The kampong house that used to stand at the junction of Old Choa Chu Kang Road and Jalan Lekar was the former Lam Soon Community Centre. It has just been demolished to make way for a new Animal Quarantine Centre.
Lam Soon Community Centre was opened in the mid-sixties, shortly after Singapore’s independence, to serve the residents living in the rural vicinity. Its location was commonly known as the 13¼ milestone of Choa Chu Kang Road in the past.
The community centre’s building was constructed using the funds donated by members of the Choa Chu Kang Citizens Consultative Committee. But soon after its completion, the community centre was vandalised by a group of anti-national people who splashed red and white paints onto the walls and pavements. Offensive slogans were also drawn on the building. The deliberate act angered the committee and villagers, prompting the police to step in to investigate.
In 1971, Lam Soon Community Centre was one of the venues visited by former President Benjamin Sheares (1907-1981) as part of his islandwide tour of the People’s Association and community centres.
Like many other old community centres in Singapore, Lam Soon Community Centre was multi-functional. It conducted many courses, exhibitions, road shows and ceremonies, and even organised outings and tours to places such as Pulau Tekong, Desaru and Kukup. In the early seventies, it also held National Service (NS) send-off parties for newly enlisted recruits and their families and loved ones. During the general elections, the community centre also functioned as a polling station.
After almost three decades, the old Lam Soon Community Centre was closed in the early nineties, and the building was left abandoned and occasionally used as a storage place.
In 1994, a new Lam Soon Community Centre was set up at Block 421 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4, becoming one of the few void deck community centres in Singapore. It would continue for another 24 years before it officially walked into history in 2018, after which its role in serving the residents was replaced by the new Keat Hong Community Club.
Other than the former community centre and new animal quarantine centre, Jalan Lekar is also home to The Animal Lodge, ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) Wildlife Rescue Centre and Qian Hu, one of Singapore’s well-known fish farms. The road currently still bears the old black font-white background street signage.
Animal quarantine centres in Singapore include the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Centre (SAQS) and Changi Animal & Plant Quarantine Station (CAPQ), which are used for inspection and quarantine of imported pets, mammals and birds. Both are managed under National Parks Board’s (NParks) Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).
Published: 20 August 2021
Very interesting write up, never paid much attention to this building in all my years passing by. Thought it was one of the many ordinary old farm houses in the area
According to a 1968 newspaper article (https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/beritaharian19680625-1.2.19) and the Keat Hong Heritage Rooms webpage (https://www.keathong.sg/heritage.php), there was a Kampong Nam Soon (or Lam Soon Village — not to be confused with Lam San Village) in the area.
Thank you for this interesting article! During the usually long booking-in queues to HTA (NS in SPF) I’ve passed more than a couple of glances at this building, never knowing of its historical significance besides it being formerly a storage site for heavy construction equipment (GC Store, as I’ve still remembered) while passing it by when I was younger.
The replacement – Animal Quarantine Centre