Kampong Glam

Last Sunday, I participated in a street photography outing organised by Benny. 11 people turned up at the appointed venue – Kampong Glam.

Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam

In 1924, the year of the mosque’s centenary, the trustees approved a plan to erect a new mosque.
Architect Denis Santry of Swan and Maclaren adopted a Saracenic style, incorporating minarets and balustrades. The mosque was completed after four years in 1928.
Sultan Mosque has stayed essentially unchanged since it was built, with only repairs carried out to the main hall in the 1960s and an annex added in 1993. It was gazetted as a national monument on 8 March 1975.
Today the mosque is under the jurisdiction of Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS).
Info credit: Wikipedia

Kampong Glam (甘榜格南) is a neighbourhood in Singapore. It is located north of the Singapore River, in the urban planning areas of Kallang and Rochor.

The name of the area is thought to be derived from the cajeput tree, called “gelam” in Malay. “Kampong” (modern spelling “kampung”) simply means “village”.

Prior to colonisation by the British in 1819, the area was home to the Malay aristocracy of Singapore. It became prominent and more populous after the signing of a treaty between the British East India Company, Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor and Temenggong Abdul Rahman in 1819. The company was given the right to set up a trading post in Singapore under this treaty.

During the colony’s early history, under the Raffles Plan of 1822, the settlement was divided according to different ethnic groups which included European Town, Chinese, Chulia, Arab and Bugis kampongs. Kampong Glam was designated for the Sultan and his household, as well as the Malay and Arab communities, many of whom were merchants. It was situated east of what was then the European Town.

While the Temenggong and his followers settled in Telok Blangah, Sultan Hussein, his family and followers settled in Kampong Glam. In return, the Sultan was given large areas of land for residential use in Kampong Glam under the treaty. The land was allocated to the Malays and other Muslim immigrants to Singapore, including the Malays from Malacca, the Riau Islands and Sumatra in Indonesia.

The second half of the nineteenth century saw the rapid growth of immigrant communities in Kampong Glam, initially from Sumatra, and later from other parts of Indonesia and Malaya. This resulted in the setting up of different kampongs, like Kampong Malacca, Kampong Java and Kampong Bugis. There were also a small but successful Arab community of traders in the area.

In the early twentieth century, commercial activities in Kampong Glam expanded as new shop houses and residential buildings were built. A multi-ethnic community soon developed there, comprising not only Malays and Arabs but also the Chinese and Indians.

Later, due to an expansion of commercial activities and an increase in immigrant settlers in Kampong Glam, the Arabs moved to areas like Joo Chiat, Tanglin and Bukit Tunggal (the stretch of Dunearn Road near the junction of Balmoral Road and Chancery Lane, near Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) today, was called Tunggal Road).

By the early 1920s, many Malays also moved out to designated resettlement areas in Geylang Serai and Kampong Eunos.

Info credit: Wikipedia

Kampong Glam

We started our morning walkabout with Haji Lane.

Kampong Glam

In the past, the ground floors were for business operations with the owners or workers residing above the shop units.

Kampong Glam

There lots of ventilations “holes” in old architectures as air conditioning is not invented or introduced yet.

Kampong Glam

Louvre metal gates and wooden doors with ancient knobs are things of the past or are they?
I feel like an Alice in Wonderland.

Kampong Glam

Most of the shops are closed for business on Sundays.

Kampong Glam

Kampong Glam is now essentially middle-eastern and muslim community influenced with a few Chinese business business operating in the area.

Kampong Glam

In recent decade, many cafes, small restaurants and even pubs have sprouted in Kampong Glam, making it a lively scene especially during the weekdays.

Bali Lane

Mural on the wall of a conservation building along Bali Lane shot during a recent photography outing.
A stacking of 12 photos captured handheld was stitched into this single image.
This building or for the matter this area could be gazetted for conservation.
Conservation houses/shophouses in Singapore are built in pre-war British colonial days. They can be quirky as each has its own character with some boasting hand-carved motifs. The conservation houses’ layout and structure seldom change, retaining the conservation houses’ pleasant uniqueness and nostalgic feel.
Modern needs add air-conditioning and a fresh paint on the walls of these shophouses.
Murals and bold graffitis are common.

Kampong Glam

Painted on these walls are colours that I can’t change.

Kampong Glam

Painted on these walls are stories that I can’t explain…

Kampong Glam

Oh well, maybe Wikipedia could explain the story on this wall!
Teh Tarik, literally “pulled tea”.
Teh tarik is a hot milk tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants, outdoor stalls and kopi tiams in southeastern Asian countries of Malaysia and Singapore. Its name is derived from the pouring process of “pulling” the drink during preparation.
It is made from black tea, condensed milk and/or evaporated milk.
An element of showmanship exists in the preparation of teh tarik. The ability to drag a long stream of tea above the heads of the patrons without giving them a shower is an amusing novelty for the locals and tourists alike.
It is also considered as the national drink of Malaysia.

Kampong Glam

Children Little Musuem in Kampong Glam.

Singapore Zam Zam

My mom used to say that Arab Street has the best Biryani in Singapore.
Featured here is Mutton Biryani from Zam Zam, which Valerie and I had for lunch that October afternoon we went shopping for my Kebaya (a traditional costume) that was worn during her wedding dinner in 2014.

Singapore Zam Zam

I told Valerie what her nana said about the best biryani with the most variations available being served in this area.
Those were the good old times when specialised cuisines were exclusively contained in certain areas where the community (of the cuisine’s origin) thrived.
Going to Arab Street to eat briyani were a treat (basmati rice was and still is expensive) as well as an excursion, usually on weekends when dad did not have to work.
These days we find good food all over Singapore.

Victory Restaurant

Alex Rex and I enjoying our Mutton Briyani and side dishes of Fried Chicken and Sambal Sotong (20th Nov 2014 – when we went there to do a hyperlapse on Sultan Mosque).
Victory is a famous Restaurant in Singapore since 1910.
It is famous for their Special Singapore Murthabak & Dum Briyani.

Singapore Zam Zam

Zam Zam and Victory are located within this shophouse building (parallel to the truck) in North Bridge Road.

Singapore Zam Zam (well-known for their Briyani & Murtabak)
Address: 697 North Bridge Road,
Singapore 198675.

Tel:+65 6298 6320

Victory Restaurant
Address: 701 North Bridge Road,
Singapore 198677.

Tel:+65 6298 6955

Happy eating and bonding 🙂

Before the start of the photography walkabout, Benny and a few photographers had breakfast at Dong Po Colonial Cafe in the area. I got a skinny latte from CAD Cafe during the walk as I had missed brekkie with them. After the session, they went back to Dong Po and this time I was there. We were still loitering around when Cynthia and Dominic surprised us by turning up outside Dong Po. From there, we head to Jubilee Coffee House & Bar for lunch.

Click here to see our lunch at Jubilee.

The image with a stacking of 12 photos houses a restaurant I ate last year called The Muzium Cafe. Click here to see review of their value-for-money set lunch.

Nearby is a cake shop famous for their swiss rolls and notorious staff attitude. I blogged twice on it:
Rich & Good Cake Shop
Rich & Good Cake Shop With An Attitude!

2 Responses to “Kampong Glam”
  1. I love going to this area. As you say, there are some great places to eat. And I find it has a different vibe to the rest of Singapore. If I lived in SG I think id like to live in or near this area.

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