Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Memories of Times House

Just about every old building in Singapore has its supernatural history or so it seems.

The old Times House at the junction of Kim Seng Road and River Valley Road was no exception. The area dates back well before World War II. It seems Allied POWs were forced to build part of River Valley Road during World War II.

Staff working at The Straits Times newspaper occupied the lower building while the Tower Block housed most of the other English and the Malay newspapers.

The ghost story goes like this .. if you work late at night - well after the "paper has gone to bed" and everyone has left the building, you will hear some strange noises - like someone banging away on typewriters or keyboards (depending which decade you were in when the story was retold).

Okay so odd noises in an old building are not unusual and can be explained away. Then came the kicker ... be aware of the "Subs area" at the back - where sub-editors worked. "Many people" - I don't know how many - have seen a British soldier walking around in that area. Now apparently this guy is not very people-friendly and literally just walks by you without a glance. He probably has greater things on his mind.

I haven't come across anyone who actually saw this spirit firsthand - it's always "I heard it from someone who saw it" ... but the story is just one of the endearing memories of that old sickly yellow building which sadly, is no longer with us.

I've often wondered what became of that soldier ... I guess he's still on guard somewhere in what is now an overpriced condo.

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