The Tang who to Orchard was called Choon Keng, better known by his initials, CK Tang. In 1932, a then 32 year old Tang, made enough from his door-to-door salesman job to set up his own departmental store selling crafts from China. His store grew and grew.
In 1958, CK Tang bought a huge spot of land along Orchard Road to set up a branch of his departmental store in Orchard Road. His contemporaries thought him mad, what sort of Chinese business man would build a store facing a cemetery (the Tai Shan Ting Cemetery, what sat on what is present day Wisma Atria, Mandarin Hotel and Ngee Ann City and Cathay Cinelesiure)?
Tang however had bigger fish to fry. He reasoned that the rich caucasians living up the road in Tanglin would want to shop at a nice store near their home. And he was to be proven right.
Tangs still stand today with its iconic Chinese style building structure.
The cemeteries on the other hand have become famous malls.
A large green patch was once situated next to Wisma Atria (to the right side of the image above) it is now the ION Orchard.
Before Tang’s built his store in the centre of Orchard Road, the Singapore Cold Storage built their first store in 1905 south of Orchard Road (where Centre Point is today).
The store eventually started selling diary products (ice cream) and was called the Cold Storage Milk Bar, it became a focal point with city folk.
Then there was the Fitpatrick’s Supermarket.
It is now this, the Paragon.
Further down south is the Istana, the present palace of the President of Singapore.
Moving in the opposite direction from Tangs, are a series of what seems like slightly older buildings. They are older because they were built in the 1970s to 80s and came after the rebuilt buildings we just covered.
One of the big malls is the Isetan building, or Shaw Building built by the precursor of Shaw Organisation, Shaw Brothers Studio, once a huge film distributor in Singapore (with a local film production site in Balestier Road).
Further down on both sides are other buildings, including the International Plaza, Far East Shopping Centre, Delfi Orchard and Orchard Towers. Also interesting is the fact that many of the roads up the north end of Orchard have Scottish names (eg. Claymore Road), I reckon in a nod to the Scottish influence in Singapore.
These shops represent a way of shopping more similar to Singapore in the 1970s and 80s. Orchard Towers (fourth picture) has a much sleazier reputation, as a building where the lust industry appeals (particularly to caucasians).
How to get there