Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre

Located near the junction of the Upper Serangoon Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road, it is a place that seems to be frozen in time, with little changes over the decades.

Built in the seventies, the shopping centre’s most famous tenant is perhaps the evergreen computer shop that sells cheap PC games for almost 20 years.

Today, the shopping centre is like a ghost town, where there are only a few tenants left in the building, which is quite an unusual scenario in a crowded Singapore. The building has been put up for sale, and after three decades, Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre may be finally undergoing a major revamp.

Even in weekends, the shopping mall is deserted with only a couple of shops opened for business.

Just outside the shopping centre, there is a classic old building equipped with spiral staircase.

Check out Time Stands Still at Singapore’s Veteran Shopping Centres for brief summaries of other old shopping centres.

Published: 22 October 2010

Updated: 02 July 2012

41 Responses to Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre

  1. Anonymous83 says:

    A Play Tat I Grew Up With Since Young…There Used To Be An Old Dispensary In Place of The Post Office Opposite It….Decades Back….Ever Since The Dept Store Oriental Emporium…and Later The Game Arcade Moved Out…Tis Place Has Slowly Start to Lose Its Patrons….There Used To B Some Bk Rental Shops Ard In The Late 90s…But Now I’ll Say The Cheap Photocopy Shops Are The Onli Reason I Still Head Back There….

  2. shaun says:

    Hi there, really like reading your posts and pictures on your blog, could I ask if yesterday.sg has linked to your posts before? I lived in Hougang for 20 years of my life, and studied in Zhonghua Secondary School. I used to go to USSC for haircut, uniform, CDs, tamiya model kits and the arcade. Thanks for this post, it sure brought up fond memories.

    • Thanks Shaun!
      Nope, yesterday.sg hasn’t linked to my posts before
      I have setup this blog just last Oct.. Wished I did it much earlier, several places such as (old) National Library, Tang Dynasty and New 7th Storey Hotel were already gone for good..

  3. Good interesting and informative Site! Keep up the good work! Will return back again. Check out my site too! http://singaporeitinerary.blogspot.com ! Cheers!

  4. Joanna Yeoh says:

    I used to get my cross-stitch threads from a shop there!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I finished my schooling at St Josephs Convent in Hillside Drive in 1967 and the bus stop was on the same side of the post office. I remember going to Ban Cheong Jewellers with my Mum across Yio Chu Kang Road, from memory. Those were the good old days, which Paya Lebar will not see again
    Jennifer Sheffield (nee Pereira)

  6. Anonymous83 says:

    The Tailor Shop Bside The Shopping Centre Gone Liao….

  7. In a crowded Singapore, almost all shopping malls are full of people except this…
    Sad to see it in such state

  8. Point to note… that the interior design of the Upper Serangoon Shopping Center is almost similar to City Plaza in Geylang…and the facade is also semblance of Katong Shopping Centre

  9. Jan says:

    I remembered the scary tattoo shop at 2nd level, always pass by on our way to the uniform shop, n there’s this bright linkway.. n the arcade on the top floor, opposite arcade got photocopying shop.. downstairs got book shop and cafeteria that my grandma would bring me there for breakfast.. Mini carousel that my cousins n mi always love to ride.. Chinese herbal shop near the staircase at 2nd level.. Outside just beside the mattress shop is this forever changing club, always so scared to walk past at night.. But still, so many fond memories!! Thanks for this post.. :)

  10. Nick says:

    I used to work at the amusement arcade cum billiards saloon. Met a lot of friends, knew a lot of wierd characters good and bad.

    • Sadly, even the ah bengs also avoid this place nowadays… haha :D

    • keeveg says:

      I used to work at the billard saloon “Potblack” too…. had an Indian colleague then who can speak mandarin like a chinese. Played there often with my frens and followed by the motorcycle racing game at the arcade one level down.

      The sales girl of the boutique shop “Sweet Sugar” was the belle of the building then.

  11. Tim says:

    Hi, perhaps you might consider writing on the Katong Shopping Complex? I guess both are around the same type of era build?

  12. Fareed Fiasco says:

    tattoo shop!!!!!

  13. Silaqui says:

    Ah that place, I remember back when I was in Secondary School I used to go to the arcade there after school. Back then there were no restrictions on uniforms. And facing the arcade was a shop where we could buy console games or even rent a game for 1 hour. There was also a Manga shop on the ground floor or I should say Man Hua shop. And yes, I think ‘Ah Lim’ is still. Should visit when I have the time.

  14. Troppofino63 says:

    my ex-girlfriend and i used to haunt USSC to get textbooks or Maths homeworks photocopied at a shop done by a bunch of bored ah huays and ah lians, after that we’d walk around and gawk at the local people having a blast. That ex-girlfriend? yeah she’s my wife now….!
    thank you for the write up! its great to see these sites and places as we no longer reside in sgp, now we have been apprised the place is called a Ponding Island?

  15. Ang Sar Lee says:

    I have very fond memories of Hainan Garden 海南园 and Choa Chu Kang, hopefully you or some of your readers will be able to post some good old pictures and stories on your website.

    I used to study in Sin Min (thank god it is being preserved, now occupy by NGO The Helping Hand), and used to visit 星光戏院 and the polyclinic which was just across the Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre. Further up is a big square just behind the now defunct 光洋中学 which housed I think was 光华戏院. I have lots of good fond memories there. It was almost a dead town there when I visited that place a few weeks ago compared to hustling and bustling place a few decades before.

  16. Tang says:

    I bought my first used car from the company known as Leco motors here many many years ago.
    They were located on the ground floor. When the boss’s wife strike it reach in a mutilmillion toto draw, they bought their own place at the grand used car mart at Ubi. They are still there today

  17. championgrumbler says:

    Hi there, should do up an entry on Beauty World Shopping Centre before they do any revamp to it, since MRT lines will go through that area in future… There’s also a hawker centre located at the top floor of the mall. Don’t forget to pay the toilets a visit, classic stainless steel urinal trough!

  18. rufino1995 says:

    My growing up years from 60′s, 70′s, early 80′s… what a wonderful place to grow up in upper serangoon.. between “ougang” 5th mile and 6th Mile….u had mix of middle class, kampongs with duck and chicken farms… and mangrove swamp at Jalan payoh Lai – tampines … great food all around… the Best wanton mee was a push cart cantonese guy who will push his cart from Silat Road to, Hillside drive, sometimes park it along Highland road.. in front of the huge properties along Highland road.. OH what a great Era… with estates having durian trees… waiting to run into the property at night to pick the fallen fruits…. hahahhahah… great times… and the 60′s Firecrackers during Chinese new year… brillaant…. times… then we kids will ride our bicycles to either kangar or pungool end… or take one of the those buses .. the yellow bus to go to pungool end…. oh how “romantic”…. and we had the complete mix of races….flying kite.. playing
    ‘kuti-kuti”…. :) OH what a time…

  19. Raihando says:

    Nothing was as happy as those times in early 80s when my mom and dad brought me to ussc to celebrate dad’s payday. It was huge then… At least for me! On the way back, will stop by the durian stall opposite ussc, then wait for my uncle (uncle rahim aka aim) who sells the mee rebus to come back hillside drive village and we get to eat all the leftovers for the day. Then to the wet market every sun and i would wait and grumble for my mom and auntie to finish their groceries. Question: was the crocodile farm just further up the road really had huge crocodiles? I never had a chance to go there. Wish i had! Thanks for the memories

  20. DL says:

    I rmbr in the early 80s, USSC used to be very crowded, dad used to bring me there when there is artiste performaning or signing record at level 1 .. rmbr that one of the old taiwanese Hokkien singer “Someone surname HONG Rong something” performed before. . and of course the old clinic opps USSC.. rmbr while sitting on the wooden chair waiting for my turn at level 2.. kinda of miss it. . happen to past by last week and pop into USSC.. is really bad..thanks for bring back the memories !

  21. Raymond says:

    I am ‘relatively’ new to this part of Singapore, only shifted to Sengkang some years ago. It is pretty quiet now, esp on Sunday. The only crowded place is Nature Vegetarian Delights on the 4th floor. The good Teochew restaurant Frgrant Garden also shifted there recently due to the cheaper rent.

  22. Thomas Tan says:

    Hope to see Savoy cinema and boonlay shopping center in here

  23. VM says:

    Thank you for writing this, your blog is a wonderful effort! USSC used to be bustling until they demolished the shophouses along Upp Serangoon for the mrt line, along with my friend’s parents’ tailoring shop =( yes those were the same kind of spiraling stairs we played on! Shophouses had a dispensary, old fashioned bakery shop, motor shop, small kopitiam I remember the building had a date on it like built in 1920s-30s…
    Top floor: arcade Paco fun world , video rental shop, photocopy shop, uniform shop, a smaller cafeteria
    3rd floor: another photocopy shop, malay & chinese barber shops near the bridge entrance, massage parlour/ foot reflexology or maybe a tattoo parlour, auntie clothes shop
    2nd floor (ground floor): konica/kodak film processing, medical shop, florist, posb bank, manga comics shop, bookworm gift and stationery, 2nd hand bookshop, shoe shop, auntie clothes shop
    1st floor basement: ktv club, a snack shop selling the most delicious banana crisps I’ve ever eaten!, wagon type shop in the open space selling books and stationery, another shoe shop
    Outside: goldsmith, after that it was taken over by a mattress shop.

  24. John says:

    there used to be a “Emporium” there. Dont know if it was “Oriental”. Also a large kiddy rides outlet. Went there a few times with my then young children. Today I think the most outstanding shop there is a 3-unit reflexology shop on the 2nd storey. The boss is a Chinawoman who is married to a local guy who is a widower. She is quite pretty and a very amicable person thats why she is able to expand from one unit to three units. Just before you rush there, she doesn’t do much work these days. ONly her staff. Thks for the momories!

  25. Claudia says:

    We hope to gather friends, fans and folks who’ve got memories of Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre to join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Upper-Serangoon-Shopping-Centre/407016879360953. The place is going through yet another round of collective sale, not sure if this time will be a success, so we hope to help remember USSC while its still as it is now.

  26. Dominic Reyes says:

    Used to go there regularly with my father for haircuts. There was Pink Panther and later Red panther hair saloon. Incidentally I was wondering if anyone has photos and points to share about the 2 cinemas that was around the vicinity of the mall namely Kok Wah Theatre and Mercury Theatre. In fact further down the road was Empire Theatre at Lowland Road. These really brings back wonderful memories. Yes I do recall going to the Oriental Emporium there as well.

  27. Andreas says:

    Was quite a sickly child, more often than not, my parents will bring me there for TCM tui na at the 4th floor by a chinese physician (Dr Mai) whom later moved her clinic to Lorong Lew Lian.
    While waiting for my turn, would usually get to the uncle’s (Ah Lim) evergreen game shop at the corner to browse through the magazine and games on sale. Many years later, my family actually moved to block 161 which is just a stone throw away from USSC but never frequent that place like before. It really brings back many memories….

  28. Hon says:

    Used to buy tapes and cd from a shop name song ching in uscc

  29. UpperSerangoon Man says:

    I used to live at Surin Avenue at Charlton Park (my mum et al still do) and I remember when USSC was built in the 70′s – but I never spent a lot of time hanging around there. The area itself was pretty interesting. The bakery – you’d get fresh bread and the old man would trim the burnt bits and give you a loaf of freshly made, lovely tasting bread….and the old Chinese laundry where I used to get my army uniform starched and pressed (78-81) – at the row of shophouses just after the Crocodile Farm (my late dad would always say we should go – but we never did) but before the USSC. St. Gabriel’s used to be just across from the Caltex station (my mum tried to convince me to go there, but I was a true-blue St. Andrews boy already by then) and there was a Chinese school down towards 6th mile. Can’t remember the name but the Helping Hand’s furniture outlet is there now.

  30. Terence says:

    Hey hi there …..I used to frequent a coffee shop that would open at 3 in the morning in at the old 2 storey shophouses opposite the road (along Upper Serangoon Road) , during my police days. Just next to the where the old Lim Tua Tow market used to be.

    There was an elderly chinese lady that sold the most amazing prawn mee there. When the place got demolised , I lost touch with her. This was back around 1995. This is a long shot , but does anyone know if she is still around plying her trade in a nearby premises ?

    Do tell.

  31. 40s says:

    Wow… I was waitering in the snack bar, B-one, during school vacation in the 80s.
    Fell in love with a pug puppy sold in the pet shop in USSC, and blew my pay on that cutie.
    Yes, a place of students, businesses and delinquents.
    Bye bye Singapore.

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