Archive for March, 2008

Every Paper Bag Tells A Story

Paper bags were used during the 60s, 70s and early 80s. They were then replaced by the current plastic bags. In the past, most products or companies advertisements were placed on the paper bags. Of course most of us will remember those bigger paper bags used for the mooncakes boxes.

Look at these 2 paper bags found in my mother’s house. They are probably 25 to 30 years back.

1. Chee Seng Sesame Oil;

Take note of the old telephone number and the number of digit then. Also the old address 937 Serangoon Road. This Chee Seng Sesame Oil probably has a very long product life cycle. They have been here since 1943 though started off as coconut oil instead of sesame oil. Here is their company history and their double pagoda logo reason.

2. Heng Kee Lemon Juice ;

This was my favourite lemon juice in concentrated form, to be mixed with water. My mother used to buy a bottle of this lemon juice when she was out shopping. Note the address printed on the paper bag – Capitol Shopping Centre, Stall No.52 and $1.30 per bottle. Stall No.52 – those who been there before in the 80s will remember how the place like. Maybe Peter and Chun See can shed some lights.

Let’s see when the paper bags were made and who made them;

So don’t you think every paper bag tells a story? In the past, I used to say to my mother why was she keeping all these paper bags like garung guni…now I’m the one keeping it haha. Now I understand when there are aplenty – it’s like rubbish, and when it’s gone – it’s like treasure!

Beach Road Pt.2- Shaw Tower Revisit

…cont’d from Beach Road Pt.1 – NCO Club

I must admit that I’ve very poor sense of direction and not only that, I’m always confused with Shaw Tower, Shaw House, Shaw Centre and Shaw Plaza…

Ok for this post of course, I’m sure Shaw Tower is the one at Beach Road!

Built in 1974 at Beach Road, this was probably one of the tallest building there in the 70s. 3 things I remembered very well about this Shaw Tower;

– The steep slope leading into the building car park.

I’ve so far parked inside this tower less than 5 times and I don’t wish to try that again. In the past, I usually used manual gear cars so it was rather difficult to do clutch control.

– The 2 cinemas inside : Prince and Jade.

Seen quite a number of movies at Prince than Jade. Think both the Jade and Prince were opened in 1977. Prince is the bigger cinema and both are located on different floors and parts of the building. Later they have Prince 1 and 2, Jade 1 and 2 too. Read more here. It’s still around now;

– The 2 gift shops.

The Jade Gift Shop still around;

Used to go there to buy those items like belts, lighter, pen, etc..with brand like Dunhill, Cartier, Gucci, etc. Not too sure where is the other gift shop now but the Jade Gift Shop still around though what they sell now may be different from the past.

– The mobile disco (probably named Disco World) setup by a ex-poly grad.

This shop is no longer there now as the mobile disco popularity in the 70s and 80s was gone.

I think I’ve not been to this Shaw Tower for at least many years or maybe 2 decades. Yes, the last time I been to inside was probably in the late 80s. I don’t know why last Saturday when I drove past there, suddenly I felt the urge to take a walk inside. Of course I didn’t park inside the building but opposite (the public car park).

I am surprised that it’s no longer the same Shaw Tower that I’m familiar with. The crowd I used to see in the past also no longer there. At least found some old photos of Beach Road framed up along a passage way;

Besides some old photos of Beach Road, there are some interesting ‘gems’ on display.

A Punch Card Machine used by the employees to show time in and out (top left);

Below shows a blue cash register and a film cutter on the right;

Below shows some old cinema tickets;

Portriat of Rumme Shaw;

Credits : Above all – Shaw Organisation

Let us take a look at the Shaw Tower in the 1988 Street Directory;

Credit : Chief Surveyor, Singapore Government

Now take a look at the early 70s Street Directory just before the Shaw Tower was built;

You can see that the whole building was not there yet in the early 70s and the 2 old cinemas – New Alhambra Cinema and Marlborough Cinema were demolished.

So is Shaw Tower built on the same location where the 2 old cinemas – New Alhambra and Marlborough Cinemas were? If we take a look at the 50s city map below, we can get the answer;

Credit : Shell, Singapore Government Survey Department

So it’s actually sited on both cinemas but more towards Marlborough Cinema. Note there was a side road besides Marlborough Cinema in the 50s!

The New Alhambra Cinema was built in 1907 and later, the cinema was bought over by Cathay Organization and was renamed as Gala Theatre. Another cinema, Malborough Cinema, was constructed beside it.

Below is how the Alhambra Cinema looked like;

Photo Credit : Shaw Organisation

Alhambra Cinema was nicknamed “Hai Kee” (by the sea) due to its proximity to the sea. This theatre was one of the pioneer cinema halls in the early 1930s. The Alhambra became the first Singapore cinema to have air conditioning.

Below shows both the Alhambra and Marlborough Cinemas on the right;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

So when was your last visit to Shaw Tower?

Sea View Hotel – Old, New & Gone

I’ve only seen the ‘New’ Sea View Hotel at 26 Amber Close. Most of us are familiar with this Sea View Hotel logo at the top of the hotel building;

Surprisingly I find it more difficult to find photos of this ‘New’ Sea View hotel building than the Old Sea View hotel at Meyer Road. Below is the only photo I can find on internet;

For those not sure where exactly is Amber Close, here is the map;

See the * on the building next to the Sea View hotel. That’s where I usually hang out in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The old Katong Yaohan there with Ikea on the second floor…then we have the old Cold Storage taking over the place there too. Shopping seems so easy and close to my house at Haig Road.

Thinking back, I wonder why I liked to go shopping at Katong Yaohan and Cold Storage there even though I don’t have much to buy? Maybe just to enjoy the aircon haha. As for the hotel, I had been to the restaurant a couple of times only with my clients. In the 70s, this Sea View Hotel must be a luxury hotel too. But in it’s last decade, it’s just a 2 or 3 star hotel.

So they are going to build some condos on this same site and named it ‘The Sea View’. There will be 6 blocks of 23 storeys condos. You will be surprised how fast the progress is;

Photo Credit : Aaron Chong

When I started to shift in together with my parents in the 70s (around 1976 when I was in Sec.2) at Haig Road, the Sea View Hotel was already there near the Amber Close. So I’ve not seen the ‘Old Sea View Hotel’ at Meyer Road. I’m sure Peter has seen it as I remember he mentioned something like ‘dome’ shaped building at Meyer Road when I posted the topic on Haw Par Villa previously.

1. Sea View Hotel in the 70s;

Credit : Singapore Government, Chief Surveyor

Though the Marine Parade Road and ECP still not built, the ‘New Sea View Hotel’ had already been built at the Amber Close in the 70s. So when exactly is the ‘New Sea View Hotel’ built? Let’s take a look below;

– 1906 : Established Sea View Hotel at Meyer Road and owned by Reuben Manasseh Meyer

– 1909 : Grove Hotel became one of its 2 annexes

– 1912 to 1923 : Leased to Eleazar Johannes

– 1923 to 1931 : Leased to Sarkies Brothers (operated is as Sea View Hotel and Sanatoruium, and from 1926 as Sea View Hotel)

– 1931 to 1962 : Taken over by the executors of the estate of late Manasseh Meyer. Sea View Hotel Ltd became the proprietors and operated till 1962. The Peach Garden condo replaced the site occupied by the Old Sea View Hotel in 1976.

– 1969 to 2003 : The New Sea View Hotel began operations at Amber Close and ceased in 2003
2. Sea View Hotel (before the major land reclamation along East Coast in Mid 70s onwards);

Credit : Shell, Singapore Government Survey Department.

Note the location of the Sea View Hotel in the 50s. Also a number of roads like Marine Parade and East Coast Parkway were not built before the land reclamation. Of course the shoreline was immediately after the Amber Road and Sea View Hotel really means sea view.

Read more about the Old Sea View Hotel.

Read about how Grove Hotel became one of the 2 annexes of Old Sea View Hotel.

So the Old Sea View Hotel started off as a large colonial bungalow situated at the sea front surrounded by coconut trees.

This one shows the Old Sea View Hotel circa 1900. I wonder if that was how it looked like before becoming a hotel;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Below shows the living quarters of the Old Sea View Hotel at Meyer Road;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

In 1910;

Photo credit : Singapore Philatelic Museum

In 1926;

Photo credit : Singapore Philatelic Museum

In around 1937;

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

The dome-shape building of the Old Sea View Hotel;

Photo Credit : Joo Chiat, A living legacy by Lily Kong and TC Chang

The site of Old Sea View Hotel at Meyer Road is now occupied by Peach Garden condo;

Now both the old and new Sea View Hotels are gone…and both sites are replaced by condos. Should have taken some photos of the new Sea View Hotel before it was demolished.


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March 2008