Shopping in the Past – Cortina, President… (Part 2)

I’m not too sure how many are familiar with shopping centres like 总统大厦 and 高登 (President Shopping Centre and Cortina Departmental Store).

President Shopping Centre (now known as Serangoon Plaza) was a rather popular shopping centre for those staying nearby like me. I bought my first badminton racket there. I remember there was a coffee house or snack bar (this 2 terms are no longer used nowadays) there and my godbrother used to order “7-up Float” or “Banana Split” for me. Behind this President Shopping Centre was the President Merlin Hotel (now New Park Hotel). Anyone knows why this shopping mall called “President”?

The other one was Cortina Departmental Store located in Colombo Court (the new Supreme Court);

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS.

Above shown how the Colombo Court looked like in the 1980s. In the 70s, my godbrother bought me my first long pants there at Cortina.

Of course, in it was also the popular Northern Palace Restaurant. Sad to see that the building had to go to make way for the new Supreme Court;

Photo Credit : RafflesCity of Skyscrapercity forum.

Above shown the new Supreme Court still under construction in 2005.

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13 Responses to “Shopping in the Past – Cortina, President… (Part 2)”


  1. 1 Lam Chun See Monday, March 26, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Yes I remember these 2 places. I also remember attending a live theatre show at President, 2nd floor where we watched hilarious show by Wang Sar and Yeh Fong, and also the Taiwanese singer Chang Ti, who could improvise the lyrics to any song posed to him by the audience.

  2. 2 peter Monday, March 26, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    I am interested to know how it got its name.

    The shopping center was a zealy place in the 1980s – motor accessory shops with many people from JB who bought/installed car accessories that were banned in Malayasia. Also there was a time when “Health Centers” (with the “Amy, Michelle and Fong Fong”) employed many Malaysian girls.

  3. 3 laokokok Monday, March 26, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Chun See, I’m awared that the President was a popular for those shows but sad to say that I didn’t have a chance to see one.

    Peter, that is something I’ve left out as I’m totally not awared of it – Amy, Michelle and Fong Fong! haha.

  4. 4 peter Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    From my observations on Colombo Court

    1. Many small Indian legal firms operated here. Seems small Chinese legal firms at People’s Park Complex. I went on foot selling WANG word processors to these firms – very difficult to sell to “IXXXXXX”.

    2. Northern Palace Restaurant was a typical Chinese restaurant – ceiling lanterns and dark wood wooden dividers. Famous for tim sum but as tim sum fad died, it became a place for Christian workship on Sunday – the St Andrew’s Cathedral ran the service.

    3. Raja Mahal Indian Restaurant in the basement. Not sure if this was the correct name but certainly some North Indian restaurant. Kena kutok for such small portions of nan.

  5. 5 peter Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Somebody should blog about the good old days of ‘Health Centers”. Is this not heritage which you dont really see these days. Those were the days when foreign workers especially Malaysian Chinese girls came down south to make a living.

    I was reading the New Paper recently surprised that 45 mins, the price still the same as the good old days.

  6. 6 laokokok Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Hi Peter, your price at the good old days mean $30 or less?

  7. 7 peter Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 3:05 am

    I think $32 but I am not sure about the “looks” haha haha

  8. 8 Patrick Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    I was once a sale staff at cortina for few months after my sec 4 in 1979. Hope to connect with my good friend, Irene

  9. 9 Suresh Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Wasn’t Kwang Sia Records at Cortina? I remember buying the bulk of my LPs there…

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