Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A history of its own - Dakota Crescent

One of the Singapore "oldest" housing estates built in 1950s that made a stir airwave to the future redevelopment send message to the shocked old residents to be moved out by 2016. Many of the old residents have lived since 1950s and would have missed the place only left with memories and soul to the estates that they had spent their livelihoods for decades. Such a quiet and peaceful place to live within provision shops, chinese clinic nearby. Dakota Crescent is located at Old Airport Road, most of the low-rise blocks have been unchanged since they were built in the 1950s.
3-Storeys high blocks
Along Dakota Crescent are only 3-storeys high and are a part of Singapore's history. All of the Blocks are rental flats and the government gives the older residents with a $15,000 relocation grant. Sadly, some of the older residents who lives by themselves or alone and couldn't bare to live a new home as if they have never lived before.

Wooden Door of different design

These wooden doors were installed in oldest estates in early 1950s to 1970s, Dakota, Queenstown, Toa Payoh and to name a few which most older generations like me that have seen these, at my mum's home in Queenstown. You can still find old wooden doors, steel gate door and aluminium windows at mum's neighbourhood blocks exist to this day.
"Back-check" or Brake" installed on wooden door
I would remember the wooden door at my mum's house in 1960s that installed "Back-check" or "Brake" to prevent the door from slamming hard as if there was a wind or a person closed the door by slamming it hard. There was a time, when the wooden door without the 'Brake" installed, a neighbour next door came into my mum's house while entering, left the door open, out of sudden, the door 'SLAMM!" by strong wind and we got startled and felt our hearts beating fast as if we will faint.
Kitchen, living room and bedroom
I was indeed lucky to be able to see the some of the units that have been vacant after the news circulated or the talks of the town. There is only a bedroom, a living hall and a kitchen in a small unit that being called "rentals" flats for low income residents who were lost their wooden houses in a fire in 1960s.
A cramped utensils in kitchen room
Those were the days, my old relatives that lived in a cramped old kitchen at their wooden kampongs in a small kitchen room with a "fire" stove in a corner facing the wooden windows. They were not worried about the safety as they were expert in handling of the charcoal burner stove that prevent from fire.
Dove's sandpit playground
This old "Blue Doves" sandpit playground was designed by Khor Ean Ghee and it could be the last remaining dove built in 1970s in hoping to be preserved in its rich heritage playground. This is one of my childhoods playground too.

Row of shops at 12 Dakota Crescent
Along the stretch road of Dakota estates, partially blocked, stands Blk 12 Dakota Crescent - shop houses that occupied by provision shop (now a snack bar) and Chinese clinics and above storey of the shop where the owners lives. Many old residents would come to the shops to buy snacks and drinks at the bar and some residents would visit a Chinese doctor in the mornings.
Old resident at Chinese Clinic
I happend to pass by to see an old resident sitting comfortable wooden chair as if he was feeling sad to see his old home to be moved out by 2016. He lives at Dakota Crescent down the road near the provision shop. He usually cycles around this area and sits there all by himself and brings his drinking bottles and some snacks on his bicycle.
Provision shop (snack cafe)
This shop was once provision shop that operated in early 1980s and now occupied by snack cafe that operates in April 2014.
Old Letter Box
Remember those times, old shophouses that had their "classic" letter box instead of "post" box. My relatives who had shops that built in letter box in a simpler way where postman and newspaper delivery man would stop by to drop the newspaper, letters by slipping into the small 'rectangle" shape just below their steel gate when they closed the shop on the their rest days. Many young people would not know this "rectangle" letter box exists to this day.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A New Look - Victoria Theatre

I have been waiting for the time to come and to see the new refurbishment, restoration for almost 4 years after it closed in 2010 for redevelopment. Before that I had visited Victoria Theatre long ago since 1986. I would remember the time when my old friends and I visited Victoria Theatre just nearby ACM to watch the show and hear the music. We brought camera to take a photo but I heard that this was not allowed to do so. 
I was able to take a photo of the Victoria Theatre in early 1990s and had kept it since. An old Victoria Theatre 'Clock Tower' is clearly seen in the background of an old photo below.
Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall (background)
Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall (background left) in 1992
Another photo which I took in the same year (1992) outside Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall where Sir Raffles Stamford and a small fountain (below photo) now stands till to this day.
Sir Raffles Stamford and a fountain @ Victoria Theatre (Then)
Sir Raffles Stamford and a fountain @ Victoria Theatre (Now)
This has been changing over time from the swampy areas to the high skyscrapers not being made known to others especially from younger generations. During WWII, this old memorial hall was used to be as 'hospital' for victims of wars bombing raids by Japanese forces.
PAP in Malaya (1950s)
After the wars ended, in the next 10 years, this memorial hall was underwent renovations, the same location to where the PAP was founded during Straits of Malaya, my mum was the member (1950s) back then. In the 1970s, the hall was renovated again to accommodate the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), which it was then renamed the hall as Victoria Concert Hall. Later that year, it was repainted again to what it's today.