Archive for October, 2007


Tiong Bahru Rooster

October 23, 2007

If you ever wandered along Yong Siak Street or the the junction of Kim Pong Road and Moh Guan Terrace, this smart looking rooster may have caught your attention.

I am sure many shutter-bugs would not have missed the opportunity to shoot this fine looking fowl.

There is a sad story behind this rooster.

This rooster used to live in the alley between Yong Siak Street and Bo Bo Tan Gardens. He had 3 other companions.

Every morning, he and his buddies would start to crow just after 4am. I think there were some problems with their internal clocks.

As a result, there were many complaints that were lodged against these FOWL gang but people were still generally tolerantly…….until the bird flu epidemic came about.

The authorities were quick to witch hunt all suspects and this brood were not spared…..except for this one who got away during the capture and destroy operations.

If this rooster could talk and feel, he would be telling you how much he misses his buddies right now. Perhaps that is why he is still walking around this area with the hope of reuniting with his friends.

Anyway, after he became “SINGLE”, he always ended up at Bo Bo Tan Gardens as he was well fed there. A retired nurse had a cat there and this rooster had the audacity to eat from the same bowl as the killer cat.

Both Cat and Rooster co-existed very well and the nurse ended up caring for the rooster as well.
By the way, that cat at Bo Bo Tan was a top killer. He would kill pigeons and slowly eat every part of them except for the wings. He also kills rats very efficiently.

Why he left the rooster alone remains a mystery to me.

With a new home and a new found mammal for a buddy, life seems to be going well.

But little did this rooster and cat knew that they would be displaced very soon.

Bo Bo Tan was sold en-bloc and all of us had to leave.

As we move out of this place, we salvaged whatever useful things we could bring along and conveniently left the USELESS stuff behind.

So Mr Tiong Bahru Rooster was once again left alone to figure out how his future would look like. I would only say it looked pretty “beak”.

Everyday, this rooster has outwit, outsmart and outplay his way so that he does not end up being a road kill…… that he could crow at 4am for one more time.

I really dread the day I see a lifeless chicken carcass in the middle of the road just because someone was driving too fast for this chicken to cross the road.

So why did the chicken cross the road?


New Lease of Life II

October 10, 2007

The Straits Times
10 October 2007
Joyce TeoA SMALL firm, Katong Hostel, has emerged as the top bidder in a tender to find a managing agent to lease out 120 HDB flats.

The flats – likely to be let to international students and expats – have been vacated ahead of redevelopment under a pilot HDB scheme.

They will be leased out for three years with an option for three more years.
The 60 three-room flats and 60 four-room flats are in Blocks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 in Tiong Bahru Road.

The residents have moved to new flats under HDB’s Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme which is designed to add new flats to meet demand.

Katong Hostel’s bid of $230,280 a month is 22 per cent above the next bid of $188,000, the provisional tender results released by the HDB yesterday showed.

That price is the sum the agent proposes to pay HDB to lease the flats – to be leased in turn to tenants.

Katong Hostel, which provides international student housing, is part of the Vita Group of hostels.

The tender, which attracted 15 widely varying bids from small firms and individuals, comes amid growing demand to lease HDB flats in a rising market.

The lowest bid came in at a mere $600 a month.

HDB has said that it will decide whether to expand the scheme, based on the tender response, as it has a potential supply of 4,000 to 5,000 flats which could boost supply in the next three years.


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To read previous related post : New Lease of Life


S’pore rejoins Unesco 20 years after pullout

October 9, 2007

The Straits Times
Oct 8, 2007
By Theresa Tan

MORE than two decades after pulling out from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), Singapore is re-joining the organisation.

Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Kim Yong told reporters on Monday that that it is in Singapore’s interest to engage Unesco.

For example, Singapore can learn from other member countries how to improve its education system, he said.

Also, Singapore is keen on cultural and scientific exchanges with other Unesco members in its push to build a knowledge-based economy.

Singapore became a full member of Unesco in 1965 but withdrew from the group in 1985 for several reasons.

One arose from the way Singapore’s contributions were calculated, said a statement from the Education Ministry on Monday.

In 1999, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said that Singapore left Unesco because it was asked to pay more dues than it thought was fair.

Also, Singapore felt that Unesco was a bloated organisation and took the chance to leave after the United States pulled out in 1984.

Washington was unhappy with Unesco’s policies and management and felt that it was trying to establish a ‘new world information order’ that could restrict press freedom.

In 2002, the US rejoined Unesco.

For the past two years, Singapore has been an observer at Unesco, meaning that it can participate in Unesco activities.

The 192-member UN body aims to contribute to global peace and security by promoting education, science and cultural collaboration and communication among nations.

The Singapore’s National Commission for Unesco will be set up by end of the year and will include three sub-commissions focusing on education, science and culture and information.

The Commission will plan and co-ordinate Singapore’s activities in Unesco and is chaired by Mr Gan.

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Other Singapore Unesco Related Articles :
He Wants to put Tiong Bahru on the World Map
Unesco Site? Dirty Tiong Bahru’s is not ready for that



October 8, 2007

The Electric New Paper :


The construction boards have finally come down at Tiong Bahru Block 53’s famed bird corner and the pre-war flats have reopened as a boutique hotel.

By Ng Tze Yong
08 October 2007

THE bird brand just won’t sit right.

But the melody of the songbirds – the mata puteh, sharma and jambu – is still missing.
The management of the new Link Hotel, which opened in July, hasn’t been able to find sponsors for the corner’s hooks and number tags.

The problem? Advertisers just don’t want to be seen as condoning the caging of birds.

Said the hotel’s executive assistant manager, Mr James Ting, 47: ‘Nowadays, every company wants to be eco-friendly. Everyone wants to love the earth.’

In the past two months, he has approached about 10 companies.

His pitch is tantalising as far as business proposals go: The welding of the 360 custom-made stainless steel hooks is expected to cost between $4,000 to $5,000 – peanuts in advertising terms.

Unlike an advertisement, the hooks will be there permanently. Locals – and flocks of tourists – will see it.

But Mr Ting’s pitch is falling on deaf ears.

‘Cruel, lah’ is the reluctant reply.

No advertiser wants to see its logo swinging above a poor little songbird.

Animal rights activists compare bird-singing to bull-fighting. It’s animal abuse, plain and simple.

Said Mr Lim Kim Seng, a committee member of the Nature Society’s birdwatchers’ group: ‘No animal should be kept in captivity just for the sake of enjoyment.

‘There should be a higher purpose, such as to save a species from extinction.’

The 45-year-old hopes that ‘one day, society matures so that there is no longer a place for bird-singing’.

But Dr Kelvin Tan, president of the Singapore Heritage Society, begged to differ.

Animal rights is a good thing, he said. ‘But then, what about pet dogs and zoos?’

The debate could go on forever, but will Tiong Bahru’s bird corner ever see life again?

Public communications professor Lee Chun Wah from Nanyang Technological University believes that a sponsor can have its cake and eat it too.

‘These days, companies talk about ‘community PR’, about generating goodwill beyond business,’ he said.

‘It can be defined in a broad way. It can be about heritage today and about the environment tomorrow.’

In the old days, it was an unlikely company – Dutch airline KLM – which was the sponsor. (See report below.)

Link Hotel has not approached KLM.

‘We want to find a company that will fit our corporate image,’ said Mr Ting. ‘Airlines are kind of in the leisure business.’

Ultimately, the Link Hotel will pay for the hooks and the number tags if it has to.

It is contractually-bound to maintain the bird corner under the terms of the tender it won from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) four years ago.

Still, it’s not just about the hooks.

‘You need to bring back the joy of the good old days,’ said Tanjong Pagar Town Council’s property manager Loy Sai Sai, 55.

It was his idea in 1997 to upgrade the then-shabby bird corner to what it is today.

‘The old-timers loved it. They came here from Katong, from Malaysia and even from Thailand,’ said Mr Loy.

On weekend mornings, there would be as many as 150 enthusiasts.

The onus, said Mr Loy, will be on the hotel to woo them back. Woo because of a spirit that went out with the kampungs: Community.

‘If you go up to a stranger in a kopitiam and try to befriend him, people will think you are mad. But if you have your songbird, your cup of kopi… it’s different,’ said 56-year-old odd-job labourer Yee Weng Wah.

PASSION Theirs is a passion about nature’s own song, a sport where singlets and slippers will do.

The old-timers decorate the cages like doll houses, with porcelain cups and cucumber slices.

They listen for hours, the chirping taking them back to the kampung days.

Strict conservation rules have preserved the facade of Block 53. But the place now has a classy, cosmopolitan feel.

The old kopitiam where the old-timers huddled with their songbirds on rainy days is now a swanky Japanese restaurant. Hotel staff in spiffy suits tend to coachloads of tourists at the 288-room hotel, where one night costs between $260 and $600.

Although the hotel will only be officially opened next month, 90 per cent of the rooms have already been booked. Mr Ting wants the bird lovers to be part of its future.

‘They don’t have to worry about their attire. People walk around in hotels in their swimming trunks anyway,’ he said.

‘As long as the bird-lovers are well-behaved, they are welcome to our hotel for a drink or even just to use the toilet.’

The red carpet has been laid out. The hooks will come. But will that be enough to woo the birdmen back?


Bird corner started at Tiong Bahru Block 53 about 50 years ago.

Dutch journalist and bird lover Guus van Bladel joins uncles at Tiong Bahru bird corner in late 1980s.

He writes about corner in Dutch newspapers, drawing reporters from Holland, Japan, US and other countries.

Later, a friend from Dutch airline KLM gets company to sponsor bird-singing contests.

KLM even provides hooks, number tags for cages.

In 1997, Tanjong Pagar-West Coast Town Council renovates bird corner under $60,000 spruce-up plan.

In 2003, block is put up for redevelopment. Macau-based Hang Huo Enterprise Group, which has businesses in construction and casinos, moves in to build Link Hotel.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.Privacy Statement and Conditions of Access


Khoo Tiong Poh (1830 – 1892)

October 7, 2007

Tiong Poh Road within the Tiong Bahru Estate was named after a Fujian merchant, Khoo Tiong Poh.

He came to Singapore from China at 22.

He founded Chop Tiong Ho in Market Street and then quit in 1874 to set up Bun Hin & Co with his friend as shipowner.

He then engaged in ship chandlery business in the name of Ann Bee & Co.

He was also a partner with Keng Nam and Co and Chop Sin Bee Siang.

In 1888, he sought and was conferred a honorary title by the Manchu government.

He died in 1892 at 62.


Koh Eng Hoon (1823 – 1880)

October 4, 2007

Eng Hoon Street is named after a Malacca merchant Koh Eng Hoon (1823 – 1880).

Eng Hoon is is Koh Kee Oot’s son and Koh Teck Hin’s grandson.

Eng Hoon came from an old Chinese family that has been in Malacca for over 200 years.

He came to Singapore in 1840 at the age of 17 in search for opportunity.

First he worked as a shop assistant, and later a cashier with Boustead & Co.

He quit the company in 1845 to set up his own company, Benefit Society.

He had large dealings with the Bugis as a merchant and commission agent.

He died in 1880 at 57, leaving behind considerable properties in Singapore and Malacca.


Truth Be Told – The Movie

October 2, 2007

These are 2 movie trailers of a story based on a fictitious block 33 located within Tiong Bahru. The facade of the buildings look like it was filmed in the Bukit Ho Swee Area.

There is definitely no such block within the Tiong Bahru Estate.

Anyway, the trailer looks good and I am curious enough to want to watch the movie now.

In Golden Village cinemas on 4 October 2007.

An assignment takes TV producer Renee Donovan back to a neighbourhood she ran away from 10 years ago. There, a resident, Old Teo, recognizes her. At every turn, he threatens to reveal her secrets. As Renee struggles to cover her real identity to complete the assignment, she is forced to confront her past and the shameful secrets which surface as a result.

Truth Be Told examines the dark side of life in Singapore’s public housing – the old and the poor living in the crevices of a modern and increasingly materialistic society.

电视节目主播,芮妮.丹诺芬,的第一项任务就要她从返十年前她离家出走的老组屋区作采 访。那里的一位居民,老张,认定她就是老邻居失散多年的女儿,玲玲。芮妮在执行任务的 同时,她一而再地掩饰自己的真正身份。可是她始终还是隐瞒不了事情的真相,被迫勇敢地 面对自己的过错。

《真相》试图通过苦无依的老年人和贫困一群,居住在新加坡政府组屋区里的生活画面来反 映出他们在时代的变迁与高度讲求物质享受的社会里挣扎求存让人感叹的事实。


Tan Seng Poh(1830 – 1879)

October 1, 2007

Seng Poh Road and Seng Poh Lane are located within the Tiong Bahru Estate. Both streets are after Tan Seng Poh(1830 – 1879), who was born in Perak.

His father Tan Ah Hun was from Zhaoan (between Fujian and Guandong provinces) and was the rich Captain China of Perak.

Tan Seng Poh’s eldest and second sister were married to Seah Eu Chin in Singapore.

Seng Poh followed his sister to Singapore and later became one of the four richest Teochews here.

He built a mansion in Loke Yew Street, which became one of the four largest houses among the Teochews.

Seng Poh once had the monopoly to sell opium in Johor.

In Singapore, he was head of the Opium Farm.

In 1871, he was appointed Municipal Commissioner and in 1875, head of its committee.

Seng Poh was made a Justice of Peace and a honorary magistrate in 1872.

He was keen in public service, social welfare and education.