An estate steeped in history

SINGAPORE - These days, it is an upmarket enclave where yuppies sip cappuccinos.

Yet Tiong Bahru's past is colourful and chock-full of nostalgia, heritage and history.

Back in the 1950s, the area was referred to as 'the den of beauties'. Its post-war buildings housed mistresses of wealthy Chinese businessmen and pipa girls - a euphemism for prostitutes.

There were also cabaret dancers who performed at the nearby Great World Amusement Park.

This was just one of the historical nuggets shared yesterday with about 1,000 participants at the launch of the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail. Long-time residents who volunteered to be guides related their experiences at the event, organised by the National Heritage Board.

The Tiong Bahru trail, the 11th to be launched so far, spans 2.5km. It covers 10 stops including the grave of philanthropist Tan Tock Seng, Seng Poh Garden and its Dancing Girl Sculpture and the pre-and post-war architecture of the estate.

Tanjong Pagar MP Indranee Rajah said the trail would give members of the community better understanding and appreciation of the estate's rich heritage.

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