Friday, November 20, 2009

All traces of Siang Lim Park gone forever!

This post is a continuation of the previous post on the new Siang Lim Park.
I walked to the end of Lorong 40 joining a T junction with Guillemard Road.
Direction of camera - facing directly south in this photo. Opposite Lorong 40, across Guillemard Road is the Versailles Mansions (condos). If you look at my map Ref#24, I indicated that this was where my very good friend the late Charlie Tan Boon Seng used to live in...a row of single storey terrace houses. Further back was just nothing but open bushland where we could go hunting for tasty birds like the "burung ayam ayam" among others. Many of us were adept at using homemade catapults for hunting...accuracy pretty deadly. We made a small fire and had our own backwoods cooking right there. To us and for us, it was like Red Indian country at the bushland.

This corner of the Waterina used to be the home of my friend " Mat Tikus" Ref# 23 on my map.
I was facing east.

There were no road barriers in the middle rof the road and no traffic lights here in the past. Traffic was very light in the early days.
At the end of the Versailles condos is Hemmant Road...which used to have a row of very old dilapidated houses occupied by squatters. In one of these dwellings lived an old couple and an only son. He was the most famous rojak seller in our kampong. Using a tricycle as his pushcart stall, he stationed himself permanently at the Lorong 40 bridge. I never knew his real name as everyone respectfully called him "Apek rojak". He operated daily from the late afternoon till the night. His devoted and loving wife or son will bring dinner for him. Tragedy struck one day when a huge fire engulfed the small colony at Hemmant Road burning it to the ground. Many of us kampong folks, including myself, rushed there hoping to pitch in some help. We only managed to help them carry away some miserable household and personal belongings. The fire had spread too quickly, aided by strong winds. They were devastated and so were we.
In one swoop, all the squatters were gone. That place was never reoccupied by squatters again. It later became the Police logistics Depot.

As I turned to the west, this is the scene. The Sunny Spring is to the right of photo. Further down the road, on the left is the Singapore Badminton Hall.

This is the Sunny Spring Condo. Just where you see a lady walking on the pavement was once the home of another family friend, Agnes. See Ref# 11 on my map. Their front door faced Guillemard Road.

This is the present entrance to the Condos. A friend of mine used to live here at the corner house. And it was from here that we watched the gunfight at Siang Lim Park across the other side ( the Waterina ), back in August 1965.

I did not have access inside this estate. However by eyeballing, if you walk straight ahead through the entrance, keeping slightly to the left...that would be where the 2nd ancient keramat used to be. Map Ref# 10 on my map.

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