Thursday, August 27, 2009

MRT in Singapore - The First Dig....

MRT in Singapore – The First Dig….

Do you know the place where the first hole was dug to start the MRT project? Answer: It is at a site in Shan Road (off Balestier Road).. I know because I was there with the Outside Broadcast team to cover the ground-breaking ceremony on 22 October 1983. It flagged off Singapore's largest single largest construction project with a capital outlay of $5,000million.
The event was opened by a Member of Parliament.. And there was a Shinto ceremony followed by some wine drinking, a lion dance and more celebrations. Apparently the company doing this construction midway between the Toa Payoh and Novena Station, believed in the blessings that such ceremony would bring. Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit system has now more 7o stations running through densely-populated housing estates of the island. A world-class system it is still expanding its services to other parts of Singapore.......

Friday, August 14, 2009

The MacRitchie Reservoir

The MacRitchie Reservoir has a special place in the hearts of those working on Caldecott Hill. Especially me. In my forty over years there Reservoir is still a pleasant retreat from the hectic pace of show business and broadcasting. Surrounded by lush greenery the 12-hectare park around the reservoir contains areas of primary rain forest and wildlife. Many staff of the company jog , exercise or take brisk walks weekly in the shaded tracks and use the exercise stations. Of and on I see some including myself do a bit of kayaking.( It costs $15 per hour to rent a kayak) From middle of the water whilst canoeing you can catch a scenic view of the top of the Radio Building and Satellite dishes on Caldecott Hill.
It is said there are three dragons living on the hills of Singapore. One of these resides on top of Caldecott Hill which is endowed with metal, wood and earth elements. It has chosen this place for its good feng shui and also plenty supply of water and from time to time will descend on the Reservoir to have his fill.
Mediacorp thrives on the Hill. It progresses from a government entity to what it is today. Knowing the value of this catchment area to the company and as a responsible corporate citizen Mr Lucas Chow signed an MOU with PUB and the National Parks to promote activities to conserve to enhance the enjoyment of the beautiful environment of the MacRitchie Reservoir.

a bit of history
MacRitchie Reservoir, located off Lornie Road and completed in the late 1860s, was the first water supply system implemented in Singapore. The Impounding Reservoir, as it was then called, came about through the donation of S$13,000 by philanthropist Tan Kim Seng in 1857. The reservoir was renamed Thomson Road Reservoir in 1907 and its name was changed again to MacRitchie Reservoir in 1922 after James MacRitchie, who was the Municipal Engineer of Singapore from 1883 to 1895.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Telecentre

The Telecentre at 1 Hillcrest Road
The Telecentre in the 70s was the training school for the
Telecoms Department (known as the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore,TAS
the Singapore Telephone Board, STB and Radio and Television of Singapore RTS
It was set up with assistance of the ITU. I remembered the training
centre well because I was there for about five years training RTS engineering staff for the roll-out of colour television. I enjoyed working there. One reason was that it was also the location of Telerec- the recreation wing of TAS and STB. Where else do you get a work place
with a swimming pool, table-tennis,badminton and tennis courts? Staff and trainees
always looked forward to the end of day where they could cool off in the swimming pools etc. And we had wonderful people there like Ng Siow Fan, Low Sin Leng, John Tan, Lim Shoiw Shiaw ,John Tan and Ching Koo Leng. We had two experts from the BBC Alan Bermingham and John Kirkus who came with their families- the most warm and friendly people I ever met on earth! And not forgetting other ITU experts from all over the world training the Line Plant, Switching and Transmission staff.
The Broadcast Wing as it was called ran about twenty courses
ranging from Lighting Techniques for TV to 8080 microprocessor programming. Besides
RTS staff, trainees came from other companies like the MOE,EDB and NPB. RTB Brunei
regularly sent their staff here as well.
The picture above showed the old building . In the 80s a twin building was built and the centre was known as the Singtel Academy. RTS moved out later ...and Singtel as well after they sold the place to MCL a property developer. The buildings were demolished and made way for more than 150 terrace houses selling for about 850 per sq.ft.
Now the training of MediaCorp staff and other external trainees on media is undertaken by the Singapore Media Academy a subsidiary of MediaCorp.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life." -Chinese Proverb

The above pictures are by courtesy of Singtel and John Tan

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wish Singapore a Happy Birthday

Every year 9th August brings back good memories...memories of the National Day Parade..which I supported for more than 30 years since the 60s a private soldier of the PDF marching pass the President, a TV sound operator fixing microphones on the Padang to chairing the NDP Technical Committee. Every year this time gives me a sense of joy and achievement...and every year on 9th August my heart is with the many in front and behind the TV cameras. Here is wishing them and the Chairman a successful and Happy National Day!

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Dont forget to watch this video "The Unsung Heroes" at