Vintage

Vintage

Photo: Ang Kai-le

/ˈvɪntɪdʒ/

1.Relating to or denoting wine of high quality.

  1. Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something that represents the best of its kind.

(From Oxford Dictionary of English)

Gone are the times where trishaws traversed the narrow unpaved streets that once characterised Singapore. Long missed are the days where city lights did not dim the glow of the stars that spanned across the night sky.

The bustling metropolis that has seen much change in the last fifty years, remains a country that prizes history, knowledge and education. Buildings tower over people like colossi, glass and steel modern structures boast fine lines and sleek architecture. Juxtaposed against this skyline, stands the Fullerton Hotel Singapore. Built in 1928, it elegantly frames the open waters the Singapore River delta.

Formerly the building of Singapore’s general post office, the hotel underwent an S$400 million renovation in 1998. Although it retains much of its colonial charm, the renovation also allowed this heritage landmark to incorporate both the old and the new. The ceiling that used to hold several higher floors has been reconstructed into a glass-lined lacunar ceiling, which allows natural light to filter in during the day. The materials from the old Fullerton building make up the pillars that are seen in the foyer of the hotel, where one can sit and enjoy a leisurely evening tea.

While staying in the Fullerton Hotel, it would be a shame to miss the Fullerton Heritage Gallery where images of what the building looked like are displayed. In addition, one out of the two fully functional British red mailboxes that are found in the hotel is located there.

Just like the rejuvenated Fullerton Hotel, its predecessor, Singapore’s general post office, was spectacular. Renown for its 300 feet long postal counter, the post office was the center of communications that travelled in, out of and within Singapore. Built by the British to serve as a landmark and monument, the building stands imposing and firm as part of the Fullerton Heritage Precinct.

As the building that once hosted the Chamber Of Commerce, the Fullerton Hotel has seen many influential people work under its roof, from Singapore’s first president, S.R Nathan to Singapore’s second Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. Even though time has passed, the building still inspires feelings of awe and respect when looking upon it.

The building has played an important part in Singapore’s history, from hosting the Chamber Of Commerce to lighting the path for ships arriving at Singapore. Time may have passed, but the role that the Fullerton building plays is no less important. Even after all these years, the building remains a symbol that represents the past, present and possible future for Singapore. Like the lighthouse it once was, it continues to illuminates the path that lays ahead for us.

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