01 November 2010

Old Singapore Quiz (19) - Another Old Cannon - Answers

No correct answers were received for the last quiz although YG did come close with his "near the sea" guess about the location. I truly marvel at his keen sense of observation - he noticed the ketapang leaves on the ground of the quiz photo and guessed it was near the sea. Looks like for future such quizes, I will have to "digitally clean up" the ground as well and not only "paint over" the name plaque.

I said YG's guess "come close" because the location used to be near the sea in the 1950-60s, possibly even till the 1970s, as this 1963 map shows:

Now, the map of the area looks like this:

About 400 metres of land had been reclaimed and on it stand the Pasir Panjang Wharves.

Answers to the Quiz

Q1. Where does this cannon lie?

A1. Pasir Panjang Park - This got to be the one of the smallest, if not the smallest park in Singapore. Its area is probably only slightly larger than an HDB executive flat which is about 140 square metre or 1,500 square feet. This is because a large part of the park has been converted to an open-air carpark. The park is located next to the Pasir Panjang Food Centre. Incidentally, the cannon is located directly in front of the old pre-war house which I blogged about previously.

Q2. Who presented this cannon?

A2. The photo of the plaque above says it all. He is HJC Kulasingha, OBE (1900-1982). HJC is not his title but part of his name, i.e. his full name is Hollupatherage James Calbera Kulasingha. OBE is not part of his name but probably stands for Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He contested in Bukit Timah as a Progressive Party candidate in 1951 Legislative Council General Election against Valiya Purayil Abdullah of the Labour Party. He won, garnering 1,311 (57.1%) of the votes against Abdullah's 983 votes (42.9%). He also contested in Southern Islands in the 1955 General Election under the same party as well as in Pasir Panjang in the 1959 General Election as an independent candidate but lost both elections. (Refer to this webpage for further details. If you explore the website, you will find that people like clerks, hairdressers and newspapermen contested the General Elections in those days. Not quite different from recent times when you have people like the Slipper Man contesting the General Election, am I right? For your information, Kulasingha was a merchant.)

He was also Chairman of the Pasir Panjang Rural District Committee. In this position, road safety in his district was one of his concerns, as can be seen from this Straits Times article dated 20 Oct 1950, courtesy of the SPH and NLB:

He was also once the Director of the Jurong Bird Park.

Q3. When was it presented? (Just the year will do.)

1 Feb 1957, or should it be 2 Jan 1957? It says "1.2.1957" on the plaque. Erm... that's why I said "just the year will do". The year is definitely 1957 - I was only less than one year old and probably still breastfeeding.


yg said...

let me guess how you happened to stumble upon this baby cannon. after your meal of ikan bakar, satay and sugar-cane juice at pasir panjang food centre, you decided to take a small detour to get back to your car. that's when this exciting thing happened.

Icemoon said...

I been there for lunch. I thought the famous stall is that Hainanese? rice stall?

fr said...

In those days, a clerk was regarded as a well-paid respectable job. Getting a Cambridge SC was a great achievement.

Victor said...

YG, your guess is close but not quite right again. I drop by this place for breakfast on the way to work sometimes. Because of the Circle Line Stage 5 works nearby, the food centre is obscured from view from the main road. Perhaps this has affected business and only a handful of stalls are open in the morning. Amongst them are nasi padang stall, 2 drink stalls, a Hainanese curry rice stall (this must be Icemoon's favorite stall), a Teochew porridge stall and a fishball/prawn mee stall. No ikan bakar but there's ikan goreng, no satay but got pork chop, and no sugar cane juice but got kopi gau.

Icemoon - I have never tried the Hainanese curry rice even though I have visited this hawker centre dozens of times.

Icemoon said...

I don't understand. How come after the concrete railing, the ground seems to drop precipitously? I get this impression from the height of the tree canopy. Was the area a hill lock last time?

EteL said...

just dropping by to let you know im still reading, though I can't contribute much to the quizzes and entries, but im still around! =)

urbanXplorers said...

Greeting from Urban Explorers of Singapore (UESG). Thanks for posting this article.

We've published a few photos (and a video) of the cannon and it's surrounding down at our business page in facebook.

Have a look see?

The concrete railing was a 'left over'. Beyond that concrete railing was the sea.
Here: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=468050627439

peter said...

If I not wrong, that one in pasir panjang park? That one for paktor area

Icemoon said...

Victor, your baby cannon has disappeared from the park!


Victor said...

Yes, Icemoon. I noticed it was gone about one or two months ago. Do you know where it has gone to. (This is not a quiz as I do not know the answer myself.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am currently researching on the history of the pasir panjang park and your blog has been helpful! i would like to just find out where exactly did you take the photo with the bench and the signboard saying pasir panjang park. I'm tracking the develpment that has been going on and thus it will be helpful to know where the benches were.
Thank you.

Victor said...

Hi Anon, as mentioned by Icemoon above on 1 Apr 12, the cannon is no longer there. If you still have other queries on this matter, please send me an email (my email address is given in the side panel on the main page of this blog).

Anonymous said...

In case you are curious, the cannon was handed over to NHB all these years for preservation and storage before finally install back to the newly open Pasir Panjang Park on 16 Sep 2023, also our founder, LKY’s 100th birthday.