Insight into heritage of Tiong Bahru

Volunteer guide Choo Lip Sin, 43, taking people on a guided tour of Tiong Bahru estate as part of the Tiong Bahru Heritage Fiesta 2014, which runs until May 7.
Volunteer guide Choo Lip Sin, 43, taking people on a guided tour of Tiong Bahru estate as part of the Tiong Bahru Heritage Fiesta 2014, which runs until May 7.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Cafe owner Jason Soon has lived in Tiong Bahru for 14 years and in that time he has noticed more cafes and eateries "popping up" and more flats being built.

But it was only yesterday that he got an insight into the area's past. The 34-year-old was one of 34 participants who explored the 78-year-old estate, one of Singapore's oldest, as part of the second Tiong Bahru Heritage Fiesta. The trail - spanning 2.5km and 10 stops - was launched a year ago by the National Heritage Board.

But this time, the entire event, which runs until May 7, was organised by volunteers from Tiong Bahru Youth Executive Committee, Seng Poh Residents' Committee and the Tiong Bahru Heritage Volunteers, among others.

Mr Kelvin Ang, chairman of Seng Poh RC, said: "We hope to make this an annual and sustainable event."

As part of this year's event, volunteers will lead the tours over three weekends. There will also be air-raid shelter visits and an open-air movie night at Seng Poh Garden later this month.

Among the things to look out for are five animal murals on the estate's walls - of common pets in the past like a chicken, and goldfish - by photographer and visual artist Ernest Goh.

"Every street in the estate is named after prominent businessmen and people," said Mr Soon, regarding the historical nuggets he picked up yesterday. "The architecture of the pre-war flats is very interesting - their design was so detailed, down to even the colour scheme and the window grilles."

Amelia Teng