FOYers On A Journey To The West

newPicsArt_1416556910289This memorable photo for the family album to show to the family, relatives, colleagues and friends and everyone all over the world on Facebook.  (From left to right:  Lina Catcat, Hercules Lim, Lam Chun See, James Tann).  The photo was taken at one of the little known reservoirs in Singapore … Pandan Reservoir.  The well known reservoirs are MacRitchie, Pierce and Seletar.

pandan reservoir herculespandan reservoir hercules5

This is more than just a heritage blog to share with everyone.

It offers a sunny morning on November 21, 2014 for a small group of “Friends of Yesterday” (FOYers) to get together for a few hours for fellowship to renew our friendship, walk, talk and blog to share our Singapore memories and had lots of fun.  Memories for every generation to remember the places, people and events among young and old to add information and stories for some others who did not know.

This blog is also educational and informative for young students to learn from the heritage blogs, especially from our veteran bloggers Lam Chun See. published bestseller writer of “Good Morning Yesterday” blog and blogger James Tann of “Princess Elizabeth Estate” blog who specialise in World War II history and old maps of Singapore.

Lina Catcat and Hercules Lim are our blog contributors of heritage photos, stories and memories to share and enhance our blogs.

Why a “journey to the west”?

No, not one of the four great Chinese classic novel published in the 16th century during the Ming dynasty, “Journey to the West” [西游记]。

The five of us in the group are living in other parts of Singapore, not the west.  However, Chun See have vivid memories of Jurong where he once worked for many years.

The “memory journey” was initiated by Chun See and invited us to get together.  As most of us are busy with tight schedule for business, social, family or church activities throughout the week, it is not often that we had the chance to meet in person.

On this “once in a blue moon meetup” is indeed a rare opportunity for our favorite “hobbies”.

Thanks to a blessed sunny day, it was a day well-spent together.  Chun See to fetch us in his new car around the place, new camera to test the photos, and James Tann to bring us to a new food place for a treat of “mountain ice-balls” which was new to us.  We appreciate the generous “cool and fun” treat from James Tann.  Chun See, James Tann and I remember our “ice-ball” days during the 1960s in Singapore.

js icekachang1_smjs icekachang2chun see mountain ice kachangChun See licking the “mountain of ice-kachang” with joy and delight  …..

Teban Gardens


Its been over a decade since I last visited Teban Gardens, where I once worked in 1980s.  So much have changed the physical landscape in the place.  Opposite the Teban Market, the banners are welcome news to visitors and residents in this constituency.


Teban Gardens is a matured and aged HDB housing estate. In the 1960s, most pioneer residents work in the Jurong industrial estate to work closer to home for convenience and to save on travelling expenditures.

Many non-Singaporeans who work in Jurong prefer to continue their jobs, got their Singapore citizenship, became married and build their families without leaving Teban Gardens.

The residents have taken root in a self-contained heartland far away from town.  Whatever their daily needs in Teban Gardens are available for young and old.  Their children attend nearby schools and recreational amenities in the area.

All the neighbours have grown up together as a closely-knit community to live, work and play in peace and harmony, regardless of race, language or religion … no different from every constituency wherever they stay in Singapore.

During the journey in Chun See’s car, he revived his fond nostalgic memories of Teban Gardens and shared interesting personal heritage stories with us.

It was news to me as I roamed around the place.  As for me, I walked around the place like in a daze …..

js roamroving blogger in taman jurong_sm james tann and hercules

Hercules exchanged notes with James Tann about Teban Gardens once upon a time …..


Arrived at Teban Market for a late breakfast.



Chun See and Hercules posting the latest photos to their Facebook timeline for everyone to share.

Demolition of over 30-year-old HDB flats at Teban Gardens for “remaking” the older estates in Singapore.


new_PicsArt_1416581823560 demolish flat hoarding

new_PicsArt_1416581764778 js explore the demolished flatsjs thoughtmoments at teban gardens

Thimbuktu with an expression of thought moments of the demolition of the flats at Teban Gardens … but I know that the newer flats would be developed and built for the benefit of the younger generations in future.

kim guan heng bakery1kim guan heng bakery2

Chun See could not resist the temptation of the “hot from the oven” loaf of bread, and the aroma of the freshly baked bread to bring home for the family.   Many years ago, he would buy the bread from this shop daily when he was working in Jurong.


James Tann just watching and getting the free smell (aroma… just kidding) of the freshly baked breads.  Smells good, but not too sure about the taste though.


The bakery shop assistant pointed to me the poster on the wall and sternly warned me not to take photos in the shop.

Teban Market

new_PicsArt_1416582449235 new_PicsArt_1416582490712 new_PicsArt_1416582579320 new_PicsArt_1416582636475 new_market stall1 market stall2 market stall3

Frozen Seafood 

Teban Food Centre


The former railway track to Jurong


We recce the isolated and undeveloped areas near the former rail track at the Teban Gardens with bushes and trees.


Chun See pointed out to us the location of the former train track from the former Tanjong Pagar railway station to the Jurong industrial estate to transport bulky cargo goods to and through the factories.  The trains were not used for carrying passengers.

MrAng and his pet parrot Gordon


At the Teban Food Court, I met a friendly resident, Mr Ang. He had a pet parrot perched on his left shoulder with only a short chain tied to his arm.

Gordon would not fly away as Mr Ang was buying breakfast home. Gordon is about 10 years old and able to talk. However, Gordon would not response to talk to me because I am a stranger 😦

Isn’t it wonderful to keep a colorful talking parrot like Gordon as a pet!

6 thoughts on “FOYers On A Journey To The West

  1. Thank you for your kind comments on this blog, Wendy Marsden. It is my pleasure to share them.

    I appreciate your encouragements and moral support to inspire to carry on blogging. I hope our heritage blog readers, fans and friends to share our collective memories to send us old photos and stories on related blog topics posted.

  2. Nice blog James. When I worked for JTC in the middle of 1970s there was no Teban Garden Housing Estate. It was a swamp land with a small Malay kampong. A mosque was nearby. There was no proper sanitation and drainage. The area was subjected to flood on a raining day. Construction of Teban Garden Housing Estate by JTC started in late 1970’s followed by Pandan Garden, the last housing estate built by JTC in Jurong. I retired in 1993 but went back to visit Teban Garden a few times. The upgrading of the estate had changed so much that most of the old land marks has disappeared. This is progress.

  3. Thank you for a walk through Teban Gardens. I was attached to SAFTI during by NS days, and Jurong was still a very young industrial estate at that time. On some evenings, we would book out of camp and visit the then Jurong town centre roughly at what is now Corporation Dr, Yung Ho Rd and Yuan Ching Rd, opposite the closed Tang Dynasty. I remember West Coast Rd as a very rural road dotted with seaside kampongs and colonial houses. I actually enjoyed a long bus trip along the road just to look at the kampongs and houses.

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