Saturday, 10 October 2015





Tanjong Rhu Road begins from the junction of Fort Road and Meyer Road. A convoluted road with a few branches, it ends near the Kallang basin near the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. This road was a marine yard and the centre point of ship building and repairing in Singapore before the shipyard industry moved to Jurong. In the 1980s, the road and its surrounding areas were converted into a residential estate.

Tanjong Rhu Road was named after the Casuarina trees that grew along the coast of Kallang and Rochore. Casuarina trees are known as pokok rhu in Malay, Rhu being the Malay name for the Casuarina littoria variety of the tree. Post-war reclamation and construction work along the east coast resulted in the uprooting of the Casuarina trees. It is unknown when the road was named Tanjong Rhu but the word was in use since the 17th century, as it appeared in E.G. de Eredis's 1604 Map of Singapore as Tanjon Ro. Other roads in the area, which connect to Tanjong Rhu Road, are named after Tanjong Rhu as well, such as Tanjong Rhu Place, Tanjong Rhu View and Tanjong Rhu Cross.

The whole of Tanjong Rhu was designated to be a marine yard by Raffles in 1822. The area from Sandy Point at the tip of the spit to Deep Water Point, where Tanjong Katong currently is, was to be developed as a shipbuilding yard. Chinese settlers who dwelled in this area were compensated for their move-out of Tanjong Rhu. One of the pioneers of shipbuilding business was Captain Flint who set up a company in 1822. By the 1860s, many boatyards were established including those owned by George Lyons, Thorneycroft and United Engineers, and Tivendale. With the development of trade, the shipyard industry in Tanjong Rhu expanded, helped further by the congestion at the Singapore River
. All the boatyards there had to be cleared and relocated to Tanjong Rhu. The boatyards' workers soon settled with their families in Tanjong Rhu and formed a village. As small shipbuilders made their debut at Tanjong Rhu, the area became more populated. In the early years, there was a single main road linking the yards to the village. Travelling between the city and East Coast was by ferry that plied between Johnston Pier at Colleyer Quay and Tanjong Rhu as roads linking these two points came up only in the 20th century.

In the 1980s, the yards had to be relocated to Jurong in line with the government's attempt to cleanse the waterways. By this period, massive reclamation projects were undertaken to extend Bedok into Tanah Merah and Changi. A total of seven phases of the East Coast Reclamation project was completed between 1966 and 1985. The Benjamin Sheares Bridge was built in 1981. In 1991, the government announced its plan of converting Tanjong Rhu into a 34 ha residential enclave with recreational facilities. Today, Tanjong Rhu presents itself as an exclusive private residential area boasting the island's most prestigious waterfront condominiums including The Waterside, Tanjong Ria Condo, Water Place, Sanctuary Green, Parkshore and Pebble Bay. Restaurants, recreational facilities and shops have sprung up by the beach as well. A place of historical interest along the road is the Singapore Swimming Club, established in 1893. Opposite the club is the Dunman High School, established in 1956. It moved here from Dunman Road in 1995. Prior to this, the Ee Hoe Hean (Yihexuan) Club, the so-called Millionaires' Club of Singapore used to be situated near the Singapore Swimming Club, within the premises of a house that belonged to the late Tan Lark Sye
, a prominent businessman. It was said that fortunes were exchanged at the club's mahjong tables. The club presumably shut down with the death of Tan Lark Sye.

At the time of writing this, the Kallang-Paya Lebar expressway (KPE) is being built. Scheduled to be completed by 2007, this S$1.8 billion expressway will cross under the East Coast Parkway, Tanjong Rhu Road, Geylang River and Pan Island Expressway and join the Tampines Expressway above the ground. Geylang River will be diverted in two stages with dams being built on either side of a bridge.

Variant names
Chinese name: Sha tsui (Cantonese), meaning "sand pit". Tan-jiong gu (Hokkien), being the Hokkien pronunciation of the word "Tanjong Rhu".



Ho Minfong is a Chinese-American writer who was born in Myanmar. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Cornell University, where she began her literary career with Sing to the Dawn, which she submitted to the Council for Interracial Books for Children’s annual short story contest. Her novels focus on the lives of people living in poverty in Southeast Asia and are set against the backdrop of real events, like the Cambodian refugee problem at the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. 


“Tanjong Rhu” gives an insight into Chinese norms, values, religious beliefs and family practices as Mr Li, a successful businessman in the shipping sector, recalls the time spent with his mother and the events that took place before her demise.

Tanjong Rhu is a story about the relationship between Mr.T.W. Li , is a rich businessman in the shipping business and his mother, Ah Ma. Mr.Li's office is Shenton Way is a modern as he is. His mother however, is  a traditional with strong religion beliefs and pratices ancestor worship. Ah Ma and Mr. Li have a close relationship. The day after Ah Ma's funeral, Mr. Li recalls the day he brought his mother a pair of binocular.
       Mr. Li's excitement was dashed when his mother didn't use it the way he want to. Mr. Li wants her to have a better vision,but Ah Ma can only see Tanjong Rhu of the past through the binocular. Indirectly, Ah Ma is trying to make Mr.Li remember who he was before he became a serius businessman. Mr.Li cannot remember all the details of his childhood and when he tried to ask Ah Ma, she had already became too sick to talk to him.
      The story ends with Mr.Li trying to fulfill Ah Ma's wish of getting the key to the drawer that keep her important things for the altar. In the process of looking for the key, Mr.Li suddenly could see Tanjong Rhu.

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