Saturday, 30 November 2013

the nostalgia bug is biting......

old style bungalow in S'goon Gdns
I was born in 1962, and my parents were living in an area called Serangoon Gardens at that time.  Dad had just bought a small bungalow on Berwick drive,  which was close to mums parents.  Read  this blog to know more about the area, and yes I took some pictures off his blog.  We moved away from the area in 1968 or so but came back  in 1970 when Dad bought another bungalow on Chartwell Drive.
corner of chartwell drive ...i think
corner of Farleigh Ave 2013
It is still the family home and mum, my brother and his family reside there.  Like all the houses in the area, our old home too has had the total facelift.  Mum demolished our one storey bungalow and built a two storey monstrosity on it.
corner of chartwell 2013

the old dry cleaners, sandwiched

the old cinema
The estate is divided into sections where the road names  end with one of the following, Drive, Avenue, Road and Grove.  There are also a couple of roads with Place at the end and a couple with Close.

Cooling Close was where my granddad bought his house in the 1950's and when grandad went to live in Australia in the late 1980's, he sold that house to his oldest son.  My mums brother still lives there.  My primary school is 10 steps away from that house and it joins a church (St Francis Xavier's Church)  which runs along the side of the houses on Cooling Close.  At the end of the Church is Chartwell Drive and the house I grew up in.  So walking to school every morning we went through the church to reach school in 5 minutes.   We grew up in a safe, close knit community.  We wandered around to the shops, the park and each others houses daily and mum never had to worry about us.  If we scrapped our knees in the park, we would head to  Granddad's place and he would take get out his mentholated spirit  and dab our knees, sometimes it was iodine solution.  It fucking stung!
where the old cinema used to be

Recently our Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) identified my old estate as an identity node.  which means they will preserve its quaint charm.......they fucking ruined it already so whats there left to preserve??
The shops havent gone double storied, they remain as walk ups even if they have destroyed the open door homely feeling.
Serangoon Gardens is one of the few places left in Singapore with a roundabout and not traffic lights at an intersection.  We called it the circle.  There was talk that they were going to remove the roundabout and put in the traffic lights but thank god someone somewhere vetoed that idea.
1963 picture of the roundabout..there was an old tree here too
and a massive drain on the right

2013 picture of that same roundabout and area
with covered drain
I am all for progress but I am also for preserving the old buildings before we destroy part of our heritage.  For Serangoon Gardens I think it has come too late.......We lost the old charm of the neighbourhood when old businesses were forced to shut down as rents were getting too high like mums old hairdressers (see here for my old post on that).

They chopped down most of all the old trees, massive Angsana trees, that gave shade in a concrete jungle and put in spindly palms.  They paved and made roads bigger as singaporeans drive everywhere even down the road to get a bite to eat.  They covered drains (yeah I know its a good thing) and the new generation of kids will never know what it would be like to crawl in drains along the roads, actually using an imagination to play hide and seek and war games.
the old tree was here, and an old taxi shed.......

I found a whole new world in an old second hand bookshop, at the end of the row of shops where the cinema stood, I bought stupid teen magazines with David Cassidy on the cover from the old shop called Garden Book Shop.  I moved to Farleigh Ave (with the ex)  for a few years as my boys went to one of the old neighbourhood schools ( no longer there now)

Captains cabin, Dads local pub, long gone.......

 So this estate has a very special place in my heart.  Nostalgia is a bitch, we hanker for the old days and old ways forgetting that not everything was as rosy as our memories think they were.  I seek the balance I guess, to preserve the old but still making way for the new.........

row of shops where captains cabin once stood

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