Joo Chiat Road has changed a lot over the years. I have many memories of Joo Chiat for I grew up there. Each time I passed the vacant land where my home once stood, my mind would flashed many years back recalling the sights and sounds of yester-years.
Pic 1 below shows my fomer house on the right with a trishaw parked there. Every morning before the cock crowed, house wives walked passed my house for their marketing at Joo Chiat market. The click clock sound from their wooden clogs was music to my ear. It also served as a natural alarm clock for me to get up for school and later for work at my office. Another sight and sound were from the itinerant hawkers setting up stalls on the recess fronting my house. House wives stopped over to have breakfast and gossip about friends and families. I could also hear some of them haggling with the roadside hawkers over their purchases. This part of Joo Chiat Road had charm and character as seen in the picture. There were cyclists and people walking on the road. A large tree by the roadside provided shade. The gable wall of the building had windows for lighting and ventilation and also for viewing. Not any more now since Joo Chiat market had been demolished and all roadside hawkers had been resited. Furthermore, Joo Chiat Road is now a one-way street. The block of houses where I lived before together with those fronting the big tree had been demolished and is now a vacant land (pic 2).
Pic 2. Same site and angle as in pic 1 above. Old buildings gone and now a vacant land
Pic 3 Policeman directing traffic in 1968 at Joo Chiat Road/Geylang Serai junction
Joo Chiat Road junction where the four roads (Joo Chiat Road/Changi Road/Geylang Serai/Geylang Road) converge, has changed. In the 1960s there was a policeman (picture above) to direct traffic at peak hours. Now traffic lights regulate the flow of traffic.
Pic 4. 1960 street map - credit to Singapore Survey Dept
There were also 2 wet markets at the corner of Joo Chiat Road and Changi Road. Changi market was facing Changi Road and Joo Chiat market was facing Joo Chiat Road. The 2 markets were separated by a narrow lane as in pic 4. Changi market was very popular with the people living in Geylang Serai, because things were cheaper there than in Joo Chiat market. In late 1970 the 2 wet markets were demolished for the construction of Joo Chiat Complex (pic 5) which is now the new icon at Joo Chiat Road and Changi Road junction.
Pic 6. Joo Chiat Road and Geylang Road corner