Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What was Tiong Bahru like 100 years ago?

Tiong Bahru was largely a swampy area about one hundred years ago. Not long after, Chinese immigrants came to Singapore and many chose to settle down in the area, planting taro as feeds for pigs. Thus the place earned itself a name as “ORH CAI HNG”in Hokkien or taro plantation (In Mandarin : YU CAI YUAN).

Taro Plantation with a pig nearby

Later on the area was generally known as “Four-Pillar Pavilion” (Hokkien : Si Kah Teng) as part of it was once used as a cemetery where it was then a common practice for the rich among the Chinese to erect shelters with four pillars on the graves of their ancestors. The pavilion was used as a shelter against the scorching sun when the descendants of the deceased came to pay their respects during the annual “Qing Ming” festival.

“Tiong” is the Hokkien transliteration of cemetery while in Malay “Bahru” means something new. Together it says the area is a new burial ground compared with an earlier one a stone’s throw away at Heng Shan Ting (a temple), in Silat Road. The Chinese temple was built by the early Hokkien immigrants.

1 comment:

SGalf said...

Special thanks to a client turned friend , Fen Fei, who has spent her OFF-DAYS to help research on the History of Tiong Bahru.