Saturday, November 6, 2010

left high and dry since 2001



like the river valley swimming complex, the yan kit swimming complex has been left high and dry since 2001. according to the records, the first public swimming pool in singapore is the one that used to be at mount emily park and yan kit followed soon after. actually, before yan kit was opened, there was another swimming pool - although a privately owned one - which was open to the public. i have blogged about it here. it was the haw par pool at pasir panjang.

a fellow blogger wrote about his memories of yan kit swimming pool here.



in fact, when haw par pool closed down, its waterpolo team, the tiger swimming club, sought and got permission to train at yan kit swimming pool. when i visited the disused swimming complex last week, i could three troughs - a deep one, with a three-metre diving platform, near the main entrance, a standard one in the middle and a shallow one, which must have been the wading pool, at the other end.




according to my friend who had his waterpolo training at yan kit, the place was packed with bathers and swimmers on weekends. some of the pool users from the nearby chinatown area were literally bathing in the pools. they would have a towel around their neck and all the time they would be rubbing their body with the towel. it was a good and cheap, though not hygienic, way to get a decent bath, which was something they could not get in their crammed cubicles in chinatown. the initial admission charge was 15 cents; just before it closed in 2001, the charge was $1.00.





just like mt emily swimming pool, there was one day each week set aside for the modest ladies who did not like to be seen in their swim costumes in public. however, on such tuesdays, the taking was usually much lower.

when attendances at public swimming pools started to dwindle in the late 70s, a number of public pools had to be closed down because of the high maintenance cost. besides river valley and yan kit, the others that were closed include bukit merah, jurong town and pandan garden. farrer park is now a private swimming pool. mt emily has disappeared totally.

however, that does not mean that the singapore sports council has stopped building swimming pools. there is a brand new one next to my block at the bukit panjang sports complex cum community centre. the admission charge is $1.50 for adults. i have yet to step into it.

5 comments:

FL said...

As a young kid, Yat Kit pool was my favourite place to go for a swim. Admission charge, I think, about 10 to 20 cents. You mentioned Tues exclusively for ladies swimmers, but I remember it was Thurs, maybe I am wrong. The pool was also near my former school (Keppel Pri) along Cantonment Rd. I suggest that the govt re-open the pool since it will benefit many residents from Pinacle@Duxton, although I don't live there. I would like to swim there again to reminisce the past.

yg said...

fl, i think some of the people living around that area have started petitioning the authorities to re-open the swimming complex.
my friend who told me about the ladies only day thought it was a tuesday but he was not 100% certain about it.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi YG, I love swimming as well diving, though not diving anymore as body not that young anymore, ha ha.
And yes, I remember all the pools you mentioned here.
In fact I have been to all, though not in the water, just visiting with friends.

My last trip back to Singapore a good friend bought us lunch at the Singapore swimming club...I sure enjoyed that kai fun and cendol and iced coffee.
As well the beautiful Koi fishes in their ornamental pools.

You have a nice day, Lee.

yg said...

lee, s'pore swimming club and chinese swimming club for orang kaya. we, ordinary citizens, swim at public swimming pools.

Anonymous said...

I was from Keppel Primary School as well, and we used to have swimming lessons at Yan Kit swimming pool. I really miss the nostalgia of the place, and it should be preserved as a swimming complex. The government has been building less facilities for the lower and middle class, such as hawker centres and swimming pools, with so much resources going to the private developers (condos, food courts)... please focus on giving the middle and lower class as well!