Radin Mas: Legacy of a princess

Radin Mas: Legacy of a princess
(Left) Mr Zainol Atan, 60, looks after the shrine of Princess Radin Mas Ayu at the foot of Mount Faber. (Right) Next door is one of several black-and-white bungalows that have been gazetted as heritage buildings.

SINGAPORE - Her story has passed through generations as the namesake of Radin Mas.

Yet a humble little hut is all that is left to commemorate Javanese princess Radin Mas Ayu.

Nestled at the foot of Mount Faber, her tomb is easy to miss.

Only a small sign hanging at the entrance of the shrine tells the story of the filial 16th-century princess who sacrificed her life for her father's.

Even though she died in 1511, Radin Mas Ayu lives on in the constituency that bears her name.

"So many things in this neighbourhood are named after her - the primary school, community centre and the old Radin Mas kampung," said unofficial caretaker Zainol Atan, 60. "Till today, she is still our princess, and we must respect her."

The rich history of Radin Mas dates back to the 1800s. Spanning Redhill, Bukit Purmei and Tiong Bahru, it was once home to one of Singapore's oldest kampungs.

Today, it is a predominantly residential area infused with modern structures like Henderson Waves and an enclave of hip cafes in Yong Siak Street.

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