Saturday, November 27, 2010

my first abode

when it came to housing, most people would upgrade but we actually down-graded. that is, if you consider moving from an urban area to a rural one as some kind of retrogression. when i was born, we lived in a brick house at upper dickson road. a few years later, we moved to an attap house in the now defunct kampong chia heng. the above picture shows the 2-storey house in which we stayed for a few years.

today, the area has not changed much but the ownership and occupancy have changed hands. in the 60s, there were more chinese households in this area. quite a number of them were stall-holders at the nearby old tekka market. today, most of the owners and occupants of the houses are indians. back in those days, we did have indian neighbours but they were in the minority.

my earliest memories of this place include eating durians that came in a big basket. the owner of the house would buy durians by the basket to be shared by his family and friends. the other thing i remember about my stay there was being awakened very early in the morning. every morning, at around 5 a.m., even before sunrise, you could hear a cacophony of noises as the stallholders pushed their carts and trolleys to the market.

i remember this cul-de-sac and the run-down 60-year old coffee-shop at the corner of clive street and upper weld road. i learnt that this coffee-shop was featured in a local documentary entitled " old places". back in those days, i would see elderly men reading the sin chew jit poh or the nanyang siang pau chinese newspapers in this coffee-shop. in those good old days, you could buy coffee 'takeaway' in your own container.

during a certain time of the year, a wayang stage would be erected at this road end and the wayang shows, which lasted 2 or 3 days, would attract both children and adults from around the kampong kapor area. the people who came to watch, both young and old, would take their own stools and chairs to the site.

i think this house, on the same row as the coffee-shop used to house a temple. it was this temple that sponsored the chinese wayang, usually teochew but some years, hokkien. the wayang would run for 2 or 3 days. on these days, hawkers would set up food stalls by the side of the roads.


Thimbuktu said...

Thanks for this wonderful blog, yg.

Share your same sentiments and memories:

"Same Place. Different Times. Different Journeys" but still home.


yg said...

james, i used to visit the bukit ho swee area when i was young. my uncles, aunts and cousins used to live in that area before the big fire.

Angler Kaki said...

in the 1960 my father used to bring me to this corner coffee shop for hainanese curry rice and the curry tastes so much better than the current scissors curry rice after 40 plus years the aroma still stuck with me, don't know where are they located now as I had moved out of tekka in the mid 1960...