I happened to read an article from a blog which mentioned their trip to House at Dempsey Hill. After reading the part that said the spa is on level 2, this made me wonder was it the building which my first job was at? Level 2? If so, that used to be my office … where my fond memories are.
With this heart-pouncing feel in me, I went in search for any website that mentioned Dempsey Hill … and to my excitement, I found it official website!!!
All fond memories flowed in as I read those the introduction, mentioning only the earliest parts of it history being a former British army barracks and the old CMPB. And yes, while working there 10 yrs ago, whenever we took any cab in, none know of where Dempsey was until we mentioned “the old CMPB”, if not we will have to direct them the way in right from Minden Road or Holland Road, turning here and there to reach the buildings with orange roof. That’s also how I directed new staffs in to Dempsey main administrative office then.
Well, it seems to have emptied for quite some years before MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) used it for their vendor use, and that’s how I worked there as the 2nd batch employed by them to support their vendors. Some major projects that used up Blk 8D, 8, 9, 9A, 9B and 10.
I will not go deep into what departments and projects were going on then … since they were under MHA’s P&C. I wasn’t even told what organisation I will be working with then until I was brought to the location on my pre-working day by the agent from an established agency (quite horrible right … not knowing where I’m posted to … I did not know where I got my guts on then :P). So that was how ‘secretive’ the place was then.
Anyway, I don’t quite remember about the projects but rather the 1.5yrs I spent there. I remembered one of the managers who bided me farewell on my last day asked me the reason of leaving, and without waiting for my answer, she told me not to mentioned that it was because of change of environment (typical excuse for resigning I guess :P).
Yes, all of us agreed … or rather all the new grads agreed that there is no other better working environment than this place.
For drivers, the parking was absolutely free. For staffs, the working pace was extremely good. Relaxing environment it was, so much so that we considered that as our ‘honeymoon’ environment. A good working life start for me : )
Recreation was the best! We fully utilised the easy-on-hand facilities for our frequent bbq sessions. Free space usage … a big compound just infront of our building. Free pantry for food preparations and storage. We even pull out the office electric fan for starting our fire after much failure attempts 😛
One of our bbq sessions in celebration of someone’s birthday
We even stayed overnight, sleeping on whatever possible ‘beds’ we came out with, microwav-ing the bbq leftovers as our breakfast.
We held most of our celebrations there too. Birthdays, x’mas, farewells … all memorable moments in our life. We organised treasure hunt and get-together party around that area.
a specially done up room (there was a lot of empty rooms around) for another birthday gal
a small x’mas deco at the corner near the administrative office with logs and branches obtained nearby
a specially done up extended rooms for a big get-together party
simple deco, simple reception and simple but fun games … everyone enjoyed themself that day : )
It was also the place where I had my first … encounter with cobra. Yes! A real big one and fierce too cos it expanded the skin of the neck into a broad hood :-O. Of course we were all standing on Blk 8D level 2 while watching the pest control handling it.
We had also seen how the old gardener fought with a tiny but strong survival-will bright-green snake. It was then that I know we had to burn the carcass to prevent other snakes around that area to be attracted by the scent from the carcass.
We even saw a 1m+ long dead black cobra as we walked towards the only staff cafeteria located at Blk 9B for our breakfast.
And of course there were some ‘rare’ creatures which we city girls staying in HDB flats could rarely encounter. Big fat millipedes, centipedes, monitor lizard, big spider, so on …
There was one day 2 Dalmatians were strolling with their owners (or maids) near Blk 8. We were then walking out to the main road when one of them almost wanted to bounce on me, if not for a passing by car which blocked it way. The whole thing happened so sudden that I just stood there shocked and cried in the end 😛
As the area were all low buildings, blackout was predictable whenever there was any sight of lightning. So usually during raining days, we tend to save our work frequently. And when blackout came, it would be in total pitch dark in an instant.
We were told to stay at the bus stop if it was pouring when we came for work in the morning. And if the rain persisted, our kind supervisor would drive out to fetch us.
Occasionally we would even reached the office much earlier and jog around the whole of Dempsey, from Blk 8D to along Minden Road and Holland Road, up the slope back to Dempsey. Though all effort wasted after a packet of Yang Chow Fried Rice from People’s Park Complex Hawker Centre.
At certain days, we would walk down to Taman Serasi for our favourite Roti John and Nasi Padang. Or walk to the club house for their famous Samy’s Curry. Oh! And if I remember correctly, their fried baby squids at the club house was good.
There was once a few of us went picking the fresh lovesick seeds at the bushes along the slope down to the main road. All of them came back with the seeds as well as mosquito bite marks … except me cos I’m standing by the road only … but all these seeds were actually for me 😛
Sometimes during Sat, when the 5 days work for all government bodies wasn’t implemented yet, there will be car sales going on at a carpark near the club house, that was when you will see more people coming up to Dempsey. As Blk 7 was (not sure if it’s still around) selling antiques and furniture, there were times when you will see tour coaches dropping by. Sometimes we dropped by when we ended our lunch early too.
Those were the days … I’m sure if all of us were to meet up again, there will be more reminisce but I supposed I had pointed out most of them : )
I do not know when did those vendors left the compound but I do remember making a trip back in 1999 when I was near Botanic Garden. The sight wasn’t good. Everyone had moved out. There was no lights around, the road was only lighted up by our headlights. It looked more like a ghostly ‘town’ with wires hanging freely from the ceilings. There was no sign of human being at all (except us of course).
It was until 2 years ago that I read from a newspaper article that they were developing the place into a dining haven.
I remembered one day in 1997, an old British man approached me if he could take photos around the compound as he had fond memories here too. He told us he belonged to the former British army. Whao! How interesting? Will I return there one day and do the same thing “P Up till now I had yet to take a trip down and look at the revamped place …. hmmm ….