oil and grease of a motor workshop in the days of my childhood.

The recoloured former church which was coloured by the oil and grease of a motor workshop in the days of my childhood.





Something’s fishy about the old school building

30 09 2010

Somehow, as school boys going to school in the magnificent old school building that housed St. Joseph’s Institution along Bras Basah Road which has since become the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), we always seemed to have a reason to feel that way, after all, the building did have a questionable past, having been used in some capacity by the Japanese occupiers during the Second World War. There were certainly ample reasons as well for suspicion: the sealed second floor of the old toilet block along Waterloo Street and many spots including the dome which had been out of bounds. However, whatever our suspicions were, we were never able to confirm any of them, and were happy to leave them behind when we left the old school. These days, as the SAM, some of the main structures are still there for us to wander into from time to time to satisfy any desire for nostalgia. While the toilet block is no longer there, the dome is – still inaccessible as it had been all those years back … perhaps holding the same mysteries that we had been told of during our schooldays. However, having been there on many occasions, there hasn’t been any reason to fell that there was anything mysterious that is left. Come Saturday however, there is going to be something fishy that would be uncovered …

Children of ages between 4 to 7 and their parents will discover something fishy about the old school building, now the SAM on Saturday 2 Oct 2010.

The SAM would in fact be holding a party specially for Children’s Day on 2 October 2010. The party would be held to also launch SAM’s very first picture book “Salted Fish”, aimed at children between the ages of 3 to 8, a colouring book based on the artworks of the pioneer artist Cheong Soo Pieng. So what so fishy about the party and “Salted Fish” you may ask. Well, in the book, the main character, Lynn visits an art museum for the first time and discovers something “fishy” about an important painting by a famous artist in Singapore … and to help Lynn solve the mystery, the SAM is inviting parents with children between the ages of 4 to 7 to participate. At $35 for a parent-child pair, participants would get the following to help Lynn:

1) A FREE “Salted Fish” children’s storybook (worth $16.10) pre-autographed by the author and artist;

2) A FREE children’s colouring book;

3) FREE entry for adult and child to the Cheong Soo Pieng exhibition – SAM’s most impressive showcase to date!

Do come along for two hours of fun with your kids … details of the party and registration can be found below.


Salted Fish Children’s Book Party

Date: Saturday, 2 October 2010
Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Singapore Art Museum, Glass Hall
Suitable for Children ages 4-7.

Happy Children’s Day! We are launching our very first picture book, Salted Fish. In the book, Lynn is on her first visit to an art museum and she discovers something strange about an important painting by a famous artist in Singapore. Come join us and learn more about this story of how art touches the life of a child.
The programme includes story-telling performances, interactive art activities and FREE admission to the exhibition.*

Admission fee: $35 for a child and an accompanying parent. Each additional adult pays $12.

The admission includes a pre-autographed copy of Salted Fish, a colouring book based on the artworks of the pioneer artist Cheong Soo Pieng.

Please e-mail to RSVP for the party. Tickets can be paid for upfront or at the registration desk by the Glass Hall on the day.

RSVP and Enquiries:
Masitah Ismail
Education Support Officer
DID: + 65 6332 5274
Fax: + 65 6336 5740
Email: masitah_ismail@nhb.gov.sg

* Admission covers ONE adult only. All children below 7 receive free admission but children aged 7 and above must show their student identity cards to receive a waiver of admission.

Front and Back cover of the book - participants would receive a pre-autographed copy of the book.









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