Friday, 24 May 2013

Travelled Back In Time - Queenstown (Commonwealth Drive)

Back to the time from where I was in 2012 when I wrote a blog about Queenstown at Commonwealth Crescent/Close in my earlier blog in 2012 after one year. Talking about Queenstown all the time that made me wonder how long it will take to write a full page. Time for a change is nothing but a time for memoirs of places that record of the event of the past that once forgotten - a swampy and sand path that leading the old housing estates for years before renovation of the roads and fields track of housing estates that was once sandy field that bring unhealthy to the residents who still living in this old flats since.
Commonwealth Drive estates with shelter walkway
Built in early 1967, these blocks (81 to 95) that was once sandy field with less greenly grass all over the places, in front of my mum's flat, there was a former badminton court and now replaced by small park with shelter roof and vending machine.
My younger brother and I outside my mum's flat (Then)
There were no shelter walkway at that time and it was just like old kampong road and full of sandy and rocky path and thus the wind blew and the atmosphere was so intense that caused by sand and dust, is a potent erosional force, that creates sand dunes and ripples, and loads the atmosphere with suspended dust aerosols. Thus the sand dune has engulfed surrounding housing estates and roads over the years. As you can see in this picture (above) taken in early 1980s, there was an old footpath and old staircase were no longer around (demolished) in early 1995. The old bus-stop still stands and eventually renovated along the shelter walkway in early 2000. Background of the old picture, the two old Block 96 and Block 98 now still stands and re-modelled of the blocks and extension lifts in early 2000. In May 2013, there is re-painting and redecorating blocks (96 to 113) on-going and date of completion will on 2nd Quarter 2014 and its main contractor is Giftbuild Pte Ltd.
Old Footpath and old Staircase transformed (Now)
In 2005 or later, some old blocks of flats at Commonwealth Drive remodelled the flats by repainted on the wall of each blocks and renovated the extension of room (store/utility room) of each units and also built a new covered-shelter walkway. Cleared up the sandy footpath along the stairs where the old bus-stop now stands to make long shelter walkway linked to the block 91 to help residents from rains and shines. Old Footpath transformed into small garden and installed laundry stools behind of the residents' unit who live on the ground floor. Planted each small trees along the path at the back door of the residents' unit. Each resident allow to plant the gardens of their own and some of the residents plant the small Bananas tree and Aloe Vera outside their unit.
I stood in front of my mum's unit in early 1970s (Then)
Renovated the window and door in late 1995 (Now)
Window Grilles(bottom) and Glass window(top)
(close-up) Window Grilles in early years
The common corridor was once stone-based on the ground floor of the Commonwealth Drive blocks and those old style metal grille gate door can be found in Commonwealth Drive/Crescent/Close in those times from 1967 to late 1990 before allowed residents to change the grille gate into modern gate and window grilles in late 1995 after 30 years.
Stone-based ground floor in early years (Then)
The stone-based ground floor was smooth by the time and had tiny broken rocky floor but still the kids next door and I worn no shoes at all just stood there holding my toy gun posed a photo taken by my mum. During the time, HDBs had repainted a few times using 'Bakau' woods that used strips of rattan to fasten and hold it tighten and scaffolding hanging and covered below to prevent splattered paint on the ground floor and the workers used a thick rope string tied round his wrist to prevent falling while he painted the wall. As it was very dangerous for the workers who were then from India or Bangladesh. Well, since young I was daredevil to climb the bakau woods at my mum's block by the times it was repainted on going. It's been so many years since childhood days.
Concrete corridor on the ground floor after renovated (Now)
Common corridor of large flat stretch of concrete of the ground floor of my mum's unit is 'stable' ground mainly made of sand and rock that not effected by moisture or rain, renovated in late 2005 and repainted new 'brown' colour on the wall of the flats (above pic) and before that was 'white' in colour in early 2005. 
Old Coin phone in 1970 (Then)
Coin card phone in 1999 (Now)
Beside the staircase next to my mum's unit, was once installed orange 'coin' phone attached with wooden stand and for many years since 1970, it removed and changed to 'card and coin' phone in 1999 and in late 2010, it was removed it because no residents use it for a long time since 2009 and when most of the residents have their own mobile phones then. In the early 1999, when my mum used the 'coin card' phone to call her relative in Malaysia using the card phone instead of using her residence phone because it's cheap to use public phone.
My beloved Cat (Mimi) sat on the motorcycle in early 1992 (Then)
Outside my mum's flat, was once an former old badminton court and the four old bench with the four street light-posts stood firmly on the ground on each side of former badminton court. My beloved cat (Mimi) sat on the motorbike parked at the courtyard that was belonged to my childhood's brother if I could remember. Every year, there was also held the festival - Hungry Ghost Festival and Opera/Getai performance at the former badminton court till my uncle (my godfather's older brother) passed on and it had been in this line for more than 30 years.
Small park with Roofshelter (Now)
Roof shelter was once a small hill with greeny field
Once the former badminton court with cool scenery with widely space that many kids would come down from the flats to play badminton in those times seems faded away and long forgotten the times how we or my childhood friends used to come out and sat on the bench or played badminton. 
Newly Badminton Court on the once grass swampy field
The once former badminton court that stood, had shifted to the other side just opposite where there was once footpath, lots of grass swampy field that had cleared up. The newly badminton court was formerly known as grass swampy field with stoned-table and chair in the centre (demolished). This space was used to set up Festival - Hungry Ghost festival in the field before it shifted to the other side of the old badminton court due to more participants joining the festival over the years.
My childhood friend Pheng's sister and I sat on the stone bench
My childhood friend Pheng and I stood beside the badminton pole
In 1983, one of my childhood's sister would bring her dog downstairs from my mum's block and we sat on the bench and chatted away the old times. The once long forgotten and yet still recalled the memories of the times we shared our laughters with my childhood friends. Foreground of the photo was sandy with less grass on the slope hill of the block 93 as seen in picture above. The residents of the blocks would hanged their clothes outside the corridor instead hanged it at the back of their kitchens and even outside the park as seen on top picture with my beloved cat sat on the motorbike.
But still, I felt sad to the world of the memory of the long gone of the park, the sound of laughing children including myself playing 'Koli koli' (marbles) on the grass sand.
Now, it has changed into greenly park with roof shelter on top of the staircase (above pic - Now) and vending machines, along with long stoned-bench that residents of Commonwealth would sit and chatting away in the cool breeze and the place is so quiet when night falls and the sound of crickets could be heard all night.
Newly Badminton court was once grass swampy
Footpath was once stood up the hill of the block with grass swampy (foreground)
A huge grass swampy area was once formed in early 1980s and the former footpath was once built among the grass swampy with lots of frogs and tadpoles. Tadpole swam under the grass leaves and while the frogs sat on the grass leaves. It could be nice to see such cute tadpoles swam happily and the frogs would make a sound 'croak' could be heard at nights. But now, it's gone forever and many residents like myself living in this estates would miss the croaking of the frog at nights. During the oldie times, I as a child, could catch some tadpoles and put into the bottles and see it swim before I could release into the grass swampy pond. The grass swampy area thus transformed into the badminton court that was once had on the other side (see pic above). The hill with greenly grass field on the slope next to the block had transformed into the stone-based wall (pic above) with planted trees around it. In old time, some kids used to climb the hill greeny field or played with carton boxes to make as skateboard (carton boxes) to slide down the slope of the grass field before it invented skateboard with wheels. I was the one to play with it since young and then after, I played skateboard with wheels on the slope on the footpath at block 94 that was once had steeply sloped footpath. 
Dark brown dry 'durian' with spike
I remembered that the old tree beside the footpath where I was skateboarding, had a small dark brown in colour shape of durian that is dry fallen on the tree ground. I remember that the kids wore no shoes with their bare feet stepping the tiny 'spiky' durian that struck on their feet and they jumped and yelled out loud.  Do you remember this tiny small dead dry 'durian' shape. I had keep some, to remember the good old days.
My mum is still living in this area all her life till now and the memory of the place still remain as long as she lives.
Above all photos taken by my Sony Ericsson including the old photos. Continue with my next blog about the old Seesaw and the Swing was once had at Commonwealth Drive just opposite my mum's block and also once a Japanese garden nearby.

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