Sunday, February 27, 2011

bukit panjang 's heritage loss

most residents in bukit panjang, including the senior ones who inhabited the place when it was still a village, are unaware that a significant part of their heritage has disappeared forever in the name of development and progress. the structure built in the 1950s was demolished at the end of 2010 to make way for the downtown line's tunnel leading to the gali batu mrt depot. along with this building, the row of shop-houses facing the ten mile junction - to be renamed junction 10 - will also be wiped out from the bukit panjang scene soon.

i have blogged about this place previously. after it ceased operation as a child welfare clinic, it became a children learning centre (kindergarten) operated by the learning ladder.

the bukit panjang child welfare clinic was opened in august 1950. built on land provided by the government and at a cost of $32 000 - the money was raised and contributed by the residents of bukit panjang district - it was hailed as a monument of the communal efforts of the people of bukit panjang.

on 11 september 1951, the straits times reported "the bukit panjang clinic was the only one in singapore which has been built on funds subscribed by the local people".

advice on family planning matters was given at the clinic every friday. though not the largest maternity clinic, it was one of the busiest rural centres seeing between 150 and 200 chinese, malay and indian mothers. in those days, midwives from the clinic would go around the remote areas to help deliver babies.

although i did not grow up in zhenghua village, as a present resident of bukit panjang, i can feel of the loss of this heritage.


Icemoon said...

I remember the kindergarten when I went trainspotting many months ago. Is that demolished as well? Is it too late for the second shot of Bukit Panjang Child Welfare Clinic??

yg said...

icemoon, that kindergarten was once the bukit panjang child welfare clinic. with your skill and expertise, i am sure you can do a 2nd shot of the child welfare clinic.

Icemoon said...

Oh, so the kindergarten escaped the bulldozer?

Uncle Phil said...

Is this place also known as "Chap Kor" (10 miles in Hokkien) and it is near Yew Tee Village?

yg said...

icemoon, sorry for confusing you. the kindergarten is gone.

yg said...

phil, yes, you are right. the child welfare clinic was located at 10 mile (should be 10th mile) junction and it's near yew tee.

Lam Chun See said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lam Chun See said...

This place has changed so much from the old days. Brings back much memories; esp. my army days.

YG. Is the row of old shop houses opp. the 10 mile junction still there? I have always wanted to take some photos of it.

My earliest memory of this place is the police station where the present 10 mile junction stands.

yg said...

chun see, you had better hurry because they won't be around for long.

Dogcom said...

Oh my goodness, so sad to see all these little that is left that we who are old enough can identifies with Bukit Panjang gone. What is Bukit Panjang without these heritage?

yg said...

frankie, bukit panjang does not much of a heritage to begin with. there are two temples and, on the fringe, some shophouses. i think, in time, all the shophouses will go.

Icemoon said...

Why do they call the place Bukit Panjang? Where's the long hill? Bukit Panjang got hill meh?

yg said...

i suppose its name comes from its close proximity to bukit timah; it is actually at the tail end of bukit timah.
from bukit panjang, there is a trail that leads to the bukit timah nature reserve.

peter said...

That row of shophouse sopposite 10 mile Junction is fairly recent, like built in the late 60s.The one much oldfer but demolished for a warehouse was built in the 1950s. It had this chinese bookshop called MING CHONG BOOKSTORE.

I used to come to that child welfare building in the 60s. The area in front of the building was a sandy patch. Behind the building was a stream and a small lane that led to a community center. When NLB introduced mobile library to this constituency in 1965, i walked from my house to the CC to borrow books.

"Chap Gor" refers to Bukit Panajng Village near a former CALTEX station (now the warehouse place opposite the Hokkien Huay Kuan).

One interetsing thing I remember was when the leftist split from the PAP to form Barisan Socialis. The PAP and Barisan had branches in the same building but on opposite ends. The building still here today next to the SHELL Station. Facing this building from the Gombak direciton, PAP was on the left and Barisan on the right. Both political parties flew their banners and used megaphone to drown the other side. When PAP's Lee Khoon Choy (MP in 1959) was defeated in 1963 General Elections, PAP branch shut down their "meet the People session".

peter said...

I have good memories of the police station (now 10 mile junction). One time my pet dog wanered into the police staiton and i ran inside the station to find my doggie. There were 2 or 3 blocks. The police station main entrance building was on a hill slope facing today's junction. Behind were the investigation rooms housed in another block. There was also a locked-up place in that second building. Also many plai clothes detectives with Smtih & Western pistols tucked behind their backs. The police cars parked on a snady area in front of the main entrance building. Next to police station was BP English School.

yg said...

peter, you sure have a very good memory of places and people. so, bukit panjang was a barisan socialis stronghold.
when i moved to bukit panjang, the police station and the former bp english school were already not around.
however, i remembered there were shophouses on both sides of upper bukit timah road. i don't remember the hindu temple - murugan on the hill - being around then.

sam said...

I am a first time poster. thanks for refreshing my memory.
Anybody Remember about the factory called NanYang Shoe factory? I left Bp in 1981 and have been back only once, for a short visit four years ago.

yg said...
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yg said...

hi sam, thanks for dropping by. i checked and found out where the nanyang shoe factory used to be. you can read more about it here

Anonymous said...


My parents grew up in zhenghua village, currently, we are present residents of bukit panjang. I truely agree with you - feeling sad over the loss of the heritage in bukit panjang or zhenghua.
Just curious, wonder what was the "structure" that was "built in the 1950s was demolished at the end of 2010" that you are refering to? Is it the so-called "bukit panjang child welfare clinic"? Where is it located? Is it besides the ten mile shopping centre?

From Mic

yg said...

hi anonymous,
i am also a resident of bukit panjang. yes, the 'structure' refers to the former bukit panjang child welfare clinic'. it was located opposite the ten mile junction, soon to be called junction 10.

Anonymous said...

thanks for your reply.
I managed to "snap" some of the photos on this heritage 'structure' formerly known as 'bukit panjang child welfare clinic' via google street view before it disappears in cyber space too.

Are there any old photos of the police station (now 10 mile junction)? Wonder how it looks like at that time?

By the way, take a look at this movie(U-tube) about singapore in 1930s.

Famous Old Places of Singapore (That Still Exist Today)
For examples: Chinatown's Thian Hock Keng Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple and Sultan Mosque. The Singapore River scene with Cavenagh Bridge and Elgin Bridge. Also Victoria Memorial Hall, City Hall, St Andrew's cathedral, etc

It is very interesting to see what Singapore looks like in the 1930s and to see several buildings of that era still existing till now - 2011.


yg said...

hi mic,
you should take pics of the row of shophouses - with zhenghua furniture at one end and the car accessories shop at the other end. i don't know whether they are still around because i am not in s'pore. they are making way for a road flyover.

Anonymous said...


I'm currently working on a school project about the demolition of these buildings.

Is it alright for me to lift some quotations from the comments here? I want some accounts of people who had known the shophouses that were there.

Thanks in advance!

Winners4Life said...

Its unfortunate that Bukit Panjang hv lost all traces of history...I lived on a ridge full of rubber trees...perhaps they named the place after that we can't even see the hill and not one rubber tree left.

ST said...

Hi, thanks for jotting these down before they were gone. I used to be able to see the back of these shophouses from my bedroom.
I had visited the tyre shop at the corner (nearest the road), an pet fish shop (where I had my first experience of seeing goldfish spawning) and a 24hrs clinic named River of Life (I think they have moved to Teck Whye). I remember there was a also a furniture shop selling rattan furniture.

There is no trace of their presence left.
Hope the shophouses near Shell station will stay put.