Friday, September 22, 2017

Go Local :: Old Changi Hospital

Mention Old Changi Hospital and you'd immediately think of an old, abandoned hospital standing atop a lonely hill... all creepy and haunted.

Fact of the matter is, Old Changi Hospital is old and abandoned, but it isn't that creepy {at least during the day when we were there..} and didn't seem haunted either.

Earlier this month, my friend Jerome organised a heritage walk to Old Changi Hospital and we managed to have exclusive access to it, thanks to kind folks at Singapore Land Authority {SLA}.

Since Old Changi Hospital is currently inaccessible to the public, without SLA's permission, you will be charged with trespassing if you're caught setting foot inside the property!

Built in the 1930s, Old Changi Hospital was originally not a hospital, but was just part a British military base. It was only in 1947 that it was commissioned as the Royal Air Force {RAF} Hospital and served British military officers.

During WWII, it was part of a POW camp that housed more than 50,000 prisoners. There's an unconfirmed claim that it also had a torture chamber operated by the Kempeitai {Japanese military police} and this gave rise to the rumoured haunting of Old Changi Hospital by these poor victimised souls & spirits of those who died in the hospital.

However, these unverified claims are unlikely to be true, based on what I learnt during the walk.
Jerome mentioned that there are no actual accounts of torture, but there are accounts that point to the POWs having minimal contact with the Japanese and they were mostly free to roam within the confines of the area.

After WWII, it was returned to the British then passed on to the Commonwealth forces in 1971 when the British started withdrawing their troops from an independent Singapore. The hospital was renamed as Anzuk Hospital, where "Anzuk" referred to the Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom armed forces. Later on, our Singapore Armed Forces {SAF} took over the hospital and it catered to medical care of SAF personnel and their immediate families. Gradually, the hospital's services was also extended to members of the public.

In 1997, it merged with Toa Payoh Hospital to form Changi General Hospital and relocated to Simei. The old buildings were thus abandoned and ownership was transferred to SLA.

The abandoned Old Changi Hospital land was originally planned to be developed into a luxury spa-resort, but the project fell threw and the current compound is still left vacant and mostly unattended... such a shame, really.

Many moons ago *ahem* I'd once entered Old Changi Hospital with friends at night... That seems to be de rigueur for any teen having a sleepover at one of the many Changi chalets, no? haha

Anyway, nothing frightening happened to us but one of my friends mentioned that he did feel a little uneasy...

When I went down that Saturday morning, it was all bright and sunny, and the derelict buildings of Old Changi Hospital didn't seem scary at all, just kinda sad, really.

Jerome gave quite a long talk on the history of Old Changi Hospital before we started exploring the premises. It was an interesting group to be with as there was a man {Mr Lim Fung Ming} who once worked at the hospital as a medic when he was a young chap, and another lady {Mrs Shona Trench} who was actually born there!

Oh I can only imagine their sense of nostalgia and delight at being back after all these years! ヾ(^∇^)

Once inside, Jerome spoke briefly about the architecture and uses of the different floors & rooms.

Some parts of the Hospital were cordoned off for safety reasons but we were able to explore parts of all 3 blocks of Old Changi Hospital - Blocks 24, 161 and 37.

I love the big, airy windows and greenery surrounding the Hospital... which reminded me of Alexandra Hospital, where I was born (*^▽^*)

Alexandra Hospital was also constructed in the 1930s and used as a British military hospital. Like Old Changi Hospital, tragedy hit it during WWII and a huge massacre took place there...but unlike Old Changi Hospital, the buildings are still in use and it does not have a bad rep as a haunted hospital... which was probably purported by the many local films / tv shows which used Old Changi Hospital as a backdrop for their spooky scenes.

Something that SLA probably regrets giving permission to as they now have a hard time getting people to shake off the image of Old Changi Hospital as a haunted hospital heh.

In fact, when we registered for the tour, they had a specific clause that participants aren't allowed to put the property in any negative light / add to the speculation of the hauntings in any of our social media postings.

Time and tide waits for no man... it's hard to imagine that just 20 years ago, this grand hospital was bustling with life and energy.

Now it is really in such a sad shape with no concrete plans for its future..
 
It was so good to have a simple morning out and about with friends exploring parts of unseen Singapore. For better understanding, you can read more about Old Changi Hospital from Jerome's write-up or see his video on the real story behind Old Changi Hospital.

Unfortunately, Lil Pumpkin was not allowed to come for this heritage walk as they thought it wouldn't be too safe for kids but hopefully, I'd be able to bring her there in the future before it gets torn down...

Old Changi Hospital
24 Halton Rd, Singapore 506997
Not open to public 


Other Singapore heritage places:



8 comments:

Lyn Lee said...

In some ways, I think it's interesting that it's still there in such dilapidated shape. There aren't many buildings in Singapore that are 'allowed' to remain in such a state. It's either shape up or ship out! Ironic for us... in other countries there are so many neglected / half constructed buildings that signal economic disarray... but for us, things are torn down and built up at such breakneck pace that such buildings become a rare 'treasure'!

Mumsand Babies said...

This looks so creepy but must be an exciting walk to such an abandoned heritage site. I would love to visit this place too.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I may be weird, but I think there's something quite fascinating and romantic about old buildings like this. This one really looks like it has a lot of history within its walls. It would be nice if Little Pumpkin was able to come on the next tour with you!

Young Smarties said...

It looks really run down and old. I did heard alot about the creepy stories but haven't been there myself. Would like to take a look!

--andy-- said...

Nice to see/hear about Changi Hospital from another non-spooky perspective :)
Did not know Jerome is now a guide too.

cheers, Andy
(SengkangBabies.com)

RainbowDiaries Singapore said...

For a change there is no horror associated with this place. Indeed a rich heritage I must say!

alissa apel said...

That's sad that nothing was ever done with the abandoned Old Changi Hospital. It's such a neat building!

We have a mall here kind of in the heart of the city that has barely anything in it. They talk about doing things with it, but that never happens. Something always falls though.

Michelle said...

An interesting day out for a change. There's something about old buildings which I find fascinating. Instead of being torn down and redeveloped, perhaps it's a good idea to refurbish the place and turn it into something useful? But then again, given its haunted reputation, maybe not many are keen.