Stamford House as we now know it is no more. By today, all of the shops should have moved out of Stamford House as well as Capitol Building. The buildings will not be demolished, because they are heritage buildings. But I fear the refurbishment may turn them into just shells of their former self. Probably in 5 to 10 years we would have forgotten about it, embraced the new malls and a swankier City Hall, but for now, I feel sad to have to say goodbye to the current Stamford House.
Seeing the shops close down one after another was a tad melancholic. It’s like living in a community and having to see your neighbours move out one by one, with no one else moving in. As the days pass, the loneliness grows. Even though you know everyone will move out eventually, each time yet another shop shutters for the last time, it’s another resounding acknowledgement that the end is drawing near. It reminds me of the time when I was the last to leave my Uni hostel.
Some put up signs to say when their last day will be, and their new location, so you can kind of comfort yourself that it’s not really goodbye. But some don’t even say goodbye. The day before, BreadTalk and Magic Wok were business as usual, and the next day, the movers have already boarded up the place with paper. And some don’t even know where the next stop will be. We had lunch at Curry Favor on its last day at Stamford House. One staff told us he had no idea whether Curry Favor would continue its operations elsewhere. Another staff told us to watch for news on their Facebook page. It was weird eating there wondering if it would be our last meal at Curry Favor. Certainly it was our last meal at Curry Favor at the “old” Stamford House.
In my time working in the City Hall area, I have twice now had to say goodbye to buildings I hold dear. The first was when the building opposite the Peranakan Museum closed in 2007. We lost our old school coffee shop with the famous char kuay teow. Back then the building also housed a gay spa on the ground floor and had residential living quarters on the floors above. It was funny looking out of my office window to see clothes hanging from makeshift clothes lines just a tiny lane away. Sometimes you would see shirtless men standing by the windows smoking or chatting. Bet you didn’t think modern City Hall had something like this up until 2007.
Alas, change is always around us. And now I announce that I too will be leaving the City Hall area soon.