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A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Sep 23, 2012

Chinatown On A Hot Saturday

Yesterday (September 22, 2012, Saturday), I decided to make a trip to Chinatown on a hot Saturday afternoon to update the recent blogs here and here.


Chinatown in the day during the Mid-Autumn Festival 2012 is as colorful as it is in the night.  The place was  crowded with visitors and tourists and shoppers.  Photographers are everywhere to snap photos as memories to share to the family and friends at home or post on the spot to their Facebook friends from smartphone cameras.

The gaily decorated 16,800 lanterns in Chinatown brought joy and excitement to the packed shoppers.  The shopkeepers in the shops and hawkers in the stalls on the streets with brisk business for lanterns, pomelo (柚子) and a wide variety of flavor and designs of mooncakes on sale at special discount and at offer prices.

Mid-Autumn Festival (Chung Chiu), the third major festival of the Chinese calendar, is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month.

This festival is also known as the Moon Cake Festival.  It is held in conjunction with the annual Lantern Festival .

Chulia Street

I walked on little streets and lanes in Singapore which I remember the places I cannot travel alone by myself as a child unless accompanied by my mother in the 1950s.

With the use of the above Google map picture, the red and yellow numbers indicate the location of the places shown on the photos I have taken..

The white building of  former Fook Onn (福安) department store for sales of winter clothings at the junction of New Bridge Road and North Canal Road ( No. 1 ).

 The street signboard of Lor Telok ( No. 2 ) with OCBC building and UOB building in the background.

The location of the former public toilet at Chulia Street.  Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore.
 The photo below is the "guesstimated" location of the former public toilet at Chulia Street in the 1950s, without using Garmin GPS devices or instruments.  The judgement of the location was based on topography training I learnt during my national service days. (Marked   (  3  )

 The street signboards of Chulia Street, South Canal Road and the OCBC Bank logo on the building is self-explanatory to indicate where this photo was taken ( No. 4 ).

 The original UOB building (hidden behind the taller UOB Tower) in this photo ( No. 5 ).

As it was a quiet Saturday afternoon where there were few people and vehicular traffic in the well-known commercial hub in Singapore today,  On the road divider between North Canal Road and South Canal Road/Chulia Street, I stood alone at the former public toilet at Chulia Street almost 60 years ago.

My mind was frozen in thought as a "human time-machine" of a little 6-year old boy at that spot, telling his mother he wanted to go and "pan jeoh" in the nearby "long kow" so many years ago.

Public toilets like the one at Chulia Street are no longer required in Singapore any more.  Pay toilets and those which are free of charge are now everywhere in Singapore.

Over the decades, the public convenience are found every office buildings, restaurants, fast food outlets and those with food and beverage to serve the public are provided with many clean toilets with efficient cleaners with "happy toilet programs" in Singapore.  Gone are the days of the "bucket system" public toilet at Chulia Street.

"Have you seen our toilets at Changi Airport?"  Passengers remarked that the toilets are spotless. "That's our competitive advantage, " the airport authorities commented.

There are also no exposed drains (long kow) on public roads now...

Looking up at the skyscrapers surrounded by me,  I wondered to myself how many hundred of  thousand Singaporeans have worked and later retired from these commercial offices, banks, major international businesses and companies at this business centre their jobs for decades in Singapore.



Blogger PChew said...

Our car passed Chinatown this morning. I saw the colourful balloons fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

September 23, 2012 at 2:57 PM  

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