16 August 2007

Time travel via our roads

What's a landmark to one may mean nothing to another. We read our city in different ways. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

I know where "jub lug lao" is. I grew up in that area. I remember also remember that Tanglin Halt Road is also known as 10 storey, which is just across the road. This is simply a reflection of the HDB building there where the flats at Commonwealth Drive is 16 storey high while that at Tanglin Halt Road is 10 storey high. I have not heard anyone say "jub lug lao" for a very long time. Nostalgia indeed.

Anonymous said...

That's a little surprising. I'm not much older (26) and I do know where Cathay is.

Wai said...

Well I'm 23 and I know where it is, but I probably wouldn't think of using it as a landmark. For the longest time it was that rundown building near PS. But hasn't it recently been revamped?

Anonymous said...

Im 25 and I certainly know where Cathay is. I watched my first movie (Stand By Me) there, sipping an orange julius..
I get lost whenever I visit sg because all the landmarks and roads that were once familiar are slowly disappearing/changing.

Anonymous said...

Riding in taxis driven by very old folks is indeed a hassle. Other than the communication problem, there is also the danger of sitting in a speeding projectile steered by someone who may collapse any minute from a heart attack (we all know how stressful it is driving a car on our roads not to mention a taxi).I've even taken taxis driven by saliva drooling old men who are visually challenged.

The rule of thumb now for me when taking a taxi is to look at the driver, ask if he knows where my destination is.

Sadly,nowadays with almost full employment, it is quite difficult to meet well educated, down-on-their luck ex-executives having to drive a taxi for a living. But who knows, with the current turmoil in world financial markets, they may yet make a comeback - soon!

Anonymous said...

arent you guys expecting too much from drivers? there are more than 20000 taxis on the road; with multiple shifts, there may be 50000 regular drivers; bus drivers must number a few thousand at least; how can you expect all or even most of them to locate a theatre they have never been to, however historical it might be?

it is not too much to expect passengers to have the actual street address they want to go to, is it? stop the whining please

wonky said...

I like this essay a lot. It was nicely written and, to me, captured the mixture of home-ness, nostalgia and displacement.

Once I got into a taxi, with a middle-aged male driver, and said, "Commonwealth Drive." He asked me, in Hokkien, "Ten floors or sixteen floors?" I had no idea what he was talking about. When we neared the junction, I pointed at where I wanted to go and he said, "Oh... Ten floors." And explained to me that the flats on the other side were 'jub lag lao'. The next time I went to that area, when the taxi driver asked me, "jub lao, jug lag lao?", I confidently said, "Jub lao!" And I'm only 25. :)

Anonymous said...

There's quite a number of displaced names, mostly of Chinese dialect origins.

Mang (Bang) Ka Ka which refers to Bendemeer/ Boon Keng. Etymology is unclear.

Jub Gou which refers to Ten Mile along Bukit Timah, current Bukit Panjang. Jub Gou is short for Ten Milestone.

San Gou Jiu which refers to MacPherson or Third Mile Stone.

Gor Zang Chiu Kar which refers to old Esplanade. Etymology based on 5 large trees in the area.

Si Pai Por which refers to SGH. Etymology based on sepoy barracks which was located in the area.

Ang Sa Li which refers to Serangoon Gardens. Etymology based on the red roof tiles of the houses in the locale.

But there's also some other Jub Laos... like in Circuit road.

I've asked my dad to collaborate the above. Fairly accurate, I believe.

Kastlekonfusion said...

Here's one to add to your taxi driver story, and perhaps to Rod's _Pa_dang_ quips.

There was this Caucasian visitor with his family in tow trying to get a taxi driver to drive them to Tan Gleen Road. He must had spoken to at least 5 taxi drivers before we got to the front of the taxi queue when we asked if we can help.

Guess where he was trying to go?

Tan-glin Road *hehehe*