Trumpets sound as socialites hit town

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 June, 1994, 12:00am

DATELINE - Singapore: To find the heart of Singapore, it is said, go to Orchard Road. If that is the case, then the taxi drivers who ply the tree-lined thoroughfare are its soul.

So as Keeping Posted was riding a taxi down it, the driver - in the manner taxi drivers do when they suspect you might be worth a generous tip - began the usual commentary.

A few pointers along and we came to a halt by the traffic lights across from Lane Crawford Place, the area's latest landmark.

''See that place over there, sir?'' he beckoned with his hand, ''that's the newest department store in Orchard Road.'' He added with some street-wise emphasis: ''Actually, it belongs to a Honky.'' ''Honky'' is the affectionate term that the locals use to describe Hong Kongers.

And the arrival of the ''Honkies'' along Orchard Road has certainly caused interesting ripples - not least for C. K. Tang, a long established department store diagonally opposite Lane Crawford.

The striking new edifice was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, whose design philosophy of ''symbiosis'' realises the co-existence of his buildings with their surroundings.

But try telling that to the people over at C. K. Tang.

Word is that Kurokawa's conical shaped atrium that fronts his building presents bad fung shui for its venerable neighbour.

That's not all. Old Mr C. K., a devout Christian, had laid down all those years ago that his store would remain closed on Sunday to enable his staff to go to church.

But that 65-year-long tradition has just been abandoned as C. K. Tang prepares to take on the new gods of capitalism, represented in this instance by Lane Crawford.

The trumpets have sounded down Orchard Road. Let's hope no walls come tumbling down!