When the Japanese invaded and contained Singapore, the fear was that the tallest building on the island then would be a prime target since it was the residence of a colonial society and the broadcasting studio of Radio Malaya.
But despite the setbacks, the station continued its activities on the air-waves and radio personalities like Claude Doral and Kingsley Morando imprinted their names and eloquence on Singapore listeners with their British accent and quality broadcast. Some years after the war, the station changed venue and was relocated to Caldecott Hill in 1954. The radio station still stands today on Caldecott Hill at Andrew Road.
The Cathay building had been taken down since and in its place a new Cathay emerged but different from the original one. But the too familiar facade still lived in the memory of many Singaporeans and even up till today those who had lived long enough in the country knew it was a unique landmark on a hill that stood near the junction of Orchard Road and Bras Basah Road.
There were restaurants and nightclub at the Cathay and The Kelong was one of them, with bands like The Flybaits and Fishermen, two of many bands that played from the late 60s. Apparently these local instrumental groups had names connected with themes of the sea but did the patrons fall for them hook, line and sinker?
Even Mr Larry Lai, Rediffusion personality and celebrity broadcaster, had a throbbing mobile machine called Moby Dick. Patrons came from all over the island to taste and feel John Travolta's thumping rhythm of the new sound coming from the light flickering discotheque.Can you remember some of the band personalities that played at the Kelong ? Where are the members of Flybaits and Fishermen now? Are you familiar them? Please write to let us know.
Original article: Andy Lim