The name “Ang Mo Kio” has a few origins. Two of which are from “red hairy man” or rambutans.
Photo Credit: X-Light Photography
Watching Sunset From Long Prosperous Bridge
“Red hairy man” in Hokkien dialect tells the story of one of two bridge located in the area during Singapore’s era under colonial rule. It was the British who apparently built these bridges during the bygone colonial days. When Ang Mo Kio was transformed from a forested kampong into an HDB-flatted new town in the 1970s, the authorities decided to keep the phonetics of the name ‘Ang Mo Kio’, but altered the Chinese characters slightly, so that it would read ‘long and prosperous bridge’, instead of ‘red-haired man’s bridge’
Watching Sunset From Rambutan Tree
Before the town of Ang Mo Kio existed, families lived in the kampong (village) and nearly everyone in the kampong have some rambutan trees Many of these kampong old folks lived in “Ang-mo Dan-Our”, meaning in Hokkien dialect – village behind/shaded by the rambutan trees.
They would every morning bring vegetable and fruits to sell in the marketplace known as “Ang Mo Dan khek” – or meaning “rambutan market” in the Hokkien dialect. Besides rambutans they also sold certain vegetables know as “kio”( in Hokkien) which is a local vegetable known as “bin-jau”(Malay).
Watching Sunset From Old Burial Hill
Toa Payoh’s old Chinese name, was known as An Xiang Shan or “Burial Hill”. The area was called as such because of the presence of an old cemetery located in the area.
Watching Sunset From Chicago of the East / Chicago of Singapore
Toa Payoh was once an extensive and notorious squatter district with a prominent agricultural heritage in the area.
Throughout the 1960s up till the beginning of the 1980s, the town was infamous for its vice, being home to some of Singapore’s largest crime syndicates and gangs. As such, Toa Payoh has also been coined by the media as the “Chicago of the East” and the “Chicago of Singapore”.
Watching Sunset From A Valley
Queenstown was a large swampy valley with a channel running through in a southeastern direction. On either side of this agricultural area were hills – feng xing and feng ling. The former was a rubber plantation and the latter, a cemetery also known as boh beh kang.
Cover Photo: X-Light Photography