Hougang Rainbow Flat

The first flats of Hougang, or commonly pronounced as ow gang, were established at around 1980. Many 3-room and 4-room flats were built for the re-location of the farmers and fishermen living in the kampong at Kangkar.

Kangkar used to be located near the present-day Punggol Park and Serangoon Secondary School, along Sungei Serangoon. It was also where the long Upper Serangoon Road ended, before it was extended to Sengkang New Town after the mid-nineties.

By 1985, with the acquisition of the land at Kangkar by the government, the villagers gradually moved into the newly completed flats nearby.

The early designs of the flats were almost identical. One particular flat, Blk 316 of Hougang Ave 7, stands out among the rest as it was painted with a huge spectacular rainbow that easily catches the eyes of the passersby. The cheerful looking rainbow usually brings a smile to anyone walking or driving past the block.

The cluster of flats at Hougang Ave 7 are mostly painted with certain vibrant colours, but the symbolic gigantic rainbow can be found only on the block of 316.

Rainbows seem to be a favourite theme to be painted on HDB flats in the east of Singapore. Block 609 of Bedok Reservoir Road also has three beautiful rainbows painted on it.

The early textbook of Social Studies figured a photo of the Hougang Rainbow Flat when it was first built. Notice that the design of the rainbow was different from the current one.

Find out more about the designs of other HDB murals.

Published: 02 November 2010

Updated: 23 March 2014

25 Responses to Hougang Rainbow Flat

  1. Marc Mokura says:

    OMG. Near my house, I miss the old time! 😦

  2. Nice says:

    I think the slopping roof flats in Potong Pasir is more unique.

    • Adrian says:

      The Tampines picture. Could the block on the left be Blk 247, and the one on the right (Rainbow flat) by Blk 158? Picture taken from roughly where McDonald’s Tampines Mall is right now, and looking southwards?

      I’m not too sure, having moved to Tampines only in 1984.

  3. Anastasia. says:

    I used to live around there. 🙂

  4. eddy says:

    yea i remember this rainbow flat from the time when i was a child and visiting my godmum who lives there. i think i seen it only once or twice, yet it was this distinctive that i think i’ll remember it forever.

  5. teeyongteng says:

    i lived in blk 309 now….its a very good place to live in:D with food stalls and a few mama shops down there.do visit them

  6. K Nizam says:

    The last picture is actually in Hougang…

    • Old Le says:

      the Last picture is same block as the 1st picture in Hougang.
      I was there when the flat is open for reviewing & lived there for years.

      • Goodness, you are right!
        Which means this is an error in the Social Studies textbook (where I got the photo from)

        It also means that the big rainbow was repainted… anyone knows when?

      • Kaiser says:

        It repainted in nov2014

      • Goh Sin Hwee says:

        Dear Old Le,
        I’m a journalist with Lianhe Zaobao, doing a feature on old hougang, would you like to share your story, especially on this rainbow flat since you were there to witness?
        Looking forward to your favorable reply and thank you in advance.

        Sin Hwee

  7. grenadier says:

    the rainbow was repainted many times since blk 316 was built. every few years, the whole estate would be repainted to give a fresh coat of paint. i stayed in ave 5 since 1983, i lost count how many time it was repainted.

  8. Class6aa 1999 says:

    Used to go to Pri school in Hougang… Remember the rainbow flat as the haunted flat in Hougang! Many ghost stories there

  9. mamayblow says:

    i really miss my 80′ . good food, good ppl. good country……now……all gone……forever….

  10. Hon says:

    Hi remembering singapore , sorry to be out of topic a bit …will you be able to dig out old pictures of jalan hock chye (old tampinese, I think) , and jalan tari piring with jalan kayu primary school….thank you very much

  11. Daryl says:

    Miss the good old days. The industrial next to the rainbow flat were gone 3 years ago.

  12. Daryl says:

    To be exact, those new industrial buildings under construction are not in Defu area. They are beside KPE and new access road Greenwich Drive will be constructed beside Tampines Road.

  13. Jag says:

    The first flats in Hougang Block 1 to 14 were built in the early 1970s not 1980s.
    My parents still stay in a flat at Block 15 which we bought in 1975.
    Fond memories of the late night supper around the Lim Ah Pin and Simon Road area after midnight shows and partying. The famous fried Hokkien mee (now at Old Airport Road) was from that area.

  14. ewlonging says:

    I used to stay in this estate when I was toddler and all I remember about the estate was that the flats were in of blue and grey. Later on it was left in such a terrible state when the paint started peeling off before it was repainted again

  15. Soon-Thiam says:

    I remember the last photograph well as I used to live in blk 6 (now known as Hougang Street 32) in the 1970s and 80s. I used to jog along Hougang Ave 7 (front road of the photograph). The industrial estate has been demolished now. Only blocks 1,2,3,4,6 and 15 of the first batch of flats are currently left standing, but for how long I wonder.

  16. Kaiser says:

    My grandma stayed there (314)

  17. Daryl says:

    Blk 1,2,6 and 7 are the only remaining blocks

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