Interesting Singapore Road Names

This is a continuation from the previous article Old, Common Names of Places in Singapore, and their Origins.

Other than names of our pioneers, early local merchants or governors of Straits Settlements, many roads in Singapore are  also named after various items, cities or simply one reason or another.

Even Singaporeans are unaware of the existence of some of the roads!

Do you know while there is a Sunset Way at Clementi, there is also a Sunrise Way off Yio Chu Kang Road? Find out more…

Roads of Fruits

Somewhere off Upper Serangoon Road, there are two minor roads which are interestingly named after fruits: Lorong Lew Lian (罗弄榴莲) and Lorong Ong Lye (罗弄黄梨). The reason is unknown, perhaps in the past there were durian and pineapple plantations around the area. Jalan Durian can be found on Pulau Ubin. There was once a Lorong Koo Chye (罗弄韮菜) at Upper Paya Lebar, but it became defunct when Tai Seng-Ubi was developed into an industrial estate.

Elsewhere at Katong, there is a Lorong Nangka (Jackfruit in Malay), Mangis Road (Manggis is Mangosteen in Malay), Rambai Road, Duku Road, Chiku Road, Langsat Road and Rambutan Road (all tropical fruits).

At MacPherson, there is a network of “fruit-tree” roads which include Lichi Avenue (Lichi is a variant spelling of litchi, or lychee), Cedar Avenue (Cedar trees, native in Southeast Asia and Australia, produce bluish fruits that are poisonous to humans), Mulberry Avenue (Mulberry is native in subtropical regions of Asia, Africa and Americas), Angsana Avenue (common tree found in Singapore with a flat disc-shaped fruit), Kenanga Avenue (Kenanga is the Indonesian name for Ylang-Ylang, a perfume tree with black fruits) and Belimbing Avenue (Belimbing is the Indonesian name for starfruit).

Roads of Bananas

A set of connected roads near Beauty World, Upper Bukit Timah, used banana (pisang in Malay) as names. They are called Lorong Pisang Asam (sour in Malay), Lorong Pisang Batu (stone), Lorong Pisang Emas (gold), Lorong Pisang Hijau (green), Lorong Pisang Raja (king) and Lorong Pisang Udang (prawn). Jalan Pisang is located at Kampong Glam.

Roads of Nuts

At Bukit Panjang neighbourhood, a series of minor roads, drives and crescents are named after nuts, namely Almond, Cashew, Chestnut and Hazel.

Roads of Royalties

There exists a “royal” estate along Farrer Road, where the roads are named after monarch titles: King’s Road, Queen’s Road, Empress Road, Prince Road, Duke Road, Duchess Road, Prince of Wales Road, Princess of Wales Road and Coronation Road.

Prince Charles Crescent and Prince Phillip Avenue are two parallel roads along Alexandra Road, while King Albert Park is a minor road at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Clementi Road, and King George’s Avenue is found at Jalan Besar.

King’s Road and Queen’s Road are not to be confused with King’s Avenue and Queen’s Avenue located at Sembawang. There is a Queen Street in the City but no King Street exists in Singapore. There is a Jalan Rajah (“king” in Malay) at Balestier though.

Roads of Poets

The roads at Teacher’s Estate, Yio Chu Kang Road, are all named after famous poets and philosophers. There are three roads named after Chinese poets, namely Li Po (李白) Avenue, Tu Fu (杜甫) Avenue, Tung Po (苏东坡) Avenue. Iqbal Avenue is named after Muhammad Iqbal, a Muslim poet and philosopher who lived in British India from 1877 to 1938.

In the same estate, there are also Tagore Avenue (named after Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)), Kalidasa Avenue (refers to 4th century Sanskrit writer Kalidasa), Omar Khayyam Avenue (named after Persian poet/philosopher Omar Khayyam (1048-1131)) and Munshi Abdullah Avenue (Munshi Abdullah (1797-1854) was the Father of Modern Malay Literature). At Serenade Walk, the word serenade means a musical performance in someone’s honour.

Roads of Places

There are many roads in Singapore that are named after cities or places of other countries in the world.

Two parallel short roads called Butterworth Road and Ipoh Road (Malaysia) exist at Tanjong Katong. At Raffles Place, there is the Malacca Road, whereas Pahang Street and Johore Road (now defunct) are located in Kampong Glam. There are three roads named after Penang, namely Penang Road, Penang Lane (near Fort Canning) and Jalan Pinang (Penang) at Kampong Glam. Interestingly, Perak Road is at Little India while Trengganu Street is found in Chinatown.

In the downtown where the early Chinese resided, many streets are named after cities or provinces of China, such as China Street, Amoy (厦门) Street, Canton (广州) Street, Chin Chew (possibly referring to 泉州) Street, Hokien (福建) Street, Nankin (南京) Street  and Pekin (北京) Street (now an inner street). Shanghai (上海) Road is located off River Valley Road, and Yunnan (云南) Crescent/Drive/Walk are at Jurong West.

Interestingly, during the days of Nanyang University (1956-1980), many roads inside the campus were named after cities and places of China, as seen in the map above. There were the likes of Peking (北京), Sinkiang (新疆), Tibet (西藏), Fuchow (福州), Swatow (汕头), Amoy (厦门), Thaipu (大浦), Wuchang (武昌), Szechuan (四川), Chungking (重庆), Nanking (南京), Tientsin (天津) and Hangchow (杭州). All these roads were defunct after the university shut down in 1980.

A host of roads named after Burma cities, towns and landmarks can be found near the  Moulmein Flyover of CTE. On one side there are the Rangoon (capital of Burma 1948-2006) Road and Mergui (Burma’s Mergui Archipelago) Road. On the other side lie Akyab (Burmese city) Road, Ava (capital 1364-1841) Road, Bassein (city) Road, Bhamo  (city) Road, Irrawaddy (Burmese river) RoadMandalay (capital 1860-1885) Road, Martaban (Burmese town) Road, Minbu (city) Road, Pegu (city) Road, Prome (town) Road and Shan (Burmese ethic group) Road.

Near Little India, Bristol Road, Cambridge Road, Carlisle Road, Devonshire Road, Dorset Road, Durham Road, Gloucester Road, Hampshire Road, Hertford Road, Kent Road, Norfolk Road, Northumberland Road, Oxford Road, Rutland Road,  and Truro Road are all named after England counties.

Singapore roads that are named after England’s towns, cities and suburbs include Exeter Road, Oxley Road, Somerset Road and Tiverton Road.

Outside Sembawang Shipyard, which was formerly the British Naval Base, the roads were named after countries, capitals and cities in the Commonwealth of Nations. They are the Auckland (New Zealand city) Road, Bermuda (British territory in North Atlantic Ocean) Road, Canada Road, Canberra (Australia’s capital) Avenue, Deptford (area in London) Road, Durban (South African city) Road, Falkland (British territory in South Atlantic Ocean) Road, Fiji Road, Gibraltar (British territory at south of Spain) Road, Kenya Cresent, Lagos (Nigerian port) Road, Malta Road, Montreal (Canadian city) Road, Ottawa (Canada’s capital) Road, Pakistan Road, St.Helena (British territory in South Atlantic Ocean) Road, St. John (Canadian city) Road and Wellington (New Zealand’s capital) Circle.

Other than Pahang Street and Jalan Pinang mentioned earlier, Kampong Glam also consists of a number of roads named after Muslim places, such as Bali Lane, Java Road (both Indonesia islands), Baghdad (capital of Iraq) Street, Muscat (capital of Oman) Street and Kandahar (Afghanistan city) Street.

A Ceylon Road can be found along East Coast Road. Ceylon is the former name of Sri Lanka from 1948 to 1972. The name of Kadayanallur Street, which is off Maxwell Road, is derived from an Indian city. So is the nearby Banda Street.

Interestingly, the road connected to Kadayanallur Street is called Erskine Road, where Erskine is a Scottish town. Glasgow Road is in Kovan, where Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. Ireland’s capital, province and townland are also reflected in Dublin Road, Connaught Drive and Killiney Road. French Road is near Jalan Besar Stadium.

There is also the Hongkong Street between New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road.

The famous Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple stands on Waterloo Street, which was named after the Battle of Waterloo where the Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley claimed a famous victory over Napoleon Bonaparte. Waterloo is a municipality in Belgium.

Roads of Emotions

Residents going to the Aljunied Park will probably feel a sense of joy as the network of roads beside the park are named Happy Avenue. Indeed, it is said the area, once part of MacPherson, had a theme of contentment and virtues for happiness. One cannot say the same for the Sembawang folks with its Jalan Malu-Malu (Malu-malu is affectionately shy or modest in Malay) off Sembawang Road.

Meanwhile, people staying at Kay Poh Road will not be pleased if anyone calls them busybodies. Kay Poh Road, however, was named after Wee Kay Poh (黄继宝) who was a former apprentice at A.L. Johnston & Company in the 19th century and later became the owner of opium and liquor business.

Roads of Numbers

At Old Airport Road, a network of small roads are named according to numbers in Malay. Jalan Satu, Jalan Dua, Jalan Tiga, Jalan Empat and Jalan Lima simply means “road one” to “road five”.

Roads of No Names

Many small roads of the early days still exist in the under-developed parts or restricted areas of Singapore. They have no official names and are simply called… tracks. They usually come with a single- or double-digit suffix.

Punggol Road has a Track 24 leading to a fishing pond, while there is a Track 14 off Old Choa Chu Kang Road that enters a Chinese cemetery. Mandai Road’s Track 7 and Track 16 are still around, but the tracks at Lim Chu Kang Road (Track 11 & 13) and Jurong Road are now defunct.

Both Punggol and Ponggol were in use since the early days. Today, the name Punggol is being used officially, whereas the name Ponggol is now only found at the small roads of Ponggol Seventeenth Avenue and Ponggol Twenty-Fourth Avenue.

Published: 11 April 2011

Updated: 03 January 2013

This entry was posted in Cultural. Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Interesting Singapore Road Names

  1. Pat says:

    Thanks for the interesting summary of road names. If I may add on a little …

    1) Former British Military Area bordering Alexandra Rd & AYE, where roads are named after officers, counties, capitals & cities of the British homeland & colonial empire — Hyderabad Rd, Canterbury Rd, Cornwall Rd, Royal Rd, Berkshire Rd, York Rd, Russels Rd, Winchester Rd & Normanton Park on the western side of Alexandra Rd; & Lock Rd, as well as the defunct Gillman Heights (formerly called Railway Hill) on the eastern side of Alexandra Rd. Incidentally, before AYE was built in the mid-1980s, there was a Friendly Hill at the current Depot Close.

    2) Small cluster off Tanjong Katong Rd — Sandy Lane, Pebble Lane; as well as Grey Lane, Green Lane, Rose Lane.

    3) The musically-themed Opera Estate cluster at Siglap, where roads are named after operas, symphonies, songs & composers — Fidelio St, Figaro St, Carmen St, Tosca St, Aida St, Lakme St, Dafne St, Dido St, Rienzi St, Ernani St, Metropole Dr, Norma Terrace, Swan Lake Ave, Maria Ave, Jln Bangsawan, Terang Burang Ave, Jln Bintang Tiga.

    4) Small cluster between Siglap Rd & East Coast Rd — First St, Second St, Third St, Fourth St.

  2. Christopher says:

    Hi. To add, there’s a Lychee Avenue in Senette Estate, Macpherson Road.

  3. Zulfadli Ketari says:

    May I commend on the work being done on the website.. Great job! Kudos to you.

    But may I turn your attention to Names of Roads with emotions? Jalan Malu-malu

    Although malu may mean it is embarrassing. If you put malu twice together, it has a different meaning. Same as Mata. Which means eye. If the word was mata-mata, it would mean the police.

    Being coy, affectionately shy or modest, would best fit the term malu-malu.

    Just my two cents worth. :)

    have a nice day..

  4. For those who are interested in the stories of the street names in Singapore, you can visit the National Library. The exhibition is held at Level 7 & 8 from 12th January 2012 to 29th June 2012. :)

  5. plumerainbow says:

    Was wandering why the (Singapore) Moulmein area is named after Myanmar cities/towns, and the search showed this page! Great job with this informative list. Stumbling upon interesting street names is like picking up golden nuggets of whimsy.

    May I add some more?
    Fish names: Jalan Ikan Merah, Jalan Keli, Jalan Terubok, Jalan Sembilang
    Days of the week: Jalan Isnin, Jalan Rabu, Jalan Khamis
    and a Jalan MInggu *LOL*

  6. GF says:

    Hi All, Does anybody know the history behind Poh Huat Road, Robey Crescent, Lim Ah Pin Road?
    Are those some names? I am interested to learn the story behind.

    Kind Regards,
    Gerard

    • ame says:

      yea. not sure about the rest, but i know that lim ah pin is a person’s name. and the road along it, Florence road, is the name of lim ah pin’s wife.

    • equalityoflife says:

      There’s a closed facebook group dedicated to Lim Ah Pin / Florence. Let me know if you’re still keen to find out more.

      • Dylan Scott Low says:

        Peter Lim Ah Pin was a bee hoon factory owner who owned land in the areas now known as Lim Ah Pin Road and Florence Road. Florence Road was named after his wife, Florence Yeo.

        I am their great grandson.

  7. Eric HK Lim says:

    Devonshire Road is in the Orchard area.
    Other roads near Little India is Owen Road where the ill fated New World Hotel was located. Another is Worecester Road. That area also had an estate called Cumberland Lane where there were some very pretty cottage like houses. The roads and estate in that area had all English names like Durham Estate, Owen Estate, Norfolk Estate but the estate bodered by Owen Road, Norfolk Road and Cambridge Road was called Tasek Utara Estate. These estate were defunct after the redevelopment of the area. The current Pek Kio Community Centre was the old Cambridge Road market but it days are number with the new Pek Kio CC coming up at Farrer Park. Stangely there is no Pek Kio Road.

    • Paul says:

      That’s an interesting observation. I’m quite sure there is a Pek Kio Road in the area though, I think I’ve seen signage for it. And why Pek Kio, I wonder?

    • Eric Lim says:

      Kio is the Hokkien dialect for bridge. The locals in the olden days could have used the bridges to land mark their locations. Thus we have Pek (white) Kio it could be the bridge joining Keng Lee Road and Kg Java Road and just infront of the KJ Police post. There is Ang (red) Kio; this was added with Tau at he end. In full “Ang Kio Tau” to signify the start of the bridge at that loction. It is located at the confluence of Kg Java Rd, Thomsom Road, Norfolk Road and Cavanagh Rd just under the CTE. It is still painted in red.
      Then there is the Ngoh (black) Kio referring to the area around Balestier Road. I am not sure of its location. Maybe some one may throw some light?

  8. Gretal says:

    Anybody knows the history of sembawang hills estate? Has it got to do with the sembawang shipyard workers?

  9. Julia says:

    would anyone reading this know about the founding story behind King George’s Avenue? could it be linked to the days of the British occupation and any affiliation with the former Christ Church School (currently People’s Association) built along the same street?

  10. Joey Foo says:

    Edgware Road, Regent Street, Sussex Gardens, Bayswater Road, Brompton Road, Lambert Walk, Mornington Cresent, Piccadilly and Piccadilly Circus.

    Yes, you’ll find them in London, but they’re also found in Seletar!

  11. gsm_wu says:

    dones anyone know tampines road name come from where?

    • The name Tampines came from the Tampinis tree, or “Strebulus elongata”. It used to be abundant in the Peninsula Malaysia on its western coast (from Penang) and eastern coast (from Pahang to Singapore). Probably the strongest of all Malaysian woods, the tree can reach heights of 12m, and its wood can be used for almost anything due to its hardness and durability.
      In Singapore, Tampinis tree was almost extinct, except a few left in the Bukit Timah natural reserve. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is trying to preserve the local species by actively growing its saplings.


      (Photo Credit: 30 Years of Tampines)

  12. Dr S J Hartadi says:

    Can anyone tell me about the fire that destroy the entire
    Kampong where PUB building stands today. I was living
    there in the early 60s in Devonshire Rd – some 50 odd
    years ago. I can’t find the achive of the tragedy.

  13. Hwee says:

    Hope you can help me with this. Does Ang Mo Kio mean the caucasian’s bridge or tomato? I’ve had conflicting accounts on this. On the subject of AMK do you know there’s no AMK Ave 7, although there’s Ave 1 through 10? I wonder why.

    • The theory of Caucasian’s Bridge is more correct than the tomato one. It refers to John Turnbull Thomson’s (1821–1884) bridge at the junction of Upper Thomson Road (which is named after him) and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.

      Actually prior to the seventies, the Ang Mo Kio area was better known as Cheng San, which was a huge village stretching from present-day Serangoon Gardens to Upper Thomson Road. During that time, it was also commonly known as cheng sua lai (青山内). Of course, in today’s context, Cheng San is just a small neighhourhood in Ang Mo Kio, along with Teck Ghee, Mayflower, Kebun Baru, Yio Chu Kang Gardens, etc.

      As for Ang Mo Kio Ave 7, it’s said that it was in the plan but somehow the building of the road never materialised during the initial stage of development of Ang Mo Kio (need to check the older street directory to confirm this).
      The avenues in Ang Mo Kio are planned in orderly manner, ie the east-west avenues are in odd number (Ave 1, Ave 3, etc), whereas north-south avenues are evenly numbered (Ave 2, Ave 4, etc). There is Avenue 12 but no Avenue 11 because Yio Chu Kang Road is the next main road parallel to Ang Mo Kio Ave 9.

  14. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong planted a durian sapling at Lorong Lew Lian during the Clean and Green Week in 1995.


    (Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore)

    The durian trees, as well as the durian plantations, had long vanished when the area around Lorong Lew Lian was being developed into a housing estate. Today, there are 11 of them growing around this small neighbourhood.

  15. The complete list of “China” road names at Nanyang University in the 1950s


    (Source: http://gallery.ntu.edu.sg/photos/main.php?g2_itemId=223)

  16. Obitan says:

    Just recently stumbled upon this blog; love it, great job!
    Being born out of the late 70s, can totally relate to so many things in here.

    By the way, there is a Loromg Stangee off East Coast road( near Katong), any idea what Stangee means? Someone told me its a fruit name in Malay…

    • Pat says:

      Stangee is not a fruit. It is the Baba Malay name for a special type of incense made from a mixture of various ingredients, including aromatic bark, sugarcane pulp, roots, essential oils, sugar, etc.

      Stangee was popularly burnt in Baba households during important occasions, such as during Chinese New Year, worship activities, weddings (to bless the marital bed & keep the bridal chamber sweet-smelling), as well as funerals. Depending on the purpose, Stangee is burnt on its own, or together with another type of incense (eg. sandalwood incense).

      The Peranakan Chinese traditionally believe that the scent of Stangee is effective in keeping undesirable (read: evil, wrathful, jealous) spiritual energies at bay.

      * Baba Folk Beliefs & Superstitions (Kim Ban Cheo, Muriel Speeden, 1988)

      * Rumah Baba: Life in a Peranakan House (Peter Lee, ‎Jennifer Chen, 1998)

  17. netcon96 says:

    Hello Friends
    There is a free Android app that allows you to lookup old streets of Singapore in English and their colloquial names in Chinese characters, pinyin and dialects. Malay and Tamil colloquial names are also available for some of them.

    Look for “Singapore Heritage Streets” in Google Play.

    Cheers

  18. Found out that there used to be some roads off Lim Chu Kang Road (near Lim Chu Kang Camp and Tengah Air Base) that were named after WWII fighter planes, such as:

    Spitfire Road (named after British single-seat fighter Supermarine Spitfire)
    Meteor Road (named after Gloster Meteor, the first British jet fighter used in WWII)
    Vampire Road (not named after Dracula but a British fighter called de Havilland Vampire)
    Old Stirling Road (named after WWII British bomber Short Stirling)

    There was also an Old Canberra Road which might be named after the US warship in WWII

    The roads lasted until the late 80s and no longer exist today (they might be incorporated into the roads within the military camps)

    • Mick Hall says:

      I’m Sure Old Canberra Road was named after the British Forces Jet which flew from RAF Tengah.

      • Eric Lim says:

        Probably not because the roads in Sembawang area fringing the dockyard are named after various places in the Countries of the Commonwealth.

      • Oh, Old Canberra Road was a road (not to mixed up with Canberra Road) off Lim Chu Kang Road that still existed until the late 80s.
        I think Mick Hall is right. The road might be named after English Electric Canberra, a RAF jet-powered bomber, but it only entered service many years after the end of WWII

      • Mick Hall says:

        Thanks Remember Singapore, RAF Tengah streets were named after RAF Aircraft, Also RAF Changi streets are named after RAF Stations in the UK, RAF Seletar streets are named after streets of London, I went to Seletar Secondary Modern from March 1968 to March 1971.

  19. aretha says:

    Does anyone know how the name Jalan Klinik came about and any information about it?

  20. Sue Burgess says:

    Hi there, love this site! Wondering about the name Aliwal st in Kampong Glam? Does anyone have any info on it?? thanks in advance

  21. wilson says:

    There is also a Lim Tua Tow Road near Upper Serangoon! What a road name…

  22. Haji Lane, off Beach Road…
    possibly the narrowest road in Singapore??

  23. Erwin Chan says:

    Awesome article!

    There is also a cluster at Siglap (Behond Siglap Centre) with Scottish Name Connections
    – Burnfoot Terrace
    – Lothian Road
    – Ettrick Terrace
    – Jedburgh Gardens
    – Cheviot Hill
    – Wilton Gardens
    – Yarrow Gardens

  24. yamabudoc180 says:

    Hi there..is King Albert Park named after a King of the Belgians ? If so, which one is it – King Albert I or King Albert II? Thanks.

  25. antoh says:

    There’s lots of unofficial road names.
    Only the old folks will know
    Like hougang three Stone (in hokkien )
    Bt timah road many ‘miles’ , ie, 10mile junction
    Tanglin halt 10 lau, aljunied 10lau…

  26. polaris says:

    There is also several roads in Serangoon Gardens named after English Cities

    https://www.google.com.sg/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d6752!2d103.8644023!3d1.3640796

  27. Whiskeyrose says:

    Since when 5 Sorby Adams Drive replaced 55 Potong Pasir Avenue !?

  28. kmj says:

    There’s also a bunch of streets named after Malay word for lime, Limau off Upp East Coast. Limau Bali, Limau manis, Limau garden etc.

  29. BC says:

    Hi… We recently moved to Jalan Tua Kong at Siglap. We are quite fascinated with the street name. Does anyone know its origin?

    Many thanks.

  30. Nancy tan says:

    Poh Huat road is named after Tan Poh Huat.
    He is my father-in-law’s maternal grandfather .
    Please contact him at
    tayanthonyhs@ymail.com
    For further details . He is 87 but quite savvy .
    He is on Facebook and uses smses.

  31. GF says:

    Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for your help. We are still looking for the the Poh Huat Road Story.
    My brother had contacted Mr. Tay, your father in law which is a grandson of Tan Tong Watt (Tong Watt Road) a Hokkien Land Owner around Orchard Rd.

    Hope somebody will try to help and preserve the history. Again we appreciated your help
    Grace

  32. rancidgas says:

    I want to know the story behind Ho Ching road in Taman Jurong!

    • Ho Ching Road is called 河景路 in Chinese, literally meaning “river view road”. (Definitely not named after PM Lee’s wife) :D

      When it was being developed, the roads at the Jurong Industrial Estate (Taman Jurong to Pioneer) were named by the Street-Naming Committee to reflect “industry”, “progress” and “stability”, such as Jalan Pesawat, Soon Lee Road, Fan Yoong Road, Yung Juang Road and Neythal Road.

  33. Eugene says:

    Appreciate if someone can explain the history of Everton Road ?

    The word Everton is a famous English Football Club in Liverpool (U.K) founded in 1878.

    Any relations to our Singapore version ?

  34. Janet kwek says:

    We, a group of teachers from Holy Innocents Primary School , would like to research on why the school address Lorong Low Koon was named after a doctor. Would appreciate any info as we would like to come up with a heritage trail of the area.

  35. kate says:

    I come from Poole on the south coast of England and have seen several road names in the Joo Chiat area that are also places in Poole. Parkstone road, Bournemouth road, Wimborne road, Poole road. Does anyone know who named these roads?

  36. Fistri says:

    Hi great job but I’d think the Bintang Tiga and Terang Bulan roads are named after films that Cathay Keris Malay Film Productions did and around that time their studios are at 532 East Coast Road which is why there is Jalan Keris around the area.

    Btw Pisang Raja is not King’s bananas its what the malays call the latundan banana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latundan_banana) Similarly, pisang emas is is not gold banana but what the malays call lady finger banana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Finger_banana).

    Hope that helps.

  37. Patricia Lee says:

    I am a school teacher from Holy Innocents’ Primary School. We are working on a heritage trail in our neighbourhood. Would like to have more information (history) and pictures on Lim Ah Pin Road . Could Dylan Scott Low contact me? Thanks

  38. Renée Senze says:

    I am quite curious about the story behind the naming of Owen Road in Little England. As far as I know, there is no ‘Owenshire’, ‘County Owen’ or ‘Owen’ in the UK and Ireland. I’m guessing someone from the Colonial Office or in the colonial Civil Service?

    • Pat says:

      Owen Road was named in Jan 1902 after a prominent Eurasian sporting personality, George Paddison Owen (b. 17 Mar 1850 Kildare Ireland – d. 23 May 1928 England) while he was still alive. He arrived in Singapore in 1880.

      A founder-member of the Polo Club & Singapore Golf Club, Owen also served as the long-time secretary of other locally-renowned sporting organizations such as the S’pore Sporting Club, S’pore Cricket Club, as well as the Straits Racing Association.

      Owen Road is a minor road off Race Course Road. Located at the eastern end of the old racecourse (Serangoon Road/ Farrer Park Racecourse, built 1842) there, Owen Road was formerly a reserve road that was opened to traffic in 1902 (hence its formal naming). Incidentally, Owen was one of the first residents in S’pore to own a motorcar.

      * 1986 Photo of Owen Road (PictureSG)

      Besides his prominence in the conventional sporting arena, Owen was also noted as an enthusiastic hunter of big game fauna found in the tropical jungles of S’pore & Johor Malaysia. His wildlife trophies included tigers, samba deer & wild boar. He also imported & attempted to breed Indian Red-Legged Partridges for use as hunting quarry. However, serious eye problems forced him to give up hunting in 1908.

      * Portrait of Mr. G.P. Owen, with rifle & dead tiger (BookSG)

      On 13 May 1910, the 60-year-old Owen married Annie Dorothea Caroline Dare (née Earnshaw, b. 23 Jan 1857), widow of well-known European businessman George Mildmay Dare (1840–1907), at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral, S’pore. (At the time of his death, Mr Dare was the first person to be buried in the newly-opened Bidadari Cemetery in S’pore.)

      A prominent socialite, Mrs G.P. Owen was one of the founders of the Ladies’ Lawn Tennis Club (1884). She was also the first female motorist in S’pore & by 1920, had purportedly driven some 69,400 miles across Malaya, Java, England & Scotland in her first car. In addition, she was the one who trained her Malay chauffeur who became the first “native” to obtain a driving license in S’pore.

      On 28 Jan 1927, Mrs Owen died at age 70 at the Owens’ Thomson Road home after several years of ill-health, & was subsequently buried at Bidadari Cemetery. In July the same year, Mr Owen travelled to England to seek treatment for his eye ailments, which resulted in one of his eyes being removed. 16 months after the demise of his wife, Owen himself died in England from pneumonia at the age of 72.

  39. Erwin says:

    How is Bali Lane named after a Muslim place? Bali is 93% Hindu…

  40. victor says:

    Katong is an Ambonese Malay word, as a short form for kita orang, meaning we. Source: Ambonese Malay – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    I do not know whether that was how Katong in the East Coast area, derives its name

    • Pat says:

      The Ambonese reference is interesting. Conventionally, the local place name Katong (modern spelling: Katung) — formerly located along the coastline before massive reclamation of the east coast — is thought to be named after the native sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback Sea Turtle, King Turtle). The creature’s vernacular Malay-Indonesian name is Katong (Katung).

      If used as a verb, “katung” (Malay & Indonesian) means “to float, drift, or bob up & down” (in water) or “to swing to & fro” (in the air), implying a lack of control. The Malay-Indonesian phrase “terkatung-katung” refers to the state of precarious uncertainty, eg. when one’s life or fate is hanging in the air.

      See the definition in: A Comprehensive Indonesian-English Dictionary (Alan Stevens, 2004).

  41. victor says:

    I used to live in a place, off Haig Road, bounded by Geylang Road, Haig Road and Dunman Road. The roads there were named after trees or plants. Some of these names are today better known as places in Indonesia Kedah and Penang, and maybe elsewhere.
    The names of Roads there were: Mengkuang Road, Penaga Place, Medan Road, Kulim Place, Jelutong Road, Meranti Road, Massawa Road and Punah Place. (Not certain whether Punah is a tree or plant).

    The place there is now an HDB estate.

    • Pat says:

      Victor — Thanks for sharing. Was that residential area a predominantly Baba district ? I understand that HDB Haig View was already completed by 1976, so I’d never seen how the site formerly looked like. But when I was small, I’d often passed by & sometimes eaten at the Blk 14 hawker centre (north of the defunct Mersawa Rd).

      Punah (variant: Punak) is a tall native tree (up to ~37m height) botanically known as Tetramerista glabra. This species is nationally extinct in the wild today. Its natural habitats include mangrove, riverside & undisturbed lowland forest. Photos from M’sia (FRIM): Tree (habit), Leaves & Fruits.

      Incidentally, you forgot to mention in your comment your former close neighbours: Medang Road & Penaga Place. Here’s a 1972 map (Street Directory) of the area concerned.

      And below is a list of the expunged road names at the said area, together with their botanical identities & local conservation status in the wild. All of the plants are trees, except for the less likely candidate for Mengkuang: Pandanus tectorius, which is a non-native short to tall shrub.

      It is obvious that the municipal council which named the roads there sought to celebrate the various (non-agricultural/ non-crop-type) native trees, most of which have unfortunately been driven to critically-endangered or even extinct status in modern-day S’pore.

      From north to south:-
      Geylang Road (still extant)

      Mersawa RoadAnisoptera sp., eg. Anisoptera costata (Mersawa Terbak; native: nationally extinct), Anisoptera laevis (Mersawa Durian; native: critically endangered), Anisoptera megistocarpa (Mersawa Merah; native: critically endangered)

      Meranti RoadShorea sp., eg. Shorea bracteolata (Meranti, Meranti Bukit; native: critically endangered), Shorea gibbosa (Meranti Kuning; native: critically endangered)

      Punah PlaceTetramerista glabra (Punah, Punak, Kayu Hujan; native: nationally extinct)

      Jelutong RoadDyera costulata (Jelutong; native: common)

      Kulim PlaceScorodocarpus borneensis (Kulim, Bawang Hutan; native: endangered)

      Medang RoadCinnamomum sp., eg. Cinnamomum iners (Medang, Wild Cinnamon; previously thought to be native but now regarded as likely exotic: naturalized, common), Cinnamomum javanicum (Medang Wangi; native: critically endangered)

      Penaga PlaceCalophyllum inophyllum (Penaga, Penaga Laut, Beach Calophyllum; native: critically endangered)

      Mengkuang RoadDysoxylum densiflorum (Mengkuang, Mengkuom, Rambai Chengkuang; native: critically endangered); OR (less likely): Pandanus tectorius (Mengkuang, Seashore Pandan; exotic: cultivated, common)

      Haigsville Drive (still extant)

  42. victor says:

    Pat – There were a good mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian & Eurasian families living in that area, and also a few Sikh families. Among the Chinese, there were more non- babas. The houses there at that time were government quarters.

    Mr. Leow Kim Fatt (badminton coach of the victorious 1955 Malayan/Singapore Thomas Cup team) was a resident there.

  43. victor says:

    Pat – As for how that place looked like, refer to your 1972 map. The present Haig Road Hawker Centre occupies that empty space btw Geylang Road and Mersawa Road. Previously, it was a playing field. A row of 2 storey Terrace facing Geylang Road occupied the space between the edge of that field and Geylang Road.

    The 3 rectangular spaces between Haig and Meranti Road were identical rows of semi-ds facing Haig Road and Meranti Road, and a back lane was between the back of houses along Haig and Meranti Road.The back lane was wide enough for a car and a motor cycle from opposite directions to pass by.

    Rows of identical semi-ds lined both sides of all the inner roads and places stated in your 1972 map. The narrow rectangular strips at Punah, Kulim and Penaga Place were abt 30 metres wide playing fields.

    Those wide rectangular spaces between the Roads and places in that map were rows of houses and similarly wide back lanes between back of houses lining the roads and places shown in your map.

  44. victor says:

    Pat – I do not know whether any of the trees outside of homes there, were of any of those species. There were less than 20 trees in the whole of the commom area there, all were matured trees.

    Within the respective homes, I do not know if there were any. However, from the roads and backlanes flowering plants and fruit trees within could be seen, such as rambutans, mangoes, guava, soursop, custard apples (the green and red varieties) jackfruit, papayas, bananas, star fruits, and a type of oblong shaped berry with purple sap that the Malays call buah dawat.

    Throughout the more than 10 years that I lived there, I was not aware of any case of fire. Btw, the houses there were of mortar and bricks. I was also not aware of any instances of flooding there, although flooding in nearby inner Geylang Serai occured during the end of year monsoon periods in the late 50s.

    • Pat says:

      Victor: “type of oblong shaped berry with purple sap that the Malays call buah dawat”

      I’m trying to visualize the ethnobotany of the Haig Road Quarters. Does this mystery “Buah Dawat” come from a shrub, tree or palm ? Below are some tropical species with edible fruits. The links lead to fruit photos, see if any fits the bill for “Buah Dawat”. Since you mention “purple sap” (pulp? juice?), I’m guessing species (2) or (3) or (4) is more probable.

      1) Canarium odontophyllum (Buah Dabai, Borneo Olive) — Tree; Fruits oblong, ripen to purple on the outside; Pulp yellowish, buttery/ avocado-flavoured; Seed peanut-flavoured; Non-native: cultivated.

      2) Syzygium cumini (Buah Keriang/ Kerian, Keriang Dot, Java Plum, Jambolan) — Tree; Fruits oblong, ripen to purple-black; Pulp juicy, purple to whitish, sweet-sour, stains tongue purple; Non-native: naturalized, cultivated.

      3) Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Buah Mertajam, Buah Terajang, Damai, Duka) — Understorey tree; Fruits oblong, ripen to purple-black; Pulp juicy, sweetish to slightly astringent (“siap-siap”), sometimes eaten, not everyone likes the flavour; Native: common, cultivated.

      4) Rhodomyrtus tomentosa (Buah Kemunting, Rose Myrtle) — Shrub; Fruits oblong, furry, ripen to greyish-purple; Pulp purple, juicy-sweet; Native: common, cultivated.

      5) Euterpe oleracea (Buah Acai Berry, Assai) — Palm; Fruits globose, grape-like, ripen to deep purple; Pulp thin, raspberry flavoured with bittersweet aftertaste; Non-native: cultivated.

  45. victor says:

    Kulim Place was where the Government Servants Welfare Organisation’s clubhouse was located

    On the field there was where the weekly 10 cents flim show was screened.

    • Pat says:

      Victor — It seems that the weekly outdoor movie-screenings left a deep impression on the residents of Haig Road Quarters. See Mr Jufrie Mahmood’s account quoted at the bottom.

      Some historical geography of the Haig Rd Quarters … Based on photos taken in late 1938, the 23-acre (9.3-ha) site appears to be a privately-owned coconut plantation. The 186 residential units of the Quarters were completed in 1939/40 at a cost of $821,000 (land purchase + building costs).

      During WWII, the Quarters were occupied by the Japanese, thereafter serving temporarily as a transit camp for displaced Dutch citizens/ POWs till Apr/May 1946. The former local residents of the Quarters returned in mid-1946. The Govt Servants’ Welfare Organization (GSWO) clubhouse itself was built in 1949.

      Your description of the multicultural diversity of the Haig Rd Quarters community collaborates with Mr Jufrie Mahmood’s experience, as well as with numerous pre-1965 newspaper reports, which amongst many things, inevitably showed how scholarships & study grants were given to deserving recipients, totally regardless of ethnicity & social status. It sounds like a genuinely inclusive, welcoming & close-knit community.

      Interestingly (but perhaps not surprising), as soon as S’pore gained independence in 1965, regular reports of the diverse & harmonious Haig Rd Quarters community suddenly dropped to negligible in the mainstream press, while the newly-minted S’pore State went about its national campaign of “tolerance & meritocracy”. The charade continues today.

      * Government Tackles Housing Problem: Big Building Scheme in Geylang (ST – 06 Nov 1938)
      (includes 3 photos of original site with lots of coconut palms)

      * Self-Help to Self-Respect (ST – 23 Jan 1949)
      (includes 1 photo showing GSWO clubhouse fringed by numerous coconut palms)

      * The Singapore that We Aspire to Build (Jufrie Mahmood, 01 Jun 2009)
      EXCERPT: {{{ What my children are going through reminds me of my childhood days at the government quarters in Haig Road where I grew up. It was a multiracial setting in every sense of the word where everyone was oblivious of their racial background. We were completely colour blind. Whether you are Chinese, Malay, Indian or Eurasian it made no difference at all. We had Ali as well as Ah Lee, the Kanagasabai children and the Pereiras.

      Even the hawkers in their tricycles and pushcarts were multiracial. The ‘chi chong fan’ lady and uncle Karupayah, the kacang putih man would take turns making their rounds. Soon after came Ah Heng, with his ice kacang ball, to be followed by Wak Karto plying his mee rebus and tahu goreng. Not to be left out was Mama Maideen with his famous mee.

      All of them could speak bahasa Melayu, our so-called Bahasa Kebangsaan. Once a week we were treated to a movie at the open field in Kulim Place where the GSWO (Government Servants Welfare Organisation) club house was also situated. Those were the wonderful days, gone forever. }}}

      • victor says:

        Pat- Yes, life was wonderful in that small community. Mr Jufrie was a resident there, so were the Ah Lees and Mr Kanagasabai. Those hawkers he mentioned did visit the place to sell their products, especially Ah Heng. His iced-kachang – it was the best I had ever tasted till today. Those hawkers he described, and some others had their own peculiar way of calling, or sounding their air horns, or knocking/striking on some instruments to announce their arrivals.

        Speaking about them, it reminded me of a hilarious incident. One of the Lees there, owned a Javanese Minor. That bird could immitate several of the hawkers’ calls so accurately, that it could fool the occupants of neighbouring houses into believing that their favoured hawker had arrived.

        I witnessed on one occasion, that bird immitating the call. It was loud, and a few occupants of nearby houses came out with their bowls, thinking that their favoured hawker had arrived, only to realise that the hawker was not there, but the call still in the air.

        Yes, we had a close-knit community there. Under the auspices of the GSWO we held yearly singles and doubles badminton competitions for males and females, and males only competitions for billiards, table-tennis and carrom because there were no female participants. And, do you believe it, even yearly inter teams soccer tournaments comprising 5 teams within that small community.

        Signed up residents (irrespective of where they live in that small community) were assigned by lots into teams representing Mengkuang-Penaga; Medang-Kulim, Jelutong-Punah, Mersawa-Geylang (The two 2- storey terraces facing Geylang Road were part of that Haig Road Quarters), and Meranti-Haig. The competions were held at the Haig (Road) Boys’ School football field, and the final at the Shell Sports Club field at Paya Lebar Road.

        In the first year of the tournaments, Mengkuang-Penaga, captained by my brother, emerged as the winner. In the following year I captained the winning Mengkuang-Penaga team, comprising a different set of players.

        We also had a strong Netball team that played friendly games against a team from the Serangoon Garden and some other invited teams. All those games were held at the Kulim Place field.

  46. victor says:

    Pat- Your species No 2 matched the oblong shaped berry, with purple sap, that I mentioned. The fruits grow on a tree, and turned from green to red, and then black when it ripens. I have seen the tree with fruits at several places in Sg. The last time was June last year at the narrow strip of ex-railway land, at the L shaped end of Jalan Kilang Barat.

  47. victor says:

    The present location of the Ministry of National Developement and its Annex A Building, was previously a hillock (not certain whether the hillock was named as Ann Siang Hill, or as Mount Erskine).Whatever its name, the now defunct Mount Erskine Boys’ Club sat atop one of its two summits.

    At one end of its foothill was the Framroz Aerated Water factory that sat snugely between a side of the hill and Telok Ayer Road.

    Other iconic buildings in the vincinity were: The ex-CID building located between Cecil Street and Robinson Road; the former Traffic Police HQ at Maxwell Road on the opposite side of the hillock. The Driving Testing office was also located in the same building; the Singapore Custom Office, the Films Censor Office and the Maxwell Road Post Office were located in the same building next to the Traffic Police Building.That Custom Office building is presently kmown as The White House.

    The Postal Quarters was located behind the Custom Office Building. The Postal Quarters was later demolished and was turned into a car park.

    Fronting the Postal Quarters, previously, was a short stretch of road. The reverse parking, and subsequently the parallel parking test, for drivers undergoing driving test, used to be held at this short road. This short road is still in existence.

    The Umar Pulavar Tamil School was first located near the junction of Kadanayallur Street and Maxwell Road.

    Also at Kadayanallur street, as it joins Ann Siang Road, was a steep incline. That steep incline was the bane of many learner drivers undergoing their driving test. They were told by the testers to stop on the incline, then told to drive forward. The driving testers were testing the drivers, on test, on their skills in controlling their vehicles.

  48. victor says:

    Nearby to the Mt. Erskine Boys’ Club and the Framroz Aerated Water, was the now defunct Prince Edward Boys’ Club at Shenton Way, and facing the end of Prince Road; the Phoenix Aerated Water factory at Palmer/Mistri Road, and the F&N’s bottling plant at Siak Street/ Anson Road.

    The F&N, also started bottling for Coca Cola at its plant there in the very early 1950s or very late 1940s. I had my first taste of Coca Cola there.

    My chilhood friends and I had on an occasion stood, and watched the bottling operations from a window facing Siak Street, and a kind production operator aunty gave each of us, a just filled bottle of the Coca Cola, still uncapped, to drink.

  49. victor says:

    Where M Hotel now stands, facing Ansons Road, was a row of warehouses. Boustead and Company was located at a warehouse there. One day, as my childhood friends and I walked along the corridor there, we stopped outside Boustead to watch the workers doing their work inside. A kind uncle from inside saw us, and he took from a stack in the warehouse to give each of us a box of Cadbury Chocolate. That was the most valuable gift that I received in my childhood in the late/early 1940s/1950s.

  50. Aish says:

    Is there a village named Jalan Janda Lama or Jalan Janda Baik in Singapore, of course :-)
    Heard about the names but unsure of the exact location.
    Thanks.

  51. Hari Williams says:

    When I was last in Singapore “Lima puloh tahun yang lalu.” I was shown a street where some families put their elderly relatives to end their days. There was no implication of cruelty or ill treatment. It was just the way things were done in that community. I have a fifty year old recollection that it was near the Sri Miriamam Temple, but I could be wrong. Can you tell me more about this? What was the street called then and what is it called now. Some years ago when the Singapore government were selling off the street signs, I tried to buy that one, (I knew what it was called then.) but I was told that it was one of the ones that was not for sale. I wonder why. Thank you

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