On This Little Street in Singapore …

The street where I lived … during my childhood… East Coast Road.It’s an old street with many old buildings retained but with new shops and businesses. It actually made me wonder what became of the old shops ~ books & comic stores, ice cream parlors & bakeries, laundries, mom&pop sundry stores, medical clinics …

As I walked on … “Aargh! It’s still there!” though closed for that day. Mum once told me that I got my 1st shot of cocktail here ~ BCG & 4-in-1 (whatever made up the ‘4‘ during that era is anyone’s guess) ~ yes, I survived.

Now run by Junior Kai

Each time I got sick, this is where I would end up and everytime I was here on that dreaded green flatbed, I would see Doc with a syringe in hand. I simply didn’t want to remember his name so I just called him Dr. Needle till I was 10 years old.

A more pleasant sight is the ever famous Red-House. For many years, it stood vacant, boarded up, sadly on a wavering status of whether to be conserved or not. Thankfully, it’s been restored but is now a bakery-nouveau of sort. I used to ride my bicycle here to get mum her bread & cakes and, yes, the aroma could actually trigger hunger so I learned to run this errand, twice a week, after lunch.

The old “Red House” Katong Bakery.

The Katong Red House Bakery has a fascinating history – it began with the 1925 ownership by a wealthy Muslim tradeswoman Hajjah Fatimah (Hajjah indicates completion of pilgrimage to Mecca). In 1931, a Jewish man named Jim Baker, started a Bakery (see the pun? 😀 ). Then came a Hainanese man, Mr Tan Siang Fuan, who took over, paying $600 as “coffee money”.  The Hainanese are famous in Singapore  for literally being Bartender, Baker & Chicken Rice Maker (see earlier post with Chicken Rice mentioned).

Every child had a hideaway then (not sure about now) and mine was right here in the back alley of the next street. Hey! we were cellphone-less & escaping from chores was considered cool.

Where I rode bicycles & played with dogs and chickens.

We attached nets wall-to-wall and played badminton and volleyball. I collected stale bread from Red House Bakery and would feed & talk to the roaming chickens and dogs. Yes, life was good living in harmony with different beings.

The original windows and tiles of old Katong houses has the influence of the Peranakan Heritage ~ a mix of imported European, Chinese & Local designs and materials. I once simply took these for granted but now look at them in awe.

I’m glad the Singapore government has decided to put many of these old buildings under conservation. With all the speedy urbanization and public housing that had sprung up a decade ago, I once wondered if I would be able to find my way around when back on my home ground. Fortunately, now I am able to… even with fond memories looking at buildings I once walked past, under and into.

Beautiful assurance that some buildings of yesteryear will remain and be preserved … On This Little Street in Singapore.



10 responses to “On This Little Street in Singapore …

  1. First your food..now scenes of Singapore. You are making me homesick! :p
    East Coast used to be my playground. Chalets, BBQ, cycyling and where I went to ponteng school. heheh!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post ! Feeling nostalgic as I visited Singapore last year with family !
    Even though our experience at Singapore was wonderful but we do faced one major issue which kind of diluted our vacation fun. I have summed up the issue in my one of my blogs so that no other tourist planning to visit Singapore has to face the same ordeal .
    One thing Definitely “NOT” to do while Planning for Singapore Vacations !

    The major blunder that we committed but you must avoid while planning a vacation there ! #Smartness #Is #Learning #From #Someone #Else’s #Mistakes


    If you find it worth it then Please share the post to help it reach all the tourists planning to visit Singapore !


    • Wow, it’s the 1st time I’m reading of a travel agent who sells a vacation package to Singapore with hotel stay in Johor Bahru. So much time wasted for travel and all because agent wants to make a larger profit for the FX rate between the SGDollar & MYRinggit. Not good at all. I don’t think the agent has done this trip personally & know what is involved.

      Visitors to Singapore: Do not buy a vacation package to Singapore with nightly return to hotel(s) in Johor Baru (Malaysia) unless you wish to go through the Immigration Checkpoint with your passport upon every entry/exit on you itinerary. IF you can afford to waste a couple of hours each day, go thru bag checks & passport stamping on each trip, then fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually after returning to India,when we gave our feedback to the travel agent with poor remarks,he apologised saying that it was the first time that they experimented with such a package deal for Malaysia-Singapore and that even the travel company itself was unaware of all this stuff..I don’t know how truthful he was !


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