Older Singaporeans will know that it’s Ang Sar Lee which means Red Roofs. In the 1950’s and 60’s, this estate was mostly populated by British military forces’ families. As such most of the streets here have British names like Farleigh, Kensington, Chartwell and Cardiff. In those days, many of the houses had red-colour tiled roofs, and hence the name Ang Sar Lee.
Thanks to Johnny Ho who contributed these two 1960’s photos of shops in Serangoon Garden to Memories of Singapore and used with permission here. Can anyone identify the streets depicted here?
After driving around a bit, we made our first stop at the former Paramount theatre along Maju Avenue. This place held many happy memories for us. We watched many movies here. Let’s see if I can recollect some of them. Besides the Hercules series which I mentioned earlier, there were cowboy Westerns, Japanese Samurai movies (the name Shintaro sound familiar to you) and of course the Shaw Brothers kung fu movies directed by Chang Chieh and featuring stars like One-Arm Swordsman, Wang Yu, Lo Lieh, Yue Hua and Chen Hung Lieh. One particular title I recall is the very funny It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Like many of the old cinema halls in Singapore, Paramount Theatre has been converted into a shopping centre.
By the way, when I checked the street directory, the name is officially Serangoon Garden (singular), but I am pretty sure, it used to be Serangoon Gardens (plural). I wonder if anyone is able to throw some light on this mystery. Anyway, I will simply refer to it as SG.Our family’s acquaintance with SG was mainly in the 1960’s after the new road, Lorong Chuan was built, joining it to Braddell Road, and passing by Our Kampong at Lorong Kinchir. This must be around 1961 or 62. We usually cycled the 2 to 3 km and occasionally I liked to take the short cut via Cardiff Grove and Chartwell Drive, instead of the main roads Lorong Chuan and Serangoon Garden Way. I remember seeing a beautiful church but cannot recall the name.
My eldest brother Chun Chew suggested that we make a visit to SG and take some photos of the familiar landmarks before they suffer the same fate as many other famous landmarks in Singapore, and of course to blog about it. And so last week, we took another trip down memory lane. My sister Pat, joined us. She was eager to revisit the famous Chomp Chomp food centre.
We frequented this row of shops facing Paramount Theatre. We often stringed our badminton rackets at a shop called George .. something.
I remember buying or renting the very popular Beano and Dandy comics at a corner Indian stall at Farleigh Avenue.
From Maju Avenue, we made our way to the SG Market where Mr Tan Pan Beng operated his pork stall. We passed by the Serangoon Garden Circus which has little changed. This must be one of the few circuses left in Singapore. (By the way, here's a quiz question. Which was the largest circus in Singapore? Let me know if you can find the answer in the Spore Encyclopaedia.)
This is a shot of the SG Circus viewed from SG Market entrance.
We had our lunch at the newly renovated market and food centre before making our way back to Maju Avenue where I had parked my car. Along the way, we stopped by the Post Office and the famous Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre, which didn't look like it was in operation - most of the stalls were closed. I remember they used to have an excellent popiah stall here.
This is the new market cum hawker centre along Serangoon Garden Way
Regrettably, my photos did not turn out well. The haze and overcast sky to be blamed of course. Which gives us a convenient excuse to visit again, maybe when my brother returns from Australia.
On the way back, we detoured to our see what was left of our kampong at Lorong Chuan. Share that with you next time.