As one of the oldest mature estate in Singapore, the neighbourhood centre at Lorong 1 Toa Payoh is anything but ‘old’ or ‘sleepy’ on a rainy Friday afternoon. Getting off from Braddell MRT, the row of shops opposite Singapore Press Holdings was teeming with activities and students getting back from school, especially since its the only ‘shop’ with an alfresco that stands out with its 24hr sign and awnings – yes, it felt strange yet almost gratifying that this MacDonald’s seem to blend in outstandingly, amongst the compact row of shops.
With the curiosity and even excitement, as a first-time visitor to the area, I soon found myself hopping in and out of these old-style shops. It’s rather amazing how the shop owners can pack so much stuff within such small spaces with low ceiling. Almost all of them from those selling daily necessities, fruits, to sundries and furniture had their goods displayed right out the shopfront; it’s hard not to stop and have a look see!
There’s even a Phoon Huat and Redman, for the bakers or baker-wannabes like me;) Time also seemed to have stood still for the 7-Eleven store from when they first set up branches around the island – with racks and boxes of unpacked goods lined along the nooks and corners of the shop wherever there is space. Unfortunately, it’s managed by staffs who are unnecessarily suspicious! As I went trigger happy for the blog, I noticed strange, suspecting glances from a staff right from when I entered. As I mull over a new drink on the shelf in a corner, an ‘unusually friendly’ cashier started greeting me aloud from the counter, offering that “if you need me to take anything down just let me know ya!” Next thing I know, she came telling me, poker-faced that “Mam, you cannot take pictures here”. “Why?”, “I’m just taking pictures of the packaging..”; “No, you cannot take pictures here.” she repeated. “Ok, fine.”
Then, “Please delete what you just took.”
“What?! You mean this?!”
Feeling like a criminal caught red-handed?!? I decided to pay and buy this home to try! Check out my review here.
Anyway, relac lah dei, it’s just drinks okay!!? And since when is it a crime to take pictures of drinks that are displayed on the shelves?! If that’s the case, maybe 7-eleven should just keep all its goods unpacked and safe in their nooks and store corners.
Despite the unfortunate incident at 7-Eleven, the place with its eclectic mix of tenants, has its own charm, though not the old-world-charm. I went to try out the 吃Western’s raved smoked duck salad, got some unexpectedly good deals from Phoon Huat, try out new food, drink and even got a $3.80 hair cut, all in one rainy Friday afternoon. Cesebon!
So which old neighbourhood is worth spending an afternoon next? Does anyone have any recommendations?
Cesebonblog says: old town HDB neighborhoods that are near MRT Stations, with interesting mix of shops or unique charm welcomed.