Tag Archives: heritage

SG50 Jubilee Walk Trail

http://www.singapore50.sg/en/WhatsOn/2015/Launch%20of%20The%20Jubilee%20Walk.aspx

Singapore is entering its 50th of nation building in 2015. After celebrating its 49th birthday over the last weekend, more excitement is waiting for everybody in the coming year.

Period: November 2015

As a lasting physical legacy of our Jubilee year, a new Jubilee Walk that covers historic locations in the civic district and the Marina Bay area will be launched. It is a walking trail that incorporates a new pedestrian bridge that will stretch from the Merlion Park to Marina Promenade, in front of the Esplanade Theatres.

It will be marked by trail markers and four new public art works to commemorate SG50.

Spaces will be created along the Jubilee Walk for public events and performances, to draw Singaporeans and their families to the civic district regularly. The trail, together with the new bridge and artworks, will form part of the physical legacy of SG50.

To mark its launch, a mass walk is being planned, with groups starting the walk at different locations and converging at the Padang.

Joo Chiat/Katong Trail — The Peranakan Heritage

Sitting adjacent to the Geylang district is the Joo Chiat/Katong enclave, which traditionally has been the preserve of the Peranakans, middle class locals and the wealthy merchant class. The Peranakans are descendants of 17th century Chinese and Indian immigrants who married non-Muslim natives from the Malay Archipelago.

They settled in several parts throughout Singapore, but their legacy is best showcased in the the Joo Chiat district. Named after wealthy Chinese landowner Chew Joo Chiat, this area is dotted by colourful shophouses and homes that are adorned by sculpted facades of animal reliefs and hand-crafted ceramic tiles. In fact, back in the day, Chew himself built houses and grew plantations in this district as well.
Katong shophouse
The junction of East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road can be suitably described as the heart of Katong. Here you’ll find coffeshops selling local delicacies like tau kwa pau (minced pork in fried tofu), ba chang (rice dumplings) and the famous Katong Laksa, which are white rice noodles in a spicy coconut milk broth. Katong is a culinary wonderland with its main road (East Coast Road) dotted with a healthy variety of excellent local and international cuisine.

The olden day opulence and charm of the place remains intact with traditionally Peranakan houses like Katong Antique House and Rumah Bebe. Both are great places to pick up a Peranakan outfit, snacks and homeware, and are must-visit establishments that help you learn more about Peranakan culture.

For accommodation around the area, visit Le Peranankan, a boutique hotel housed in a row of conserved shophouses. Located at 400 East Coast Road, it features authentic Peranakan design, with rooms crafted in Nyonya and Baba styles.
Katong also has numerous cafés and old-world coffeeshops like Chin Mee Chin and excellent culinary fixtures such as Sin Hoi Sai coffeeshop and Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice, all within a short walking distance of one another. Immerse yourself in Peranakan culture on your visit to Katong and Joo Chiat, and also enjoy its wealth of good food and cultural heritage.

Expiry date for Dakota Crescent flats in 2016

Dakota Crescent, one of Singapore’s oldest public housing estates, is making way for developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.

Residents of the 17 low-rise rental blocks off Old Airport Road must leave by end-2016. Those who choose to buy a new flat anywhere else will get a relocation grant of up to S$15,000.

Only about 400 of the 648 units, built by the Singapore Improvement Trust in 1958, are occupied and about two-thirds of the households have at least one member aged 60 and above.

Retiree Lee Choong Hian, 68, who lives alone in a two-room rental flat, will miss the estate where he has lived for 20 years. “The environment is good. At night it’s peaceful, and transport is convenient,” he said.

Those who want to keep renting will get priority and their rents will not go up. Their options of one- or two-room flats include those in a new block in nearby Cassia Crescent, to be completed in 2016.

They can also choose to buy a new flat from the HDB. Eligible first-timers will get a Central Provident Fund relocation grant of S$15,000 for families or singles jointly buying a place; lone singles get S$7,500.

This grant is being offered for the first time in this relocation exercise. All tenants will also get a moving allowance of S$1,000.

The estate was named by experts as a piece of public housing history that should be saved. It was also one of the sites deemed “sacred” by readers in a Straits Times poll.

The HDB said Blocks 13 and 21 “will be retained for interim use, as there is no immediate redevelopment plan”.

“Purely from a heritage point of view, I think it certainly has value,” said Dr Yeo Kang Shua, conservation architect and Singapore Heritage Society secretary, while agreeing that the state has to balance competing needs.

Mountbatten Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan said: “Those who like the heritage mostly don’t live here.”

Even residents who do not welcome the move acknowledge that it has been a long time coming. Mr Yap Boon Hoo, 59, said: “We’ve lived here so many decades, we knew it was just a matter of time.”

The HDB said it would “take cognisance of the social memories of the area when redevelopment takes place in the future”.

The estate’s landmarks include an old-school playground with a blue mosaic-tiled dove design and a provision shop dating back to 1959, revived as a cafe last month.

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/2016-expiry-date-dakota-crescent-flats#sthash.hR7jAmT9.dpuf

Flashback to an old housing estate

Bidding farewell to a precious piece of Singapore’s history is always difficult.

Dakota Crescent, one of Singapore’s oldest public housing estates, will be vacated by the end of 2016 to make way for new developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.

The cosy block of flats just off Old Airport Road has been a sleepy refuge for the Singaporeans who call it home.

We look back at some of the features of Dakota Crescent.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/housing/story/5-things-remember-about-dakota-crescent-20140725#sthash.HZS1tSLt.dpuf

Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) HDB flats at Dakota Crescent.-- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

The former Kallang Airport has been home to the People’s Association (PA) since 1960. -- PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION

Tian Kee provision shop in Dakota Crescent has been turned into a cafe that retains the feel of the old place. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

https://i0.wp.com/www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/2014_revamp_615x346/20140725/DakotaOldDovePlayground_250714e.jpg

Block 62 Dakota Crescent, which won the Cleanest Block Competition in Marine Parade Town for two years consecutively. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Heritage in Chung Cheng High School Gazetted

http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/chung-cheng-high-school-gazetted-national-monument#sthash.SfGkdaFK.dpuf

A rich heritage in the arts and the spirit of “yin shui si yuan” – the Chinese saying for remembering one’s roots – are qualities Chung Cheng High School will celebrate to mark its 75th anniversary.

As part of the festivities, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday officiated at a ceremony to gazette its administration building and the entrance arch of its main campus as a combined national monument.

The two structures are part of the Chung Cheng family’s collective memory, principal Pang Choon How of Chung Cheng High School (Main) said yesterday.

The administration building, designed in the Chinese National style, has been the school’s “heartbeat”, he added.

It was completed in 1968, with funds raised over 20 years. Officially opened by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, the building housed the largest auditorium in Singapore at the time.

Mr Pang said the building has housed, over the years, performing arts and sports activities, the old library and, today, the school’s heritage gallery.

He praised the forefathers for the legacy and their vision, foresight and perseverance.

The administration building and the arch will be Singapore’s 66th national monument. It joins nine other school buildings which have also been preserved.

Urban planner and chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities Liu Thai Ker, a Chung Cheng alumnus, said the gazetting shows the Government recognises the importance of historical buildings.

“The architectural style is quite distinctly Chinese. Recognising it is reinforcing the importance of respect for tradition.”

Also celebrated yesterday was the school’s rich cultural history and its reputation for grooming a pantheon of artistic talents from the late 1940s to 1960s. PM Lee opened the new Lim Tze Peng art gallery, named after the artist and Cultural Medallion winner who donated some 100 artworks to his alma mater.

Mr Lim, 94, said it was an honour to give back. He was from a poor family, and the school had let him study for free and even given him a job at the school office.

“Chung Cheng loves me and I love my alma mater, too,” he said in Mandarin.

He hopes his works will inspire students to be interested in art.

Dr Liu, 76, had been tutored by Mr Lim in art and calligraphy when he was in school. His father, pioneer artist Liu Kang, had also taught there. Reminiscing about the vibrant art and Chinese drama scene, Dr Liu said: “There was a strong emphasis on history, culture and tradition.

“It became part of the overall ambience of Chung Cheng.

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, located at 204 East Coast Road, is a landmark coffeeshop in Katong. It is popular for its kaya, a kind of custard jam. A contemporary of Hock Ann Coffeeshop and the Red House Bakery, the confectionery delights the residents of the east with its traditional breakfast.

Styled like a typical Chinese confectionery, this Hainanese coffeeshop exudes an old world charm with its ceiling fans and marble-top tables typical of coffeeshops of the 1950s. The baroque interior is accentuated by its defining floor tiles. Affectionately known as CMC by Katong residents, its simple breakfast of kaya toast, soft boiled eggs and coffee are its most famous item on the menu.

Kaya is a kind of custard jam made from coconut milk, egg yolks and sugar, flavoured with pandan, the screwpine leaves. In the confectionery, the kaya is made in huge cauldrons heated over slow burning charcoals, releasing a sweet aroma. Bread toast and kaya, called “kaya toast”, is still considered the traditional breakfast of Singaporeans. Other specialities of the confectionery include eggs, coffee, curry puffs, sausage rolls and fruit cakes. The confectionery roasts its own coffee beans and bakes its own bread.

In pre-independent Singapore, it was the Eurasian community that frequently patronised the shop before many migrated to Canada and Australia in the 1950s to 1960s. Today, Chin Mee Chin remains popular, especially on Sundays, when the worshippers of the nearby Church of the Holy Family pop by the shop. Many others beyond the coastline in the East are drawn to this simple shop.

There was a rumour last year that CMC is closing. It was further clarified that business remained as usual. See: http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/owners-daughter-quashes-rumours-its-business-usual-chin-mee-chin-20130

 

Katong Shophouses

Katong shophouseA shophouse is a vernacular architectural building type that is commonly seen in areas such as urban Southeast Asia. Shophouses are mostly two or three stories high, with a shop on the ground floor for mercantile activity and a residence above the shop. This hybrid building form characterises the historical centres of most towns and cities in the Southeast Asia region.

An interesting article on Singapore shophouses can be found in http://www.postcolonialweb.org/singapore/arts/architecture/shophouse/intro.html.

Though many of the iconic shophouses are found in the city centre, there are also quite a number of peranankan themed shophouses in the east, especially in Katong and Joo Chiat area. The early development of Katong was as a seaside resort, with holiday homes and beachfront bungalows built along the east coast beaches. The style in Katong shophouses was known as Rococo, and they built during the 1930s.

Tao Nan School

Tao Nan is probably the most popular primary school in the District 15. With rich heritage, top ranking and reputation, it has been sought after by parents who seeks to volunteer in the school or register a residence within 1 km of the neighbourhood. Below is an excerpt of the history behind this well known Singapore education institute.

 

Tao NanTaonan school map

Excerpt from Infopedia

One of Singapore’s oldest primary schools, Tao Nan School was established on 18 November 1906 with financing from the Hokkien Huay Kuan. It was the one of the first six modern Chinese schools to be set up in Singapore. Originally located at an ornate building at Armenian Street, the school moved to the Marine Parade neighbourhood in 1982. The original school building at Armenian Street now houses the Peranakan Museum.

Early history
The establishment of Tao Nan School was initiated by Tan Boo Liat, great-grandson of entrepreneur and philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. It gained support from Hokkien merchants and was aided by the Singapore Hokkien Association (Hokkien Huay Kuan). Chen Baochen, purportedly a tutor of the last Qing Emperor Puyi, was credited with naming the school Daonan Xuetang or “Tao Nan Study Hall”. Tan Kim Ching’s residence at Siam House, opposite St Andrew’s Cathedral along North Bridge Road, served as the temporary location of the school. The first enrolments numbered between 90 and 100 students but this number tripled within the first three months.

Initially admitting only Hokkien students, in 1909 Tao Nan became the first modern Chinese school in Singapore to accept students from different dialect groups in order to increase cohesiveness within the Chinese community. Its curriculum was aimed at promoting Chinese culture and appreciating Chinese values, with lesson centred on Confucian classics, history and geography. In 1916, it became the first school to turn away from dialects and use Mandarin as the medium of instruction.

Tao Nan School
Construction of a school building was proposed by industrialist Tan Kah Kee. A plot of land at Armenian Street was purchased with $10,000 donated by sugar baron Oei Tiong Ham in 1910. As President of the School Board, Tan Kah Kee embarked on a donation drive to finance the building project. The drive raised $40,000. The neoclassical school building with features of the French Renaissance was completed in March 1912. The school moved from North Bridge Road to Armenian Street and was renamed Daonan Xuexiao or “Tao Nan School”, according to a directive from China’s Ministry of Education.

English lessons were introduced in 1914. The school subsequently changed its medium of instruction to Mandarin in 1916, making it the first school in Singapore to turn from dialects. It was closed during the Japanese Occupation but was reopened two months after the Japanese surrender. It became a government-aided school in 1958 and improved its standard of English by hiring more English teachers and allotting more time to the subject.

In 1957, Tao Nan School became a government-aided school and the time allocation for English lessons was increased. The Urban Renewal Programme of 1971 moved numerous families from the city to the suburbs. This led to a decline in student population in Tao Nan until 1976, when the Hokkien Huay Kuan decided that Tao Nan be moved to the suburbs to cater to the population there.

Recent developments
Construction at the new site in Marine Parade began in 1980 and by the following year, the building was ready. After 76 years in the city, Tao Nan moved to Marine Parade in 1982. In 1983, the new school building was declared officially open by then Defence Minister Goh Chok Tong. In 1990, the school was selected for the Special Assistance Programme (SAP). Since then, it has established itself as a school providing a well-balanced Chinese and English education.

The original school building at Armenian Street was refurbished as the Asian Civilisation Museum in 1996. In 1998, the building was gazetted as a national monument by the Preservation of Monuments Board as a reflection of the social and cultural roots of early Chinese immigrants in Singapore. In 2005, the building was redeveloped to house the Peranakan Museum.

Tao Nan School graduates include prominent public figures such as philanthropist Lee Kong Chian and former Minister of State Ow Chin Hock. Pan Shou, Singapore’s award-winning Chinese calligrapher, was also an ex-principal at the old Tao Nan School.

Authors
Lim Siew Yeen & Renuka M.