Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Change Alley: So changed

This is Change Alley now.  Not at all like the Change Alley of my childhood.

My best memories of this place was dragging dad impatiently through the lane to look at the toys. Those days (in the 60s) rubber animals (from bears, dogs to birds) which squeaked when you pressed them, were my favourite toys. And you could find lots of them at Change Alley.

We would give each a name -- moving them around and making them talk to each other. Sometimes, when my second brother was not around to play with me, I would make the animals enact some scenes by myself. I remember one such exciting solo performance -- the bird (which had a flower on its head) had taken on the role of a courtesan. She was held captive by the emperor (the dog, with one paw raised). So, there were a lot of dialogues going on and I was really doing very well and enjoying myself tremendously. All was brought to an end when my eldest brother who was studying in the same room was driven insane and shouted at me to shut up.

Anyway, back to Change Alley. Once upon a time, it was known as Spottiswoode Lane. Lots have been written about this little alley linking Collyer Quay to Raffles Place. The crowded lane, lined with  stalls selling everything from cosmetics, clothes to toys,  was squeezed between Singapore Rubber House and Wincester House. It was gone in 1989 -- 30 April to be exact -- with shopkeeprs desperately trying to clear their stocks before being shifted to elsewhere. The bazaar had been around for more than 100 years. 

Walk through Change Alley today --  into to a very changed Raffles Place too. Remember Robinson used to be here before the terrible fire -- destroying my magical place to visit each Christmas?


streetsing said...

In the past been to Change Alley only a few times. That was with my primary school classmate when we were hunting for Enid Blyton story books in this area. Remembered it was a short narrow lane with what else, but money changers. Ditto for John Little and Robinson :)

Lo Tien Yin said...

Yes, you are right. It was a short and narrow lane, with many money changers. I remember there were cafes upstairs and my mum took us to one of those after "window shopping" with some friends at Change Alley. There were nice cup cakes with lots of cream. I was upset as I could only have warm milk -- as I had a cold.