Monday, November 14, 2016

Cha Chun Tau

I I found an old post card from early 1900s that clearly shows the stocks of logs neatly piled on the south side of Read bridge. This illustrates the name of the blog Cha Chun Tau, the boat unloading point of wood.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Singapore album from 1950-1952 by Major Keith Stevens.

                                          View of Clarke quay from Coleman bridge
                                               Chulia st
                                              Arab street
                                                   The Mui Fong Hotel is that near peoples park?

                                                     Victoria street decorated from Queen's visit

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gambling - oldstyle

I was delighted to find this photo from the 1970s of a group of people playing Si-sek, literally four colours, indicating the cards. Almost impossible to find a deck of si-sek nowadays, only a few old timers even remember how to play. Such a gathering playing for money would have been illegal and I am grateful for the trust of the players that I, "seow angmoh" (crazy westerner) would not cause them problems with his photo taking....

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Clarke Quay portraits

Some new paintings and photos that depict the charm and charisma of the Clarke Quay district along The Singapore river.

Corner Kopi tiam exterior at The quay.

Birds eye view

Johore road was a hub of activity, market in the daytime, and a haunt for transvestites at night with eating stalls, bars and at least three Taoist temples.

Funeral Lorry from The Tay Teck Society parked on Ord bridge
These funereal transports were much more common in the 1960s/70s
gorgeously decorated, a dragon or phoenix placed on the top beam to signify the gender of the deceased. And paper money strewn from the back on the route to the cemetery, as dictated by tradtion  to gain the cooperation of any malignant spirits.

Celebration for the 9 Sovereigns by The Liang Hiang Tua temple celebrating the vegetarian festival along the bank of the river, NB the 9 suspended lanterns hoisted for the occasion .

Sunday, July 24, 2016

River folk series 2

More portraits of river folk  from the collection. These were selected to share the mood of the river at that time.

favourite trishaw man

temple brother

rolling up one
short back and sides....


                                                                                     tomorrow today?  fortune teller....

Friday, July 15, 2016

Faces of the river folk

Going through the archives I see so many portraits of people from that time. Here is a selection of some of them. Faces from the river.

peanut seller                                                                  twakow guys resting

ladies in a doorway                          corner shop

lunch break                                                                 street sinseh

   mateship                                                                 tobacco seller with his snakeskin rattle

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Kallang Boat temple (nr.1 missing ikons list)

In coastal China and HongKong there are a group of people, most likely Hakka in origin, referred to as "Boat People". They have their own Taoist style ritualised worship .
  In Singapore at the Kallang river I noticed under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge along Nicoll Highway a small double tiered boat painted in green and red which on closer inspection turned out to be a temple. It lay permanently parked there for many years until the river clean ups in 1987.
   I can't say too much about this as I never saw anyone to talk to. I do feel rather disappointed with myself that I did not make the effort to investigate more deeply. One day it just disappeared. Similar to so many things I took for granted ...and then..poof !** ~~  they were gone.
    ** (Message to self..make a list for further discussion of Singapore entities that disappeared)
 Anyway here is no 1 on that list :

Heres hoping there is some other soul out there that knows something about this Boat temple, or anyone ancient as myself who remembers it. Please make contact or just leave a comment.
I will search for some other photos I have on this topic and plan to add later.

Heres an idea in case there is a following. Do use this blog to pose your own questions about buildings or monuments that you remember now long gone and were wondering.

The above photo is of another boat temple parked at Pasir Panjang wharf, (Pulau Retan) visited by now deceased photographer and my friend Phillip Little in the late 1980s.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The old Fatty's restaurant

This blog centres on the river and places close by also including old iconic places once famous locally and internationally. I will do something later on Bugis street, but today I want to focus on a super restaurant located in Albert Street known Internationally as "FATTY'S", where the main dish served was Hainanese style chicken rice.
   The street at night was full of energy with a bustling traffic till the am hours. Here is a photo that will speak more than words to describe the scene.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Clarke Quay moods

1.Clarke Quay one pic is birds eye view of temple celebration at night. Dinner tables set along the wharf.
2. And a day time view of the river with the boats still moored along the bank with The Liang Hiang Tua temple in the centre.
3. A procession along Clarke Quay with the public loo (see separate thread) in the background.
4. A quiet side lane near Angus street on the south bank. The common sight of clothes drying on bamboo rods and a ritual offering in progress possibly for the full moon (Chap-Goh).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A visit to the cinema

Finding these two photos of the old alhambra cinema brought back early memories.  My parents took me to see  Fall of the house of Usher (see poster) with Vincent Price of course. Scared out of my shell, my love for the horror genre was born.

The Alhambra and Malboro theatres were two cinema halls in Beach road. After changing ownership several times finally The Cathay organisation took over post WW2.


The evening I was taken to the Alhambra was in 1960, a bridge partner (of my parents) failed to turn up so a visit to the cinema was suggested. The Cinema was already old and badly in need for refurbishment. I recall the sound of peanuts being cracked open, and the sound of presumably rats, too dark to see, scurrying on the floor amongst the rubbish left overs from  earlier screenings.
    I believe that 9 years old me was holding on to my mother the entire film, with its visit to coffin laden ancient crypts and sadistic cackling around every corner.
 The final denouement of a swishing pendulum blade swinging ever lower to the naked belly of a whimpering heroine.
   My mother said she would never return, the cinema was in a disgraceful condition.
   I have recollections of visiting The Cathay, The Pavillion and Capitol cinema end 50s and early 60s. Perhaps another day there will be room to discuss the visits to local cinemas. That might well be an entertaining project.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The one that got away

This is for Victor, this may be the one who covered her face, remember? The one with the basket? It is the same basket ya?
   Now her head dress is different from the earlier posted photo. We need an expert to tell us this style is from Guandung that from Chaozhou etc etc.....
With any luck some one will visit and enlighten us about these wonderful Sam Sui ladies. i may have to pay a visit to their association....:)

Clarke Quay peoples loo

Here is another before and after look at an old local institution, the public loo located at Clarke quay. It was demolished just before the boats were banished to Pasir Panjang, late 80s.
   I imagine that the stevedores and river folk were glad to have a little privacy in the midst of a busy day. Anyone remember this one?  I know there were 3 or 4 other public lavatories in the city at one time. I have a vague memory of one at peoples park.
   In the photo a tree flourishes and branches over the present round about where this once glorious colonial vestige stood.
  Is the round about (1988)  there today? I rather think its not in the plans of the new entertainment centre of current yuppie Clarke Quay, but I will need the upgrade to see that.   :)
   The clean and green river, be assured I will be very soon posting pictures of fishermen and swimmers enjoying .....

A ten grand view of the River of life.

This $10k note from the 1990s depicts the span of time for two hundred years from the creation of the port to a later time when cargo laden barges still plied the water.  The "then" image shows the old wooden drawbridge, the cargo and godowns signifying trading as the main activity.
The message is clear The Singapore River was the lifeline of the emerging nation. Elgin bridge which I have been showcasing is prominent and central to the scene.

The currency note is no longer in circulation, and the boats long removed to the southern islands.
 It is fitting that the Singapore River is depicted on the highest value currency in the land.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Rickshaw wallahs

Another group of people who worked hard to survive were the ricksha or jinricksha pullers that were transport before pedal power. These hardy fellows pulling their wooden vehicle with passangers or goods aboard, existed throughout the region. I found these cards from Singapore, Sumatra and Osaka.
How similar they all look


And here is one sad story recorded by Dutchman Hugo Pederson which he describes as "surrender".

Notice how the bullock carts in the background are encouraged with whip lashes to enhance the point of how tough life can be.
 Introduced to Singapore in the 1880s, considered inhumane, it was replaced after WW1 with the pedal trishaw.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Elgin before and after bridge

I found one more card that fits together with this presentation. here we have the old Elgin bridge before being removed for the 1926 installation shown earlier. I should have included this one with the earlier post. Better late than neva!

Bridge over the river Singapore

Lets look closer at the development of Elgin bridge that was originally known as 'Thompson" when a wooden drawbridge, constructed in 1823.  A more sturdy effort was erected in 1850 (?)  which then was replaced in 1926 (completion) by the Elgin bridge we know today. it was subject to superficial changes, and road widening, but looks much the same as we know it today.
  So here are some photos to illustrate this development.

original "Thompson"wooden


Transformation to Elgin bridge in 1850+

Below, from 1960s
Thanks to NAS for images.