Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nostalgic Joo Chiat

I grew up in Joo Chiat and lived in a 2 storey shophouses built by my grandfather. My home was the second unit from the left. Between the 2 blocks of building was an un-named lane that led to a small kampong behind the buildings. Chew Joo Chiat's residence was at the next block. It was hidden from sight by the corner house.

                                  Credit to NAS:  Chew Joo Chiat's residence                             
Above photo shows Chew Joo Chiat's residence. A neighbouring house was on fire and the firemen fought the fire from his house. Chew also built a wayang stage directly across the road for his entertainment, especially at his birthday, Chinese festivals and others. He watched the 'teowchew hee' from front balcony at level three.

Credit to NAS: wayang show
It was also an access to a Chinese school next to the kampong. The lane was of red laterite and sand. It was my drawing board as a kid. I could draw and then erase with a stick or with the swipe of my foot. It was also my playground where I played marbles, garsing (top) etc with other kids.

After WWII the lane became a mini wet market cum food alley. Fish and vegetables were sold there.  The fishes were fresh as they came directly from the kelongs (fishing stakes) at Maring Parade. Some of them could be seen jumping or gasping for air. Vegetables were from our local farms. Further in the lane were the food hawkers. They were selling soup hokkien mee, bak chor mee, bubo item/tigu, yew char kuay ...............           There was only one mee siam stall from an Indonesian hawker.
A pork stall and a coffee stall were added later.