Archive for October, 2009

joo chiat place

October 8, 2009

After meeting up with The Client in Telok Kurau, I would pop over to Joo Chiat Place to get my favourite ‘kim choo ba chang’ or have a bowl of ‘fei fei wanton noodles’. That was how I came across these interesting works lining along Joo Chiat Place. I love looking through the windows, doors and at the balconies. They say so much!

Joo Chiat area is a very old estate that is growing popular with the younger crowds. Going by the several A&A works that are going on and the cool upgrading of old properties, I am sure the property prices in the area are increasing as well. Argh.


I particularly liked the dark brown unit on the ground floor (bottom left pic). There are some interesting art works within which I was tempted to ask the owner about but too shy to approach them. Haha. Note the sensitive take of creating a door perpendicular to the road instead of facing the road directly. Nice.


THIS is really really cool (above pics). I could not have imagined doing up a shophouse in this way. Check out the landscaping too. Brave.


This unit is next to the shophouse mentioned above. I thought the entrance facade has alot of character. Or maybe it’s the bench & motorcycle combi.


I like it when the owners personalise the walkway with lots of landscaping and appropriate lighting. Throw in a bbq pit and the look is complete. Hehe.


Thought this was funny. The only shophouse left standing like the movie ‘UP’?


wet markets

October 1, 2009

Gathered from the Straits Times yesterday that Sheng Siong had bought over wet markets in Serangoon North, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang and Fajar Road. I never knew there were privately owned wet markets and government owned wet markets. In this case, the markets sold were privately owned.

Yes. This is reality and it is inevitable. BUT. I feel a tinge of sadness and pain, for both the residents and stall holders. Wet markets are part of our culture, the heart of a neighbourhood. Relationships are cultivated over the years as prices are haggled and compared amongst residents and stallholders. They knew one another. After getting the best deals of the day, they would stop to chit chat or proceed to the adjoining hawker centre for kopi and gossip sessions. In my case, due to the generation gap *haha*, the aunties and uncles show their appreciation (for my patronage) by asking about my family and giving me loads of spring onions, big & small chillis, coriander and limes FOR FREE!

Chain supermarkets simply lack that personalised feel. I shiver at the thought of more cold and smile-less foreigners manning the cash counters at the supermarkets (think food courts). Sigh.

I hope the market I patronise at Toa Payoh Lorong 4 will never be bought over. What would the old aunties and uncles do? What would they survive on? The only thing they are good at *and darn proud of* are the veggies and fishies they sell. Trust me, the dried beancurd (tau kee) sold in the markets, for example, is way better in quality and cheaper than the ones vacuum packed and sold in the supermarkets.

I object to the buyover and wonder if there are government agencies that can protect this little remaining heartland culture before another megamart destroys the urbanscape?



The very old uncle I was talking about previously (top left photo). He is very very V E R Y  S L O W.

Toa Payoh is the oldest (greying) estate with a mix of low/high rise flats with commercial activities on the ground floor. I like it for its intimate urban scale and organic street life between the blocks. Provision shops up since 6am, spill their goodies onto the landscaped pedestrian streets, peppered with many benches for old residents to rest on. I also like the very old-school kaya and butter toast in the hawker centre. They serve a mean kopi and soft boiled egg that is cooked ‘just right’. Here, I would ‘eavesdrop’ on the ah peks’ and ah mahs’ conversations as they chat away in Cantonese over breakfast. Hehe.



This is an example of early urban planning concept adopted by HDB. It was designed as the Town Centre and located next to the bus interchange and the MRT Station. Instead of adopting a ‘one mall fits all concept’ like today, low rise flats with shops on the ground floor would line the many pedestrian streets cutting through the centre.

The pictures were taken at 9am this morning. When the shops are open, it is a really fun and bustling place to explore.


The louvres caught my attention. It must work well against the rain since there are no glass panels behind it. The louvres and glass windows can be opened to reveal a full height opening for ventilation and view. Neat.

Do check out Toa Payoh Lorong 4 and Toa Payoh Central. When you do, do not forget to try Gen Shu *wink*. Yup this is what brought me to the market in the 1st place.