Saturday, June 27, 2009

Unique Crossed Road Junction

Bird's eye view of the unique road junction

This unique crossed road junction refers to four roads of different names converging at the common traffic light junction. The roads are Geylang Serai, Changi Road, Joo Chiat Road and Geylang Road.

Briefly, Geylang Serai was a Malay Settlements before. They lived in kampong houses as shown in the pictures below. After Singapore became independence in 1965, they were resettled to nearby HDB housing estates such as Eunos, Chai Chee and Marine Parade.

Photo credit to the book on Geylang Serai

Photo credit to the book on Geylang Serai

Photo credit to the book on Geylang Serai

Malay Village at Geylang Serai (now)

This was followed by landscape changes in the area. A Malay Village was built on one side of Geylang Serai to showcase the past kampong living of the Malays in the area. On the other side was the Geylang Serai wet market cum food centre. There was no permanent stall. The hawkers in the food centre had to provide their own stalls, tables and chairs. Around the market were 3 blocks of flats with shops on the ground floor.

Photo credit to the book on Geylang Serai

Photo credit to the book on Geylang Serai

In 2006 due to the redevelopment of the area, the hawkers in Geylang Serai market cum food centre moved to a temporary shed at Sims Ave opposite the Malay Village (picture below).
They were given proper hawker stalls with fixed tables and chairs for customers to eat their food.

Geylang Serai temporary market cum food centre

The landscape at Geylang Serai will change further when the hawkers at the temporary market cum food centre move into their permanent home on 13 July 2009.

New Geylang Serai market cum food centre

Opposite Geylang Serai is Joo Chiat, a predominant Chinese area where most of the shops were Chinese owned. There were a few Indian muslims shops selling provision/spices and shops that ground cereals into flour but not a single Malay shop. There were two wet market adjacent to each other. One was facing Changi Road and the other was facing Joo Chiat Road. Both markets were demolished and is replaced by Joo Chiat Complex, a shopping centre. At Joo Chiat Road opposite Joo Chiat Complex were 2 blocks of pre-war shophouses (picture below) separated by a narrow side lane where Javanese food hawkers took up position every evening to sell satay, mee rebus, mee siam. soto ayam and others.

Photo credit to the book on Geylang Serai

The 2 blocks of shopshouses at Joo Chiat/Geylang Road junction were rebuilt into a 3 and 4 storey buildings with shops on the ground floor, thus completed the changes of the 4 corners at this unique road junction. This crossed roads is also unique not only there are landscape transformations but also changes in business community. The influx of Malay businessmen and entrepreneurs into Joo Chiat is sight never seen before. There are more Malay shops than the Chinese now. Maju lah, Geylang Serai!

Joo Chiat Complex and the new 4 storey shophouses


Uncle Phil said...

I just came across your blog through YG and Victor's blogs and like to let you know that you are doing a great job, not only for sharing your rich legacy of the past to the young ones but also helping a Singporean who has been living away from home for the last 36 years to recollect and connect it to the 'new' Singapore. I used to go home every year and balek kampong became less frequent after I started my own family here. Now I only go home for "red and white" family obligations.(weddings and funerals). Thank you again for sharing.
Cheers, Phil

PChew said...

Welcome Uncle Phil. I read your blog on 'Jellied pig trotters' and tried many times to post a comment but failed. I loved to eat such delicacy from hawkers selling in front of the Thong Chai Medical Institution. It was simply SHIOK!

Uncle Phil said...

Please call me as your namesake.The honourary uncle was given by the newly migrated young Singaporean friends whom I have only met recently and teach me to start a blog. Thanks for visiting my blog. I am so glad that I managed to come into contact with you and your fellow bloggers. I didn't make any effort to meet other Sg friends earlier until now. May I add you to my list of newfound Sg friends. Please try again to comment in my blog. Thanks.

Michelle Kan said...

Hello Mr Chew!
Thank you for creating this blog and for sharing the rich history of Joo Chiat's past with Singaporeans. Having stayed in Joo Chiat for about 10 years, (I've moved house few years back) I enjoyed reading your posts and felt a certain sense of connection.
I am a year one NUS student from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I am currently reading a Singapore Studies module "Everyday Life of the Chinese Singaporeans: Past and Present" which requires us to choose a site in Singapore and study how the place has changed from past to present.
I came across your blog when I was researching on Joo Chiat shophouses, my chosen site and I was thinking if I could conduct an oral interview with you on Joo Chiat for my project. I would love to hear from you!
If possible, please contact me via
Thank you!