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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Feb 23, 2013

Ways Done in the Past - Lau Pa Sat

An aerial view of  Lau Pa Sat, Singapore in 1937
As a sequel to the previous blog on "Ways Done in the Past - Foodage", this blog is on Lau Pa Sat.

Wouldn't it be amazing to travel in "The Time Machine" to experience the places of an era we choose and meet people of another era?  To learn from them about their lifestyles, their environments in those days.

Charley Pride said: "I was always a dreamer, in childhood especially. People thought I was a little strange".

As I spend more and more time nowadays to think about the blog topics for nostalgic memories of the past, my friends bluntly told me straight to my face, "Hey, you are a dreamer with silly scenarios in your head that will not happen today".  They tell me to get my head out of the clouds and live in the real world.

As a child when I grew up in Bukit Ho Swee kampong, my mind was often full of imaginations and dreams. Maybe it was just me...

Maybe I had watched too many "kungfu" or "wuxia" (martial art) movies during my young days at the Atlantic Cinema in the Great World Park. During the school holidays, my favorite pastime was to watch these Mandarin movies in the afternoon matinee at 50 cents for two shows.

Wang Yu, Bruce Lee in Mandarin were my movie heroes.  Cheng Pei Pei was my favorite heroine.

"My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great one".(George R.R. Martin).

"Without dreamers, no dream would ever be given reality, and we would live in a very small and shallow world".  (Vera Nazarian).

"You may say we're all dreamers,
And you're not the only one,
But if you care to join us,
Then the world will be more fun"
~ George Hammond

I try to keep on blogging and dream on my memory trips to blog my personal virtual adventures and experiences about Singapore memories to share.

Whilst I couldn't possibly translate my dreams about "The Time Machine", I found some research material on the Internet and posted archived photos of "Lau Pa Sat"  with courtesy of  the National Archives of Singapore on this blog.

The idea of time travel by means of a time machine gained popularity with the H. G. Wells story "The Time Machine", published in 1895. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. Since that time, both science and fiction have expanded on the concept of time travel.

Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space. Time travel could hypothetically involve moving backward in time to a moment earlier than the starting point, or forward to the future of that point without the need for the traveler to experience the intervening period (at least not at the normal rate). Any technological device – whether fictional or hypothetical – that would be used to achieve time travel is commonly known as a time machine.

"Lau Pa Sat" in the Early Days

Telok Ayer Market ( 直落亚逸巴刹), also known colloquially as Lau Pa Sat ("old market"; 老巴刹), is a historic building in Singapore and is located in the Singapore's Central Business District.  It is currently a food centre. There are several shops inside the market such as a 24 hours Cheers Store, a shoe repair shop, a tailor and a laundry store. In the evenings on the weekend a live band plays at the stage in the middle of the market.

Singapore's first market was located at the south bank of the Singapore River.  When the government acquired that land for more lucrative commercial use in 1823, the market was moved to Telok Ayer Street.
(Source:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Beside the Lau Pa Sat in 1900, there was a "Singapore Flyer"...

Lau Pa Sat, 1956
Lau Pa Sat, 1957

By the early 1970s, the area around Telok Ayer Market - Shenton Way, Robinson Road, Cecil Street and Raffles Place - had swelled into a busy commercial district with sparkling new skyscrapers.   In 1973, the market was converted into a hawker centre and by 1986, it was closed to make way for a new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line. The building's historical and architectural value was recognised and its signature cast-iron supports were put into storage.

Lau Pa Sat under renovation, 1970
Lau Pa Sat under renovation, 1973
Lau Pa Sat under renovation, 1980
Lau Pa Sat nearly completion of renovation, 1989
Lau Pa Sat, 1989

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market in 1990

Re-designed Lau Pa Sat Festival Market in 1992

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, 2013

Prominent street signage to the stalls and seats for customers
First time visitors from Texas, USA to Lau Pa Sat
Hi, we like it !  The food is so licking good...just look at the empty bowls!
Recognize the man-sized cut-out poster of the bread seller?
Courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore
Same place.  Robinson Road, Singapore 2013 (above).  Different Times.  c 1930 (below) 

In conclusion of this photojournal blog with the juxtaposed photos of Robinson Road, Singapore to show the renewal development and transformation of  Singapore in 83 years...then and now.



Blogger FL said...

Dear James, your photos of Lau Pa Sat (LPS) bring back happy memories when I was working in 1968 in the govt bldg next to Lau Pa Sat. The curved 4-storey colonial bldg at no. 35 Robinson Rd was formerly called Mercury House and when I was there, it was called Telecom Bldg. I think the bldg is still there, but it's for commercial use now I think. I remember walking just across the road to the LPS for lunch frequently as it's so close to my office. During those years when I was there, LPS was actually a market and cooked foodstalls formed a small portion at the open space of the market. I used to order yong tau foo with a bowl of rice there. The price was about 70 cents. Of course, the market then I remember was unkempt and poorly maintained with rats/cockroaches even during day times. But who care then, ! That was S'pore of the good old days ! Even Singapore River was very fifty then! Really.

February 26, 2013 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for the memories, FL. How wonderful to have a virtual "time machine" to travel at anytime to experience at any period, any place.

Lau Pa Sat is one of the many sentimental places in Singapore to remember...

March 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM  

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