Tag Archives: Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter

Tiong Bahru Estate – Exploring the Old and New

Tiong Bahru, a Singapore heartland with a very rich and interesting history and development from her Colonial days and was part of Singapore’s pre-independence to her modern cosmopolitan hub of Old and New Singapore today. I remembered Tiong Bahru estate from my secondary school days when we would drop by the area, visiting friends and eating at Tiong Bahru hawker centre when it was just a single storey compound. National Heritage Board has a extensive and informative write up on Tiong Bahru, do visit the site! You can also find the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail that you can download as a pdf file and you can start to explore Tiong Bahru estate! Tiong Bahru also came into international limelight with a short film titled “Civic Life: Tiong Bahru”!

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Over the years, I explored, photographed and documented the Old and New Tiong Bahru estate. New and modern eateries started establishing their businesses in the estate, transforming them into a hippy estate with a mix of the Old and New. Some traditional businesses such as the old provision shop decided to call it a day and a modern eatery took over the space. Such changes are inevitable considering the relentless fast pace of modernisation, economic growth, changes and retirements. I want to confess that I was disappointed with myself that I wasn’t able to photograph and shared about the traditional trades and businesses when they were still around.

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Today, while many of the SIT flats in Tiong Bahru remained as it is, Tiong Bahru Market and hawker centre was revamped and transformed into a 3 storey building, with the market on the first floor, food stalls on the second floor and car park on the third floor. Tiong Bahru hawker centre has some of my favourite local Singapore and part of my exploration and documentation, the local Singapore hawker food forms part of my sharing too! Not too long ago, during September 2013, there was an event Happiness Served, it was about celebrating and recognising great service experiences for everyone involved – the service staff, the business owners and you. Happiness Served took place in Tiong Bahru estate and we had a fun time exploring the New sector of Tiong Bahru Estate.

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Across the road from the SIT flats, the old HDB flats across the SIT flats were gone and replaced with newer and higher HDB flats. I used to recall that some of the older HDB flats were 4 stories high and only a few of the older generation HDB flats were left behind for memories sake. I was reviewing a number of cameras recently during the past year and I took the various review cameras down to Tiong Bahru Estate for a walkabout inside this nostalgic Singapore heartland.

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What makes Tiong Bahru so special and unique? The interesting and unique SIT flats designs? The history, heritage, culture and humble beginning of Tiong Bahru Estate? Or the traditional, local Singapore flavour hawker food or the modern eateries inside Tiong Bahru? Or Tiong Bahru Estate is in your heart and soul from your growing up years?

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Tiong Bahru Estate does have something that ties us to our Singapore’s history, heritage and culture. In her metamorphosis from the Old to the New, Modern and Future, Tiong Bahru Estate is a hub for the Old and New Singapore. Come explore with me the Old and New Tiong Bahru Estate through my photographs and stories!

Oh, by the way, do you know there is an Air-Raid Shelter in the heart of Tiong Bahru Estate?


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Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter Heritage Tour

In one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, Tiong Bahru, there lies a very interesting place/trail that not many Singaporeans know about that is right beneath their homes. Located at Blk 78 Guan Chuan Street lies an air raid shelter that is 1,500 sqm in floor size! The Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter was first opened to the public for guided tours in 2013, I didn’t manage to join the guided tour and visit the Air Raid Shelter. When National Heritage Board (NHB) organised guided tours for February 8th and 15th 2014, I managed to sign up for the last tour on 15th February 2014 and it was an eye opener to learn and know more about Singapore’s past, and explored a significant part of Singapore’s history that not many knew about.

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The Air Raid Shelter at Blk 78 Guan Chuan Street is of great importance and significance because it is the only public housing building by the Singapore Improvement Trust to have an Air Raid Shelter built as part of its design and it is also the last remaining pre-war civilian Air Raid Shelter still in existence today (Source: National Heritage Board)

Joining a group of heritage enthusiasts in the guided heritage walk inside the Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter, I got to see what it could be like during World War 2 when the bombs were dropping on Singapore. Our heritage guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable in sharing her research and stories about the Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter with the participants. Walking inside the Air Raid Shelter can be pretty stuffy and perspiring, due to the limited ventilation outlets, this allowed the participants to have a feel and idea of how the people felt when they were hiding inside the Air Raid Shelter during World War 2 when the Japanese bombed Singapore. It wasn’t comfortable and with the bombing above them, those were indeed very tough and dark times during Singapore’s history that we must not forget.

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As the guided tour finished, I added another tick to my list of Old Places Exploration in Singapore. The guided tour was enriching and an eye-opener to the history and heritage of Singapore that we must preserve and conserve. Joining heritage tours organised by NHB gave me more details and knowledge beyond history books and websites, the tours gave me a feel of our history, heritage and stories behind them.

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For more information on Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter, you can check out the link here to NHB website. Do keep a look out on NHB and I Love Museum websites when they announce guided tours for Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter in the future!


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.