Sunday, September 14, 2008

the backlanes of jalan besar

today, i went to walk the back lanes of jalan besar to take pictures of some elegant and curvy structures that are a feature of houses built before the wars. most of the spiral staircases are stone structures but there were some that are made of metal.

the spiral staircase is the title of a 1946 classic. a remake of it was screened in 2002. it is also the title of a book by karen armstrong. maybe we can get victor to write a poem entitled ' the spiral staircase'.

i have yet to see anyone using the spiral staircase at these houses. is it meant to serve as a fire escape, for use in an emergency?


Victor said...

I don't have the inspiration to write a poem for a spiral staircase. But I made up for it by writing one about An Indecent Exposure.

Icemoon said...

Hmm, you all notice something?

Only the buildings in the second photo are built for defensive purposes because of the spiral design.

If you are fugitive, better examine the spiral staircase for your next hideout. You never know when your enemies come for you using the spiral staircase.

yg said...

whoa, icemoon, your national service training has prepared you well.

i have also found out - from the comments on victor's blog - that he is also observant...but only for certain things; pa-kua, according to chun see and hum sup, according to fr.

Victor said...

YG, in case you don't already know, I also have a knack for turning mundane experiences into humsup stories. But I think I still lose out to this very imaginative guy who sold mooncakes in the shape of buttocks.

peter said...

How about Desker Road and Rowell Road backlanes? Are they still the same like "yesterday"?

yg said...

it is business as usual at the backlanes of this 'red light district'. these days, got more variety because off-day maids also want to earn extra money.

peter said...

U u joking? Which country? As far as I know there were 3 grades in my time. Grade represents youthfulness and not experience

1st grade - Keong Siak Street and Geylang Lorong 22.

2nd grade - Desker Road

3rd grade - Johore Road

So which one you refer?

I just read a thesis and very interesting. Written by NUS honours student on singapore prostitution. Looks and places might have changed but the rituals and business practices still the same. Quite good to read about this "sister community" that is still revered. No lah not those TransXX, I mean "Sisterhood of Women" in the trade.

yg said...

peter, you left out petain road - grade 2 or 3. at one time, there was also some activities of this kind at maude road, next to kitchener road.

Icemoon said...

The oldies are even knowledgeable about such things.

I misread Peter's question:

So which one you refer?

to become

So which one you prefer?

Lam Chun See said...

I was at Jalan Datoh yesterday and took a picture of a house with such a spiral staircase.

peter said...

There is a koyok man or several of them at this open square between the Fu Lo Sho Complex and this building which has a department store. The open square was once Queen Street to the Chinese temple. Can someone tell me what the koyok man selling these days bcos my "Jiang Wa Yue" not so good these days. One day I joined a group of folks looking at this big signboard wondering why visitors so keen to write down what they see. Now I understand it's some kind of fortune-telling.

One day i decided to re-visit Keong Siak Street to see whether changes have taken -place. I looked at a building with BIG RED NUMBER. Once in a while I still see men going up the stairs and lady arrives. Then I noticed that there was a newly-opened BIG NUMBER opposite to that old building. I looked inside: wah so posh, got antique furniture. The interior renovated like old shophouses. It is so prominent because everything painted red colour. But girls inside from China. leads me to wonder whetehr the CHina girls have edged-out the Malaysian girls who used to work in Keong Siak Street.

Someone pointed me to Flickr that there is a photo of the oldest surviving Bapok in Singapore. However "she" no longer is in the trade but sits at BUGIS Village perhaps reminiscing about the old days and what has become of her in this modern-day rat-race Singapore. Very sad indeed.

peter said...


Oldies knowledgeable bcos graduates from "University of the Streets". We dont play-play those computer games.

Icemoon said...

Peter, you mean the open space along Waterloo Street / Si Ma Lu? The department store is OG. The Guanyin Temple is on Si Ma Lu.