Monday, 19 June 2017

War Memorial of Singapore & Green Corridor trail

It's been a long since I visited Kranji War Cemetery and Singapore Memorial which located at 9 Woodlands road near Kranji Racecourse where I went in 1990s. My hubby and I have been to the racecourse with my mum and relatives since late 1990s - 2000s. But they went there before my hubby and me! To be specific, I went Kranji War Memorial a couple of times, once in 1990, 1995, 2000s and 2012.
The Kranji Mrt station is a short distance from the Cemetery, approximately 10 -15 minutes away by foot.
Register book (pic taken in 2012)
Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (William & Kate)'s signature (2012)
Duke & Duchess of Cambridge: Prince William & Kate
My last visit was in year 2012 where Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - Prince William & Kate came to visit and pay homage to the war dead at Kranji War Cemetery and Singapore Memorial on 13th Sept 2012 on their official visit. Yes, I even saw them in person among the crowds, that was 5 years ago.
TREE guide Louise giving her talks at Kranji mrt
It was wet and humid Sunday but the drizzling raining wouldn't dampen our spirits and the trail organised by TREE yesterday. Our TREE guide Ms Louise giving talks to all participants before proceed to our journey.
Walking in drizzling rain on the footpath
TREE participants were walking in drizzling rain on a footpath, wouldn't dampen their spirits on the wet and humid in the morning. About 15 mins, we reached at the entrance of Kranji War Memorial.
Aerial View of Kranji War Memorial
Credit: NAS
At the highest point of this hill are a cross and a tall structure. 24,000 heroes lie forgotten at Kranji War Memorial, but they are celebrated and remembered on a day known as Remembrance Day or the date of Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War. It is held on the Sunday nearest to 11th Nov or after 11th Nov each year as an anniversary to mark the end of WWI on 11 November 1918.
Map layout of Kranji War Memorial
Courtesy of C'wealth War Graves Commission
On the fateful 9 February 1942, Japanese Imperial Guards breached the British defence of Singapore and landed by the mouth of the Kranji River. Singapore was subsequently ruled by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945 in a period known as the Japanese Occupation. The Kranji War Memorial is a stoic reminder for vigilance despite recent decades of peace and stability in Singapore.
 Kranji War Cemetery & S'pore Memorial
Managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the memorial commemorates the contributions of soldiers of the allied forces who lost their lives during the war.
Cross of Sacrifice (taken in 2012)
The Cross of Sacrifice is used for religious ceremonies. Do not sit or stand on it as stated on the signage.
The S'pore Memorial sits amid a huge cemetery of Commonwealth Servicemen. No matter the nationality, rank, religion or service each grave has a similar headstone. The only difference is that Muslim or Hindu Graves (example the Gurkha graves) face away from the Cross of Remembrance/Sacrifice.
Both the Cemetery and the Memorial were designed by Colin St Clair Oakes. The Memorial was unveiled by Sir Robert Black, Governor of S'pore in Mar 1957.
The Singapore Cremation Memorial, which stands immediately behind the Singapore Memorial, commemorates almost 800 casualties, mostly of the Indian forces, whose remains were cremated in accordance with their religious beliefs.
Singapore Memorial taken in 2012
The design structure of S'pore Memorial, it represents the three arms of defence. The columns and rows represent the Army, which stands and moves in columns. The cover over the columns is shaped after the wings of a plane to represent the Air Force. The shape at the top is modelled after the sail of a submarine to represent the Navy.
The Singapore Memorial has the names of those who have no known grave and who were lost in the far East in WW2 - its humbling to read even a small part of the memorials roll call of names.
Singaporeans as well as tourists can spend hours wandering through the rows and rows of headstones - each one holding a tragic tale. The regiments squadrons and ships represented tell the tale of the WWII in the East.
Star-topped central pylon
The largest is the Singapore Memorial, with its huge star-topped central pylon that rises to a height of 24 metres. This memorial bears the names of more than 24,346 Allied soldiers and airmen killed in Southeast Asia who have no known grave. 
Participant gathered near the tree and a plaque
Operation Jaywick
Credit: R.A. Navy
The 'cast-iron' plaque sign indicated the words...In Sept 1944, S'pore was still under Japanese Occupation, 23 British and Australian members of Services Reconnaissance Dept. / (Commandos)  Z Special Unit travelled from Australia by submarine to the outskirts of S'pore Harbour. Their mission was to attack and destroy enemy shipping from small submersible boats using 'time-delayed' magnetic limpet mines. The party included 6 former members of the highly successful raid launched against Japanese Shipping in S'pore Harbour in Sept 1944. Code-Named Operation Jaywick (was a special operation undertaken in WWII), they were intercepted by Japanese forces and in the actions that followed, 13 were either killed in action or died of wounds. The remaining 10 were captured and subsequently executed on 7 Jul 1945. The place of their execution is approximately 580 metres east of the junction of Clementi and Dover roads. The plaque was emplaced by former members (commandos) of Z Special unit from Australia on 27 Sept 1993 can be found near the tree where our TREE guide Louise on her talks and the participants stood (above pic). The Operation Jaywick plaque can be found outside the Harbourfront centre.
Caretakers Quarter and nursery area
The caretakers' quarter which is near to the British garden and Chinese Memorial.
Chinese Memorial
British Memorial garden
Adjoining Kranji War Cemetery is Kranji Military Cemetery, a substantial non-world war site of 1,422 burials, created in 1975 when it was found necessary to remove the graves of servicemen and their families from Pasir Panjang and Ulu Pandan cemeteries.
There are two separate plaques within the compound on the right side; one was built in memory of British and C'wealth servicemen and civilians, and members of their families formerly buried in Pasir Panjang and Ulu Pandan cemeteries whose ashes now lie in this garden while the other plaque was built in memory of Gurkha Officers and soldiers of Brigade of Gurkhas and their wives and children were formerly buried in Pasir Panjang and Ulu Pandan cemeteries whose ashes now lie in this garden.
1st President Encik Yusok bin Ishak
2nd President Dr Benjamin Henry Sheares
Adjoining the memorial are the Military Cemetery and the Singapore State Cemetery; the resting place of the country's first and 2nd Presidents of Singapore, Encik Yusok bin Ishak (serving from 1965 to 1970) and Dr. Benjamin Henry Sheares (serving from 1971 to 1981). One of my childhood friend and I turned up at the Istana to pay our last respects to Dr. Benjamin Sheares on the 15 May 1981.
TREE group
After an hour roaming around the cemetery, we gathered around and took a group photo-shot at the stairs, the star-topped is clearly seen behind them. I notice some of them must have missed the group photo. My apologises.

Hiking in the drizzling rain
Next, we went to the opposite the road while crossing the road from the Kranji War memorial and continued our trekking to our next destination - Northern Green Corridor. It was still drizzling rain and wet on the road. I heard that the southern stretch of the Rail Corridor is now closed for PUB pipeline works, only the northern stretch corridor remains open. So... our trekking on the northern green corridor during wet weather, as the grounds can be muddy and slippery. Access the tracks via a dirt track under the MRT viaduct. It took us about 2 hrs to reach the end of the corridor of the Rail Mall. But we ended up at the Ten Mile Junction (Junction 10 Shopping mall) in Bukit Panjang.
Flat green corridor
Some of us looked tired after a long hike on the wet and humid weather. The last ending point was at the Rail Mall, some of them wanted to continue their trekking to the Rail Mall where the truss bridge located. Well, I had to leave out as I have been there several times as one of my classmates whom I visit sometimes, she stays at the Condo near the steel truss bridge.
In addition, Kranji War Memorial...  this is a place of quiet reflection and of contemplation. It is kept in pristine condition by very dedicated grounds staff and it is a credit to them.
It was indeed great hike thus drizzling rain still on, not forgetting the Kranji War Memorial where the honour of the dead still lies...

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Old Caldecott Hill of its Glory

Former Caldecott Broadcasting Centre, Caldecott Hill
Perched on a tiny mount called Caldecott Hill, MediaCorp (formerly known as TV Singapura, RTS, TCS and SBC) first arrived at this pre-World War II campus in 1937. Part premium land estate, this 80-year-old office lies in an enclave with private houses, lush greenery and a long driveway, of which a journey uphill would take no less than 5 minutes by car (or 10 by foot). 
One of the Pre-war building
From the non-existent street scenes and artiste rest area to the happening make-up unit and our rundown toilets, local stars share some of their fondest memories (love stories and ghostly encounters included) of “The Hill” to mark MediaCorp’s shift to Mediapolis at One North in 2016 and it has facilities for 3 new studios, 4 entertainment studios and a theatre was officially opened by the Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong.
This year, Singapore Heritage Festival on its 14th edition, has launched the SHF Takes Over! the programme to plentiful fanfare from 28th-30th Apr and 5th-7th May. The inaugural programme kicks off by taking festival goers to Caldecott Broadcast Centre (CBC), the heart of Singapore’s broadcast history where local radio and television productions were conceived and produced.
Me and an Actor at old drama street scene 1990s
Me and an Actress at old drama street scene 1990s
I recalled that I first went there in early 1990s for special event conducted by SBC at that time before it changed to TCS followed by Mediacorp (2001 to present). Indeed, I fondly remember walking down the memory of the old drama street.
 TBSS group taken in 2012
Kym Ng and Desmond Koh at TV Theatre (2012)
5 years ago, on the  21st July 2012, my hubby and I went to Mediacorp TV theatre at Andrew road, main entrance to meet my classmates and schoolmates for the show - 'The Sheng Siong' Show in the evening organised by our TBSS group and the co-founder of TBSS managed to get 35 tickets for us and meeting point at Mediacorp lobby. Wow! How time flies! If I could recall the timing, theme and the name of the hosts as below:
节目流程 (Program Details)
播映时间 : 60 分钟 (Duration: 60 mins)
播映日期 : 7月21日 (Date: 21 July)
节目主题:综艺、游戏节目 (Theme: Entertainment)
主持人:许振荣、钟琴 (Host: Desmond Koh, Kym Ng)
外景主持人: 赖依玲 (Outdoor Host: Vivian Lai)

Members of public at Victoria Memorial Hall in Feb 1963
Courtesy of NAS 
But before that it was known as TV Singapura in 1963 where the then Minister for Culture, Mr. S Rajaratnam was the first person to appear on TV and the broadcast was "Black and White", the inauguration of the Pilot Service of Television of Singapura at Victoria Memorial Hall (above pic).
At Passenger Pick Up point
My hubby and I planned to visit on the 29th April 2017 since SHF was launched on the 28th Apr and we took an mrt from Holland Village (5 mins from my block) and alighted to Bishan mrt (circle line - 5 stops), walked to exit B where the taxi stand located and looked for signage "Passenger Pick Up Point" and just queue behind it. Luckily we were the second patch row to board the mini bus to CBC at OMG (Old Main Gate). Sound weird at the word "OMG" which stands for "Oh My God" that local people often heard. Giggles.
Inside the mini bus, a guide introduces herself and talked about the history of CBC while we still on the way to CBC and it took about 15 mins to reach.
SHF Takes Over! painted at the rear warehouse
Upon reaching there, we saw huge crowds and of course it's weekend anyway. I saw lots of changes at the studios, street scenes and others when I visited in early 1990s. And of course I could remember the areas and the street scene when I walked into.
 TV50 Exhibition 
The Lead will air on 22nd May 2017
Firstly, we entered the building of the TV50 years of Television inside the hall that trace the progress of Singapore’s broadcasting history and have a look into the future of television.
Typical Chinese style Marble Table and chairs
The old coffee shop scene would make you feel nostalgic where you could meet old friends for a cup of coffee or tea and talks about our good old days. 
Used to be shot Street scene (Festival Village)
Along the Production store in between. there used to be the place where the street scenes were filmed in 1980s and 1990s, worked through the night, now it is no longer in use. His corridor of the warehouse store is for signboard photowalk as if you are in limelight in the street scene.
Used to be the Studio (Film Studio)
This Film Studio used to be rehearsals for Star Search for new comers/young artistes in this humble building, now SHF holds other programmes inside the studio. And it also filmed for hospital scenes and has all the settings for homes.
The Little Nyonya show
 Phua Chu Kang show
There is a performance by Cake Theatrical Productions titled Studio 6, which revisits some of Mediacorp’s famous shows such as The Little Nyonya, Under One Roof, Growing Up and Phua Chu Kang.
 Lip Sync Your Heart Out
This humble stage for photoshoot for safekeeping of the memory of once you stepped into CBC or sing out your favourite theme song from local drama serials and receive a video keepsake of your Caldecott Hill performance.
Drink stall
I came across this drink stall and was surprised to see the "Red" drink tank that is similar to the one I took photo back in early 1990s (see below pic).
Me posed at the Drink stall at old drama street in early 1990s
Recognise the "Red" Drink tank that I posed at old drama street for shot just next to it. Does it look the same? But too bad the 'set-up' stall didn't have 'fruits' tank on display.
Flea Market
There is a flea market that sells range of antique items and others
Rerun Cinema
Rerun Cinema is a place for visitors to watch the shows - Growing Up (45 mins -7.15 to 8pm), Homerun (8-10pm), Ah Boy to Men (8-10pm), Tofu Street Episode 1 (45 mins), I not Stupid (8-10pm) and to name a few.
 Advertisement in 1950s
There I saw the advertisements (1950s) appeared on top of the building.
Feeling hungry...Fret not. There are several 'make-shift' stalls at the food-fare where visitors like us to have a bite and taste for yummy foods and even traditional hot coffee and ice-coffee. 
 Fried Tofu and Hakka Abacus seeds
Close-up: Fried Tofu
Oh yes, my hubby told me that there is a stall sells Hakka abacus seeds (Suan Pan Zi), the shape of the seeds that older generation used to calculate the amounts on the wooden board which are delicious. But I thought it looks like chestnuts.
Drop-Off area
After we strolled around for 3 or 4 hrs, we decided to head home and board a 'free' shuttle bus at the Drop-Off area located near the entrance where we alighted earlier.
Make a quick shot facing at traffic mirror
Before heading home, I made a quick shot facing to the stainless steel traffic mirror and its blurry image, as least I am glad to be there that I once stepped in years ago.

Details and Programmes as below if you intend to visit for the first time.
Entry to SHF 2017 @ Caldecott Broadcast Centre is via the Old Main Gate along Olive Road.
Special guide tour dates and times
There is a special guide tour on the 6th May at 6.30 pm to 7 pm; 8.30 pm to 9 pm: The Lead Special Guided Tour – Take a tour around Caldecott Broadcast Centre with celebrities sharing with you stories about the behind-the-scene action while filming the drama, "The Lead". Limited capacity. Register onsite 30 minutes before the start of each tour.

Singapore Heritage Festival @ Caldecott Broadcast Centre - Free Shuttle Bus Service*
*Timings are subjected to traffic and weather conditions.
Shuttle buses to Caldecott Broadcast Centre will be available from Bishan MRT station Exit B, Caldecott MRT station exit B and MacRitchie Reservoir carpark.

Date and timings as follows:
28th Apr, 5 May and 6 May
First bus departs at 5.30pm & last bus departs at 9.30pm
Last bus from CBC departs at 10pm
(Frequency: Every 15 minutes)

29th Apr and 30th Apr
First bus departs at 3.30pm and last bus departs at 9.30m
Last bus from CBC departs at 10pm

1st and 7th May
First bus departs at 9.30am and last bus departs at 1.30pm
Last bus from CBC departs at 2pm

Saying Goodbye to the old Caldecott Boardcasting Centre before you leave on the last day.