Saturday, November 1, 2008

Joo Chiat Road

In the 60s at Joo Chiat Road and Changi Road junction, the roadsides were always congested with illegal hawkers stalls as shown in the picture below. People crowding around the hawker stalls also contributed to traffic obstructions. As a result there were a number of minor accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. When that happened, it was better for the motorist not to stop the car to assist the injured but to drive straight to the police station to make a report or returned to the place of accident with the police. There were instances where motorists were beaten up by hooligans who loitered around the area.

Joo Chiat Road and Changi Road junction.

My favourite gorent pisang (banana fritters) stall was in the coffee shop at the corner of Joo Chiat Road and Geylang Road. It was within walking distance from my house. The hawker's operating hours were very short. Customers who went there late were disappointed. There was no queque like we see today. People just crowded round his stall.

The sidelane between the 2 blocks of buildings were selling only muslim cooked food. A variety of Malay food were sold there such as satay, mee rebus, soto ayam, lonton and other cooked food. There was no piped water supply and no washing area. The hygiene was very poor and yet nobody complained.

Joo Chiat Road looking towards east coast.
Source: National Archives of Singapore

No 71 Joo Chiat Road shophouse with illegal extension.

The shop was originally selling charcoal. Due to poor business, an illegal shed was constructed in front of the shop to sell fancy fish and birds. The owner also had a similar stall at the side wall of Hollywood Theatre.

Joo Chiat Road towards Changi Road

No 73 Joo Chiat Road

Old timers living in Joo Chiat should remember that fronting this house was a hawker stall selling Hainanese satay and porridge at night till very late. It was an icon in Joo Chiat Road at night in those bygone days.

Joo Chiat Road shophouses before

The same site now without the shophouses

The background shows the Joo Chiat Complex multi-storey carpark. The open air Lily Cinema was located there. Movie goers had to sit on hard wooden benches. It was free sitting and seats were reserved by tying handkerchiefs to the benches. I had a friend living behind the cinema. His father had erected a timber platform high enough to watch the show. It was meant for his family members but friends and neighbours also went there to see the movie. As a result, it was always crowded. I went there only when I could not get a ticket to the cinema. They are all but a memory now.