Archive for the ‘Stamford Road’ Category

Stamford House is moving house

October 10, 2008

Along Stamford Road at the intersection with Hill Street, you will not miss a huge historic building known as Stamford House. It was originally known as Oranje Building built by Regent Alfred John Bidwell (1869-1918) of Swan and Maclaren in 1904. He was also the architect for Raffles Hotel and Goodwood Park Hotel. The architectural design of Stamford House is a variation of the Venetian Renaissance architectural style that was popular in commercial buildings in the Victorian period at that time. Similar buildings were Capitol Building & Theatre, MPH Bookstore (Malayan Publishing House) located along Stamford Road.

^ Map location: Stamford House, No.39 Stamford Road, Singapore.

^ Picture of Stamford House today. Not much changes since 1904.

^ The year “1904” which it was built can be seen on the inscription at the top of the building.

A bit more about Stamford House from Infopedia. Very soon, Stamford House will undergo a revamp. Perhaps you may like to have a last browse at the shops located within before the renovations take place. Read the story about Stamford House Moving House, TODAY, Oct 4, 2008


YMCA along Stamford Road

May 29, 2008

30 years ago in 1978, the song “Y.M.C.A.” was sung by a motley group known as Village People. It became a hit in January 1979 and topped the U.S. and U.K. charts shortly afterwards. As the acronym goes, it stands for “Young Men’s Christian Association”. Till today, this long time disco classic continues to provide a catchy and upbeat tune to listeners.

Producer Henri Belolo recalls that he saw the YMCA sign while walking down the street with composer Jacques Morali, who seemed to know the institution fairly well: “Henri, let me tell you something. This is a place where a lot of people go when they are in town. And they get good friends and they go out.” And Henri got the idea: “Why don’t we write a song about it?”

The song became a number one hit in many places (notably not in the United States where it lost to Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”). It has remained popular at parties, events, and functions ever since.

Read a bit about the origin of the YMCA song.

But a delve into the past history of this building situated along Stamford Road drew up some interesting information which the present younger generation of Singaporeans may not know about.

The YMCA building situated along Stamford Road was once the headquarters of the much feared and dreaded Japanese Kempeitai East District Branch during the Japanese Occupation of SIngapore (1942-1945). Here’s two old file pictures of the YMCA building. Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore.

YMCA building (undated).

YMCA building (circa 1955).

The Japanese Kempeitai was the military police force under the Japanese military command in the occupied territories. Its role was to crush all forms of resistance against the Japanese military rule by sheer fear. Operating much akin to that of a secret police force, it has the power to detain, arrest, interrogate, torture and even kill anyone who goes against Japanese rule. A notable figure who suffered under the Japanese Occupation of Singapore was the late Elizabeth Choy (1910-2006) dubbed the War Heroine of Singapore. Civilians and military personnel from the Allied forces who became prisoners-of-war that were interrogated and tortured at YMCA building for information were sometimes not seen nor ever heard of again.

YMCA building (2008).

Today, the YMCA building takes on a whole new look and purpose. Managed by YMCA Singapore (a Christian voluntary welfare organisation), it is dedicated to give assistance to enrich the lives of the less privillege in our community. For those who had painful memories of the past of YMCA building and the atrocities committed during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, we hope that you will look upon this building like a phoenix rising out from the ashes…a much feared and dreaded place but now has become a centre for building the lives of our community. Hope you will jingle to the beat of YMCA.

Singapore National Museum

May 28, 2007

Visiting the National Museum since its recent renovation brings back fond memories of my school days. Much of the landscape along Stamford Road that once housed the red-bricked building of the National Library, hawker centre next to the library, MPH Bookstore, old YMCA and the sarabat stalls along Waterloo Street and SJI school field, had changed so much that I had to orientate myself to recall what the place was like decades ago.

Directions to the museum.

A bit of history.


In all her splendour and grandeur.


The dome as seen from inside of the museum.

Window to the past.

Modern mixed with the old.

A quiet place to chill out.

Unmistakable designs of the museum windows and walls.

Modern artistic works on display.

mph.jpgMPH Bookstore (known as Malayan Publishing House) was formerly located where the red and white brick building seen in this photo at the far end on the right. On the right of the photo where the big tree is seen, it was formerly where the National Library used to be. The two red brick pillars on the left near the foreground is actually the gate entrance leading to the National Library. The building on the far end on the left of the photo was actually part of SJI school field which is now the SMU. Stamford Road was a road running in front of MPH Bookstore to the gate entrance towards the left going towards Penang Road. The route of Stamford Road has undergone some changes which now runs behind the SMU building.

A photograph of the entrance to the former National Library where the two red brick pillars still stand today.

Stamford Road….named after Sir Stamford Raffles.

Rendevous Hotel. The Rendevous Restaurant still serves mouth-watering nasi padang. Dad use to drive me in the old Renault just off the main entrance of the restaurant to `tar-pau’. Passing through the cowboy swing doors of the restaurant entrance, patrons sat in old tables and chairs eating their hearts out.

Read on for more information about the National Museum of Singapore