Zion Road Blue Flats

There are a total of eight blocks, numbered 86 to 92, at Zion Road. With the exception of block 86 and 87, the rest are located beside Great World City, separated by the Singapore River.

Built at around 1973, 11-storey block 92 is the most prominent block with its unique curvature design, situated at the bend of Zion Road and Havelock Road. The curvature rivals that of Block 332 of Jurong East.

The quiet estate is famous for the zi char (Chinese cooked food) and fish soup stalls operating in the two kopitiam at block 89 and 91. Due to the en-bloc program, they are required to move out by October 2011.

Housing and Development Board (HDB) proposed the en-bloc offer to the residents of Zion Road in 2006. By end of 2011, the blocks of 88 to 92, almost 40 years of age, will be torn down to make way for premium private housing.

Surrounded by Great World City and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, it is inevitable that the prime land will be used for further development. Other premium condominiums such as Centennia Suites and The Trillium are located just a street away.

There is a small temple called Shui Xian Temple or Chwee Hean Keng (水显宫) located beside the Zion Road flats. It is dedicated to Sam Tiong Ong (三忠王), the three loyal officials-turned-deities of the Song Dynasty, namely Wen Tian Xiang 文天祥, Lu Xiu Fu 陆秀夫 and Zhang Shi Jie 张世杰, and has been standing in this area since 1927.

The temple is said to have witnessed the 1961 Bukit Ho Swee fire, where there was a legend that the great fire destroyed everything in its path until it stopped miraculously in front of the temple. Many devotees were attracted to the temple by the legend but its popularity has declined in modern days. Today, it sits almost unnoticed along Zion Road.

The temple was involved in a disagreement with HDB in 2006 regarding the compensation and relocation due to the en-bloc program. The religious site, however, deserves to be preserved due to its rich history.

Read about other en-bloc flats in Singapore.

Published: 06 October 2011

Updated: 14 September 2013

49 Responses to Zion Road Blue Flats

  1. aretha k says:

    thank you for writing about my estate.

  2. seekeeeek says:

    And soon you’ll have to blog about Rochor estate. Sigh.
    When will singapore govt realise that what we’re really lacking is a culture and sense of belonging. It’s all about money isn’t it?

    Great blog by the way! Was hoping one day you can do up a Gay World article, which used to be in between geylang and kallang, i think?

    • Thanks! I have written about Rochor Flats some weeks ago..

      Anyway, it’s no wonder this island is called Singapore Pte Ltd nowadays 😛

    • mdsdq says:

      Yar..I’ve heard about the rochor blks going to give way for the new expressway which will be connecting from woodlands to east coast…Its sad to see historical places/blks/monuments being brought down. Frankly speaking, I just feel that Singapore have no history at all.

  3. Mrs Wong says:

    Thanks for the photo and introduction of the temple. It’s a pity that the Chwee Hean Keng or Shui Xian Gong has to be gone forever in the estate. This poor temple has no new place to relocate. It has a history and this temple has no licence registered in the past where the temple-caretaker has no knowledge in this. Hopefully, this poor temple can find a new site to continue with the belief of their deities.

  4. Tim says:

    This area is pretty unique is it is surrounded by commercial buildings and private housing. I believe there is another one or 2 point(5 room) blooks just opposite the road(beside the boy’s brigade HQ). Are these affected too?

  5. Vainpot says:

    There is actually another surviving curved HDB block, Blk 34 Whampoa West. I am not sure whether it is the longest curved HDB block in Singapore but it is certainly a very long 12-storey 3-room HDB curved block to me, I think it was built roughly around early 1970’s. It spans from Serangoon Rd on one end to Bendemeer Rd on the other end.

  6. Block 87 Resident.. says:

    I do believe there is a mistake when you mentioned about the fire that broke out in Bukit Ho Swee. The legendary temple you mentioned was the wrong one. The great Temple that stopped the fire from spreading further is the one behind the shell petrol kiosk, the ‘Tian Gong Dian’ we all go for prayers during Chinese New Year…

  7. fishsoupman says:

    Where’s the fish soup moved???

  8. jason says:

    I was inspired by your article and went to the estate today since I was in the vicinity. It was quite a strange experience. Even as I was entering the carpark, it was already very obvious the place was about to be abandoned, judging from the boarded up shops, strewed rubbish and dirty walls. Most residents have already shifted out. Those who are still there are probably staying alone on each floor, next to heavily chained up gates of empty units.

    They are buildings full of memories and it is a heartache to have them torn down. But that’s the inevitable way Singapore rolls towards the bright future. ><

  9. hi i went there today. what charming blocks! Took some photos too. There are some residents left. We went every level of Block 88. Some parts are spooky though.

  10. afgy6h says:

    Sir, also “demolished” was Beo Crescent. It was named a “crescent” for the semi-circle road that it was. But due to “progress”, a quarter of the “circle in front of block 44 is now a towering car park. The road which retains its name, has lost its meaning.

  11. Grace Loh says:

    Thank you for the blog, for the memories. Humans are made up of that only – memories. When the govt tears down buildings, the memory is gone too. Of course Singapore has no culture. How to when your childhood memories are no longer there for you to remember anything?

    • Melvin says:

      Exactly! Then comes NDP, and the gov tries to swoon you over with “the ties that bind”. Now if this isn’t officially-sanctioned hypocrisy at its crudest, I don’t know what is…

  12. Edward says:

    We were too quick to tear down old buildings of historical value. I am full of nostalgia for my growing up years as a young adult in the 60s & early 70s. I missed the simple life and carefree days living among the shophouses in town. Cinemas such as Odean and Capitol were within walking distance from my house. Beef Kway Teow at Bugis Street cost only 30 cents and my pay was about $200 a month. Drinking coffee with friends along the footpath beside Clifford Pier during the evening is not possible today. We boast we are a First World country but many of our First World buildings have been demolished.

    • Melvin says:

      This unsettling trend of “re-purposing” old land assets(the gov likes to put it euphemistically) will only reinforce the gnawing divide between the ruled and the ruler. This I see ever more clearly. I would correct the opening line and say “The *gov* was too quick to tear down…etc”, cos clearly the rest of us are just bystanders in this.

  13. Eng Hai says:

    To : the author
    I was looking for a old chinese restaurant serving hokkien dishes in the Zion Road estate, not sure if it is call 梅林/竹林 or something else. Dad had bought me to his some 30 years back. Do you happened to know this outlet while you were writting about this estate? Thanks.

    • Will says:


      The famous Hokkien restaurant known for cheap and good dishes have closed for good. Owner gave up long ago. Still remember the Hokkien mee, Hai song duck etc. As kids, my siblings and I used to walk along side the canal to go to Great World Amusement Park from Bt Ho Swee where my parents still live.

    • Evelyn says:

      The restaurant is called 竹林. I Missed its hokkien mee, 虾枣 and the appetizer 酸菜!

  14. faizal79 says:

    Great blog! Really loved reading up on some of Singapore’s past and a great selection of pictures as well.. I hope to continue following some of your posts in future

  15. The curved Zion Road flat at night… empty, dark and calm

    • elevatorfilmersingapore says:

      May I check if any blocks were open then, and metal gates assembled? Even if they were locked, were lifts at lobbies of blocks still running? Can briefly describe the state of the blocks (eg if open roughly how much reisndents left etc)

    • elevatorfilmersingapore says:

      Pls reply? Thanks

      • Hi, I couldn’t remember if the lifts were still operating or locked up, but the entire block was in darkness, so I assume all the residents had moved out by then (late 2012). Only the carpark was left opened, for a short period of time before they closed it too.

  16. BY says:

    i walked passed last thursday night… block still there and not torn down… what e heck??

  17. The religious rituals at Chwee Hean Keng Temple in the 1990s

    (Photo credit: Kim Seng – A Reflection of Singapore’s Success)

  18. Leow says:

    I would like to know the relocation of the hawker stores at block 91 and 88 or 89. They had a Japanese store and the boss was a 20s – 30s guy, young boss. and they japanese food costs only 2.5 – 3$. Can anyone get back regarding this.

  19. Jeremy says:

    I used to study in Havelock primary( the current BB HQ). Zion road was a place where my former school mates lived. I used to live those 4 storey flats in Ganges Ave, in front of the famous overhead water bridge. similar to those in Silat road. I hope to see some of such photos. flats demolised in the 80s.

    • kwan sing ming says:

      hi , I also studied there from 58 to 63 . I am Thomas Kwan . My classmates included Tan Boon Soon , Chua Eng Hee , Looi Khai Seng , Tay Kiong Chiat etc . Hope to hear from them . thks Jeremy

  20. iskandar says:

    I am currently trying to do a documentary photography project on en bloc sites in Singapore.
    If there is any way anyone can help , it would be truly appreciated. My email would be iskandar1@ntu.edu.sg

  21. Tim says:

    The flats are to be demolished currently. I just pass by on Labor day and fences are put up already. One of the few HDB estates near CBD area to be torn down. .

  22. Blk 92 (curved block) is not demolished yet when I went to GWC. On September 12 2013.

  23. doreenkee says:

    Thanks for writing this great article and posting the precious photos. I grew up in this place and is filled with fond memories.

    Blk 89
    1. shao la has moved to tan boon liat.
    Tai Chung Roasted Pork Chicken Rice
    Blk 89 Zion Road #01-137
    9632 5383 or 9035 0192

    2. Vegetarian – closed for good 😦

    3. Cz char – serangoon gardens

    Blk 91
    Fish soup
    Zion 91 An Shun Fish Soup
    Bee Chow Hng Eating House, Blk 206 Toa Payoh North, #01-1197, Singapore 310206

    Yes, I miss the fish soup; I was a regular customer 😉

    all the demolition will be done soon…sob


  24. What fate befell the temple? You can’t just relocate things… doesn’t work.

  25. foodie says:

    Anyone knows where is the confectionery/bakery that is located under the HDB?

  26. hayden fun says:

    my greatgrandmother live at zion road last time

  27. Burns says:

    Newcastle Tailor is at Hong Lim Park now. My fav laundry shop “Washy washy” is at Jalan Bukit Merah a few units away from Ah Orh Restaurant, but they changed name to Snow White.

  28. elevatorfilmersingapore says:

    So from here, I would say that all blocks were locked up by late 2012, so seeing that you uploaded a picture of the curved block in December 2012 i would like to confirm if my suspicion was right. a friend mentioned that he ever visited this estate in its final days when all blocks were locked with metal gates at stairwells in presumably early 2013 when the carpark was still open for use. Despite that there were a few blocks with their lifts operating (all lifts in main lobbies replaced into all stop lifts in the 2000s before they got en bloc as the older lifts were in bad condition, but not under LUP), and the person even managed to hitch a ride in one of the blocks to the top floor! Sadly these blocks have been long gone…

  29. Lea Lange says:

    My first cry was in Zion Rd but moved away on my 3rd moon in 1958. Every CNY, mum took us to visit her old neighbours b4 we went to the Great World Amusement Park to spend our angpow on the fun rides. Such treasured memories ! I live in Europe for the last 37yrs and since the demise of both parents, did not keep up with the developments and changes razing thru my birthplace. Thank you so much for sharing your treasure cove of memories with us.


  30. GABRIELLE says:

    Would anyone know if 44 Bendemeer Road will be selected for Sers? Although new flat and perks will be offered but it cannot be compared to lack of space in new flats – corridor outside bedrooms and the bedrooms are smaller with a not too useful service yard. Heard lots of customization required (carpentry not cheap) in SG.

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