Monday, June 11, 2018

Dempsey 3 years on! Almost unrecognisable

Been a while since the last post! unfortunately most of our members have since entered into family life, marriage and for myself, fatherhood 2 years ago. About 3 years ago we featured in our blog Dempsey undergoing a change and major upgrading - in particular the Tanglin Barracks were in the midst of renovation to be changed into businesses.

Indeed, 3 years on, the place is almost unrecognisable in terms of what it used to be, with the place being a place worthy of exploring some paranormal spots. perhaps the only constant here are the stray cats that have probably been around in the days 3 years ago, and perhaps they themselves have explored the various vacant and 'haunted' spots in Dempsey and in the Tanglin Barracks. If only this lazy cat sitting here with half closed eyes could communicate and shed some light as to how the place is today!

Dempsey is still a very nice place to take a walk around. it's lush greenery and open fields & spaces is thankfully what was still kept and untouched. for how long, we won't be sure. but it was still a nice afternoon that I decided to take a photo-tour around the place and revisit some of the spots that we had interesting experiences and explorations with. 

The whole stretch where the old Tanglin Barracks used to be situated are now totally filled with all types of businesses. the renovation or restoration done to the barracks must have been massive, as they look so new and funky now.

The place seems to be occupied by pretty atas restaurants, art companies and even what seemed like a boutique wedding gown company called the "Gown Warehouse". we cannot help but wonder if it should be called the "Ghost Warehouse" instead - as right in these premises it used to house the POWs of the Japanese Occupation, and many of the different rooms and chambers probably also housed various sections that could include torture chambers or cells.  

We wonder what the occupants of the past - if they are still present today, have to say about the many businesses that have propped up. we are equally curious if the current business owners or staff of the businesses have anything interesting they have experienced after taking over the places that used to be the Tanglin Barracks. walking around, everyone didn't quite look very friendly or open to share, in fact, we didn't quite see anyone around at all! 

Equally interesting how this place now also houses quite a fair bit of Korean and Japanese restaurants. walking around there was also quite a number of Japanese folks in this entire area, ironic that so many years ago, their country men were also here, with a totally different agenda, a totally different time and daily activities. 

I guess the only signs that still points to the dark past or "haunted" phenomena of the Tanglin Barracks premises are these various shrines located at different corners of the place. Taoist shrines with different types of deities - probably to protect the premises and ward off unwanted spirits or energies of the past. 

Seems also that Dempsey is still undergoing another phase of future development - the word future with this place of the past - is an ironic evolvement of this place.

Today, the nearby eateries are filled with people, guests and diners, all having a chill out afternoon, soaking in the sun and spending time with their loved ones. this place has totally taken on a new meaning and way of life. we wonder who still remembers or for that matter even know the history of this place back then. we cannot help but also realise how easy is it for history to fade and for our development to wipe out history too. 

As we walked around the area, there are absolutely no way of recalling what this place used to be, and also even realise how this place used to be one of the place of war, of torture, of pain and suffering. not a clue at all, until we chanced upon this little portrait of a soldier. 

the depiction of this soldier is kinda almost ghost-like. with haunting eyes staring at you. yet so easily missed if you don't pay attention. no one actually stopped, looked or take a picture at this fountain. it is as if no one bothered or no one even wanted to bother. perhaps this is also how the spirits that linger here feel - neglected, abandoned and perhaps sorrowful that their place in time is lost, forgotten and looked passed. well, we noticed. 

and perhaps the only fading souls are some of the business owners on the premises that seemed to be bored from the stagnant and empty shops they are sitting in.

well, we wonder what's next for this place. we hope that the government still keep to the high ceiling unique barracks that adorn this place. at least this is one piece of history that is still intact. it is still a marvel and joy to see these barracks and architecture. we hope it will not be torn down and replaced with condominiums.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Interesting Comments by Travellers to Changi Cove (from Tripadvisor)

Been a while since the Old Roberts Barracks, one of the haunted buildings in Changi, had been turned into a hotel. A hotel called Changi Cove had emerged from the old empty building that stood there for decades. these were pictures that was taken of the Roberts Barracks in the past. 

not a glory sight with its old walls and eerie looking facade. more than the facade, this place is also adorned with  plenty of stories from people who were there before, to explore the place or know someone who heard stories there. 

But not today. it is a pretty decent hotel that is given pretty good ratings overall in TripAdvisor. it is rated 3.5 stars out of 5 stars, and rated 134 out of 306 hotels in Singapore! not bad for a hotel that was previously occupying a not so illustrious past and land. about 68% of the travellers rated this hotel good or excellant, which is a pretty good performance and standard, we have to say!

Picture from:

Of course at the same time, as all businesses and establishments, the positive comments are a good indication of what was done right, it leaves good encouragement for us to keep things up. however, it is the negatives that businesses would want to take note of and also keep taps on because these are the information that do make or break and can sometimes share good insight or possibility of the unpleasant side of a business. Curious, we took a look at the negative comments that was provided by travellers. Several people were puzzled by an apparent hotel rule that they would collect full payment of your stay first, and refuse any refund for sudden cancel or cutting short of the stay. 2 travellers voiced their puzzlement to this rule that one claimed most hotel do not have such policies (comments taken from

While nothing much was explained about this rule except for the fact that it is a management policy of terms that included non-refundable conditions, one cannot help but imagine or think that could it possibly be due to the nature of the place and its history, that if guests were to experience some strange (unexplained or haunting) experiences and wanted to leave the place, and if more people were to do so, this would have a damaging economical effect on the company? so to safeguard this way of 'losing money', this policy could be possibly drafted as such? you decide, as we are not here to make judgement but to offer an alternate perspective to think and ponder.

Secondly, there was also a guest who interestingly, feedback that he had smelt rotten fish smell during his stay at the hotel and wondered if there was a fishing market nearby. To which the management replied that it was the first time they had heard of a guest reporting the smell of rotten fish. this brings up a very interesting thought that we wanted to dig further to try to understand.

firstly, there are always a certain kind of travellers who would expect high demands and would complain at every single thing at every hotel. they are the disgruntled, unreasonable type of people that are what hotels call 'your worst nightmare'. however this particular traveller who smelt the rotten fish upon checking her other ratings, she was not such a traveller. in fact, out of 7 ratings she gave, she only gave 1 poor rating (which was for Changi Cove) and most of her ratings were Good or Excellent. Hence we concluded that she was not an unreasonable or over demanding person. and it gives us good faith that her feedback was genuine and real. She really did smelt 'something fishy'.

Looking at her profile picture, it was one of her doing some yoga pose in front of a sunset scene. she might be someone who does yoga/meditation and seem to be someone who could be in tuned with her surroundings and open to nature around her. this gives credit that she could possibly have felt some of the history of the place. you can imagine that in the past when Roberts Barracks was filled with POWs who had suffered from illness, disease or poor conditions of rotting wounds, poor sanitary or conditions, the smell would exactly be that of 'rotting'.

Could she have smelt the rotting wound, rotting flesh or smell of death that had plagued this hotel space many years ago during the war? Also, a person who is unaware of what the smell is could jolly well associate the smell as rotten fish because this is the only smell they have encountered that is closest to the smell of rotten wounds or flesh. indeed, this interesting comment yields up more thoughts and curiosity that can never be verified, because afterall, the paranormal and other side is not something that can be concretely proven by scientific means. but at times the coincidences that happen and the way of gathering different factors point to theories that can indeed be intriguing and makes us think further - is there more that we don't know of?