30 August 2010

Then And Now (1)

I am starting a new series called "Then And Now". Wherever possible, I will try to attempt "second shots", although I know mine will never be as precise as those captured by Icemoon.

To start off this series, what could be more meaningful than to show you what my secondary school used to look like and how it looks like today:

Today, the old Victoria School building is occupied by People's Association HQ. The newer science block behind the main block was demolished to make way for a new tall block that you see now. Somehow, I find that the new building does not blend well with the old facade of the building. But still, I am very grateful that the old building, which dates back to the 1930s, has been conserved.

By the way, did you know that the old building was designed by the same architect who designed the old Kallang Airport building which by some strange coincidence, was the old PA HQ? Do you know who is he? (Note: This is not a quiz because I don't know the answer myself.)

To round off this post, I would like to show you a panaromic view of the Jalan Besar area as seen from the same spot. You could see Jalan Besar Stadium on the right. (Click on the photo to get a clearer view.)

Oh my, how lucky the residents of this HDB block are - they could watch every football game held at the stadium from their homes!

19 August 2010

Old Singapore Quiz (18) - Old Object - Answers

Okay, here are the answers for "Old Singapore Quiz (18) - Old Object". Thanks to Tom for his timely reminder. Wah, stressed man!

Icemoon obviously knew the answers as he was at this location recently to take photos for this post. But he was such a gentleman that he did not give the game away.

YG not only didn't know the answer but misread the quiz as he asked "Why close the quiz?" the very next day when all I said was that Icemoon was interested in war relics.

Chun See was the first to guess the object correctly, followed by Tom, Anonymous (No. 2 on 15 Aug 10) and finally Peter Stubbs. But no one gave the correct answer for Question no. 2, i.e. "Where is this object located? (Provide the name of the building or the road name)".

Yes, the object is a weapon. More specifically, it is a mortar.

This plaque near the object says, "This mortar, probably a World War II relic used by the British, was found during excavation for the Annex Wing of this building. (Conservation and installation funded by Singa Development Pte Ltd)".

And the building in question is none other than the Peranakan Museum which is located in Armenian Street. The mortar is situated on the left side of the above photo. It is the side of the building which is facing the public open-air carpark.

Tao Nan School occupied this building from 1910 to 1981 when it moved to Marine Crescent. (Both my sons studied in the new Tao Nan School in Marine Crescent).

15 August 2010

Closure Of Museum Of Shanghai Toys (MoST)

I was surprised to read this article in the Sunday Times today:

The Museum of Shanghai Toys (MoST) had closed down with effect from Jun 10. Marvin Chan, the owner and director of the museum attributed the reason for its closure to "the low number of visitors and high operating cost". He planned to move the entire toy collection to Shanghai where he co-owned a toy-making factory.

It is indeed a sad thing that a museum had to close because of lack of support from the state or from the public. Now isn't it ironical that a museum which is set up to document history have to go down history itself?

I remember meeting Marvin at a Friends of Yesterday.sg meet at Chun See's place some 2 years ago. As he was busy using his notebook, it is a pity that I didn't manage to speak to him then. I did go into the museum once but only to the section on the ground floor where admission was free. I regret not visiting the upper floors to explore Marvin's collection. Now I don't have the chance to do so anymore.


12 August 2010

Old Singapore Quiz (18) - Old Object

Sorry for not having written for some time as I have been quite busy lately. Meanwhile, here's an old Singapore quiz which I hope can buy me some time.

Q1. What is this old object? Is it:

a. A telescope? (State the bodies it is used for looking at, i.e. heavenly or neighbourly.)

b. A weapon? (Name the specific type, e.g. gun, cannon, mortar, rocket, etc. "One that hurts or kills" DOES NOT count as a correct answer.)

c. An adult sex toy? (Specify whether for men or women and describe how it is used, with measured decency. Hey, there are children readers of my blog, okay?)

d. A vehicle part? (What is the name of the part?)

e. A torture device? (What kind of torture does it inflict? Note: Racking your brain over this quiz DOES NOT count as a correct answer.)

f. A measuring device? (What does it measure?)

g. None of the above. (If you choose this answer, you must name the specific object and its use.)

Q2. Where is this object located? (Provide the name of the building or the road name.)

Answers will be revealed in a week's time. Have fun guessing!

01 August 2010

Fallen Trees

Recently, there has been a spate of fallen tree incidents in Singapore. Some of these incidents involve small trees that do not cause serious injuries or property damage. However, some fallen trees are large mature trees. If these falling heavy trees hit people or property, there are likely to be injuries or even death as well as severe damage to property.

ST Photo
On 20 Jul 2010 at around 2 pm, 32-year-old Chua Loong Wai was crushed to death by a fallen raintree. This incident happened along the junction of Thomson Hills Drive and Yio Chu Kang Road.

Undeniably, it is a tragic accident that is both sad and shocking. However, Loong Wai is not the first person in Singapore to die by a falling tree. You may recall that in May 2007, there were 2 separate fatal incidents caused by falling trees/branches that happened to a woman in Bukit Batok Nature Park and a Vietnamese man near the Tree Top Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir.

According to the authorities, the tree that killed Loong Wai was uprooted by a microburst which is a localised, powerful descending air draft column that produces damaging winds at high speed. Microbursts are known to knock down fully grown trees. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said that were 240 incidents involving trees or branches which fell last month, largely due to bad weather. The figure is more than double that of the 90 incidents during the same month last year.

ST Photo
Just 2 days after this tragic accident, another similar incident occurred at about 7.45 am at a road junction near Block 226, Ang Mo Kio Street 22. This time, the 3 occupants of the blue Chevrolet were lucky to get away with only some scratches. However their car was badly damaged with both its front and back windscreens shattered.

Then just 2 days ago, a motorcyclist had a narrow escape when he tried to avoid a tree branch that had fallen across 2 out of 3 lanes of the Bukit Timah Expressway. He lost control of his scooter and fell. However, it was fortunate that he was not hurt.

Police Roadblock
Only this morning at about 9 am, when I was exiting CTE (southbound) and turning right into Jalan Bukit Merah, I encountered a police roadblock. Traffic was diverted back into CTE (northbound).

Fallen tree blocking off all 3 lanes of westbound Jalan Bukit Merah
The cause of the road diversion was a large fallen tree blocking all 3 lanes of the westbound carriageway of Jalan Bukit Merah.

A worker perched precariously on top of the fallen tree
Workers could be seen cutting the tree apart and a crane was at the scene to hoist the branches to the roadside.

Curious onlookers at the scene
Luckily, there appeared to be no casualties. It is fortunate that this incident happened early on a Sunday morning when traffic is light. As most motorists know, Jalan Bukit Merah is a major thoroughfare that has very heavy traffic during peak hours. I shudder to think of the dire consequences should a vehicle be hit in this case.

Part of the concrete walkway was prised out of the ground by the immense force.

Off-ground pavement
Even a lamp post with a Tanjong Pagar GRC poster tied to it had fallen over unceremoniously
Maybe the tree near the National Museum that mysteriously disappeared more than a century ago was also annihilated by a microburst? Whichever the case, you should always try to stay indoors in inclement weather - besides an increased likelihood of being struck by lightning, a falling tree is yet another very real and present danger which you are exposed to when you are outdoors in bad weather.


Further Reading:

17 trees uprooted early Sunday