Two dragons have been standing tall at the heartlands of Whampoa and Toa Payoh for more than 40 years. Both of them were built in the late sixties and early seventies, as landmarks and identities for the upcoming housing estates and possibly also for good fengshui for the new neighbourhoods.
The dragon fountain at Whampoa and its surrounding flats were completed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in 1974. The 4.8m-tall dragon instantly became a symbolic feature in the vicinity. During its early days, the dragon fountain was also accompanied by a park, but it had to give way to the construction of the Central Expressway (CTE) in the eighties.
The scaled body of the surging dragon is made up of hundreds of red, green and pink porcelain pieces similar to those Chinese rice bowls. It used to spout water until its pump system became defective in the mid-nineties. It has remained dry since then.
A lesser known dragon stands at the entrance of a carpark along Toa Payoh Lorong 3. Entwining a red pillar of about 4m tall, the Chinese-style dragon has been a distintive marker in front of Block 91 since the late sixties after the development of the housing estate was completed.
Over the years, the dragon and its pillar have been subjected to the constant exposure to sun and rain. Today, they appear neglected with faded colours and peeling paintwork. Nevertheless, the 50-year-old dragon will continue to guard its post, perhaps until the day arrives for the redevelopment of this old Toa Payoh estate.
Published: 19 May 2018