Like yg, I was also given an assignment by Chun See. In his blog on Commonwealth Drive, he asked where exactly the PUB Gas Tank used to be located in Queenstown. I remember seeing it in the background of a railway photo taken at Tanglin Halt but because I'm unfamiliar with the place, I could not pinpoint its exact location. Luckily Philip Chew came to the rescue. Following his lead, I explored Tanglin Halt on Saturday and here is my 'result sheet'.
Photo taken from corner staircase of Block 78 'Chap Lau' (10 storey). I was like leaning out of the corridor for the shot. If you've been to these old blocks, you know their corridor parapet wall can be pretty low, there's no handrail to grab if you lean over and oh boy please don't look down! You're hearing this from someone tall and who has acrophobia.
Here is another photo I found from the archives showing the same gas tank. Photo taken below Block 78. On the left is Block 79 (with the railway running behind).
Like Peter, Philip has a great memory. Or else how could he remember the place after 20 years?
"I was quite familiar with the area at one time. I have not revisited the place for more than 20 years. The gas tank was beside Blk 79 nearby the railway line."Thanks for the lead, Philip!
Like Philip, Peter also has a great memory. However, unlike Philip who talked about happy things like ice-cream and female clerk, Peter's memory of the place was of the unhappy kind:
"I used to have fears as a kid about passing this place - maybe in the early 1960s. There was a stench in the air from the coking gas released to prevent built-up of pressure. I had this phobia that the gas tank might explode."I hope I'm wrong but why was the gas tank situated in a densely populated area knowing that it could explode? Even Chernobyl was not situated in a city.
This fear of the gas tank exploding was shared by residents of the neighboring blocks as well. In Laokokok's article on Kampong Bugis, the granddaddy of (exploding) gas tanks in Singapore, reader Tisu Girl commented:
"There used to be another of this big blue gaswork tank just opposite my old house at Blk 77 Commonwealth Drive. After the block 80 or was it blk 79, where the malaysia railway is still operating now. I could see it from my kitchen. I lived there in the early 90s and we always joked about what happen if that thing were to explode….:p"I think I can answer her question. If that thing were to explode, the scene would look like my second shot.