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Jan 15, 2011

3D Blog - Lunch Time @ Singapore River

3D blog photo No. 1. Singapore River with background of Fullerton Building and Boat Quay Hawker Centre c 1950s. Souce: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

3D blog photo No. 2. Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1970. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

3D blog photo No. 2a. Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1980. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

3D blog photo No. 2b. Customers at the backlane of Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1980. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

3D blog photo No. 3. Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1988 (Chartered Bank under construction). Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Photo courtesy:  Jerome Lim
Photo Courtesy:  Jerome Lim

 3D blog photo No. 4. Photo taken opposite the Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1988

3D blog photo No. 5. The uncluttered, tree-lined paved path with ergonomically-designed lighting and benches alongside the Singapore River, January, 2011.

Same Place. Different Times...Then, Then and Now!

Do you know how to keep Singapore River clean?

Find the answers here:

3D blog photo No. 6. "Lunch time in Raffles Place". Photo Credit: iamcjun posted to Flickr.

3D blog photo No. 7. "Enjoying lunch hour at Raffles Place". Photo Credit: violetile posted to Flickr.

What is "The Third Dimension (3D)" Blog?

The 3D Blog is an analogy of the theme "Same Place. Different Times. Different Journey or experience" as represented in this blog topic "Lunch Time @ Singapore River".

Well, as everyone knows, there are currently (in the scientific community at least) three recognized dimensions.

The first dimension exists on a line. Everything within this dimension is limited to being a dot on a line, which has only length. The dot within itself has no substance or measurement other than the fact that it exists. The dimension, however, has length.

The second dimension exists on a plane. Everything within this dimension is limited to being a line or a point. These lines, as above, have only length, and the points have only definition, no length, width, or depth. The plane itself has length and width, extending perpendicularly to the first dimension.

The third dimension is somewhat more complicated. It also extends perpendicularly to the second dimension, anything therein can be a plane, a line, a dot, or an object. In three-dimensional space, three-dimensional objects do exist, but the thing is, they are the equivalent of line or plane segments (which could also exist in the first (line segments), and second (plane/line segments) dimensions), three-dimensional 'segments'.

Basically, the experimental syndicate 3D blog based on the 3 stages, as the 3 ages in a lifetime:

First Age : As a baby, toddler, child;

Second Age: Teenager, youth, growing up to adulthood;

Third Age : Matured, senior citizens and beyond...

On this blog, the reference to the 3D blog photos at:

3D Blog Photo No. 1 ("First Dimension"):

Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1970.


1. The windows of Bank of China building behind the hawker centre

2. Structure of the makeshift wooden structure

3. No proper seats for the customers

4. Photo of Thimbuktu taken opposite the Boat Quay Hawker Centre in 1988.

5. The Singapore River at low-tide, with boats berthed beside the hawker centre

6. No proper drainage, polluted disposal of the leftover food waste, environment

3D Blog Photo No. 2 ("Second Dimension"):

Boat Quay Hawker Centre beside Singapore River, 1988.


1. The windows of Bank of China building behind the hawker centre

2. The Chartered Bank building beside BOC under construction

3. The ergonomic-designed roof, hawker stalls with hygienic amenities

3. An upgraded hawker centre with proper seats and tables for the customers,

4. Improvement of the drainage and physical environment of the hawker centre

5. Bumboats still ply around the Singapore River

3D Blog Photo No. 3 ("Third Dimension" of this and subsequent photos):

The "Third Dimension" is not observations from the photos...

To each his own experience to share while looking at these photos.

The viewers would move beyond the virtual experience and journey of the same place, different times, to think of the physical landscapes, thoughts, feelings which affect the person's individual perceptions and perspectives of the same place.

The reflection on the third dimension blog is not intended to comment on the merits or demerits of the changes of the same place at different times.

The elements of the third dimension as a virtual time-machine experience, same person remembers over decades and memories of the past and the changes over the years to the present. To adapt to the aspirations and needs of the youth of the future. The world doesn't stand stagnant, the youth of today will grow and develop to become the senior citizens of tomorrow. Cheers to the Future!

Contribution of related photos of "The Third Dimension (3D)" blog on this topic is most welcome to share our collective memories of this same place, different times.

Please send "The" and "Now" photos as email attachment to Thimbuktu . The acceptable images as JPG, GIF or BMP formats. The image resolution of 640 x 480 pixel preferred. Thank you.



Blogger Dogcom said...

Hi James,
I used to work for a company whose office was on the upper floors of Bank of China. My lunch were mostly by the riverside hawker center shown in your photos.

There was a coffee shop in one of the building in the picture and i often have one of my favourite dish (at that time, not anymore), pig's brain soup haha.

January 17, 2011 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger The Wondering Wanderer said...

What I remember Boat Quay Hawker Centre most for was for the wondeful aroma that we got from the then extremely polluted Singapore River next to it ...

Jerome (The Long and Winding Road)

January 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger lim said...

I remember the place quite well when I was working at Victoria Theatre in the late eighties. My favourite morning food was Lontong, and there happened to be one stall at the Boat Quay hawker centre which I really loved. Very cheap at that time, only $1.20.

January 18, 2011 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger lim said...

I would like to post some nostalgic words of mine about the Singapore River, pre-Marina Barrage:

"As you walk along the Singapore River or sit and dine al fresco at many of the cafes dotting the river side, and especially during low tide accompanied by a gentle warm breeze, you may catch a whisk of the salty sea water and transport yourself into the bygone era of the seafarers‘ day, where every step of the river bank was a picture of trading buzz as merchants and traders unloaded their goods into their warehouses; and in their rest time recounted their adventures over the oceans in faraway lands."

January 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks to Dogcom, The Wondering Wanderer, lim and everyone who contribute your input at the "third dimension" blog...wonderful collective memories and remember how lunch time was like at the Boat Quay Hawker Centre in the 1960s. Keep these fond memories flowing like the Singapore River.


January 18, 2011 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Ipohgal said...

Hi James,

Being the sentimental type that I am, of course I am all for keeping the "oldies" but in this instance where our hygiene and health are concerned, I would not hesitate to compromise the former for a much cleaner environment where people can dine in a better and comfortable condition.

Also, for the sake of keeping the river from pollution, drastic steps are needed to prevent hawkers from dumping wastage so wantonly.

In this case, the changes from 1970as in the first photo to the present as in the latest one, are done for the best interests of everyone. Good and well!

January 19, 2011 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger lim said...

I've been walking up and down the Singapore River in the last few years, and it's a bag of mixed feelings. Something is seriously lost in the process of cleaning up, and I think it has to do with the heritage and soul of a nation.

January 19, 2011 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Hi Ipohgal,

Thanks for sharing your sentiments.
Its nice to hear your views and feelings.

The purpose of the "third dimension" blog is not intended to compare the difference between the same place (or the same exact spot of the Boat Quay Hawker behind the Bank of China building) at 3D blog photo No.1, 2 & 3 as shown.

Not to compare the merits or demerits, at which moments of time is better or worse. In the 1970s, my late mother believed that it was the best of time during peacetime Singapore, after World War II. The war was the worst of time.

If she were alive today to see the place shown on 3D blog photo No.3, she would certainly agree that it is the best of time for the young generations. Same Place. Different Times. Different dimension on the journey of life.

Just a matter of personal perspectives...not for agreement or disagreement, right or wrong. Just as the choice of a person's taste, color, etc are very different for one another.

Thanks Ipohgal. That's why we are at liberty to blog to express.

January 19, 2011 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Hi Lim,

Thank you for your insightful comments on "some nostalgic words of mine about the Singapore River, pre-Marina Barrage". Very nice.

It makes me sentimental to bring my memories back to the kampong days as the "street urchin of Bukit Ho Swee"...but most children who see these old photo would exclaim "yuks!" or "incredible!" that their parents or great parents could live under those types of living conditions, modes of public transport and environment "fit for human consumption or travelling".

The collection of these old photos are shown as "shock therapy" or some children, not intended to objectionable, horrify or scare them.


Young children who view some old photos on 3D blogs are advised to be accompanied with parental guidance!

January 19, 2011 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

When my late mother-in-law visited us from Ipoh, we brought her here and took the river cruise with my family. I still have some photos. The year was probably mid 1990's.

January 19, 2011 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks Chun See. Pls email me the photos of Singapore River if you still have them and post the photos to the blog.

Thank you for sharing. Much appreciated.

January 20, 2011 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi James...
Looking at those pictures make me retune to the 80'...where I used to stroll alone, appreciating the scenery when I was a teenager...

Beverly how

February 13, 2011 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Wonderful memories, Beverly. I remember my young days at the sarabat stalls at the back of the Bank of China building and watching the Singapore River in the evening while drinking "Teh tarek" in the 1980s. I love the memories of this historical place. My late father landed in boat at Boat Quay when he migrated to Singapore from China many decades ago.

February 13, 2011 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger E Lian said...

Hi James
I remember I used to lunch at Boat Quay in the 80's (photo no. 3). Yummy fish soup there....but you can imagine how warm it was sitting among the stalls during mid-day! There was also a popular coffee shop in nearby Raffles Place, I think it was called the 'Long House' (as the name suggests, it was pretty 'long').

June 28, 2011 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

You're right E Lian. The Boat Quay Food Centre was a "long house" beside the Singapore River in the 1980s.

Decades before the air-cond "food court" concept started at the "Picnic @ Scotts", the lunch crowd at the "long house" rows of hawker stalls were taking meals in a sauna. Beads of perspiration dripping over their taste saltier!

And the smell from the Singapore you still remember?

Thanks for sharing the experience at the riverside "long house' during the bygone days.

June 28, 2011 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger FL said...

Hi, James, back then when I was working at the former Telecom Bldg at Robinson Road from 1968 to 1970, I used to "ta pow" lunch for my colleagues at the former Boat Quay hawker centre (along Singapore River)near Fullerton Bldg. I remember the hawker selling "char kuay teow" there, and it was my colleagues's favorite then. This char kuay teow came with fish cake, "lap cheong", cockles & egg, and the price then only 30 cents per packet !!

July 9, 2011 at 3:29 PM  

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