Monday, 25 April 2016

Old familiar sights

69, Boon Keng Road. Pic taken along Jalan Besar, on 13 Feb 2016.
It's great to see that some landmarks belonging to my childhood days are still standing. They may not look exactly the same, but they have retained their old characteristics -- those which have made the buildings pop out and rather noticeable when I was travelling in the bus and looking out of the windows. (In those days, buses were not air-conditioned and you could pull the glass pane down so you could actually get a bit of breeze blowing into your face -- and a good view of the outside.)

Take for example, 69 Boon Keng Road. As far as I can remember, the number 69 has always been huge (some say you can even see it in Batam). I can't be sure, but I think the premises has been used for a variety of businesses. I remember it most as a shop selling bicycles. Today, it is a thrift shop dealing in furniture. It has a Facebook -- intriguing timeline that reads something like "steel cabinets arrived" or simply "Just arrived" (followed by pictures of what have arrived).

Former fire station at Serangoon Road. It is near the once famous salt-baked chicken restaurant which btw, is still around, further down Serangoon Road! It is now reduced to a little stall though. It doesn't have the chicken packaged in a red box filled with rock salt anymore -- just chicken wrapped in greased paper. (but still in a red box)  We used to like the salt as we can recycle them when we tried to make our own salt-baked chicken. Pic: 13 Feb 2016.
Another noteworthy example that withstood the test of time is the fire station along Serangoon Road. Built in 1952, it is still a bright red (typical of fire stations built in the early days.) It ceased operations in 2001. (There's an interesting post on fire stations in Remember Singapore where the history of this fire station was mentioned.)

No. 1179, Serangoon Road. Pic; 13 Feb 2016.
And of course, there's 1179 Serangoon Road -- Mah Pte Ltd. It sells motorbikes and has great window display as you can see from the picture above. It started as a small business in 1973 at Jalan Besar before moving to its current premises in 1991. Before that, the building was a sort of departmental store selling mostly electrical appliances as I remember buying the very first vacuum cleaner for the house with my first pay check as a daily rated temp. I distinctly remember looking out of the window into the view of the canal that was Kallang River.

No. 1179 is next to another landmark, the National Aerated Water Co Pte Ltd. Didn't it once have a giant Sinalco bottle in front? Or was it Kickapoo? Formed in 1929, it began as a small factory (again in Jalan Besar). It survived the Japanese occupation and became a pte ltd in 1943. It moved to Serangoon Road in 1954. It closed in the 1990s and the building has since been left vacant. You can read about it at Singapore Infopedia.



7 comments:

streetsing said...

The shop at Boon Keng road used to provide stage equipment for concerts and other events if I don't remember wrongly. The other landmarks like Mah Motor, Firestation, National aerated water and the "Yim Kai" shop I passed by quite often when I was living at Toa Payoh:)

Tienyin Lo said...

Yes, you are right. Now that you say, I can remember some neon lights on display at 69 Boon Keng Road. Do you remember any giant bottle outside the National Aerated Water Co Pte Ltd? I seem to remember one -- maybe I got it confused with the Amoy Green Spot which used to be at Upper Bukit Timah...

streetsing said...

I vaguely recalled a bottle hanging on the pillar of the National Aerated Water Co but I may be wrong. There was I think another soft drink co at Kim Keat road, don't know whether anybody remember? :)

Tienyin Lo said...

Interesting... there was another soft drink co at Kim Keat? Didn't know that. Still there? :)

streetsing said...

Er No ...its long gone..don't seem to have any info from the internet. I may have remember wrongly :)

R.Y said...

I used to pass by the Nationals Aerated Water building all the time, when I was a child in the early 90s. I distinctly remember it had the Kickapoo logo on the front - that of three men in a tub - because I used to question my mother who they were. 😂

Tienyin Lo said...

Hahaha, that was cute -- three men in a tub. I don't remember that though. I guess by then, I don't use that route anymore.