Not too long ago, a friend and primary school classmate told me that the HDB block where I used to live in as a child will be torn down soon. It is part of the Selective En-Block Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), and by now most of the residents have moved out.
Not wanting to lose a piece of my childhood memory to the rapid development that Singapore is undergoing, I decided to make a trip down to take some photos of the place where I grew up in. I was feeling rather lazy so for this I’ve decided to use my trusty Panasonic LX-3 instead of my DLSR. The Panasonic also has the advantage of having a wide-angle 24mm at f/2.0 which my DSLR setup cannot provide.
Block 20, Upper Boon Keng Road is a L-shaped HDB block. Arriving at the carpark near the intersection of the “L”, I took a shot of it from the bottom. I had the fortune of having a nice blue sky today.
Nearby is a now-disused and rusted bicycle racks.
Downstairs, at the void deck is a provision shop that I used to visit regularly to buy tidbits. It still looked the same as I remembered, with a public toilet next to it which visitors have to pay 10 cents to use.
Moving over to the open field in front of the flat, I took a shot which shows the L-shape construction of the block.
Interestingly, the playground (which wasn’t there when I was staying here) only has a rocking horse and nothing else. Kind of pathetic, isn’t it?
Like many HDB flats of yesterday, Block 20 has sides made of a red brick wall where a sign indicating the block number is attached to.
Typical of old HDB flats, some of the lift landings require climbing a short flight of stairs to get to. I believe that’s because they need some space below for the lift engine or other mechanics.
The lift here is of the old-school kind, with buttons and indicators lit by orange/yellow incandescent light bulbs instead of the newer LEDs. The door is also a single sliding door instead of the more common double doors you see today in newer HDB flats.
The control panel inside is just as old school. Typical of old lifts, this one does not stop at every level, only at specific levels.
I took the lift to the 10th floor to see what it’s like. I can no longer remember how it looked like when I was still a child, but it’d still be interesting to see what it looks like now.
What greeted me was a panoramic view of the surroundings.
Looking down the corridor, I was intrigued by the converging lines of the ceiling and the parapet wall leading towards the other part of the “L” shaped block.
Looking down, we see the open field where a playground and basketball court is. A tent has been setup for some religious event (probably the Hungry Ghost Festival).
I decided to go higher up to the 14th floor to see what I can get. I realised I did not have a shot of the corridor showing the residential units so I decided to take one.
Walking along the corridor, I realised some of the units have missing windows, presenting an opportunity for the voyeur in me to snap a couple of photos of the interiors.
I also decided to take another panoramic view of the scene in front of me, this time from the 14th floor and a slightly different angle.
High shots done, I decided to go to level 5 where I used to stay. The parapet wall has regular openings guarded by a steel grille. I remember peering through them to see the happenings below when I was still a child.
Approaching my old home, I realised the unit which my ex-neighbour used to stay has large splats of black and red paint on the door – a sign that the debt collectors from the loan sharks has come. The current owners must have owed them money.
And this is the unit where I used to live in. #05-1142.
Mission accomplished, I took my leave and walked past a residents’ corner. This must have been a new addition as it wasn’t there by the time we moved out.
And before I go, one last shot of the block.
Farewell, Block 20. Thanks for the memories.