With the opening of the Downtown Line Stage 2, the name “Beauty World” is once again brought into the limelight. Located at the spot where Bukit Timah Road continues into Upper Bukit Timah Road, it seems to have halted at its own crossroads of development. After years of changes, from an amusement park to a market, and finally to a cluster of shopping malls, time seems to have stood still since the 1980s, while the rest of Singapore have since moved on.
Beauty World, just before the completion of the MRT station
With the construction of the Resorts World Sentosa, many attractions familiar to visitors of the 1980s and 1990s have since been demolished (such as the Ferry Terminal and the Musical Fountain), and the rest slipped into obscurity (such as Fort Siloso and the Underwater World). We’ll take a trip down memory lane as we revisit some of these places.
In recent news, the terminus for the high-speed rail connecting Singapore to Kuala Lumpur has been confirmed to be at Jurong East. As one of the regional centres in Singapore, Jurong East has transformed tremendously over the years. It now boasts 5 shopping complexes, a hospital, a hotel, and a network of pedestrian walkways (J Walk & J Link) connected to the MRT station. With the new terminus coming up, the landscape there will be changed drastically. With so much development going on, it is hard to remember how Jurong East was like just 10 years ago.
Jurong East today, with the Genting Hotel Jurong in the background and the temporary bus interchange in the foreground
Pearl’s Hill is one of the two hills located on either side of the Singapore River. It was originally known as Mount Stamford, named after Sir Stamford Raffles. In 1822, Lt. James Pearl, Commander of the Indiana, bought over the hill, which was subsequently named after him. Soil from this hill was used to reclaim the land at Commercial Square.
In 1861, upon the completion of Fort Canning, it was realised that Pearl’s Hill was taller than Fort Canning Hill, and was obstructing the trajectory of the guns mounted on the latter. A simple solution was adopted: shave off the top of Pearl’s Hill.
Today, Pearl’s Hill stands forgotten behind the row of huge complexes and housing blocks along Eu Tong Sen Street. While many Singaporeans flock over to the Chinatown area for the Lunar New Year season, I went on a trip around this piece of forgotten land.
Located at the most eastern part of Singapore, Changi is a name familiar to both Singaporeans and foreigners, thanks to our world-famous Changi Airport. In the past, it used to be a community of plantation workers and fishermen. It was only until 1926 when the British Army decided to develop Changi as a military base. After Singapore’s independence and the withdrawal of the British Army, some of the facilities were taken over by the SAF while the others were converted to other uses, mostly recreational. These numerous layers of development helped shape Changi’s identity today.