The 1973 SEAP Games Village allowed athletes to stay in point blocks close to everyday amenities such as cinemas and hawker centres, which allowed them to experience a slice of Singapore life. Today, one of the blocks, Block 179, is better known for hosting games of checkers (known regionally as “dum”) at its void deck, which regularly brings together enthusiastic players and spectators alike.
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Held in 1973, the 7th Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games (now known as the Southeast Asian Games) was the first major international sports event held in Singapore. While most international games villages are custom-built and situated away from local population centres, the 1973 SEAP Games gave visiting athletes and officials a taste of Singaporean life.

Toa Payoh was chosen to host the Games Village, given its proximity to the National Stadium and the newly-built Toa Payoh Sports Complex facilities as venues for competition and training. Over 1,500 athletes from the seven nations were housed in four point blocks built by the Housing & Development Board. Each point block in the heart of Toa Payoh had 96 fully furnished apartment units and a recreation floor.

As a newly developed town, Toa Payoh’s wide range of amenities such as shops, cinemas, hawker centres, a supermarket, a post office and a bus interchange made it the ideal location for the Games Village. There was also a dining hall for 1,800 people and the food served was said to be so appetising that officials were worried about their athletes putting on weight.

Today, the former SEAP Games Secretariat building is occupied by Toa Payoh Public Library, and the distinctive point blocks were sold to the public after the games. The competition venues continue to be well-utilised by the public for a variety of sporting and community activities.

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