19 July 2009

Old Singapore Quiz (9) - Answers

The photo for the last quiz was taken from here. It was uploaded by someone called Steffen Rohner.

Q1. What is the name of the road in the foreground of the photo?

A1. Middle Road

Q2. Outside what building was this photo taken from?

A2. St Anthony's Convent (Secondary) School. Later, it was one of the campuses of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts or NAFA. Now it looks vacant. The following photo shows this building as viewed from the location of the "BAR" in the old photo:

Q3. Name 2 landmarks in the photo. (To make the quiz more challenging, I have erased the name from the facade of the tall building on the left edge of the photo.)

A3a. Waterloo Girls' School. My sister was a student of this school from 1959-64. (She'll kill me for indirectly revealing her age. :p Nevertheless, I still remember that the school uniform was a brown pinafore over a white blouse.) Later, the building was occupied by Stamford Primary School as this 1986 photo from our National Archives shows:

So PChew was right in that "Waterloo Girls School was later changed to Stamford Girls School". (See his comment here.)

Today, the school building is no longer there and there is an empty plot of land in its place. Hence you can see Stamford School quite clearly in this photo:

A3b. Selegie Complex. See this blow-up of the building at the left edge of the photo:

Compare the above photo with the Selegie Complex in the background of this 1986 NAS photo of David Elias Building and you can see the similarity:

(You could also see Prince Room Restaurant in the background.)

Q4. Name the model of the car with the plate "SE1614". (This car model was quite commonly seen on our roads in the 1960-70s.)

A4. Well, I am not 100% sure about this one. I thought the car looked like an Austin 1300 GT - compare the blow-up of the car in the above photo to one that I got here and judge for yourself:

Q5. What is the name of the street near the passenger side of the car with the plate "SE1614", i.e. near the shop where you see the "BAR" and no-entry signs.

A5. I am 100% sure that the answer for this is "Queen Street".

For good measure, here is a 1963 map of the area. The red arrow shows the direction of the camera lens in the old photo. I have inserted the locations of Selegie Complex and Selegie School, the primary school which I attended.

And here is a "second shot" of the same area. Notice how much the scene has changed - it is a complete transformation.


So how did all of you fare? Not too bad for some of you, especially Peter, YG, Icemoon and Anonymous of 18 July. But none got full marks as I think the car model was not correct. However, this is still open for debate. But one thing is for sure - if YG was not so grumpy about having to answer so many questions, he might have got a distinction, if not for all correct answers then for an "all right" attitude.

Further Reading:

The following links contain more information about the Middle Road area:

1. Infopedia entry on Queen Street

2. Wikipedia entry on Middle Road

3. Chun See's article

4. YG's article


Icemoon said...

Here is the question I wanted to ask. In the 1986 photo, is that the facade of Midlink behind the facade of the school? Eh, could it be that only the school facade is left standing?

yg said...

victor, since middle road was your 'territory', can you help me with these queries: what was the building that always advertised 'queen of moon cakes' just before the mooncake festival? where was this building? i recalled seeing this when i travelled along middle road but i cannot remember the exact location.

Victor said...

Icemoon, yes I think in the 1986 photo, the building behind Waterloo School is Midlink Plaza. Eh, why would they want to retain just the facade of the school if they wanted to tear down the whole building after all?

Victor said...

YG, is this your way of getting back at me for asking too many questions in the quiz? The answers to your questions are found in my earlier post.

yg said...

victor, thanks for leading me to the answers.

peter said...


"Queen of Moon Cakes" with a big neon signboard was the Empress Hotel at where NLB now stands

Icemoon said...

Victor, that was what I thought too. But if you look at the photo, the two buildings overlap. How come Midlink is behind the school from Middle Road side?

Lam Chun See said...

I still find it hard to believe that this street is Middle Road in 1970. Could it be that there's another Selegie Complex in Penang? I don't recall our Selegie Complex looking like this. And where is Fortune Centre? Not built then?

Victor said...

Chun See, I am very sure that it is Middle Road. I can't remember how Selegie Complex looked like but if you compare the windows for Waterloo School in the 1970 photo and those of the building in the 1986 NAS photo, you will find that they are one and the same building.

Even if I am wrong, I don't think YG is also wrong.

Victor said...

According to this link, Fortune Centre had its TOP in 1980. So you are probably right - it was not built in the 1970s yet.

peter said...

Yes it is one of the tower blocks of Selegie Complex viewed from Middle Road side. There was a big neon advertizement signboard up on one of the blocks - looks to me like a globe of some sort. To its left would be the primary school Victor went. Selegie Complex was in built in the mid-60s and based on the car prefix of SE, the photo could well be 1969 to 1974.

Anonymous said...


Victor, if you visit the National Archives "Picas" website and search for "Selegie Road", you will be able to view on page 9- picture no. 82, the David Elias Building.

In the background, you will see Selegie Complex. The wordings of the building's name, at the top, is similar to that in the picture you had posted.


Victor said...

Thanks to Anonymous of 25 Jul 09. I have updated the post with the 1986 NAS photo of David Elias Building/Selegie Complex. It leaves no doubt that the 2 images are of the same building.

peter said...

My apologies - I got mixed up between Selegie House the HDB Estate and Selegie Complex. the globe was on top of Selegie House. I was referring to 2 different places in the same comment.

If I taxi driver, I sure get lost in Singapore over building names.

Dan said...


The 'Then & Now' photo contest has closed and 900 plus entries were received.

You can view them online at http://www.todayonline.com/Gallery/Today

There are many interesting photographs including the 'roti man', the 'hae mee boys' and the 'mutton seller'.

I saw a couple of photos submitted by Philip Chew.


Victor said...

Peter, it is easy to make that kind of mistakes, even for taxi drivers.

Victor said...

Thanks Dan. I browsed through some of the photos. They were indeed very interesting and artistic.

Francoise said...

Hello Victor,
very interesting reading. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for an old map of Singapore and you have exactly what I want! I am looking for a map with Lorong Krishna on it and this lane does not exist anymore today. Would you be able to tell me where you got the map on this page so that I can get a copy without the red arrows? I'm researching my family history and this was where they lived.
Thank for any help you can give me.

Victor said...

Hi, Francoise. The map was taken from a 1963 street directory. If you could send me your email address, I could email you a copy. My email address is given on the side panel of my blog.