Saturday, 3 October 2015

One Last Look At Blk 74-80 C'wealth Drive

Road to Farewell Carnival 
A quiet town along the road to where I frequent walk pass to the lonely planet of the seven blocks of flats which will due to demolish soon. The time has come to bid goodbye to the seven blocks of housing estates (Blk 74 to 80) that most old residents called it "Chap Lao Chu (10 storeys)" for decades. 
The former residents had moved to the new flats just opposite their old blocks last year and one elderly resident elderly lady, Foong Chea Tai, refused to leave her home at Blk 79. Police officers had to be called in to get her to move early this year. It was indeed sad for her to see her old home being demolished soon.
Welcome to the "Farewell" Carnival 
The opening carnival of the "Farewell" Tanglin Halt held on 3 Oct 2015 from 11am to 7pm and many older residents would bring their families to the event despite the haze, to take one last look at their former blocks where they had lived for decades and some of them lived up to three or four years when they first moved in 1960s after it was built. The two young boys wore 'Superman' and 'Captain America' happily marched to the carnival as they seem not knowing the slowly fading of the Tanglin Halt estates will be gone soon on the last day after the carnival ended.
Local Films were screened
Local films - Singapore Dreaming, Taxi Taxi and 7 Letters – were screened under a gazebo.
Waiting to be screen on next timeslot where residents will be able to watch while relaxing under the hot and hazy day.

Taken at level 2 of Blk 74 corner end
Taken at the level 2 of Blk 74 corner end of what was the long queue for the freebies - ice cream, Kacang Puteh and Popcorn to the local participants who hold tickets or coupons.
 Freebies for tickets holders only
Many local residents who received booklet from Queenstown community and some participants who registered online to get freebies on the spot.
Queued for free goodie bag and drinks
Thirst for a drink
And for those without any tickets or whatsoever would get a free Goodie bag, free flow of soft drinks and mineral bottles at the counter located in front of Blk 74 C'wealth Drive.
Music Performance
There was a music performance by White Ribbon, ShiGGA Shay, Tay Kexin and the Switch went on in front of Blk 79 for the visitors and residents to listen the music being played on the hot and hazy day..
 A Petition form
There was a form to fill your name if you want to petition for the Queenstown Heritage and Community space, to support the construction of community museum in Queenstown.
A lonesome tree
After I finished a can of 'Heaven & Earth' drink and looked up a tree thinking it tells me how sad it is now, as the old estates will tear down where it stands on the lonely day and night. When the night falls, the whole blocks are quiet and desert so as the tree looks scary at night.
Unwelcome lift - 1, 5, 8 level
This lift is somewhat the same one at C'wealth Drive 16 storeys in 1960s, it took you to the level 10 with three buttons stop as you can see the number 1, 5, 8 with both side an arrow up & down at the top of the lift in those days. I have an old photo with my two childhood friends taken at the vintage lift at my mum's block in 1979/80.
Queued for access the block
Visitors and local residents came all the way to see for the last time and eventually queued to access one of the blocks which was opened to public, to view the units at level 2 & 3.
Kid looked at the letterbox in awe
I noticed a kid of about 4 or 5 year old, had a puzzled look on his face by looking at the letterbox and that he doesn't even know what was it when he lifted a lid up as if he never see it before. Most younger generations do not even know or never see this vintage letterbox in the past. But at least he saw this for the first time.
An Indemnity form
An indemnity form is required to fill before entering the block and this is not the first time as I have seen this form.
Open Gate to access
After the form handed to the volunteer, each participant would allow to access the block at level 2 & 3 only.
Free accessed at Blk 74
But I believe that some people walked up to the 4th floor at the corner end of open staircase and who knows.
Close up at level 2
One of the media crews interviewed a former resident at level 2 as seen above close-up.
Mr Hercules Lim being interviewed
My nostalgia friend aka old neighbour, Mr Hercules Lim was being interviewed. 
Hercules's family former Blk 80 C'wealth Dr.
As a former resident, he and his family was once lived at Blk 80 C'wealth Drive at 5th floor (see above pic taken in 2014) from 1963 to 1967 when he was four year old kid, after that, later his family shifted to Blk 110 C'wealth Drive to where my mum's block close by for decades till now.
Hercules as 4-year old
Young Hercules Lim was just 4-year old, stood at the front door of Blk 80 C'wealth Drive, would bring him fond memories of the fade Tanglin Halt. But the photo would remind of his childhood to where he lived.
KTM Train in those days
The photo was taken by Hercules's dad, at the corner staircase opening on the 5th floor of his former Blk 80 C'wealth Drive just beside Blk 79 C'wealth Drive. According to him, the empty pot of land with the vertical rig and machinery and pipes was where the gas tank stood. This picture (above) was taken during the construction of the gas tank structure before it was built up. The bus as you can see there was used as a canteen for the workers. How about the hut which was next to the bus? A storage hut? I think so..
Criminals Lookout!
Those were the days, when there was a robbery thief and snatch thief, would tell a different story by young and old residents alike. I have seen many posters of different layout and designs to be pasted on the wall of HDB blocks, buildings..etc year after year. But this poster (above) was pasted on top of the wall above of the ceiling close to the main switch box high enough to keep away from everyone's reach from being damage or torn.
This way leads to exhibition
Photograpy Exhibition 
On the 2nd level to the Photography Exhibition by Nicky Loh Photography and Erwin Tan was showcasing on the huge banners, the old photographs from past to the present about Queenstown, Margaret Drive, Tanglin Halt estates and so on. I do have old photos too.
Old wooden Door with rectangle hole
In those days, when the postman couldn't drop the parcel inside as it was too big for the 'small' rectangle in the letterbox downstairs. The postman had to climb the staircase or took a lift to upper floor to drop the parcel inside the wooden door below with 'medium' size rectangle hole by squatted down on his knees to the ground. An important documents on registered posted also put inside the rectangle hole of the wooden door. Newspaper vendor would deliver a newspaper by putting inside the rectangle hole. This vintage wooden door is similar to my mum's old door in 1960s.
Typical 3-room flat (2 bedrooms & a hall)
The typical 3-room flat is similar to the size of old Havelock road estates and C'wealth Drive/Crescent/Close estates. One example of my mum's unit at C'wealth Drive 16 Storeys is the same size, comprises a living hall, a kitchen and 2 bedrooms on each side as above..
Typical Squat toilet
This typical squat toilet that I was once squat down as a child in those days. The 'rusty' old toilet would put me off as if the poor old residents might have been used without upgraded or renovated for decades. The 'aluminium' toilet door would make a 'squeaky' sound at night that caused by a hinge when a person went to the toilet in the middle of the night.
Typical Aluminium sink
The aluminium sink is the most useful in those days without any damaged for a long time. But it would make noisy when the dish plates being washed with running tap and the whole neighbours would hear the sound of plates, bowls, forks, spoons being put on the trays at the corner of the window. Some old people used the sink for their brushing teeth in the morning and night, the mirror cupboard is hung on the wall just above the sink. The window on the right as if next block neighbours could see their neighbour clearly as it is close by.
Broken window@Kitchen
Broken windows as if someone threw some stones after all residents moved out.
Tinted broken windows
It was sad to see all units being left vacant after one of the residents moved out early this year after she was persuaded by her family, officers and HDB personnels.
Wooden Double Deck bed
In those days, kids from 4 to 12 year old would sleep on Wooden Double Deck Bed. I could remember as a child to sleep on before it changed to bigger "metal" double deck bed with a ladder which is still around at my mum's home for decades till now. Do you notice the old style wooden window facing the double deck bed? This old style wooden window was once installed in early years in 1950s in old HDB blocks and it was similar to that of my grandma's kampong in 1940s, old buildings and schools in those days.
A unit to where the old rusty squat toilet
Metal grill gate and Aluminium window of old
These old style metal grill gate and aluminium windows are durable and can hold without damage for decades. Not to worry, you still can see at C'wealth Drive 16 storeys to where my mum stays. And also you may see one of my photos here or my blog here
Cable Splitter
Someone must have dropped a popular brand name 'Regal' cable splitter for TV on the staircase at Blk 74 C'wealth Drive when I walked up at level 2 which I have at home.
Peep into the unit
Peeping through the rusty metal grill gate is one typical Singaporean who lived, to check on their neighbours' well-beings in those days.
Items that left behind
This photo above as you look and give you a sense of energy feeling of an illusion of a 'red' plastic tub being lifted up from the ground while the tape is at the floor unmoved as if there is someone around. But it's not as the photo is best described as 2D/3D to focus at the angle of illusion of my camera trick.
2nd Generation Doorknob
The earlier installed of wooden door with 'round' metal doorknob with keyhole below in those days. The photo shown is believed to be installed later in 1980s to 1990s. See my previous blog here 
Sasi The Don
I recognise the words inscribed on the wall of that famous Indian singer/artiste who sang his songs. I believe this unit was belonged to the family of Indian resident who lived there for years.
Typical Kitchen of 3-room flat
The typical 'L'shape kitchen of 3-room flat is often seen at old blocks, small and yet simple space for the small family to spend their whole life living in this condition.
Rusty "Cross" on top of metal gate
This 'rusty' cross with a broken arm hung above the metal grill gate as if it's been there due to weather conditions for a long time and is at level 3 unit 461, the Christian family who lived here and they left their 'Cross' at the door.
Refuse Bin centre
Typical Refuse Bin Centre is very common in Singapore, mainly at old and new HDB blocks, hawker centres and wet markets. It's the size of 3-room flat to store food waste, styrofoam boxes, plastic disposables and carton boxes. 
Inside Refuse Bin (Garbage)
It seems that some cleaners had cleared the rubbish and sprayed a refresher onto the foul-smelling inside the Refuse Bin before the start of "Farewell" carnival, and to have a better look inside what it was like.
Typical Rubbish Chute in 2014
Many young generation nowadays barely know or see what the chute looks like in those days. In early years, there's no system installation back then.  It can be found at C'wealth Drive 16 storeys where manual chute at the back of the block below.
Modern Rubbish Chute
Rubbish chute fire is the most common type of residential fire and has been occurring more frequently at old HDB blocks.
Badminton Court in 2014 (Then)
Badminton court without benches (now)
It pains me to see those four corrosion free and durable benches, two at each side between the badminton court (in the middle) that were once had and now the benches were gone. Where are those benches gone to?
Close-up: Stainless steel chair in 2014
Luckily, I took a photo of one of the bench in year 2014 and before, with my good nostalgia friends; Hercules Lim, Lam Chun See and James Seah.
The 'Farewell' carnival at Blk 74-80 C'wealth Drive, was the last day of visiting the accessible block, to allow the former residents and visitors to feel the sense of belonging, is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions, a memorable of the place that they once lived and cherished them, will be remembered.
I thanked the organisers from 'My Community', Queenstown Citizens' Consultative Committee' for organizing the fruitful event.


  1. Great blog to capture the memories of every nooks and corners of the Commonwealth HDB flats built over 30 years ago. You are as good as a modern-day archaeologist blogger. Thank you Lina Catcat to photo the details of stuff which many nostalgia friends may have missed ... the rusty door-knobs, rusty exposed ugly water pipes and the front door with a slot for letters the postman to use. In the early days, letter boxes were not located at the void decks.

    Well done for good investigative blooging work! Keep up happy blogging, Sista!