The Oasis

Text by Kelly Koh

Demolished in 2010 along with the old National Stadium, The Oasis was a one of a kind entertainment complex at the mouth of the Geylang River.

The Oasis (Image credit: HDB Publication 1970)

The Urban Renewal Department proposed a sporting complex in the Kallang park, encompassing both sporting and tourist activities, allocating a site of 14,400 sqft for The Oasis as a part of the Sale of Sites Programme. This masterplan catered for a teahouse on land, together with three sea structures to serve “makan kecil”, as the focal point of its “Grand Promenade”. Through its developmental iterations the project grew in size and ambition, with the main building sized at 22,000 sqft, housing a full-fledged entertainment complex.

Aerial view of The Oasis Restaurant in Kallang

The Oasis sits along a sea wall at the confluence of the Geylang and Kallang rivers, holding a clear view through the park and an unparalleled vantage of the surrounding coastlines, including those of Tanjong Rhu and Collyer Quay.

The Oasis appears to float on the Kallang River

The complex, with its three floating ancillary structures, was anchored by a three storey main building on land, The Oasis. The lower floor of the building was kept clear to retain extensive views of the coastline, and was occupied by the 24hour Nightingale Coffee House, alongside several functional rooms such as the kitchen, substation, and ticketing office. The upper floors housed the Oasis Theatre, Golden Neptune Niteclub-Cabaret, and Paradise Cove Bar, providing food and entertainment for approximately 1800 people.

Main building of The Oasis with a bar, theatre, and night club

A state-of-the art development at its time of inception, the theatre, bar, and cabaret had generous facilities for floor-shows, and a bandstand with latest audio-visual aids.

From the main building, a 150 foot long and 10 foot wide jetty led to the Chinese restaurant, the largest sea structure at 13,000 sqft. Branching off at right angles to the main jetty, the buildings on the left and right housed a Taiwanese restaurant and a modern coffee-house respectively. All the jetties were fully functional with steps leading to the water, providing an alternative water-based approach to the floating structures.

Elevation of The Oasis Restaurant in Kallang

The main building took 9 months to complete, and was opened in November 1969 by Runme Shaw, then Chairman of the Singapore Tourism Board. Three years later, in June 1972, he officially opened the remaining ancillary buildings. At the time, it was only the second entertainment project under the urban renewal scheme to become operative, and was poised to be a new landmark and key tourist attraction for Singapore.