Sunday, 20 September 2015

Memories of Tanglin Halt Estates

Ever wonder why this area that bordered by Stirling Road, Queensway and the Malayan Railway, derived its name from Tanglin Road and the Malayan Railway, which used to have a stop (thus the word ‘halt’) near the junction of Tanglin Halt Road and Tanglin Halt Close. ‘Tanglin’ came from “Tua Tang Leng” (Great Eastern Hills), a name given by the Chinese to the hilly area around Tanglin Road. Tanglin Halt was also known as ‘Tanglin Halt Chap Lau Chu’ (10 Storeys), after the ten-storey blocks which make up the estate which it stands and now going to demolish soon.
Blk 74-80 C'wealth Drive in 2014
So it's been a long time since I wrote about Queenstown estates in my previous blog a few years ago. A few years ago, some places in Queenstown - Margaret Drive had been demolished, living a vacant land. Yet it brings back the memories of the places where we once lived and played, visiting the friends and watched cinemas. There were old playground in Queenstown that was once - "sand" playground.
Tanglin Halt estates in 2012
This time, more than 50 year-old Tanglin Halt estates (Blk 74-80 C'wealth Drive) are going to demolish soon in November this year. Many old residents who once lived, feeling lost and sad to see it go. I was sad to see it go for good as if I was there back in 1960s to visit one of my auntie's shop at blk 46-3 which is due to demolish in 2021. She was used to stay at Blk 63 in early 1960s and eventually shifted to Commonwealth View blocks in 1990s till present.
Those were the days, I used to visit her and her shop at Tanglin Halt for almost 42 years when I was in primary school back then.
Blk 78-79 C'wealth Drive in 2012
I usually walk from C'wealth Drive (16 storey) to Tanglin Halt (C'wealth Drive 10 storey) for 4 decades till now. The memories of Tanglin Halt lingers on my mind, the laughter of the children and voices of the people at the Kopitiam and shops at Blk 74 - 80 C'wealth Drive. There was also Chap Si Lao (14 storey), located at Dawson place, but demolished more than 12 years ago. I live in this Queenstown area for all my life, so much childhood memories if I turn back the time.
Old and New blocks of flats@Tanglin Halt
Old Door Knob in olden days
Much to the changes of the old blocks and new blocks from time to time and they will definitely miss the old blocks instead of new blocks where the old residents used to spend their life long for decades and retained the old wooden doors, steel gates and steel windows for years without removed or renovated it as they were too poor at that time. They will miss the good old days.
Me and Chun See at Chin Hin Eating House (2014)
James Seah, Victor Kong & Hercules Lim 
For the past few years, I have been outings with my good nostalgia friends - Chun See, Hercules Lim, James Seah, and Victor Kong to stroll along the Tanglin Halt estates and to reminisce the memories of the place that I have been visiting for a long time since I was a kid back then. We were having lunch at Chin Hin Eating House located at blk 75 C'wealth Drive and chatting away for the old times. Hercules, Victor and I grew up in Queenstown and were old neighbours back then.
Old residents chatting away under the tree(2013)
Sad to hear from the old residents that they missed the old times, peaceful surroundings, chit-chat with neighbours under the tree at the corner and even playing chestboard at the shelter nearby.
Former KTM Railway track
There were once the former site of railway track behind Blk 78 & Blk 79 C'wealth Drive. Those were the days, I could hear the sound of incoming train at KTM track where my auntie's old block 63 is or whenever I walked pass. The sound of incoming train was noisy and the whole neighbourhood blocks could hear the loud shrieking sound and the horning of passing the housing estates. The children would run out of the blocks to watch the incoming train and they cheered and greeting from the train passengers in old good days. Now it was peaceful and yet serene not long after demolished the railway track in 2012 when Tanjong Pagar station had ceased in 2011.
PUB Gas Tank (then)
PUB Gas Tank demolished (now)
There was once the PUB Gas Tank which was located at the corner of Blk 79 C'wealth Drive where the vacant site is. In the past, there were many factories around the estates. PUB Gas tank was installed in early 1960s when the Tanglin Halt estates and the factories were built in early1960s.
The news spread in regarding about the Gas tank, many people were worried for the safety of neighbourhood blocks as well as factories nearby. People worried or feared that the Gas tank might explode if installed close to estates and factories. As long as I remember, whenever I walked pass the road, to where the Gas Tank, to visit one of aunties' block for years and I could feel the fear inside me whenever I walked pass briskly as if I were breathing hard but not gasping for air.
Used to be PUB Gas Tank
 PUB Gas Gate
 Site used to be PUB Gas now empty
Structure Pillar - Gas logo
Those were the days, many kids were playing badminton just behind the block 77 which is near to the gate that was used to be PUB Gas tank (pic above).
Old Badminton Court
Old Badminton court that was once favourite playground for kids and adults like me in old good days and that time we couldn't afford to rent the hall at community centres. We used the badminton court in our neighbourhood blocks to play and bought cheap badminton net and badminton rackets from the old shops nearby instead of shopping centres.
Sri Sun Parata Paradise in 2013
I recalled the Indian coffee shop - "Sri Sun Parata Paradise" was a Indian Muslim Food located at Blk 75 C'wealth Drive to where Chin Hin Eating House at the corner end, I used to buy ice Milo and Roti Prata from them occasionally.
Chin Hin Eating House Signboard
Chin Hin Eating House taken in year 2013
Wanton Noodle and soup taken in year 2013
Whenever I visit my auntie's house or her shop, I used to eat Wanton noodle and Laksa sometimes but now where they are gone too.
There will be going to have a "Farewell event" on the 3rd Oct 2015 from 11am to 7pm.

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