The passing of an old neighbourhood

5 04 2018

Old HDB neighbourhoods are a joy. Their many reminders of a gentler age, some found in old shops and kopitiams in which time seems to have left well behind, extend a welcome clearly absent in the brave new that modern Singapore has become. Sadly, it won’t be long before modernity catches up on these places. Our national obsession with renewal does mean that it will only be a question of when that these spaces will forever be lost.

One old neighbourhood experiencing a slow death by renewal is Tanglin Halt. Built in the early 1960s, its old flats – among the first that the HDB built – have already begun to make way for the new. Even before this several of the neighbourhood’s landmarks were already lost. These included the rather iconic blue city gas holder and the factories that were home to several household names such as Setron. Many of the factories, which provided the neighbourhood’s folk with employment, went in the 1990s at the end of the sites’ respective leases.  A cluster of towering new flats now mark the neighbourhood. Used in part to house the first residents displaced by the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) in the neighbourhood, the cluster has also introduced a dash of modernity to the old neighbourhood with modern shops, an air-conditioned food court, and a supermarket.  The flats that were affected by SERS, referred to collectively as the “Chap Lau Chu“, were only very recently demolished with a new batch of flats soon to fill the space .

Renewal, even gradual, is taking its toll on the businesses housed in the neighbourhood centre. Many of the surviving businesses, with the displacement of their customer base, have been left with little motivation to continue operating. A recent casualty was a provision shop by the name of Thin Huat, which closed its doors for good over the weekend. Having been set up 1964 – 54 years ago – Thin Huat is one of the neighbourhood’s oldest businesses. That makes it especially sad to see it go.

Thin Huat – a few days before its closure.

Empty shelves and a photograph of its proprietor and his wife.

 

Advertisements




Last(ing) impressions

6 10 2015

Sunday, 4 October 2015, was the day we said our farewells to an old neighbourhood at Blocks 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive, which will soon be demolished. The farewell to neighbourhood built at a time of great need during the transition from statehood to nationhood and known affectionately as the ‘Chap Lau Chu’, Hokkien for ‘Ten Storey House’ for its 10 storey flats, would have left a last and perhaps lasting impression on the large numbers of people who turned up for Sunday’s farewell party

JeromeLim-4444

A last stroll.

JeromeLim-4467

A last hurrah.

JeromeLim-4502

A last peek.

JeromeLim-4489

A last song.

JeromeLim-4691

The last photographs.

JeromeLim-4619

A last hello.

JeromeLim-4479

A last toss.

JeromeLim-4586

A last pat.

JeromeLim-4506

A last sit down.

JeromeLim-4528

A last reflection.

JeromeLim-4612-2

A last look (1).

JeromeLim-4635

A last look (2).

JeromeLim-4606

A last look (3).

JeromeLim-4611

A last visit.

JeromeLim-4655

The last hydrant.

JeromeLim-4580

The last hydrant.

JeromeLim-4643.jpg

The last tall tree.

JeromeLim-4673.jpg

A last descent.

JeromeLim-4677.jpg

A last show.

JeromeLim-4698

A last walk.

JeromeLim-4578

The last days.

JeromeLim-4552

A last boundary (the boundary wall between the former Malayan Railway land and Singapore).

JeromeLim-4562

A last look at Block 75.

JeromeLim-4644.jpg

A last sunset.

JeromeLim-4689.jpg

The last smiles.

JeromeLim-4718

A last glance.

JeromeLim-4694

A last gathering.

JeromeLim-4728-2

A last stop.

JeromeLim-4740-2

A last laugh.

JeromeLim-4770-6

The last goodbye.

JeromeLim-4791

A last shot.

JeromeLim-4797-2

The last game.