Sunday, 14 August 2016

Changing at Holland Village (from Plantation to Entertainment city)

Holland Road Shopping Centre
Since I wrote my blog three years ago before the old blocks demolished at that time. But before that, Holland Village refers as "Holland V", was an once a kampong, rows of attap houses, Chip Bee garden, POSB building (managed by DBS), Holland Village estates, Lorong Mambong (used to be a farm) and hawker & wet market (kampong style) as long as I could remember. A quaint English village base was once settled in the past and now this 'village' was in fact full of restaurants and pubs in the sticky floors as you may see full of young hip hops entertaining with their friends spreading along the 'closed' road after 6.30pm.
Although I have stayed and lived in C'wealth and Holland Village for more than 5 decades, memories of the places that once forgotten and yet remembered. The place that originally plantation estates before in year 1900, the area grew with Orchard Road thus became the Holland Village of the 20th century which is popular with Singapore's expatriate community as a quality and convenient residential area. Holland Village derives its name from Holland Road which in turn was named in honour of Hugh Holland, an early resident and an well-respected architect, and an amateur actor in 1907.
Holland Village had a military past, Pasir Panjang Base in 1930s-1940s was the most extensive British military installation in Singapore, covering 1,214.1 hectares of land and stretching nearly 9km along Kent Ridge between Pasir Panjang and Holland Road. The base included churches, military schools, military shopping facilities, military housing estates. its own transport system, cinemas and other recreational services for servicemen and their families. Additional housing estates sprung up on the outskirt of the base, and the economic hub of Holland Village soon developed between the late 1930s and 1945 as well to cater to the people living on and around the base. I remember that there are lots of bungalows (black & white) along Holland road and Holland Ave just behind the church (St. James' Church) where my former Japanese boss rented a bungalow at Holland road during his work in Singapore at Jalan Pesawat in 1980s and went to his house for gatherings.
Holland Village surrounding the areas were originally kampong that surrounded by plantations and estates in the heavily wooded area of Chip Bee Estate and nurseries at Jalan Merah Saga, and the farms at Lorong Mambong. When Orchard Road and Tanglin areas grew as prime residential localities in the 1900s onwards, development extended to the Holland Road and beyond.
Warna Road and Jalan Merah Saga
Long ago, the area of the road was once known as "Gor Kok Jio", (五条石; “fifth milestone” in Hokkien), as it was located near the fifth milestone along Holland Road. In the past, “milestones” were used to demarcate the distance of various parts of Singapore from the Central Post Office. Therefore, the village was once stood here was technically 5 miles away from the Central Post Office (CPO).
Chip Bee Gardens@Warna Road
Holland Village consists of the village's two well-known lanes, Lorong Mambong and Lorong Liput; a section of Holland Avenue, which includes Holland Road Shopping Centre; and the lane, Jalan Merah Saga, within Chip Bee Gardens, which is across Holland Ave and the two lanes eg Warna Road. Today there are public housing estates in the nearby area, and the village, a hive of activity day and night, has retained much of its original diverse character, and is now a popular entertainment hangout for 'yuppies' and other party people. And also the party or entertainment area is often seen police patrolling the area after 6.30pm when night falls, the party begins after the side road where the gate is closed to prevent the motorists from entering the side road and the young party goers walk around the side road where the shops laid out their tables and chairs on the road.
Coffee Club and row of shophouses
The club which I remember, that was Coffee Club, Singapore’s first gourmet coffee shop opened its first outlet in Holland Village in 1991, still stands, that I love to dine at there. This was before the arrival of Starbucks, Coffee Bean and TCC years’ later, then Wala Wala, which has now become a monument in Holland Village.
Former site of Housing estate
On the far right hand side, the vacant grass land that was used to be old housing estates (HDB blocks) that demolished in 2000s. Holland Village will transform into new commercial and residential housing estates when it is released and put into Reserve list by sale application. At the same time, URA hasn't released the Reserve list yet.
Eng Wah Air Cinema cira 1985 (then)
Source: National Archives of S'pore
Behind Eng Wah Cinema is the old blk 12 and 13 still standing to this day (present) for more than 4 decades since it built in 1975 while blk 14 & 15 demolished in 2000s. Besides Eng Wah CInema was once stood a small hut that sold magazines, newspapers and titbits in the past. Now there is a Thambi Magazine stall which operates since 1990s next to Crystal Jade restaurant after Mama Joe closed down due to bankruptcy in 2007, Mr Thambi took over its space at the corner of UOB bank, they preserved the original layout of Mama Joe. In 2013, old Mr Thambi passed away and the store is taken over by his children, that I usually buy magazine from them after they opened their store at that time. It's been more than 2 decades.
Holland V Shopping Centre before it demolished (now)
A year ago, all the shop owners moved out and relocated to other locations from Holland V Shopping centre that was already torn down in June 2016 and subsequently rebuild to a new one which will have higher floors building.
Mister Minit@Holland V
Joo Ann Foh@Holland V
A 'Makeshift' shop under the escalator of the Holland V Shopping which I saw 'Mister Minit' had moved to Holland mrt basement and another shop - Joo Ann Foh Color SVC had moved to Holland Road Shopping Ctr at level 3 while other shops owners had moved to Holland Rd Shopping ctr and other locations. Sadly, there are no BreadTalks and Bee Chang Hiang anymore. I heard Sushi Tei restaurant will be shifted nearby and it could be at Raffles Medical centre, hopefully.
Some new shops owners opened their business especially Japanese restaurant and Full Of Luck along the shopshouses that used to be previous eateries shops like KFC, Wendy's..etc where I used to dine for my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Windmill
Windmill Foodcourt tissue packets
Sushi Tei@Holland V Shopping Centre
Mostly in the 1990s-2000s, there was used to be Windmill Foodcourt and then 'Food Junction' at the corner end before Sushi Tei opened in 2012 till it ceased on the 17th Aug 2015. The icon foodcourt operator distributed tissue packet to the patrons like me when I ordered a drink from the middle-age lady (became my friend whenever I see her around) who served the drink to me. I had dined Sushi Tei with my friends occassionly. Sad it was closed due to demolish of the Holland V shopping centre in Jun 2016.
Khiam Teck
One of the prominent shop in advance years called 'Khiam Teck' that has been around before the inception of the quaint Holland village in early 1950s. The row neighbours along Khiam Teck shop used to be tailors, bars, pubs, sundry shops and even a tattoo parlour.
Holland Village Food Court
Along Lor Liput road, a quaint eatery village, that built in 4th July 1997 named HOLLAND VILLAGE FOOD COURT PTE LTD is a live limited exempt private company. This company have been operating for almost 19 years. Their principal activity is restaurants. It's registered address is in the Holland VIllage estate that surrounding housing estates of blk 12 and blk 13 on the left and the right is Blk 11 as seen in the photo background behind Food Court which is next to vacant land that use to be Kampong Holland Mosque.
The mosque that was once stood in a quaint kampong village in 1970s till it ceased on the 1st May 2014 and demolished in 2015 - Kampong Holland Mosque. You may read my blog here and video here.
Night scene at Blk 15-17, 18 & 19 (Then)
The former site of Blk 15-17, 18 & 19 (Now)
The 'back' facade of Blk 14 (Then)
The former site of Blk 14 (Now)
There was once two of HDB blk 14 to 17 that had demolished two years ago together with NTUC supermarket (Blk 15) that I used to frequent. There were a pet shop and a clinic at blk 15 too. On hearing that the empty pot of land is proposed to build housing development and community park in the next future with the extension along the former site of the mosque.
Besides the community park, an urbanised plaza will be redeveloped to provide a new public space for activities and for residents to gather and interact to one another.
Blk 22 & 23 and BV swimming pool in its heydays
BV Swimming Complex and Blk 22 & 23 (Then)
The site of Swimming Complex, Blk 22 & 23 (Now)
The site of the field was once Buona Vista Swimming complex which was built in 1976 and demoished in Jun 2014. Blk 22 & 23 which was demolished later the same year. The new blocks of 32-40 storey sprang up opposite the road of the vacant land as seen above, that used to be vacant land with two old blocks still intact. There was a "dance" studio in other building, opposite from the newly bus terminal redeveloped from the old bus terminal.
POSB Building (then)
Raffles Medical Centre (Now)
The new building along Holland Ave, opened its door - Raffles Medical centre on 14th Jun 2016 managed by Raffles Medical Group (RMG), which was once the site of the POSB building with Post Office branch and factory outlet on upper floor in early 1990s. It was demolished on April 2014 and after that it sprang up the new facility on the same site.  The new mall in its 9,000 sq ft facility takes up the entire fifth floor at RMG's new Raffles Holland V mall and offers health screening, family medicine, dental care, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and specialist services. My ex-colleague Ms Gladys whom I know for more than 30 years, at that time worked at Rank O'Connors in 1980s, now she works at RMG (founded in 1976), I met her at Vivocity foodcourt, told me that the Raffles Medical Centre at Holland V, belongs to her boss.
Sushi Tei
There's new outlet Sushi Tei restaurant at level 3 at Raffles Medical Centre which shifted from Holland V shopping centre, will be open in September 2016.
 Nostalgic Cafe O 
La Kopi Jiak Roti (in Hokkien)
There is a new cafe shop - Cafe O which is Halal Kedai Kopi and its famous is Roti Prata that one of the staff is skilled in throwing a Prata in spining 'Flying' saucer above his head. Feeling nostalgic are the marble tables and chairs where our old home used to have these. Thought of going back again to have roti prata which I love most in younger days.
 Roti Prata
 Coffee Tarik
 Pandan Cake with topping coconut shedding
Kueh Lapis
There goes with Teh Tarik, nasi lemak, kueh lapis, nasi briyani and so on. Look delicious!!
Holland Village Station (foreground)
To the far end from Holland Village station is the church - St James' Church and residential buiding in the middle. The rows of shops along Lorong Mambong and Jalan Merah Saga houses that occoupied cafes and restaurants, many of which are fully booked during weekends. Jalan Merah Saga house on the side is where Princess Margaret standing on a platform along Jalan Merah Saga in 1972 before the first level homes which are now converted to the present day restaurants 
Finally, I managed to snap a photo of Holland Village at night scenery from Raffles Medical Centre.

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