Archive for January 4th, 2008

My Old Katong Pt.1 – Katong Shopping Centre And Odeon Katong

Let me wish all friends here a Happy 2008 New Year before I begin my first post for this year.

Katong Shopping Centre;

So when was it built? Yes, 35 years ago, opened in 1973, it was one of the nearest shopping centres from my home in Haig Road back then. I loved to visit there during Saturday especially after my NCC Air ECA (now known as CCA) at the Haig Road Camp.

When my dad bought a 5rm flat at Haig Road in the early 70s, I was so happy as it was within walking distance to so many shopping area there like Katong Shopping Centre, City Plaza, Tanjong Katong Complex, Parkway Parade – of course some were built later.

This 35 years old shopping centre used to be full of textiles and shoes shops in the early days. The popular Oriental Emporium was located at one corner occupying 2 floors. It was fun shopping there especially before the Chinese New Year.

Below is how it looked like in 1994;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Now the whole place especially the basement and ground floor, are full of eatery shops. But I must said some of the eateries shops served value for money food. The good old Oriental Emporium, and many textiles and shoes shops were gone… This used to be a good place to know some Tanjong Katong Girls School students haha.

Luckily this old shopping centre still retains its old look and not much of a makeover like most other shopping mall. The main structural change is probably the addition of a lift at the corner near the Haig Road.

This is how it looks now(photo taken Dec 2007);

The eateries at the basement;

Somehow as I’m very much older now, this shopping centre seems to have ‘shrink’;

Odeon Katong Shopping Complex;

I wonder how many still remember the old Odeon Katong Theatre (Cinema) here before this Odeon Katong Shopping Complex was built? For how long the old Odeon Katong Theatre was here, I really don’t know. If I will to base on the 1988 Edition of Singapore Street Directory, it was still here in 1988. However the 1998 Edition of the Singapore Street Directory, it shows Odeon Katong Shopping Complex instead. So it must be between 1988 to 1998 that there was a makeover.

This is the old Odeon Katong Theatre in 1960;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Frankly I’m not too sure if there is a mix-up of dates as I recall that in the early 80s, the new Odeon Katong seems to be there already. During the Chinese New Year, I remember I went up to the cinema by escalator to book 3 days advance tickets for a movie. It was a norm to book advance tickets up to 3 days and usually the queue was extremely long during the Chinese New Year period. Haha, maybe I’ve got the years wrong myself….anyway…

Here is the 1994 look of the Odeon Katong Shopping Complex;

And the updated look in 2007 below;

I didn’t realise that the cinemas inside were gone…until I dropped by last month. See what the whole building becomes;

Can’t see…haha…let me tell you: 80% of the building occupied by Cornerstone Community Church! In fact, a number of old cinemas in Singapore have been converted to Church.

Here is the escalator leading to the old Odeon Katong cinema;

There is some changes to the road when the Odeon Katong Shopping Centre was built.

Before the Odeon Katong Shopping Centre was built, the Mugliston Road was terminated before the canal at the Katong Shopping Centre Carpark Entrance;

Now after the Odeon Katong Shopping Complex was built, the Mugliston Rd was extended below the building and joined with the Ean Kiam Place;

I don’t know how long these 2 buildings will last especially the Katong Shopping Centre. Those old buildings surrounding are going and gone one by one…

to be continued in Pt.2

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