Happy 2021! In the second episode of a Wes Anderson-ish Singapore series, let’s take a whimsical trip around the quaint and charming Tiong Bahru, the beloved neighbourhood filled with heritage and history. This time, besides symmetrical architectural shots of the SIT flats, let’s also explore wall murals, cafes, hawker food and culture that characterize Tiong Bahru.
Tiong Bahru estate was developed back in 1930s by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), now known as the Housing Development Board (HDB). It is one of the oldest public housing estates of Singapore. The estate has about 900 units within its 30 housing blocks of between 2-5 storeys tall. It is perhaps the only art deco styled public housing estate in Singapore. Besides having a strong visual aesthetics, the estate’s close knitted design also facilitates the development of kampong spirit over the years.
Another notable architectural heritage is the Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter, built during the pre-war period and located within Block 78 Moh Guan Terrace. It is believed to be the first ever public housing block in Singapore equipped with an air raid shelter.
Besides architecture, the estate is also well known for its food and culture. The Tiong Bahru Market houses some of the best hawker stores in Singapore, selling iconic dishes from Lor Mee, Shui Kueh to Bak Ku Teh and Fishball Noodle. Tiong Bahru Bakery is arguably the best French bakery in Singapore.
The estate is also rich with cultural elements. The Qi Tian Gong (Monkey God Temple) is a Taoist temple that has been around since the 1920s. The Tiong Bahru Bird Singing corner has been around for more than 50 years. For people of my age, the places that could evoke memories are Dancing Girl Statue and BooksActually, the latter unfortunately is no longer around physically. Time and situations changed many things, the least we could do is to remember them.
Hope you enjoy this light-hearted tour of Tiong Bahru, and if you are interested, do check out the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail:
Check out the 1st episode of A Wes Anderson-ish Singapore series here: https://youtu.be/7-A-bpwnHcU