Party in transit

nalinajany ganesan


10 Wilton Close

A colonial semi-detached house at 10 Wilton Close.
The house had a verandah overlooking a garden where barbeques were often held.

People in transit

I moved to Singapore from Sri Lanka in 1977 to live with my husband and my first home was at 10 Wilton Close, a semi-detached two-storey house which we rented for about $300 a month. My husband, whom I met through an arranged marriage, was a chartered accountant at Ben & Company and had been living there since 1971. Almost everyone living in the area was Caucasian, coming from Canada, UK, Australia and Malaysia.

Home at that time was a party house. My husband had many friends, mostly expatriates who loved partying. Everyone was in transit. There were many foreigners as Singapore then was newly independent and developing.

One of our friends in the neighbourhood.
My late husband carrying his friend's baby.

"Home at that time was a party house."

Outside 10 Wilton Close
The house always had visitors.

BBQ, curry and beer

My husband hosted barbeque parties two to three times a week, from around 6pm until midnight. Some of his friends would even stay over and go to work the next morning! The barbeques were held in the garden, in front of the verandah. He made barbeque pits out of large oil drums. He bought the oil drums, cut it into half and put it on stilts. Neighbours would come and borrow the pits sometimes. We would also cook curry and suddenly everyone appeared. The aroma drifting around must have attracted them.

There were close to 100 people at each party. Most of them were school teachers, members from the Singapore Cricket Club and Singapore Recreation Club. This was our community then.

The deliverymen were familiar with our area because there would be so many orders of canned food, meat and cartons and cartons of beer. Our fridge was always stocked with drinks and food. We had an LP Player which played Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

We still keep in touch with some of our friends today.
My husband was always the life of the party.

Learn your way

My favourite part of the house was the verandah, which overlooked the garden. Bushes, hibiscus flowers and papaya trees surrounded us. It was next to the railway track that went up to Malaysia and we could hear the train come by two to three times a day.

While my husband was having a ball of a time, I was lost. I was completely new to this country and his lifestyle. It took a while for me to settle down. I wanted to learn more about Singapore, so I would take a public bus and go around town. I strongly believe in learning my way around and I tell my children that too. Learn your way.