URA to rezone parts of Geylang: A closer look at the neighbourhood

The Urban Redevelopment Authority said on Tuesday that some parts of the infamous red-light zone in Geylang may be rezoned to halt the the development of more homes.

One reason cited was the increased friction that arises from conflicting uses of land in the area.

Geylang is now a hodgepodge of shophouses, eateries, freehold properties, motels and brothels. Tensions have been simmering for years and a residential property boom in recent years could have exacerbated the situation.

Here are some articles from The Straits Times archives which provide a close-up look at the neighbourhood and the people who live or work there.


Looking past red lights to hot yields

The Straits Times, Nov 14, 2014

The red lights that dot Geylang might reflect the area's seamy side, but they have not stopped developers from flocking in with new condominium projects.

The area, bounded by Sims Way and Paya Lebar Avenue, has seen a flurry of new launches over the past three years.

Read more here. 


Grungy Geylang seeing new faces

The Straits Times, Aug 25, 2014

Since last year, at least 10 businesses, ranging from start-ups to cafes, co-working spaces and design firms, have opened up in Geylang and nearby places such as Cassia Crescent and the old badminton hall in Guillemard Road.

Most of them are owned by entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s, drawn there by affordable rents, access to MRT stations and the grungy character of the neighbourhood.

Read more here.


An undercurrent of fear in Geylang

The Straits Times, March 30, 2014

Geylang, Singapore's notorious red-light district and foreign worker hot spo,t is now in the spotlight after Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said last week that the area was a bigger concern than Little India, where last December's riot took place.

It is an area where disproportionately more crime and public order offences take place.

Read more here.


A street away, yet worlds apart

The Straits Times, May 18, 2012

Geylang Lorong 24 and Lorong 24A are like twins with different lives – one is an erudite culture vulture, and the other a street-smart gangster.

Where Lorong 24A scores in history, the arts and culture with its numerous Chinese clan associations, art spaces and a Spanish dance studio, Lorong 24 is a school dropout.

Read more here.


Geylang: The new Chinatown

The Straits Times, Sept 13, 2009

No official numbers are available but anecdotal evidence suggests that a growing number of China nationals – namely the working class, students and entrepreneurs – are flocking to the precinct.

Singaporeans certainly have noticed their presence.

Read more here.


Geylang residents act to keep vice trade at bay

The Straits Times, April 19, 2008

Fed up with prostitutes spilling over from the traditional red-light area and plying their trade in just about every dimly lit alley in the neighbourhood, the residents are taking to the streets themselves. 

Read more here.


Living in red-light area is no fun

The Straits Times, June 13, 1999

Not everyone with an address in a red-light district is in the vice trade. The vast majority are just ordinary people who happen to live where drug drops, brothels and illegal immigrants form the setting for raids, robberies and fights.

Their plan has been to light up the streets, throw some parties and stage community events to deny prostitutes the space to operate and claim back territory.

Read more here.