Change alley

Name: Paul Carn, Through Magazine
Date: 1941
Unit: Signals 8th Australian Division
Location: Singapore

The name fascinates you - Change Alley. What does it mean? Who knows and who wants to know? How quick the change from stately Raffles Place to this multi-coloured scene of robbers, scoundrels, sychophants and thieves.

Change Alley! The refuge of every oily-tongued Indian and easily-lying salesman. Trinkets and curios, every knick-knack to delight the heart of child and man and tempt his protesting pocket. Come with me and listen to the conversation.

"Master, Master, come this way. I will show you cheap socks, ties, handkerchiefs, mirrors, glasses, writing pads and anything you wish."

"How much is this?" you say. "Two dollar," says the smooth-tongued sychophant. "Too dear," you say. "I must live Master," says Mohammed Ben Deah: and then after a moment's hesitation, "Your lasst prisse sir?" "75 cents." He smiles oilily, deprecatingly - "Oh no sir." You must remain stern and silent or bark out in mock rage: "Uh tida bagoose, too dear." "Not deer, sir - Cheep." You walk away. "All right sir: one dollar." You toss him for the other twenty-five cents. Invariably he wins. He wraps it up smiling. The fact that he has lost more than his profit disturbs him not. You walk away with the uneasy feeling that he has rogued you.

Queer, too, how fresh the air has become in Raffles Place.

Paul Carn

Published in the first edition of Through, the official journal of Signals 8th Australian Division in Singapore, December 1941.

The material for this article was supplied by Mrs E.A. Quick of South Australia

Last updated: 3 June 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Change alley, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 29 October 2021,
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