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Archive for March 2010

Page 71


Paya Lebar Airport Terminal

By the early 1950s, Kallang Airport was becoming too small for the increase in air traffic and had problems accommodating the larger planes being built.  In 1955, Paya Lebar Airport was completed and it remained Singapore’s main airport right up till Changi Airport opened in 1981.  Paya Lebar Airport now serves the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).  The plane shown in the Paya Lebar Airport stamp is the world-famous Concorde which flew faster than the speed of sound.  On 26 October 1977, British Airways and Singapore Airlines commenced a thrice-weekly Concorde service between London and Singapore via Bahrain.  It covered the distance in only 9 hours. The Paya Lebar Airport and the Concorde are also pictured on the Singapore $20 currency note issued in 1976.

Written by victorkoo

29 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 70



Kallang Airport Terminal

The first civilian airport in Singapore is the Kallang Airport.  It opened in 1937.  An interesting feature of the airport was that it catered for both airplanes and seaplanes.  The seaplanes used the Kallang River while the runway for the airplanes was on land now known as Old Airport Road in Kallang Airport Estate.

The beautiful art-deco building was the best airport in the British Empire when it was completed in 1937.  The airport terminal building has been preserved and served as the headquarters of the People’s Association.  Plans are afoot to turn it into a lifestyle hub.

Written by victorkoo

25 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 69


Jinriksha Station

The Jinrikshaw Station building, completed in 1904, is another familiar landmark in Chinatown.  It is located at the junction of two big roads, Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road.

The jinrickshaw was a two-wheeled carriage which could seat two passengers.  It was pulled by a jinrikshaw-puller who often ran bare-footed through the streets.  The life of a jinriksha-puller was very difficult and many tried to escape their misery by smoking opium.  However, opium addiction would add to their misery instead.  The suicide rate among jinrikshaw-pullers was very high.  At its peak in 1919 there were 9,000 jinrikshaws and 20,000 pullers.  Today, there are no jinrikshaws in Singapore.  By the 1920s, they were gradually replaced by trishaws depicted in the stamp above (left) which are currently still in use.  The Jinrikshaw Station is now occupied by various restaurants and shops.

Written by victorkoo

22 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 68


Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area

Bounded by Neil Road, Maxwell Road, Peck Seah Street, Wallich Street, Tanjong Pagar Road and Craig Road, the area was given conservation status on 7 July 1989.  It contains mainly two- and three-storey shophouses of the Early, Transitional and Late Shophouse Styles.  The Jinrikshaw Station, at the junction of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road is part of the conservation area.  You can see the Jinrikshaw Station at the bottom left corner of the $2 stamp on the right.

Today, many of these shophouses are used for commercial purposes.  Various restaurants and tea houses can be found in this locality.

This historic area near Chinatown is demarcated by Craig Road, Tanjong Pagar Road, Wallich Street, Peck Seah Street, Maxwell Road and Neil Road.

Written by victorkoo

18 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 67


Chinese Heritage Centre

Located in the Nanyang Technology University campus, the Chinese Heritage Centre building was built in 1953.  It was originally the Administration Block of the former Nanyang University, the first Chinese university outside China.

This historical four-storey building is a living remnant of the contributions of the overseas Chinese to tertiary education in Singapore.  Its distinctive Chinese architecture features a green-tiled roof and red bricked walls.  The building overlooks a beautiful Chinese-style pond and garden.

On 17 May 1995, this building found a new lease of life when it was officially opened as the Chinese Heritage Centre (CHC).  This National Monument also houses the Wang Gungwu library which contains various materials and resources related to overseas Chinese communities.  The CHC is the first centre to focus on the research of Chinese communities outside China.

The Chinese Heritage Centre building was gazetted as a National Monument on 18 December 1998.

Written by victorkoo

15 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 66


Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Building

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry was founded in 1906 as the Chinese Commercial Association by leading Singapore businessman like Seah Liang Seah, Tan Jiak Kim, Tan Yong Siak, Tan Keong Siak and Goh Siew Tin.

At its inception the Chamber functioned from a room in the Thong Chai Medical Association in Wayang Street.  Later, it leased the old house of pepper merchant Wee Ah Hood (1828-1875) which occupied the site on which this present building was built.  In 1917, the Association was renamed Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

The foundation stone of the present building was laid by Dato Lee Kong Chian on 15 September 1962. The building was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 20 September, 1964.

The architecture of the building is a mix of Chinese and western styles.  A nine-dragon mural in glazed ceramic tile is found on the wall outside the building.  The two-part mural is based on the model of the mural on the North Bank of the North Sea Park in Beijing.  Six colours are used.

Written by victorkoo

11 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 65


Civilian War Memorial

The Civilian War Memorial along Beach Road was built in memory of the tens of thousands of innocent civilians who perished during the Japanese Occupation.  This striking war memorial is made up of four pillars, which represent the four racial classificationis in Singapore – the Chinese, Indians, Malays and others.  In the centre of these white pillars stands a black urn representing the remains of the war victims.  Numerous huge urns containing the remains of unidentified civilians, who were massacred during the Japanese Occupation, have been placed beneath this war memorial.

When the Civilian War Memorial was erected in 1967, it was the tallest structure in the city.  This 61 metres structure designed by Swan and Maclaren was first unveiled by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 15 February 1967.

Every year on the 15th of February, which is known as the Total Defence Day in Singapore, a commemorative memorial ceremony is held at this Civilian War Memorial Park.  This solemn service is attended by national leaders, diplomats, war veterans, business and religious leaders, as well as citizens, school children and members of the public.

Written by victorkoo

8 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 64


Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

This building was the base of Chinese revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat Sen.  It was built in about 1900 by wealthy Chinese merchant Boey Chuan Poh for his mistress, but he later sold it to rubber magnate Teo Eng Hock who named it Wan Qing Yuan.  In 1906, Sun came to Singapore and Teo, a passionate supporter, offered him the use of this villa which became the regional centre of Sun’s revolutionary Tong Meng Hui in Southeast Asia.  He last stayed at this villa in 1910.

Later, this property was sold to an Indian merchant and used as a private home.  In 1938, it was bought by six former comrades of Dr Sun, and put in the care of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce.  During the Japanese Occupation, it was used as the Japanese Communication Centre and Kempeitai Branch.  In 1964, it was renovated and renamed the Sun Yat Sen Villa.  It was gazetted as a National Monument in 1994.  In 1997, it was closed for extensive renovations.  It reopened in 2001 after the $8 million renovation as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

Written by victorkoo

4 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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Page 63


Thong Chai Building

Though some landmark buildings are conserved, their original usage has changed.  The Thong Chai Medical Institution moved into this building (left) at 50 Eu Tong Sen Street in 1892.

Rich Chinese merchants established the clinic to provide free medical help to the poor in Chinatown, regardless of race and religion.  The building is typical of South China architecture except that the roof ridge is straight instead of curved.  After its preservation, it has been used by various commercial companies and is now owned by an American multi-level marketing firm.  The Thong Chai Building was gazetted as a National Monument in 1973.

Written by victorkoo

1 March, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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