New Tampines Central Post Office

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What last heritage blog should I post at the end of 2019?

I happened to pass by Tampines Central this morning and noticed that new Tampines Central Post Office is opened today and found it interesting to share on this blog.

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The post office is located directly opposite the Tampines Central bus interchange and very convenient to reach it.

This is not an ordinary post office available in Singapore.  Stamps, gifts, collectibles are sold in Tampines Central Post Office.  SingPost is very innovative and creative to offer postal services to the customers.

The place is not very big, but not crowded because most of the self-service are provided with computerised vending machines and the staff serve the customers fast and efficiently.

Look at the philatelic gifts to discover the story of the nation through stamps.

My blogger friend, Tan Wee Kiat have written several interesting educational books about stamps here .
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The layout, design and concept of this modern post office is very user-friendly and comfortable for the customers to take their drinks when thirsty and to wait for their services and very relaxed.  The post office staff are helpful and friendly, and I had a chat with a few of them.

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Have a visit to the Tampines Central Post Office and learn many new stuff of evolution of postal services in Singapore.

It reminds me of the General Post Office where I first visited five decades ago to buy a First Day Cover.

Fullerton’s history relived

With thanks to NewspaperSG and National Archives of Singapore for the resources on this topic.

By Huang Huifen [Source:  The Straits Times, 9 July 2010].

The hotel’s past as the General Post Office is seen in a permanent exhibition.

You can post a letter at The Fullerton again – 14 years after it ceased operations as the Republic’s General  Post Office.

No, the luxurious hotel has not reverted to its original use.  But a colonial-style red pillar post box located outside the newly launched Fullerton Heritage Gallery in the building will function as a regular mailbox.  Letters posted there will carry the Fullerton stamp.

The 500kg mailbox flown specially from Britain is part of a permanent exhibition of photographs and artefacts which traces the history of the Fullerton Building from a fort to post office to its present day use as a hotel.

There is another functioning postbox at the hotel’s Post Bar.

sp_posting_box_red_coin_bank_latestcspbspc1It is the brainchild of Mr Giovanni Viterale, the Italian general manager of The Fullerton Heritage, a company which manages properties in the Fullerton Heritage precinct.  These include The Fullerton Waterboat House, One Fullerton, Clifford Pier, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore and Customs House.

Mr Viterale, who arrived in Singapore in early 2010, was immediately fascinated by the rich history of the area.

“It has so much to tell about the history of the building and Singapore.  We feel that we should do something about it and bring back to life the history of this monument,” he says.

The gallery’s exhibits include the Foundation Stone, a monument erected outside the building in 197o by Singapore’s first president Yusof Ishak as a tribute to the early settlers.

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Other attractions include philatelic items such as a 1906 picture-less postcard, a letter from Chicago which made a stop in Singapore enroute to Europe in 1935, and a weighing scale.

The history of the Fullerton precinct is also told through photographs, maps and building plans.  The collection of 70 artefacts were brought from the National Archives, National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Philatelic Museum.

Paintings of the Fullerton precinct by Cultural Medallion recipient Ong Kim Seng can also be seen.

The National Heritage Board’s Heritage Industry Incentive Programme, which supports private players in developing heritage attractions, funded half of the gallery’s start-up costs.

For the first postmaster-general, Mr Bala Subramanion, 93, the gallery captured one of his fondest memories of his 35 years of service in the post office.

A photograph which showed him receiving the Public Service Gold Medal from Mr Yusof in 1965 is prominently featured in the gallery.

He says that he hopes the gallery will go beyond merely showcasing the history of the building to rekindling the warm feeling of receiving traditional mail.

“I hope this gallery will remind Singaporeans of the pleasure of accepting a cover from a friendly posstman, looking at the postage stamp affixed on it and reading it with interest.  I still enjoy sending and receiving greeting cards through the post,” he says.

Fullerton building: From GPO to national landmark

90-YEAR-OLD STRUCTURE GAZETTED AS 71ST NATIONAL MONUMENT
By Stacey Lim [Source: TODAY, 8 December 2015]

Overlooking the mouth of the Singapore River and the heart of the Central Business District, the Fullerton Hotel’s colossal two-storey Doric colonnade bore witness, for almost nine decades, to the growth of the country through the colonial and pre-independence era till today.

Before its present day incarnation as a five-star hotel, the building was home to the former General Post Office, and over different periods of time, housed government offices and departments where some of the Republic’s pioneer leaders began their careers, as well as a hospital providing makeshift operation rooms for wounded British soldiers during World War II.

On 8 December, 2015, the iconic eight-storey building – which was declared open on June 27, 1928 – was given its own place in history when it was gazetted as Singapore’s 71st National Monument.

The gazetting ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who had worked at the building in his days with the Economic Planning Unit in the 1960s.

PM Lee himself had fond memories of the building.  During General Elections, political parties would hold lunchtime rallies at Fullerton Square and his father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who was Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, delivered “many stirring and memorable speeches” there, as his mother listened from the balcony of the building, he said.

The speech of the Prime Minister to watch on YouTube video here , with courtesy of the Prime Minister’s office.

“When I first entered politics in 1984, I too spoke at the Fullerton Square rally, which back then was still at Fullerton Square,” PM Lee said.  “Today we still call it the ‘Fullerton Rally’, but it’s actually at the UOB Plaza promenade at Boat Quay.”

Tracing the history of the building, which sstarted out as the General Post Office, PM Lee noted that it was an important point of reference for public roads in Singapore.

Back then, the British used the milestone system for measuring road distances and the post office was “Mile Zero”.  During the Japanese Occupation, the building became the headquarters of the Japanese Military Administration.  Throughout the years, the building was home to many government offices.

“The transformation of this building reminds us of how far Singapore has come together as a nation.  In its lifetime, we have developed from Third World to First,” PM Lee said.

He added: “When the Governor Sir Hugh Clifford opened this building in 1928, he said that “the building is, and will be for many years, one of the principal landmarks of Singapore’.

“Almost 90 years later, his words remain true.  I am sure this buiding will continue to stand proud and handsome, and witness an even more prosperous and vibrant Singapore for many years to come.”

Under the Preservation of Monuments Act, gazetted buildings are preserved with the highest form of recognition for its national significance.  Each National Monument has its own tailored set of preservation guidelines.

Made of reinforced concrete, the facade of Fullerton Hotel encompasses ornate classical decorations that were created by Swiss sculptor Rudolf Wening and Italian sculptor Cavaliere Rudolf Nolli, who was also responsible for the sculptural works at the former Supreme Court and the College of Medicine building.

Former marine officer Capt P J Thomas, 73, said that he holds many memories of the former Fullerton Building.  He said: “However, the one that still remains vivid in my mind is standing on the balcony outside my office, looking at the clock on Victoria Memorial Hall, enjoying the cool breeze and adjusting my watch.”

At the time of its completion, the building represented Singapore’s status as the prime postal unit in British Malaya – there were 14 lifts in the building and the post office had automated mail-sorting equipment.

Mr M Bala Subramanion, 90, for mer Postmaster General, remembered how there was a tunnel from the building into the sea for postal boats to deliver and collect mail.

“The tunnel, measuring about 10ft high and 8ft broad, was large enough to enable assisstant postmen to push trolleys carrying the postal bags,” he said.

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