Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Asia Insurance Building

Chun See asked me this question some time ago and I shall pose the question to everyone here: "Did you know that across the road to Clifford Pier used to be a famous landmark. It was often featured in our geography books. It was the tallest building in Spore in the old days. Do you know the name of this building?"

Chun See's question had set me on a mini journey to try to answer that question. (Though I have obviously gave away the answer on the title of this post.)

Thank goodness that I have managed to get some help. Victor shared with me a photo of the skyline of Singapore in the 1970s that he had came across.

Doing a search on a2o has also helped me in my search for the answer. If you would like to see how the Asia Insurance Building looked like in the past, you can do a search at a2o. Enter "Asia Insurance Building". Next, enter the date (I suggest that you key in from 1970 to 1980), then select photographs, then press the "Search" button. View the results. has a post about the Asia Insurance Building being Singapore's first tallest building. The post can be found here.

Try to decipher what is written on this plaque found on the ground level of the Asia Insurance Building.

According to some other sources, the Asia Insurance Building may have once been the tallest building in Singapore in the 1950s but it was not the first tallest building. Check out this link for some revelation:

Back to the Asia Insurance Building, Dr Tan Wee Kiat came by and pointed me to the stamp below. It shows the 1971 Singapore Skyline. See if you can find the Asia Insurance Building? And if you look carefully, you will also see Clifford Pier on the stamp below.

I was told that the stamp above (of the 1987 Central Business District) also shows the Asia Insurance Building.

The stamp above shows the 2004 Singapore Skyline. I have found myself requiring more effort of the eye to identify the Asia Insurance Building from this skyline.

The stamps seem to tell me of the building's glorious past, and how it has now took a step back to pass the glory to newer and taller buildings.


Before Chun See posed that question to me, I was still ignorant that the building that stands at the corner of Finlayson Green was once the tallest building in this part of the world. Now there are taller buildings in Singapore and in comparison, the Asia Insurance Building somehow may seem not much of a significance. Will the Asia Insurance Building be forgotten? Or will it have a place in our history?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Haw Par Villa

About a few weeks ago, I took a bus and travelled to Haw Par Villa. Haw Par Villa was formerly known as Tiger Balm Garden. Actually, my intention was to visit the Hua Song Museum nearby, but it does not hurt to visit Haw Par Villa which was just very nearby.

Haw Par Villa has a rather interesting history behind how it first came about. It was built in 1937 by entrepreneur, Mr Aw Boon Haw, for his younger brother Mr Aw Boon Par. I think it is a display of brotherly love. This place is a nice place to visit for those of you who wishes to have an encounter with Chinese Mythology. For your convenience, I have consolidated a few links as seen below:

I have visited it many years ago. It was a Theme Park then. I remembered taking the roller coaster ride, and a boat ride through the Ten Courts of Hell. I remembered that at that time, admission charges into the park can be rather expensive. Reflecting, I shall be grateful that my father was willing to spend the money for the admission ticket for myself and my brother back then.

Currently, there is no admission fee to visit the Haw Par Villa. But on my most recent visit, I noticed that one may have to pay S$1 to enter the Ten Courts of Hell section of the villa? Or was I wrong because my eyes had played a trick on me? This site offers a good description of the Ten Courts of Hell, click on the link please.

If you have been there, you may wonder like I had of how someone so many years ago could be so rich to build this villa and have commissioned the making of the many statues in the park.

The gesture of this statue represents the Chinese saying "Zhi Dian Mi Jin", give advice to those who are lost. You will find this statue near the main entrance. Maybe its location is trying to imply that one will not be lost in the villa?


Maybe this statue should share its secrets on how it could make itself laugh so heartily.

This work depicts the story of the Chinese folklore "Madame White Snake".

One could also find larger size works like this in Haw Par Villa

I think the memorial of Mr Aw Boon Par has an important place in this villa.

The memorial of Mr Aw Boon Haw.

I could simply not resist highlighting the contributions that these two brothers have made to the community of this region. You can see this near the main entrance of the villa.

It was a nice walk about the villa that afternoon. I did not spend too much time there however. Instead, I proceeded to the Hua Song Museum nearby after spending some time at the villa.

If you would like more glimpses of the villa, I think this URL that I have indicated earlier is worth your time to visit:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Esplanade Guided Tour

Just before entering the Esplanade Theatre

Walking towards the Concert Hall


On a recent weekend, I went on a guided tour of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

Check this link for the account:

Monday, May 01, 2006

More glimpses of CHIJMES

Following my much earlier post titled CHIJMES, please allow me to share with you a few more photos of CHIJMES.

I shall dedicate this post to Mistipurple who has been a great supporter of my blog for quite a while. I believe that she might have studied in the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) when it was situated at Victoria Street? I wonder how life was studying there?