Project 2(I): Neighbourhood Explorer

Before I embarked on my exploration of Queenstown, this was pretty much all I knew about the neighbourhood:

  • old
  • IKEA
  • Queensway shopping centre has chio and cheap sport shoes with nice laksa and muah chee
  • Anchorpoint shopping centre, one of the best place for outlet shopping

YEP. Soooo I asked my friend whose boyfriend stays there and this was what she suggested:

” you can go visit the 2 new HDB blocks damn nice, skyville and skyterrace. Or queenstown library, that place freaking old sia. All those historical sites tear down to build condo already. Queenstown not much to see but the new hdb damn nice.”

Actually prior to visiting, I considered doing a heritage trail sort of thing considering how Queenstown was famous for being one of the oldest estates in Singapore. However, most of the old heritage sites were gone and doing a infographic on nice condos in Queenstown wasn’t exactly that appealing.

I also had my consultation with Joy before going down to Queenstown and these were a few of her suggestions of areas I should look into:

  •  old amenities in the area
  • new buildings vs old buildings – what was previously in the area and what is there now

After which, I decided on doing a map of amenities, food and entertainment in the area, sort of like a guide for newcomers who may be planning on moving into Queenstown. With a rough idea of what to look out for, I set off to explore Queenstown!

I wanted to get an idea of the neighbourhood from residences so I did a list of survey questions.

  1. How long have you been living here?
  2. What are some of the places you usually go to eat, shop or for entertainment?
  3. What do you like about these area?
  4. What are some places that have been around for a long time? (old amenities, etc.)

Here are a few videos of interviews I did with a few of the residences. Disclaimer: Pardon my awkwardness and HORRIBLE mandarin thanks!

Resident 1 ( stayed here for 40 years) 

 

Key takeaways:

  • 50-60 years old
  • Good food at Mei Ling Street Market ( only wet market here)
  • Tanglin Hock Market( not in the zone tho)
  • ” Da Zhong” market for groceries
  • not much entertainment in the area
  • most of the old shops have moved away
  • used to go to the swimming complex when she was younger
  • Pasar Malam in the 1960s/1970s were popular
  • There used to be a prison behind the library and a bowling alley which were both demolished

Resident 2 ( stayed here for 2-3 years) 

Key takeaways:

  • 20-30 years old, from Mauritius
  • Shopping at Queensway Centre
  • Queenstown has 2 McDonalds (lol)
  • IKEA
  • Dawson Food Court
  • Alexandra Food Court
  • Suggested a Salute Cafe behind Alexandra food court

Resident 3 ( stayed here for 3-4 years )

Key takeaways:

  • 18 years old, PR
  • Mei Ling Street – nice dessert, chicken rice, char kway Teow, Lor Mee
  • Queensway Shopping Centre
  • ABC market
  • AnchorPoint Shopping Centre

Resident 4 ( stayed here for 40 over years )

Key takeaways:

  • 70 years old
  • ABC market at Alexandra- nice fish soup and herbal soup
  • Queensway Shopping Centre
  • not much entertainment

After interviewing the residences, I got pretty much the same responses and decided to check some of these places out.


Queenstown Sports Complex

Singapore’s first neighbourhood sports complex. It comprises of 5 swimming pools and one of which is a 50-metre Olympic-size pool. The first thing I noticed about the stadium would be how retro the colours and infrastructure were. It was different from the typical stadiums we see in other neighbourhoods with its pastel paint and vibrate striking red, blue and yellow. I really love the colour scheme of the entire area. I wanted to take more pictures of the old swimming pool but got caught by the life guard for invasion of privacy.

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I also found these “Heritage Trail” boards put at certain sites in Queenstown.

Mei Ling Market& Food Centre

This was another common suggested place for the best food and the only(?) wet market left in Queenstown. The most suggested food to try was the duck noodle/rice, dessert, chicken rice, char kway Teow, Lor Mee. However, sadly the chicken rice stall as well as a few others have moved to Holland V and other places.

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Queensway Shopping Centre

I have been to Queensway shopping centre on several occasions to buy shoes so this wasn’t anything new to me. But it surprised me to find out this mall was one of the first multi-purpose complex in Singapore alongside Golden Mile and Katong. Fun fact, Singapore’s first public escalators were also installed in this very mall! I know Queensway is famous for their Katong Laksa and really nice muah chee as well as other Pasar Malam food. This mall is definitely filled with a lot of history and not just a place to get great bargains.

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Alexandra Village Food Centre

I have eaten here a couple of times but never really took the time to explore this part of the neighbourhood. Asides from the food centre, I also found many interesting old shops.dsc02450

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Queenstown sure love their duck rice haha

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Also found some really old school bakeries and confectionery stalls in the area. They sell traditional cakes, egg tarts, pastries etc.

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I also found a really interesting shop that sells rattan furniture. The kind that my grandparents used to use.

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While exploring, I also chanced upon this handmade Ang Ku Kway stall that one of my interviewees mentioned as well. I went to take a look and was surprised at the variety of flavours they offered asides from just the traditional ones. Judging from the long queues it must be really good.

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Princess House

Princess house was one of the few lasting historical sites. It was previously used as the headquarters for HDB. Many renowned dignitaries such as Prince Philip and Duke of Edinburg have visited Princess house to learn more about Singapore’s housing programmes. Even though the exterior of Princess house doesn’t look like much, the conservation of the building serves as a lasting reminder of Queenstown’s history.

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Former Venus and Golden City theatres

I also chanced upon the place that used to be the former venus and golden city theatres which were Queenstown’s first two cinemas. However, they have both been demolished and they are now building some condo in it’s place.

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Former Queenstown Polyclinic

There is also the former Queenstown polyclinic, which was Singapore’s first polyclinic to provide subsidised healthcare to residences.  However, it has since been converted into a dormitory.

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Queenstown Public Library

Queenstown public library is Singapore’s first public library. Lee Kuan Yew saw it as a step towards improving our standard of living by providing access to books which most people could not afford to buy. It has now become an identity marker of Queenstown which holds fond memories for past and present residences.

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The “Butterfly” block

Block 168A is Queensway’s first curved HBD block and it’s unique facade was what earned it it’s name. Back then, HDBs were mainly built for function with simple slab blocks and point blocks. With its aesthetic facade, the “butterfly” block was an effort to encourage more innovative designs and character in public housing. The curves and colours of the buildings were definitely a sight to look at.

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This pretty much concludes my visit at queenstown!

Post Exploration Thoughts

After visiting, I realise that my initial idea of a guide of Queenstown may not be that great. Firstly, most of the old amenities have shifted, most of the food places have shifted as well to commonwealth and Holland V area and to be honest, there isn’t much in terms of entertainment asides from shopping at Queensway, IKEA or anchorpoint. Furthermore, these are all pretty common and truth be told, you don’t need a guide for it when many people already know of these places. Therefore, I decided to play on the heritage and history of Queenstown. I scrapped the idea of a heritage trail since it has already been done. Throughout my research, I realise that Queenstown was actually the first for loads of things. The first polyclinic was built here, the first technical school, first library etc. Hence, I thought why not do an infographic for the lists of things that Queenstown was first for?

And this concludes my post!! Took me forever but thanks for reading!! 🙂