This was a building that I feared going to a lot. Guess what it was?
This photo was taken from the back not the usual front which faces Outram Road. And it used to be the Institute of Dental Health where we students were the guinea pigs for the nurses and trainee dentists! My most vivid memory of this place was one time when I was there for a tooth extraction. The nurse put 3 jabs into me and I could still feel the pain when she tried to extract the teeth. After I protested, she gave me another jab and tried again. My God, the pain was excruciating and after another unsuccessful attempt, she finally gave up and asked me to come back another day!
Just 2 buildings away is this church, Jubilee Presbyterian Church where I spent many weekends there during my school days. Most of my Christian classmates worshiped here and I follow suit. It was from this church that the now infamous Rony Tan came from. He left Jubilee to start Lighthouse Evangelism and I remembered when they were at Chip Bee, the attendance there was like less than 50 in the early days. Back at Jubilee, one fine day, there was a sort of divorce between the English and Chinese English service and the English service left to start their own church at Ang Mo Kio. Unfortunately for me, I did not follow and that was the start of the end for me.
Afte church, we used to go to the Tiong Bahru Food Centre and eat the ice kachang. The place was hot and dirty but somehow it was the place that we and I guess majority of Singapore loves to go to for its good food. The sauna like place with the inside market and quaint little stalls outside is now gone and replaced by this monstrous 3 storey building. A number of the old stalls are still there but somehow the food there has never seem the same since.
Talking about food, another favourite hangout of ours when I was studying in the area was the Outram Road food centre. Yes there was such a place and it was right smack in the middle of the block of HDB flat. We used to go there for lunch before/after the ISCF. The favourite? The char kway teow and ice kachang of course! Sadly the food centre was the first place to go before the HDB flats went later. All that is left now is just this empty piece of land.
And finally, this little chapel along New Bridge Road was where my foundation for Christianity was grounded. We students attended what was known as the Inter-School Christian Fellowship hence ISCF although strangely, it was just our school alone so where did the ‘inter-school’ part come from?. Organised by Scripture Union, the fellowship was managed by the students with a few teachers guiding them. Generally, we were left alone to organise the service and each week, we would invite speakers from all over Singapore to give the sermon. My favourite speaker was Mr Charlie Tan, a bald headed guy who would leave us in stitches with his jokes. It was a simple affair in those days with just one or 2 guitarists accompanying the singing. Not like the mega churches of today where a full orchestra seems to be a must. Looking at its current surrounding, it is a foregone conclusion that its physical days are numbered. Which will be a pity as I doubt there are anymore cute little churches left in Singapore?