Tuesday, September 25, 2012

$6,200 for flat in 1969

Prices for flats were fairly affordable back when Singapore was not dominated by tall buildings
The Straits Times - September 23, 2012

When Madam Alice Lee, 64, first moved to her Queenstown flat in 1969, she did not dare look out of the window.

That was because she had moved from a ground-floor home to an Housing Board flat in Tanglin Halt that was on the 10th storey. It was the highest in the block, back in the day when Singapore was not dominated by tall buildings.

Madam Lee, who moved there with her husband, Mr Victor Chong, says: "Before I got married, I was living in my grandmother's house, a ground-floor shophouse in Tanjong Pagar. So you can imagine how scared I was when I suddenly had to live on such a high floor.

"I didn't even dare hang the laundry outside the window, so I had to dry the clothes indoors."

More than four decades later, she now lives alone in the three-room flat. Her husband died in 1983 and her two children are married and live in their own homes.

She has no plans to move out of the neighbourhood.

"My son did ask me if I wanted to move out of this flat to another estate, but I told him no. This is my first house. All my friends are here, I keep myself busy volunteering with the residents' committees and I like this place."

She says she does not understand how an HDB flat in Queenstown could sell for more than $1 million, referring to the apartment in Mei Ling Street that made the news two weeks ago.

"This apartment has only a 99-year lease, so why pay so much for it?"

She and her husband paid $6,200 for their flat.

The neighbourhood used to be bustling and she fondly remembers the pasar malam (night markets) in the area.

"The neighbourhood is so much quieter now, you don't even get many children playing in the corridor like it used to. But I like the peace and quiet."

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