Thursday, May 21, 2009

who helped build the chinese swimming club's

olympic-sized pool?

photo from memories of singapore

a friend was wearing the chinese swimming club tee-shirt, so i asked if he was a member. he is. he went on to tell me that the club started as tiger swimming club. i told him i would get an elderly friend to verify that. my old friend used to represent the chinese swimming club and the state in water-polo.

according the club's website, it started as tanjong katong swimming party.

the first time i visited the chinese swimming club, i remembered there was a pagar out in the sea. they also had a small 25-metre pool slightly inland. i cannot remember if the olympic-sized pool was there or not.

today, i checked with my walking kaki if it was called tiger swimming club back in the 50s. i asked the right person. he was the one who started the tiger swimming club. it was based at haw par swimming pool in pasir panjang. he and some of his nephews played for the tiger swimming club while his other siblings represented the chinese swimming club. eventually they came together to represent the chinese swimming club. so, tiger swimming club was never at amber road.

he then went on to tell me about the person who funded the building of the olympic-sized pool. the club at that time did not have the money to finance the project. this person was a very keen swimmer and a philanthropist. he was also a member of the club.

photo from national archives of singapore

swimmer neo chwee kok being congratulated by sir franklin gimson in the presence of philanthropist lee kong chian at the prize giving ceremony

he told the management committee that he would come out with the money to pay for the building of the pool on one condition. that is: he be allowed to use the pool on sundays at 8.00 o'clock in the morning. of course, they agreed to his condition. in fact, they would have let him have use of the pool anytime he liked.

those were the days before the chinese swimming club installed those money churning machines - the jackpot machines - in their premises.

according to my friend, they were automatic members of the club because they represented the club in swimming and waterpolo. however, he regretted that he did not sign up as a life member. these days, he still swims regularly but not at the chinese swimming club. he swims at public pools or at the civil service club pool at bukit batok.


PChew said...

In the old days, the club employed a collector who cycled to your house to collect the membership fees. Maybe we lived in Joo Chiat/Katong area. I am not sure it applied to members who lived far away.

peter said...

MM Lee's father was a frequent visitor to the "Jack Pot Room" at CSC.

yg said...

peter, the few times that i peeped in, i saw more elderly women than men battling the 'one-arm bandit'.