For the task of the heritage trail, I decided to go on the Balestier trail as this place holds a special place in my heart. My grandfather actually grew up in balestier and he had a very tough childhood so walking around the balestier trail with him and hearing his stories really got me closer to him and understand him.
We first went to find the heritage board to find the locations of the heritage points
Next we went to the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.
Completed in 1902, this double-storey villa was bought by rubber magnate, Teo Eng Hock, for his aged mother. It was then named Wan Qing Yuan to symbolise Teo Eng Hock’s hope that his mother would enjoy peace and happiness in her twilight years.When Dr. Sun Yat Sen chose Singapore as the nerve centre of his revolutionary movement in Southeast Asia, Teo Eng Hock offered the place to Dr. Sun Yat Sen for his revolutionary activities. It was in this very villa that Dr. Sun Yat Sen shared his revolutionary ideals with his Nanyang supporters. As the headquarters of Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s Chinese Revolution Alliance or Tong Meng Hui in Nanyang, Singapore assumed a pivotal role in the 1911 Revolution. Loyal supporters of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, including Singapore pioneers Teo Eng Hock, Tan Chor Lam and Lim Nee Soon, provided invaluable support in the form of fund-raising and dissemination of revolutionary principles and ideals. It was in Wan Qing Yuan that Dr. Sun Yat Sen planned three of his 10 failed uprisings, prior to the successful Wuchang Uprising in 1911. This memorial hall pays tribute to the vital role played Singapore and Nanyang in the 1911 revolution.
Next we walked along the streets and looked that old shop houses that was conserved. Looking at them i noticed how detailed they were and how beautiful they looked. The nostalgic feel from all the houses made me very happy.
These traditional shophouses were developed in 1928 and restored in 2000.They were designed to have a style that marries the east and west. The walls feature moulded designs made to recall classical architecture but at the same time, these moulds were of chinese dragons and bats believed to be guardian warriors by the entrance of these shophouses.
While walking through, my grandfather showed me the house he stayed at ( which now became a church)
Next we found the water kiosk
In the past, the provision of water was an act of charity for the poor labourers such as drivers for horse carriages or bullock carts, rickshaw pullers and other workers toiling in the area. This service continues to be provided by a local temple and charitable organisation called Sian Tong Lian Sin Sia. One kiosk will contain water while the other contains a tea called Su teh believed to relieve the effects of heat.
Finding out about this actually surprised me. In the past people were so generous and cared for others compared to now where most people are selfish and care for themselves. Honestly, where did the kampung spirit go?
The next station i went to was Kim Keat Road where traditional bakeries and coffee shops still stay.
This bakery is also is also known as Sweetlands confectionary. For over 50 years, This bakery has produced bread loaves for coffee shops and provision shops all across singapore. For decades, households would obtain their coffee from suppliers such as Lam Yeo Coffee Powder which opened in 1960.
Next we went to look at pre war terrace houses which one of them was so happen to be the first house that my grandfather and grandmother ever rented together (the one my grandfather is standing in front of)
In these side lanes, visitors will find two rows of terrace houses built in 1920s and1930s. What sets these houses apart is the way they were arranged to follow the roads’ gentle ascent up the hill, creating the pleasing effect of unbroken slopes.
And lastly, Balestier Market.
Built in the early 1920s, Balestier market provided local vendors with a permanent place to sell their produce. The original market was actually open aired but the roof was only added in 1925. During the second world war, the market served as a centre for distributing food rations.
I really enjoys going through the whole trail and seeing things from the past. It made me realise how far singapore has progressed as a country and gives an extra hope for the future. I really hope these will be preserved for a long time.
All the Love , M