New walking trail tells story of Kallang

The heritage trail's project manager Teresa Teo Guttensohn next to a trail marker, "Of Stilts and Cheroots", and a Re:Bench, one of 14 functional artworks made from the timber seats of the old National Stadium.
The heritage trail's project manager Teresa Teo Guttensohn next to a trail marker, "Of Stilts and Cheroots", and a Re:Bench, one of 14 functional artworks made from the timber seats of the old National Stadium.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

Today, the Singapore Sports Hub is a sprawling 35ha area comprising sporting and entertainment facilities, such as the National Stadium, Singapore Indoor Stadium and Kallang Wave Mall.

But the area was once home to the Kallang Airport, a shipyard and wetlands near the Kallang Basin.

While old landmarks, such as the Oasis Theatre restaurant, Niteclub and Cabaret, Wonderland amusement park and Gay World, are no longer around, a new walking trail around the hub seeks to bring back memories of the place.

The Kallang Story: A Sports, Arts and Heritage Trail is a 3km trail with 18 markers that tell people the history of the area and identify past and present landmarks.

The trail, to be launched today in support of Singapore's bicentennial celebrations, is split into three parts - The Waterfront Trail along the Kallang River, The Stadium Trail on the second level of the National Stadium, and The Park Trail, which covers ground from the OCBC Arena to the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Project manager Teresa Teo Guttensohn, 56, took 31/2 years to curate the trail with the help of Singapore History Consultants, which specialises in heritage education and research consultancy.

Having grown up in the east and worked in the area, she has fond memories of Kallang and holds the place close to her heart.

"For me, Kallang is synonymous with many landmarks that are gone, such as the Grand Old Dame of Kallang and Gay World. All these lost landmarks have shaped or served generations of Singaporeans and I felt it was important to remember and mark each of them.

"It was a profoundly poignant moment for me to see the Grand Old Dame go," said Ms Guttensohn, who remembers watching Malaysia Cup football matches with her father at the old National Stadium.

"The walking trail takes visitors on a physical journey, and provides the opportunity for them to exercise their mind, body and spirit, as they explore the beautiful waterfront and precinct of the Sports Hub to gain an appreciation of the rich heritage and history of Kallang," she added.

With six markers per trail, each trail includes significant landmarks, such as the old Kallang Airport terminal building and the 28th SEA Games cauldron.

The trails are also complemented by artistic elements, such as the 14 winning entries of design competition Re:Bench that had participants turn the timber seats of the old National Stadium into new benches.

The launch ceremony today will be graced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, and Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng and feature performances by national wushu and pencak silat athletes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 12, 2019, with the headline 'New walking trail tells story of Kallang'. Print Edition | Subscribe