Friday, October 23, 2009

Siang Lim Park - My Early Kampong Days ( 50's -70's )

INDEX TO PLACES IN SIANG LIM PARK ( circa 1950’s-1970’s)
This is based on Dick Yip’s recollections as of 24 Oct 2009 on the amended
location map drawn by hand. It shows the layout as it roughly was in the 1950’s

Y = Corner house # 94. That was the home of our Yippie family from long before W W 2. It was strategically located. Everyone seemed to know us, especially my dear mother whom they respectfully called “ ah Yee ”.

1.  This is not not the number of the house. It’s my own simple code to identify certain interesting spots. This was the home of our long-time opposite neighbour who dealt in watches.

2. Home of a rich retired towkay who was the Godfather of my younger
Sister, Flo. We called him “ Kai Yeh”. He had a son named Steven.
When his old wife passed away, he lived on with his 3rd wife .
She had an adopted daughter named Rose who studied at Tg Katong Girls School.
She requested me to tutor her in English for $10 a month ( 1965-66 ).
Rose was my first ever pupil in tuition and I wasn't a teacher yet. Only qualification....

Unk Dicko had scored an A1 for English in Cambridge O level Exams, one of only two
who achieved that in my year, out of a few hundred who sat. It was rare in those days.


3. Diagonally opposite was this corner unit located next to the Malay
. Ownership changed hands many times. This was reputedly
the most haunted house in Siang Lim Park…and I personally saw
some of the most eerie and scariest things to justify that label.
( Will require a full blogpost to tell the story ).

4. The Malay keramat behind and next to the haunted unit. This
keramat was related to the other one at Reference # 10. Both the
keramats had a very long, early history and pre-dated the pre-war
houses in our kampong.

5. This was also the house next to the keramat but suffered no spirit
or ghostly problem.

6. Home of my former Primary school classmate Tang Yew Kay. By sheer
coincidence or whatever, we both won the GES PTA Scholarship
Award for Best all round student …only 2 top Awards, in 1960
. Both
his older brothers were teachers while a sister was a nurse.

7. On this corner unit lived a beautiful Eurasian lady named Jeannete.
She was one of the best dressed and best looking ladies in our kampong,
with birdnest hairdo, nice outfit and makeup. 
I remember saying "Hi Janet !" when we kids were playing near her unit and
she would  always "Hi -----" back to me and us. She was very friendly
and had a sweet disposition.

8. This was the house of my elder brother’s good friend and school mate,
Sum Peng Kong. He was a very good athlete and footballer in GES.
He later became a traffic cop, looking resplendent as he rode his
Police Norton bike into our kampong lane ( sand, earth, broken stones ).

9 Here lived Eddie, my childhood kampong friend. We used to play
marbles, used homemade catapults to shoot birds, fly kites etc.
He recently retired as a primary school principal. He is a true-blue Peranakan.

10. This was the other keramat linked to Ref # 4. It will take a major
blogpost to talk about these two historical Malay tombs and some
of the strange happenings connected with them.

[ Much more to come..... ]


peter said...

Was there not a gun shoot-out between one of Singapore's most wanted gangster and the police? Hand grenandes were used.

Did you visit the Queens Cinema @Lorong 44? I was happy to find the facade still preserved as the entrance to Grandlink condo.

unk Dicko said...

You will be happy to know that I will cover the gunfight in a major blogpost. I was there that day.

Queens Cinema was like a 2nd home to many of us from Siang Lim Park.In those days, many of the Malay films were screened there. I had seen most of the top Malay films of that era.
On Sunday mornings, there was the Morning Show special...usually an English film.

peter said...

Maybe u can help me. I once took a bus in the late 50s (before pre-primary) from somewhere around Siang Lin Park. This bus went through Tg Katong Road, East Coast Road to Bedok Corner. I think it was a Katong-Bedok Bus because it had red and white stripes on the bus panel. There was a smelly river nearby to the bus terminus and a police station I think on Geylang Road. Do you know where was this location?

unk Dicko said...

The river is obviously the Geylang River which was as smelly as the Singapore or Kallang River. From time to time, dead animals floated by...and once in a blue moon, a dead human too.No joke!
The old Geylang Police Station was at the junction of Guillemard Road and Geylang Road. Red and white stripes could also be Changi Bus which travelled from Capitol Theatre all the way to Changi Point..and #1A went via Telok Paku Road.

Soon Lee Ling said...

G'day Yip Kum Foo, No words can decribe how I feel right now...I can only thank 21st C technology, and Bill Gates! Surfing the net, looking for old friends from Singapore, more specifically, Siang Lim Park...and there you, with photo and your blogg, what can I say.

Well, I am the 'Rose' by any other name, your first English language pupil. From my memories, you certain were the first to teach me to play the ukelele; or even pay the slightest attention to me; I still suffer from attention deficient, ha, ha. Is there an email or Skype I can talk to you directly?

unk Dicko said...

WOW !!!
Is that REALLY you, ROSE?
The ROSE I have not seen nor heard from since those memory-filled years of Siang Lim Park.
I can't believe my eyes when I saw this. I had just come home from a swim and checked for updates and there you are...this POP up message from someone I knew from so long ago!
Rose, I nearly fell off the chair!
No joke.
For many years, I had been asking around if anyone knew where you were. No one could tell me precisely. Some said you have moved to Australia...a long time ago.
Truly, I'm still astounded as I sit typing this...that finally, I am again reconnected with my very 1st English language pupil and ukulele learner.
More than that, I'm reconnected with a fellow kamponger and close friend of those unforgettable years of the 60's and 70's.
Rose,I can be reached at my Facebook under the name Dick Yip.
Do get in a message at my Wall post and my email will follow.
My photo is there to prevent mistaken identity.
Awaiting your message.

unk Dicko said...

Hi Rose, I do have SKYPE but have not been actively using for a while.
I can fix up for easy connection...if you like.
Let me know.

Soon Lee Ling said...

Listening to Cole Porter's Unforgetable...that's me. Yes, got lots to catch up. At 12 years old, I knew you loved Siang Lim Park. I'm happy to talk to you more on Siang Lim Park when I return to Singapore in mid October. I'm doing research on people/residents of old SLP. It was my beloved SLP, it was more than a place, a kampong, a village. It was the cradle of my childhood experiences. A learning playground, making social friendships, cultural connections, seeing the world from your view. That I have most respected, i.e. your friendship, despite both parents' disgruntle and disapproval. Oh, do I remember, that little corner garden, shaded overgrown tree (was it a buah cherry tree?)and the tiny-bum one and half seater wooden slanted swing. If I have not thank you for your friendship then, please let me do it now. Thank you very much for your support and friendship. I have a few stories to share. It it appropriate on this blogg??? Do you remember Chan Toh Pew who lived at the medicine shop, on Geylang Road, next to the Lorong 40 corner Kopi-thiam? Check your Facebook message, 'cause I've just joined and sent you a message. Corrections please: My 'adoptive' mother was the third wife, and we moved to No. 53 SLP facing the front entrance to your house 365 x 7 years; I kept an keen eye and ear to comings and goings of the Yip family, huh? If you have old photos, I would appreciate them, especially the black and white photos.

unk Dicko said...

I thank you deeply for your heartfelt comments about friendship and support from me. It was a time so long ago but I'm glad the sentiments remain.
The Yips were a big family then and grew even bigger in later years.
If the stories are of a PERSONAL nature then maybe better not to share in public blog.
However, sharing the past is very useful and if done with good intentions may be cathartic in many ways.
I do have some pics in b/w still.

BoonKiat Sim said...

Dear Unk Dicko!

All of a sudden, I decided to find out if I could find pictures of Siang Lim Park and, lo and behold, came across your blog!

Sometime in early 60's, we moved into House #12 (the Zinc house at the corner just behind Rose's picture, untl the whole area was pulled down!

Of course I remember your house (with the zinc double door opening (almost like ours) with "a lot of stuff inside" from the side and your mother!

We were a family of 8 (2 girls & 4 boys). You might recall my two eldest brothers Michael Sim Boon Hin and Boon Boo.

We all studied at GES and had been to Uncle Seow's house for English lessons!

Perhaps, you might also recall a crazy little boy who used to cycle around in a small bike at break-neck speed around the kampong! That was yours truly!

I was only in Primary one when we watched the Morgan drama and still remember the gun shots!

I will forward you some old pics if I can still find them at my parent's place.

Best wishes
Boon Kiat

Unk Dicko said...

Hello dear Boon Kiat ! I can almost feel the excitement expressed in your comment here. Me too! Nothing like being in contact again with old kampong neighbours. Yes indeed, I know your house and have often had chats with your brothers..likely Boon Hin and Boon Boo.Think they too might remember me. Do you know who used to live at that house before you move in? By the way, quite a few of our fellow S L P friends are in contact with me and each other..all directly because of my Blog postings. Mr Seow's only daughter Vin ( Vinnia ) now live in Florida. Rose ( Soon Lee Ling ) now live in South Australia. Rita and sister still around. Salim too. Jeannette also. I will keep the others informed by Facebbok. Will write you an email later. Thanks once again. I'm hoping you can find the old pics !!!!

clairey said...

Hi Unk Dicko,

Having been reading and enjoying your blog (I'm very impressed by your tech know-how - gotta get my own grandparents onto the interwebs!!) I just wanted to ask if you'd be willing to do an interview at the start of September (face to face or email - at your convenience) for a university project on heritage blogs? My email is - thank you so much!

Unk Dicko said...

Hi Claire, thanks very much for your dropping by and your affirmation. Would try to help you out with your request. I will contact you by email shortly. Just returned home after a night of practice/rehearsal with my Performing Group "Dick Yip & The Minstrels " for some upcoming public performances.

Hum Theatre said...

Unk Dicko,

This is certainly a flash back! Reading your blog brings back a flood of memories!

My family and I lived in the house opp No 15 on your map. The houses marked 15 & 16 were occupied by Gujerati families, the Shahs and the Patels. We lived opp the Shahs from 1964 - 1978.

The keramat in the lane adjacent to ours gave us kids many hours of 'hantu' role games! And the canal at the back of our house was always in danger of overflowing but of course, it never did.

Thank you for posting this!!

Unk Dicko said...

Hi dear old neighbour Hum, glad you visited here.
Are you on Facebook ?
Please connect with me on Fbook under my FB name Yip Dick or Unk Dicko.
I have other former SLP neighbours you will want to meet !
They lived next to you !