Monday, 26 October 2009

Orchard Road

Here's a lovely old photo of Orchard Road from the 1960s or perhaps, a little bit later. Some of the cars look like they could be early 1970s models.
When I went back to Singapore in 1990, the skyline of Orchard Road had certainly changed and I'm sure it's changed a great deal since.
In the background are signs for, 'National Optics', 'Sony', 'Teac' and 'Cathay Pacific'. The large building on the right is the Hotel Phoenix near to the Orchard Building. A signpost on the left reads, 'Bideford Road'.
Back in the 1960s, the main shops that I can remember in the area were Tangs and Robinsons. I think that Robinsons was air-conditioned and we used to go in just to cool down! Anything we bought had to be taken across the causeway to get it back home to Johore Bahru and this involved 'duty' being paid on items bought. If you tried to hide the items and they searched your vehicle and found anything, the fine would only be a few dollars anyway. Every time we went across the causeway, they would ask us if we had anything to declare but the question was in Malayan. My parents and most of the forces families knew the reply for, 'I have nothing to declare' but I can't remember what it was.
Of course, there was a game to see what could be taken across the causeway without paying duty. This included buying bikes and cycling them across, sitting on new cushions so they looked like they belonged to the car and wearing bought clothes and other items. I can't really remember anyone paying duty on anything.
I loved our trips over to Singapore in the 1960s. It seemed that there was so much going on there. Of course, it was the place where my dad worked and we regularly went to the Naval Base for cinema shows, firework displays, Christmas parties and other events. There always seemed to be something going on when you were part of a Naval family.

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