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Random Thoughts @ MyQueenstown #6 - Goodbye Hurts! (The Removal of Margaret Drive Hawker Centre Part #1)

By my queenstown on Saturday, March 5, 2011 with 15 comments

Goodbye Hurts. The pounding of aluminium shelves and untwisting of screws begin as soon as we approached Margaret Drive Hawker Centre. It was 1 March 2011. There were no mouthwatering hawker dishes awaiting us. Neither were there welcoming smiles from the stallholders who slogged their whole lives at the cramped, greasy and confined space. It was the day when stallholders returned their keys to the environment ministry. It was the day when Margaret Drive Hawker Centre became history.

The Lights were switched on - for a very different reason today

We were perfect strangers some 2 years ago. The hawker centre was a mere landscape of ordinary, where I had my breakfast and lunch after a visit to the library or a short shopping spree at the super market. I did not comprehend the blossoming civic life in Queesntown, lest start a blog which devoted half its content to the preservation of history and heritage. The shop keepers and hawkers were passerby in my life and I had no particular interest about them.

The lamp post (which uses tort wires)

The toilets (which were free at night)

The carpark which was full on Sundays

The dividers which I frequently knocked onto

We were strangers. Now we are friends. They thought that I was a weird young man with nothing better to do except for asking around for interviews. I guessed the hawker centre was one place I had visited most during these two "history indulgent" years. They began to open up and share secrets and stories about their lives, their families and their hobbies. I remembered fondly the way Mr. Poh Piah shook his head and wept quietly when he recalled his good old days. I remembered how Mr. Cha Kuay Teow would "clink clink clonk clonk" while preparing a "humful" plate of char kuay teow. Mdm Duck Noodle would ask me about my school work. Now, they were no longer around. All that was left was their mobile phone number and their lingering smiles in my memory.

Mdm Fishball Noodles

Mr. Wanton Mee Uncle

Mr. and Mrs Duck Noodle

I had to admit that there were many delicious food at the Margaret Drive. I liked Jin Dou Duck Noodle the most and I loved that tender taste of duck meat and drinking that bowl of herbal soup. The nice and cool cheng ting which followed was heavenly. If I were having lunch with a group of like-minded friends, the portion of duck meat will increase disproportionately and dim sum, poh piah and wanton noodle might see their appearance on the table. Well, I am a glutton.

Ladder for removing the lights and display boards

Gone were the cheng ting stall

Empty Hawker Centre

Pipes which were turned off

A second storey of broken wires and empty walkways

Shutters drawn

I'll remember every inch of the hawker centre in my heart. In the years to come, I may forget some of the faces and the locations of my favourite stall at the hawker centre. Perhaps I find the new development hip, modern and cool. No matter where I am, I'm grateful for the hawker centre - for opening the gateway to the rich history and heritage of the most wonderful estate. Nothing holds, except for the pieces of memories etched in my mind.

Up on the truck she goes

Category: News in the Dump , Random , recent



Anonymous said...
March 25, 2011 at 12:59 AM

Thank you for this blog. It really captures the major changes to the area. Tho most of it was lost long ago when most people moved out of Margaret Drive, I was thankful that small part of it eg. hawker center, wet market, ntuc, bowling alley, Blk 6C, 39A, 27A, etc...were still alive. Now, even these are going.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Danny said...
March 30, 2011 at 2:13 AM

Thanks for a brilliantly, beautifully written piece on what will be a sadly missed place. For some reason Margaret Drive FC has a hold on the heart like no other hawker centre has, it really does feel like an intrinsic part of life is now no longer within our reach.

And to the two women at the corner cheng tng stall....for all those wonderful bowls of cheng tng you've given us over the years, we truly, truly thank you.

Gem said...
April 13, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Thanks for capturing the spirit of Margaret Dr FC! Where did these hawkers go to?Especially curious about the char kway teow stall and also the chi char stall. I miss them!!

yeecheng said...
April 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Mr. Wanton Mee Uncle's Roast Duck is my fav, any idea where he's gone to?

I know Jin Dou duck couple have moved to Jurong East Blk 254, #01-27 near Yuhua Primary school.. i really missed their duck mee chilli and soup..

Anonymous said...
April 19, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Gem@@ The char kuay teow is at Telok Blangah Crescent Blk 11 #01-102. For zhi cha stall, if you are referring to 福星居,then it is at Alexandra Village (one of 4 corners).

HM said...
April 22, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Lovely recollection of a place where I spent most of my childhood... Thank you for the memories.

Does anyone know where the fishball mee store (facing the carpark) has moved to?

Anonymous said...
May 4, 2011 at 10:10 PM

The fish ball noodle moved to Mei Chin Hawker Centre and there you can find the Dumpling and Chicken Rice (former on the upper floor).

derek said...
May 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM

hi.. would you know where the western food stall on 1st floor moved to? tried once early this year and i thought its pretty good!

Anonymous said...
July 31, 2011 at 2:09 AM

the western food stall on the 1st floor has moved to Newton Food Centre. Check their website: www.tastybarbecue.sg

Anonymous said...
October 7, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Hi, does anybody know where the coffee stall situated last stall to the right of Jin Dou Duck Rice has moved to? I think the stall's name had a Tian 天, like Tianci 天赐 or something.

Roger Smith said...
October 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM

A good article. I too enjoyed many meals at this hawker centre and the Chicken Rice was the best I tasted in Singapore. See http://singaporesojourn.blogspot.com/search?q=queenstown.
Great blog and brings back many memories

Ernest Goh said...
October 4, 2013 at 3:59 PM

the wanton mee uncle that also sells duck rice and char siew rice is now taking it slow and working for another stall along balestier to sell what he use to sell sadly. i miss queestown and those days that i help my grandparents wash cups and serve coffee at their stall

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June 22, 2015 at 6:00 AM

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