My Tanglin Halt Heritage Tour

Tour Info

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Date
Every fourth Saturday and Sunday of the month
Time
8:30am to 12:30pm (approximately). Please arrive at 8:15am, 15mins before the start time for registration.
language
English
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Start
Queenstown MRT Station Exit A (next to 7-11).
End
Tanglin Halt Neighbourhood Centre, a stone’s throw from Commonwealth MRT Station
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Difficulty Level

1.5/5

  • Expect four hours of walking. However, this heritage tour requires participants to walk for four hours long and trek some hilly terrain.
  • It is compulsory for a parent/guardian to accompany any child of/under the age of 12
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What should I bring
  • Wear comfortable clothes and suitable shoes for a four-hour-long walk
  • Bring along your headphones (compatible with headphone jack) Those without will have be charged S$2 per pair of earphones
  • Bring along insect repellent, an EZ-Link card, a bottle of water and an umbrella
  • Asthmatic individuals are encouraged to bring their inhaler

Description

My Tanglin Halt Heritage Tour traces the evolution of Queenstown as Singapore’s first satellite town. The tour visits landmarks such as the first HDB flats along Stirling Road, the former Malayan railways and the black & white bungalows at Wessex estate. Participants will hear first-hand accounts of the charming neighbourhood from long-time residents in Tanglin Halt and Stirling Road, a lifeguard at Queenstown Sports Complex, and librarians from Queenstown Public Library. This tour is conducted in both English and Mandarin.

Site 1: Former Queenstown Driving Test Centre

The former Queenstown Driving Test Centre was Singapore’s second Driving Test Centre. Built at a cost of $285,000, it was officially opened on 23 February 1969 by then Minister for Communications, Yong Nyuk Lin, to alleviate the workload of testers at Maxwell Driving Test Centre and relieve the traffic congestion along Maxwell Road.

The Queenstown Driving Test Centre also replaced the Maxwell centre in providing tests for applicants of vocational licenses to operate buses and taxis. The state-of-the-art Centre was a spacious ground-level building which had 14 testers to conduct a daily average of 150 tests on driving proficiency and another 150 on the Highway Code.

Doris Koh completed the Highway Code and obtained her provisional license from the Driving Test Centre. She recalled: “Unlike the theory tests conducted in driving centres today, candidates had to move a miniature-sized car on a model in response to questions asked by the tester. For instance, if the tester asked the candidate for the proper procedure to stop a car at pedestrian crossings, the candidate had to manually ‘slow down’ the speed of the ‘car’ before the ‘pedestrian crossing’ in the model.”

By the late 1980s, three more driving test circuits were constructed in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong and Bukit Batok. These new test circuits were equipped with modern facilities which allowed learner drivers to drive “under all kinds of conditions.”

In 1995, the Queenstown Driving Test Centre ceased operations and its premises were taken over by Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre in 1997. In 2005, the Neighbourhood Police Centre relocated to a brand new $30.6 million complex at Queensway.

Site 2: Former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market

The former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market is the only remaining market in Singapore that is designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Built at a cost of $240,000, the market was officially opened on 23 October 1960 by then Assemblyman for Queenstown, Dr Lee Siew Choh, to “keep the housing estate free of roadside hawkers.”

These itinerant hawkers used to ply along Margaret Drive, Commonwealth Crescent and Tanglin Halt Road. Alongside the former Commonwealth Avenue Cooked Food Centre (built in 1970 and demolished in 2011), the wet market stood prominently along the main artery road through Queenstown and served as a well-known landmark to residents and visitors.

The wet market features a bold, parabolic-vaulted roof that allows rainwater to drain quickly and high internal spaces for effective air flow. Other design features such as the honeycomb screen wall at ground level allows air to pass while providing shade from the sun. The dome-shaped façade earns the Wet Market a morbid colloquial name from the residents, “the Coffin Market,” for its striking resemblance to a traditional Chinese coffin.

The first level of the wet market was originally catered to fresh produce and cooked food stalls whereas sundry and provisions shops could be found at the second level. Desmond Wong, a former resident at Strathmore Avenue, recalled witnessing a “live’ poultry slaughtering at the Market. “There was a large metallic cage filled with chickens which you could choose from. Then, the hawker would grab the chicken by its neck, slit the throat and leave the chicken there to die. Next, they would immerse the chickens into a large container filled with warm water so that the feathers could be plucked off easily. Within minutes, the chickens would be ready and placed in a paper bag.”

The Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market was closed in 2005 and the hawkers were relocated to other wet markets within the precinct. As an icon of Queenstown’s past, the former wet market was gazetted for conservation in 2013 to foster familiarity and identity as the estate undergoes renewal.

Site 3: Queenstown Public Library

The Queenstown Library is Singapore’s first branch library. Built at a cost of $595,000, the library was officially opened on 30 April 1970 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to “provide access to books which most people could not afford to buy” and offset a severe shortage in van drivers for the National Library’s mobile library services. These mobile libraries used to ply along Margaret Drive and the former Queenstown Community Centre at Dawson Road.

Designed in the Modern style, the Queenstown Public Library is a two-storey building with an austere front façade relieved by a refined “bow-tie” motif along the parapets and a pre-assembled sun-shading block on its concrete frame. The building also uses glass panels generously which allows the reading rooms to be naturally lit.

The first level of the library was originally catered to the children and the Chinese collection while the second level was devoted to the adult and reference collection. The library was large enough to accommodate 280 visitors and 200,000 volumes of print materials. The installation of air-conditioning in 1978 provided additional comfort to the library users.

The Queenstown Public Library was a sanctuary for students and working adults. There were 13 schools along Margaret Drive in the 1970s and students from the neighbourhood would visit the library for research and leisure reading. The library was also known for its extensive collection of teenage fiction. Popular series such as Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were placed at the front of the children section and there were always long queues at the loaning desks. At the loan desks, library patrons would present their library card (red for children and brown for adults) and librarians would record the titles borrowed by the users manually before filing them accordingly to their due dates.

The first major renovation in 2003 made Queenstown Public Library more user-friendly. Elevators were installed, the lighting system was improved and a cafeteria was introduced. The library was gazetted for conservation in 2013.

Norsiah Binte Abdul Sukoi, a librarian at Queenstown Library since 1982, recalled: “Throughout the years, many ex-residents have returned to the library and bought us kueh kueh even though they have shifted out of the estate. Besides being an identity marker, the library certainly holds fond memories for past and present residents.”

Site 4: Former Queenstown Polyclinic

The former Queenstown Polyclinic at Margaret Drive was Singapore’s first polyclinic. Built at a cost of $400,000, the polyclinic was officially opened on 13 January 1963 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to provide Queenstown residents with access to subsidised healthcare. The polyclinic combined an outpatient clinic, and a maternity and child health centre which offered domiciliary midwifery and immunisation services. A dental clinic, Oralgiene Dental Surgery, was added in 1984.

In 1986, Queenstown Polyclinic was expanded to incorporate more consultation rooms and centralise registration for both outpatient, and maternity and child health services. Lee Lai Koon, a former resident at Mei Ling Street, recalled bringing her son for immunisation at the polyclinic. “The fee for consulting a doctor was $2.50 a visit and 50 cents more for every item of medicine prescribed. Immunisation, which was free, was a popular service at the polyclinic. The nurses would also issue a blue book which recorded my son’s progress.”

The combined clinic’s spacious interiors and extensive greenery made it very popular among the staff and patients. Carol Wong Yoke Kwai, a nurse at the polyclinic since 1999, recalled, “There was a two-storey tall durian tree behind room 18. We would often share the durians among ourselves every June or July.”

In December 2007, the polyclinic shifted to a new location in Stirling Road. Its previous compound was converted into a dormitory.

Site 5: Former Venus and Golden City Theatres

The former Venus and Golden City Theatres were Queenstown’s first two cinemas. On one hand, the former Venus Theatre was officially opened on 29 September 1965 by then President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Soon Peng Yam. The $750,000 theatre was owned by Kong Ngee Co. Ltd and could accommodate around 1,200 cinema goers. On the other hand, the former Golden City Theatre was opened a month later in November 1965. The $500,000 theatre was owned by Golden Star of Malaysia.

Both cinemas screened popular Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien films. Tan Siew Tho frequented the cinemas with her husband and family during the 1970s. She recalled: “I was a big fan of Li Lihua. I would always watch her movies at the cinemas.”

In the early 1980s, both Venus and Golden City Theatres were faced dwindling returns in the face of competition from videotapes and colour television. Golden City’s monthly net collections, after entertainment tax, had steadily deteriorated from a high of $70,000 in 1979 to only $20,000 in 1984. Initial plans to convert the cinemas into theatres for “live” stage shows were rebuffed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the cinemas’ respective shareholders.

Golden City ceased operations in August 1984 and Venus shut down a month later. Both cinemas were converted into churches in 1985.

Site 6: The First HDB Blocks and Terraces

Blocks 45, 48 and 49 Stirling Road were the first few blocks of flats completed in October 1960, just months after the Housing and Development Board was formed in February 1960. They were part of the Queenstown estate that the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) began work on in the 1950s. The flats in these three seven-storey blocks were handed over to residents in 1961. The dominant presence of these blocks standing on an undeveloped piece of swampland earned the neighbourhood a colloquial name, Qik Lao (“Seven-Storey” in Hokkien).

The three seven-storey blocks were among the first batch of public housing projects launched under the HDB’s first five-year programme. The HDB, which took over the role of eliminating squatters and providing low cost housing from the SIT on 1 February 1960, had embarked on an ambitious five-year target to quickly alleviate overcrowding in the city centre.

The late Mr Lim Kim San, then chairman of the HDB, commented: “We will try to attain a position where we can build the most efficient unit at a minimum cost so that public housing can be bought within means of the lower income group, as well as ensure that the cost of maintenance and repairs of these units will be reduced to a minimum over the years.”

Chua Soo Heng (b. 1955) and her family were one of the first occupants of Block 48 Stirling Road. The Chuas were survivors of the devastating Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961 and they were resettled into the two-room apartment. She recalled: “The fire at Bukit Ho Swee spread very quickly and we lost our home overnight. The government brought s here in army trucks. We were lucky to get a flat.”

The HDB terraces along Stirling Road are the remaining terrace apartments in Queenstown that were designed by the SIT. Completed between 1959 and 1963, there are 13 blocks of HDB terraces that comprise a total of 86 three-room and four-room flats.

These low-rise terrace apartments were the brainchild of the SIT’s New Towns Working Party, which stipulated an optimal residential density of 200 persons per acre. This recommended density was achieved by building high rise apartments housing 400 persons per acre and low-rise terrace units housing 150 persons per acre. This variation would produce variety in Queenstown’s skyline.

Mahmood (b. 1952) was one of the long-time residents at the HDB terraces. He commented: “I could grow vegetables, rear chickens and fruit trees at the open space in front of my house. My neighbour would then rear tilapia, goldfish – all types of fishes. He used to have a Christmas tree that was around 10 metres tall!”

Site 7: Queenstown Sports Complex

The Queenstown Sports Complex is Singapore’s first neighbourhood sports complex. Built at a cost of $1.65 million, the Sports Complex was officially opened on 15 August 1970 by Lim Kim San, then Minister for Education, to provide more recreational facilities for residents in Queenstown. Standing on ten acres of land lying between Stirling and Mei Chin Road, the Sports Complex has a 400-metre 8-lane bitumen running track that encloses a football field. An elevated gallery with seating capacity for 3,000 spectators runs along the athletic field. There are five swimming pools, including a 50-metre Olympic-size pool.

Queenstown Stadium
The Queenstown Stadium was a premier location for national day parades and regional sporting competitions in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1973, the stadium played hosts to the Singapore Armed Forces’ first Colour Parade where 3,000 soldiers took part in a 10-kilometre route march from Jalan Besar to Queenstown Sports Complex. In 1975 and 1983, decentralised parades of the National Day were held at the stadium to allow more Singaporeans participate in the festive occasion.

Queenstown Swimming Complex
The five turquoise pools at Queenstown Swimming Complex were where residents took their baby steps at mastering their breaststrokes and freestyles. Koh Wee Meng (b. 1968) had fond memories of his first experience at the pool. He said: “Initially, I was extremely afraid of drowning because I could not swim. So, I kept clinging onto my uncle’s neck and begging to go home. Ten lessons later, I could swim as fast as a fish!”

Wee Meng’s chief motivation in mastering swimming came from the tanned, wiry boys at the 25m square pool. Established in 1971, Queenstown’s water polo team comprised of students from neighbouring secondary schools. Under the tutelage of Kenneth Kee, members of the Queenstown water polo club formed the backbone of the national water polo team in the 1970s and 1980s. The national team, which won gold at the 1979 Southeast Asian Games, was entirely composed of Queenstown stalwarts.

The immense success of the water polo team could be attributed to Kenneth Kee’s tough training methods. Tony Koh (b. 1970) was a Queenstown club member who played for the national team between 1985 and 1994. He said: “In every training session, we were asked to swim 10 laps and do 1000 push-ups. It was just like a military training!”

Site 8: Former Baharuddin Vocational Institute (Second Campus)

The former Baharuddin Vocational Institute along Queensway was Singapore’s first tertiary school dedicated to manual and applied arts in Singapore. The institute was named after the late Inche Baharuddin bin Mohammed Arif, a PAP assembly who died in April 1965. It was officially opened by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on 20 June 1965 to nurture skilled, local designers and craftsmen in advertising, fashion and printing trades.

The school marked a radical change in Singapore’s education policy. There was a new focus on preparing students for better jobs in the increasingly industrialised city-state. Apprentices and craftsmen who were already in the industry also got to upgrade their skills. Courses conducted at Baharuddin Vocational Institute included commercial art, dressmaking, furniture design, pottery and shell crafts.

Low Yee Ming (b.1964) was a former student at the Institute. She recalled: “The graphic design (commercial art) programme was extremely popular among students and it had a large intake. I enrolled in the course so that I could learn ‘more’ practical skills. The lecturers at the Institute were markedly different from those at academic schools as they accommodated more freedom and creativity in their classes.”

The institute relocated to its new site at Stirling Road in 1969. For the next two decades, Baharuddin Vocational Institute was the main institute which helped nurture graphic designers and craftsmen in Singapore. In 1990, the entire applied arts department from Baharuddin Vocational Institute moved to Temasek Polytechnic to start the School of Design. This led to the closure of the Institute.

In 2004, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) took over the premise at Stirling Road.

Site 9: Mujahidin Mosque

Masjid Mujahidin is Singapore’s first mosque designed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Built at a cost of $800,000, the Mosque was officially opened on 9 October 1977 by then Acting Minister for Social Affairs, Dr Ahmad Mattar. It housed a growing number of devotees and provided adequate facilities to conduct religious classes and workshops. Classes were previously conducted at the nearby Police Reserve Unit as the surau or prayer halls within the estate were not large enough.

The architects from HDB faced difficulties while building the mosque. According to Islamic principles, prayer halls must face Mecca. Since the building was located at the corner of Stirling Road, it was structurally challenging to align the mosque to Mecca and adjoin roads concurrently. Eventually, they found a clever solution by housing a rectangular prayer hall within a circular building.

The Mosque was the result of 11 years of hard work in planning and fundraising by the Muslim community in Queenstown who collaborated with Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) and the HDB. The Building and Construction Committee of the Mosque was first established in 1967 to organise fundraising through the sale of calendars islandwide and the launch of food bazaars in nearby housing estates.

In 1977, specialised departments in education, youth, religion and welfare were established. In 1981, an annex building was built to house the administration office, board room and computer room.

Site 10: Tanglin Halt Estate

Tanglin Halt estate was among the earliest neighbourhoods built by the Housing and Development Board. The estate was developed between 1960 and 1967, and derived its name from a railway stop in the neighbourhood. Tanglin Halt Estate is bound by the former Malayan Railway line, Queensway, Commonwealth Avenue and Tanglin Halt.

In 1964, officers from the Malaysian Riot Squad were housed in four blocks at Tanglin Halt due to widespread racial unrest. The move helped to pre-empt an outbreak of racial riots in Queenstown. Red riot vehicles were also parked in the area, which spawned a colloquial name for the estate, Ang Chia Keng (“Red Vehicle Village” in Hokkien). The estate was complemented by the 17-hectare Tanglin Halt Industrial Estate, one of the first industrial estates in Singapore.

Site 11: Church of the Blessed Sacrament

The Church of the Blessed Sacrament is Queenstown’s first Catholic church. Built at a cost of $200,000, the Church was officially opened on 9 May 1965 by then Archbishop, Michael Olcomendy. The Church comprised of a parish hall which served as a religious instruction centre, a kindergarten and a presbytery to house the priests.

Designed by YG Dowsett in the Modern style, the Church’s most striking feature is the dramatically structured slate roof, which was constructed in folds in the shape of a tent that symbolised the “tent of meeting” in the Old Testament of the Bible. The roof dips downwards to wrap the interior with portions touching the ground, reminiscent of anchoring pegs. In addition, the slits of glass panes between the cruciform “create a dramatic play of light and shadow” that brings light into the sanctuary. The multicoloured strips of glass panels inserted within the triangular concrete grids at the three main entrances further create an air of vibrancy when viewed from the inside of the hall.

Besides its attractive façade, the Church was popular for its miniature farm which kept animals such as monkeys, goats and dogs. Adaline Teo (b. 1878) recalled: “The cassowary would always spread its feather and the dog would wag its tail whenever there were visitors to the church.” The farm was removed in 2003.

In November 2005, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament was gazetted for conservation.

Site 12: Sri Muneeswaran Temple

The Sri Muneeswaran Temple at Commonwealth Drive is believed to be Southeast Asia’s largest shrine for the Sri Muneeswaran deity. Built at a cost of $2 million, the temple was consecrated on 1 February 1998 to replace the old Queensway Muneeswaran Temple, which was demolished for a road widening project. In the temple compound stood a three-storey multi-purpose hall, administrative offices and a prayer hall.

Sri Muneeswaran Temple first started as a shrine in 1932 when Malayan Railway employees living in Queenstown planted a sulam (or trident) and a triangular stone in an attap hut under a banyan tree. This wooden hut was known as the Muniandy Temple where Hindu devotees would congregate for daily prayers. In January 1970, a new $7,000 Temple was constructed along Queensway to replace the shrine. Statues of deities such as Muneeswaran, Vinayagar, Mariamman and Murugan were imported from India.

The Queensway Muneeswaran Temple was known for its close proximity to the former Malayan Railways. Anantha Sayanam (b. 1966), was a long-time worshipper at the temple. He recalled: “The Temple stood on land belonging to the Malayan Railways. When the trains travelled past the Temple, they would sound their horn and the children would dash towards the tracks.”

After relocating to Commonwealth Drive, the Temple underwent several renovations in 2004, 2008 and 2011 to expand its facilities and cater to the growing congregation of Hindu devotees in Queenstown. The Temple held her fourth consecration ceremony on 10 July 2011.

Site 13: Flats Designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust

Blocks 47, 51, and 67 to 73 Commonwealth Drive are the remaining apartment flats in Queenstown that are designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Completed in the years between 1961 and 1964, there are ten such blocks containing 120 three-room apartments.

Designed in the Modern style, these three-storey flats feature clean and rational architectural façades such as thin horizontal slabs and ventilation holes. Furthermore, the general public can stroll along footpaths through the spacious backyards maintained by residents on the ground level. Similar to the HDB Terraces at Stirling Road, these low-rise terrace apartments were conceived by the Singapore Improvement Trust to reduce uniformity in public housing.

Lim Ang Ah (b. 1943), was one of the ex-residents at the flats. She recalled: “I lived on the ground floor with my family. There was a huge field in front of my house and my daughter would always play hide and seek with our neighbours there.”

Site 14: Former Malayan Railways

The former Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Railway along Tanglin Halt is a dismantled segment in the West Coast Line of the Malayan Railway. Built at a cost of $1,967,495, the railway line between Kranji and Tank Road was first opened in 1903. The line was extended to Woodlands in 1907, then to Johor in 1923 and Tanjong Pagar Station in 1932. The Malayan railways were built to service the booming tin and rubber industries in Malaya and the port at Keppel.

The Malayan Railways had two stations in Queenstown. The first station was located at a warehouse in the former Archipelago Brewery Company where IKEA now stands, while the second station was located at Tanglin Halt Industrial Estate.

As such, the boisterous horns from the KTM trains was a common feature in the Tanglin Halt Estate. Nawawi (b. 1994), a resident at Block 55 Tanglin Halt, recalled: “Our family moved into Commonwealth Drive fifteen years ago. For the first six months or so, we were extremely irritated by the unpredictable bellows from the oncoming trains. They caused us numerous sleepless nights!”

Jimmy Ng (b. 1952), an ex-resident at Tanglin Halt, added: “There were boys who would throw stones at the oncoming trains, lie flat between the tracks or jog along the railway line towards Queens’ Crescent. The railway seemed to be a part and parcel of our lives.”

In 2010, the Malayan Railway tracks were removed after an agreement was struck between leaders of Singapore and Malaysia to jointly develop ‘the KTM land.’ Today, the dismantled stretch known as the “Rail Corridor” is a popular recreation site for families and friends.

Site 15: Black and White Bungalows

Coined “Black and White” after their distinct black timber frames and white walls, these Black and White Bungalows in Wessex Estate were constructed by the British from 1930s onwards to house British personnel working in the nearby military installations at Alexandra and Pasir Panjang. The term “bungalow” derives from a Hindi dialect word “bangala” which means “of or from Bengal.”

Designed in the Black and White Revival architectural style, these Anglo-Indian bungalows feature a thatched roof with long eaves protruding from the top of the exterior walls that are common in that part of India. Supported by timber pillars, the eaves form a veranda which shelters the house from rain and prevents its interior from overheating. The British beautify the traditional Indian bungalows with Classical columns and tall shuttered windows, and furnish the walls with bricks and tiles.

This unique architecture, which created a cooler living environment for the British in tropical colonies, was brought into Singapore.

With the withdrawal of British military forces in 1971, these bungalows became vacated. Today, they are used as art galleries and residences.

The Black and White Bungalows or Ang Moh Chus (红毛屋, “Houses for Caucasians” in Hokkien) were playgrounds for some Queenstown residents. Tan Teck Wah (b. 1952), recalled: “My brothers and I would always walk across the railway tracks and make our way to the Ang Mo Chus. These houses were big and beautiful and it seemed like a paradise. We would play catching and hide-and-seek there.”

Colbar
Opened in 1953, Colbar (or Colonial Bar) was a popular restaurant along Jalan Hang Jebat which catered for the British troops who resided in Wessex Estate. In 2003, the Colbar restaurant was closed to make way for a flyover linking two of the main highways in Singapore. The previous building was carefully dismantled and its parts were used to reconstruct a new restaurant at Whitchurch Road so that it resembled the old bar.

Site 16: Tanglin Halt Neighbourhood Centre

Built at a cost of $160,000, the Tanglin Halt Neighbourhood Centre was opened in 1962 by then Assemblyman for Queenstown, Dr Lee Siew Chor. The neighbourhood centre comprised of 26 shop units arranged around a quadrangle and 84 stalls in the wet market. A shopping centre which composed of a hawker centre and three rows of shop houses was added later in 1967.

The neighbourhood centre houses several pioneer businesses.

Thin Huat
The sundry shop at Tanglin Halt, “Thin Huat,” has a long history which dates back to the 1920s. Ang Kah Hee’s grandfather had owned a provision shop at Boh Beh Kang, the village which preceded Queenstown. Sundry shops or ‘chap hui diam’ in Hokkien literary means shops selling a mixture of goods. Alongside with his brother, Ang Kah Tiong (b. 1948), Kah Hee has kept traditions alive by selling a wide assortment of goods ranging from spices to canned food to cater to the needs of their customers.

Kian Seng
Kian Seng is another provision shop in the Neighbourhood Centre which sells groceries and religious paraphernalia. Lim Ang Ah (b. 1940), the white-haired lady proprietor, recalled that her shop offered personalised services such as free delivery and shopping on credit in the 1970s. She said: “Shopping on credit was fashionable then. Families would pick their groceries up from us and pay at the end of the month. My husband would record them down on a note book.”

Poh Onn Tong
Poh Onn Tong is an established traditional Chinese medicine shop operated by the Chongs who moved to Singapore from Johor in 1964. An iconic feature of the shop must be the wooden cabinet which stores herbs. Each rectangular drawer holds nine tins of herbs, with the names of the herbs carved on the lid.

Tanglin Halt Delicious Duck Noodle
For the past 45 years, Chua Ngen Leng, 64, and his wife, Ngern Kah Cheng, 64, would arrive at his hawker stall in Tanglin Halt Wet Market at 2am every morning to prepare the ingredients and spices for braising duck. Thereafter, Chua would immerse the uncooked duck into a metallic container containing herbs and duck bones to be simmered for three hours. The Chuas started out as itinerant hawkers peddling along North Bridge Road selling delicious braised duck noodles to coolies working at warehouses along Singapore River. They relocated to the Wet Market in 1969.

Tanglin Halt Original Peanut Pancake
Teng Kiong Seng’s traditional peanut pancake (Chinese:面煎糕; Hokkien: Min Jiang Kueh) is crispy on the outside and awesomely chewy inside. Doused with roasted, finely ground peanuts, sugar is added to give the pancake a perfect mixture of sweet and savoury. For the past 45 years, Tanglin Halt Original Peanut Pancake has been serving Tanglin Halt with tasty pancakes which are fresh from the wok. Look out for other flavours from the stall!