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The Cocoa, the TVs and the Textiles

By my queenstown on Saturday, May 15, 2010 with 1 comment

The smell of cocoa was unforgettable for Queenstown residents living in Tanglin Halt during the 60s and the 70s. Chocolate making factories such as Sheng Huo and Van Houten were two of the 38 factories that lined up Tanglin Halt Road. These factories were located conveniently for women so that they could join the workforce and support the industrialisation project in the 1960s. Tanglin Halt is also home to South East Asia's first assembly line producing television sets. Setron, which was opened in 1964, rolled out the first black and white television sets. It had a very special roof top that shaped like an inverted pyramid which navigated drivers into Tanglin Halt district. All of these would not be possible without one man-Dr Goh Keng Swee.

Inspection of the Tanglin Halt sites to built factories

MyQueenstown believes that the state media has more than appropriately described this wonderful man that contributed significantly to our economy. To a resident in Queenstown, his heartfelt contributions will always be remembered as one of the key factors which enable a satellite town to be self sufficient. From the pictorial archival records, we understand that Dr Goh was involved greatly in the construction of the factories in Tanglin Halt. Besides inspecting the suitability of the site meticulously for building light industries, he would go on and feature in almost every brick laying ceremonies, opening ceremonies and extension ceremonies in order to generate media coverage on the attractiveness of Tanglin Halt and Singapore as a whole for foreign investments. 

For a Queenstown heartlander, the smells of cocoa and coffee in the estates was as memorable as consuming these luxury. 

Kevin Tan, 42, pointed out, "The cocoa smell in Tanglin Halt was very distinct. It (the smell) is exceptionally strong in the evening when I come home from school. I would always ask my mom to buy me a bar of chocolate."

Mr Loh, a taxi driver and an ex-resident of Tanglin Halt, whom MyQueenstown team met coincidentally on a ride home, commented, "Some residents will sometime point to me at the (Setron) inverted pyramid to tell me that they have arrived at home."

Thank You for the Memories. 

Wish You Well,
MyQueenstown Team

Setron assembly line

Sheng Huo Enterprise which sold Chocolate

Note: All these photos were obtained from the National Archives of Singapore

Category: Places



Anonymous said...
June 7, 2014 at 12:29 AM

I stayed at Tanglin Halt Blk 33 in the 70s.

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