38 Oxley Road has become Singapore's latest Instagram hot spot

Cyclists cycle from Punggol to Orchard and pose in front of 38 Oxley Road.
Cyclists cycle from Punggol to Orchard and pose in front of 38 Oxley Road.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/FARHAN.SHAM

SINGAPORE - In a quiet estate near busy Orchard Road, people are turning up to take selfies and pose with their loved ones and pets in front of an old, two-storey bungalow.

The house, barely visible behind a tall white fence flanked by two guardhouses, is 38, Oxley Road.

The family home of Singapore's late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was the subject of a two-day parliamentary debate this week.

Mr Lee's son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, made a ministerial statement and answered questions about allegations of abuse of power by his younger siblings with regard to the house.

The saga has led to curiosity about 38, Oxley Road.

On social media platform Instagram, users have been seen posing near the century-old house, with the "38, Oxley Road" location tag showing more than 25 posts as of Wednesday evening (July 5).

At the same time, "38 oxley road" was also the third-highest trending topic on Twitter Singapore.

Some pose inside the iconic guardhouses. Security guards are no longer stationed there.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BVYlyQNDrW0/?taken-at=1025474492

Mr Lee died in March 2015 at the age of 91 and the house is now occupied by his daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling.

Some prefer to take pictures with the backdrop of the fence, which is lined with bougainvillea. Others take selfies from across the two-lane road.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWCcUumgjfd/?taken-at=1025474492

When The Straits Times went to 38, Oxley Road over the weekend, at least eight people were spotted taking photos.

In a span of 30 minutes, a cyclist in full cycling gear stopped in front of the house to take a selfie and at least two couples walked by and took photos, too.

Cars slowed down while passing what is now probably the most famous address in Singapore.

An elderly couple and their grandson were also there. The woman took a picture, while the man, carrying the boy in his arms, crossed the road and posed in front of the empty guardhouse.

"Must take photo. Once demolish, no more already," the man was overheard saying.

The area where the house stands was named after British surgeon Thomas Oxley, who owned a nutmeg plantation there in the late 19th century. He held the post of senior surgeon for the Straits Settlements in 1844.

The original owner of 38, Oxley Road, was a Jewish merchant. He had built house numbers 38 and 40 as a matching pair in the late 19th century, but No. 40 has already been torn down and redeveloped.

The late Mr Lee and his family moved into the house in 1945, and in 1954, founding members of the People's Action Party (PAP) met regularly in its basement to discuss the setting up of the party.