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microindia
Aug 27, 2018
In Articles
Chulia Street (Kling Street till 1921) Chulia Street is where the native area begins – from the junction of Bonham street. The Indians were almost exclusively Chulia Tamil Muslims. There were both Indian and Chinese shops. Singapore River side: Bonham building– right at the corner opposite Standard Chartered bank. This was a 3 storey colonial building (where UOB plaza 2 is today). It had mostly lawyers, auditors and other professional firms as well as the United Chinese Bank (today’s UOB ). There were a number of Indian professionals working in law firms, agency houses, etc. This building was rebuilt in 1973. Then came about 10+ shop houses and some of the businesses were: · Second Chance tailors – Bonham building ground floor, Tamil Muslim · Woollen & Textiles Pte Ltd, Milady Textiles - Tamil Muslim · Cheong & Co. - Sail & Flag makers, Chinese · SS Abdul Jabbar – ???, Tamil Muslim · Krishna Stationers – Indian Tamils · DasaradasVeerappanChettiar – TOTO ticket distribution · A Latiff Brothers – pharmacy/perfumes, Tamil Muslim · Zayfast – pharmacy, Gujerati (??) · JitendraVanilal& Co – Importers and exporters, Gujerati · BS Mohideen& Co (#28) – stationers, Tamil Muslim · Ghulam Stationers – stationery, Tamil Muslims · Chinese shophouses– tailors, Chinese · RM AllapitchayMaricar – money changer – corner but facing market street, Tamil Muslim · Mustafa tea stall – Mustaq Ahmed’s father used to sell hot tea in the evenings at corner here. This was not a permanent shop but a push cart/pole mobile stall. Raffles Place Side: Series of about 10 shophouses as follows: · Wako & Co – at the corner of Raffles Place – Dining accessories, Chinese · Everbright Opticians – spectacles, Chinese · Shipchandlers– ship supply,Chinese · Kamaluddin& Co – Ship chandlers,Tamil Muslim · ASM Dawood - – Ship chandlers,Tamil Muslim · Bee Chow – tailors (very famous & expensive), Chinese · Wahab& Co – Ship Chandlers, Tamil Muslim (now in Bras Basah complex 2nd floor) · Liang Brothers – electrical appliances, Chinese · Eber & Tan - ???, Chinese · Corner of market street Amar Petti Kadai – convenience shop (like 7-11), Tamil Muslim Market Street A good mix of ethnicities. The end closer to Chulia street transitions from Tamil Muslims to Chettiars. And gradually transitions to mostly Gujaratis and North Indians towards Malacca street. Interspersed were Indian Tamils. It was about 70/30 – Indian/Chinese. At Boat Quay it was Chinese, as one moves towards Chulia Street the street becomes overwhelmingly Indian. From the middle of Market Street past the Kittangis, some Chinese businesses intermingle and at where it meets Cecil street it becomes mostly Chinese. A few Indian businesses sprawl into Telok Ayer, Cecil and Cross streets and peter out into Chinatown. Between Singapore River and Chulia street: Chinatown side: Godowns face the Singapore river # 16 & 18 – MohdMaulana Ali Mosque – converted shophouses became a mosque in 1950s # 22 Sena& Co. – sharebroking firm – Sinhalese Buddhists Raffle Place Side: # 3 Lunch Home – till 1942 run by Mukkani Krishna Iyer; very popular. It was hit in the first bombing of Raffles Place. Closed down after that. Opposite mosque’s (#16 & 18) were: · Tailor shops – Tamil Muslims · Another branch of Naina Mohamed & Son’s Pharmacy, Tamil Muslim · NainaMohd & Sons - provision shop – Tamil Muslim · Perfume shop - perfumes, Pakistani · Abdul Rahim– money changers and stationers, Tamil Muslims · RE Mohammed Kassim – money changers, Tamil Muslims # Corner of Chulia Street KM Allahpitchay Maricar- money changer, Tamil Muslim Between Chulia Street and Cecil Street: Chinatown Side: # 28 & 30 Corner of Chulia Street was Bank of Singapore (a striking 4 storey building with a resident Sikh jaga) # 36 Kittangi – financing, Chettiars # 38 Kittangi – financing, Chettiars # 40?? Panakchand – commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 42??Ranchordas&Purushottam– commodity traders, Gujarati (moved from Malacca st in 1972) # 44?? K Syed Mohamed Provision Shop (Anarkali&Ponni rice wholesalers today), Tamil Muslim #46 Sikh Provision shop?? #48 ?? # 48A ?? Jumabhoy& Sons branch (2nd or 3rd floor) commodity traders, Gujarati Khoja Muslims # 50 Hira Singh – Provision shop, Sikh (Gyan's Singh’s brother) # 50A/B – Sisindia Shipping Co – Indian shipping co, upstairs Chettiar private kittangi # 50 O RamasamyNadar provision/toddy shop (among richest Tamils before WW2) # 52 Sugar company - Chinese # 54 Kittangi– financing, Chettiars # 56 Sugar company - Chinese (same owner as #52) Side lane # 62 Bapulal & Co - commodity traders, Gujarati # ?? Lal Singh – sports equipment, Sikh # ?? Boon Teck - ??, Chinese # ?? Odeon barber shop - barber ground floor, Indian Tamil /2nd floor Indian goldsmiths # ?? Flour & curry mill – mill ground floor Indian Tamils; canteen upstairs – Indian Tamil # ?? Parasuram Brothers- commodity traders, Gujarati # 66 Harbans& Co–provision shop, Sikh # ?? Himat Singh – provision shop, Sikh # ?? Ranjit Singh – Provision shop, Sikh Telok Ayer cuts here at the junction a few Indian shops spill into Telok Ayer including: # 7 Noor Mohd& Co.- provisions shop, Tamil Muslim # ?? Adriano ?? – Rattan shop, Ceylonese Catholics After the junction mostly Chinese shop houses. Corner – Chinese coffee shop and charcoal seller (likely rebuilt into a modern 4 storey office building in the 60s or 70s as Indo-Commercial Building- 4 storey) # ?? P Govindasamy Pillai had upto 5 shop houses here. In the 60s or 70s he vacated and moved out to Serangoon Road. These shop houses were then tenanted by mostly Chinese businesses. # ?? DF Rasulbhai- commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # ?? Tian Bee Pte Ltd – wholesalers of Frankincense, Chinese # Tee Jik Sen – wholesalers of Frankincense, Chinese # 84 Gandilal& Sons- commodity traders, Gujarati # 86 Robert Wee & Co. – sharebrokers, Chinese # 96 Chan Sze On & Co. – auditors, Chinese #100 Kay Hian& Co.– sharebrokers, Chinese # ?? Deepak Trading- commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # ?? Tai Keng Rubber Merchants - Chinese # ?? Sean & Co – Share brokers ??, Chinese # ?? Panakchand- commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati Raffles Place Side: Corner with Chulia street - Amar convenience shop, Tamil Muslim # 35 Indian clothes shop – Tamil Hindu/Muslim # 37 Malayan Stationery – Tamil Muslim # 37A (upstairs) Kittangis – financing, ThiruppaturPillais (not Chettiars) # 39 Cambridge Tailor shop – Chinese # 41 Frankincense shop – Chinese Side Lane – lots of food stalls – Sultan tea stall, Karim bhai biryani # 43/45 Pacific Union & Co. – trading firm, Chinese # 47 Kittangi – financing, Chettiars # 49 Kittangi- – financing, Chettiars(Subbiah Lakshmanan lived here) # 51 Nalam Store – saree shop, Tamil Muslim # 51A (upstairs) Murugesan& G Raman– lawyers – Tamil Muslims # 53 India Coffee House – banana leaf café – Indian Tamils # 55 Bombed out plot from WW2 # 57,59,61 Tat Lee Iron & Rolling mills (later became Tat Lee Bank) #??? # 67 Kittangi – financing, Chettiars # 69 Thiruvangur Café – banana leaf café, Malayalee Mulsims (kakas) # ?? Tailor Shop - ?? # Bon Paan Shop - Paanwallah, Sikh # 75?? Corner of Malacca street – EM Mohamed Ibrahim & Co – General merchants, Tamil Muslim Malacca street cuts across here. Past the junction this side of the street is almost all Indian and mostly Gujarati. # 81 Viraj& Co. - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 83 Type writer repair – Chinese & # 83A (upstairs) Patil& co - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 85 M Jamnadas- commodity traders??, Hindu Gujarati # 87 Rai Trading – provision shop, Hindustani # 89 Abid Husain & Abid Ali – commodity trading, Arab or Tamil Muslim?? # 91 Desai & Co. - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 93 Parikh & Co. – sarees, stationery, Hindu Gujarati # 95 ??? -commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 97 Chandulal& Co. - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 99 Ismail & Ahmad Co. – commodity traders, Tamil Muslim # ?? Shivaram Dayaran - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # ?? RC Mehta - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # ?? Modi- commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # ?? Sagar Trading - commodity traders Hindu Gujarati # 101 K Ramlal& Co. - commodity traders, Hindu Gujarati # 125 Shanmuga Vilas -banana leaf café, Indian Tamils; also Paanwallah # 125A Kittangi on top – financiers, private mixed Chettiar and non-Chettiars #127 Coffee shop - Chinese Corner of Cecil street – semi-circular British Gestetner Building. Photocopiers were on the ground floor behind plate glass walls in an a/c environment. Looked very high-tech, posh and out of place. Malacca street Almost entirely Bohra and Hindu/Jain Gujarati commodity trading houses in the shop houses. Shop houses on the Singapre river side till Meyer building which faces Raffles Place. On the Cecil street side there was a 3 storey office building, some shop houses, back lane leading to Cecil street, Nunes building and one or 2 buildings up to D’Almeida street. Singapore River Side: Meyer Building – UOB bank facing Raffles Place and many British law firms,agency houses # ?? Jinnah café – coffee shop, Pathan # ?? Jumabhoy– commodities/ship tickets, Bohra Gujaratis # ?? Ranchordas&Purushotamdas - spices, Gujarati Hindus # ?? Makanlal– spices, Marwadi Back lane Stationery shop - stationery, Tamil Muslim # 16 Nomanbhoy Trading – spices, Bohra Karachi Overseas Trading – spices, Bohra (Kapadia) Elias Borthers – ??, Jewish Abdul Razak – spices, Arab Indo-Straits Trading – spices, Bohra (Hassanbhai) JitendraKantilal – spices, Gujarati Paanwalla– paan, Sikh Cecil Street side: · Market street facing corner building with a few floors · Coffee shop - Chinese · Typewriter repair - Chinese · Viraj& Co - spices, Gujarati · # 11B Amalgamated Engineering – Sri Lankan Tamil - upstairs · # 11 Manilal& Sons – Ground floor – spices, Gujarati · # 11 Ganpat Ram Travel agency – Hindustani – downstairs · # 10 Long house coffeeshop – along the lane – Yew Lee Bar & Restaurant, Chop Chin Joo, Tuan Hock · # 10A upstairs – Lee & Lee law firm first office · Lane – lots of food shops – connects to Cecil street and Medieros building · Mamak shop at corner – Tamil Muslim · Nunes Building – OCBC bank at the basement and a number of Asian professional firms · #3 Indo-Australian Trading & Co (batchoo Singh, Sikh??) · #3B George Lim & Co – sharebroker D’Almeida Street Is dominated by staff from the 3 Indian banks. The Fullerton Square side is occupied mostly by the Mercantile bank building and the Indain Overseas Bank building. The Market street side has the Bank d’Indochine, Indian Bank and ABN AMRO bank. Market Street Side: · Bank d’Indochine - Corner beautiful colonial building · UCO Bank – Punjabi bank · Indian Bank – Chettiar Bank, 3 storey building · Shiva Prasad Sharma – Metal trading, Hindustani; owned small cargo plane – Hanuman; · Coffee shop · Bombed out plot · Lane with Chappati and other sarabat stalls · ABN AMRO bank building – 4 storeys – upstairs Evets& Comps auditors · Bar – ground floor had an upmarket bar Fullerton Square Side: Mercantile Bank building – 2 floors fro bank and 3rd floor Donaldson &Burkinshaw law firm Small 3 storey building next, inside: · Nassim& Co - property holding, Jewish · National Insurance - MNC · American President lines - MNC · Alsagoff Estate & Trusts office – 2nd floor, property holding, Arab Indian Overseas bank building – IOB downstairs – Chettiar bank · Mamak shop outside bank, Tamil Muslim · Mallal&Namazie – upstairs - #11, Iranian Muslims · CH Koh – law firm - upstairs, Chinese · Guok&Ganesan – law firm – upstairs, Chinese/Indian
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microindia
Aug 27, 2018
In Book Reviews
Author: N. Nedumaran Year: 2018 Website: http://forgottensentinels.com Book Review: Forgotten Sentinels is a well researched epic tale written with passion and in a light gripping prose covering 166 years of Indian Sepoy history from 1748 to 1914.  Despite vast cultural differences, the unlikely relationship (love story, symbiosis, bond!!) between the Indian Sepoy and the British Officer blossoms over the centuries in the crucible of ferocious battles fought across the globe into one of brotherhood, mutual respect and true affection.  Across this canopy, the Sepoy becomes the indispensable bulwark of the British empire – ever loyal, reliable, tenacious, courageous, self-sacrificing and undemanding.  The complex events of the colonial era in Asia is contextualized with a multi-layered commentary weaving  local Asian politics, the conditions in India and the larger backdrop of the global colonial rivalries.  Despite the panoramic view no detail is spared, be it the uniforms, the ranks, drill methods and battle field details.  In Nedumaran’s hands, these Forgotten Sentinels take center stage and become decisive actors in history and their story is told with great sensitivity and empathy.  The Sepoy story must be one of the most significant untold stories of military history.  Its importance is so obvious, yet we never notice it.  Like the night sky is missed in the midst of twinkling stars, the Sepoys recede into the tapestry in the midst of generals and war heroes.  They were there at the Battle of Plassey 1757, Conquest of Manila 1762, The Java Campaign 1811, Foundation of Penang and Singapore 1786/1819, Conquest of Burma 1824, the Opium War 1839, Boxer Rebellion 1899 not forgetting WW1 and WW2. Just as the Sepoys have been overlooked as the “Forgotten Sentinels”, they have never told their story before and have equal to have been the “Silent Sentinels” of the British Empire.  Nedumaran’s epic is a tour de force and a must read for anyone who wants to under the British empire and the creation of the modern states of South-East Asia.
The Forgotten Sentinels – The Sepoys of Malaya, Singapore & South-East Asia (The Founding Years: 19th to early 20th Centuries) content media
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microindia
Aug 27, 2018
In Book Reviews
Author: Ummadevi Suppiah and S S Raja Year: 2016 Publisher: University of Malaya Press This book provides a panaromic view of the Chettiar community’s banking activities in Malaya over a 150 years. It traces how they evolved from being pre-modern traders to become the indispensable bankers of Malaya at every stage of British Malaya’s economic development between 1786 – 1957. The book is based on pain staking research which references a plethora of court cases, colonial papers, academic papers, books in Tamil and interviews with surviving elderly Chettiar bankers. Using solid data, the authors show that Chettiar banking was the critical catalyst that financed the opium trade, the early days of tin mining, the rise of the rubber industry and the growth of padi cultivation in Malaya. They were also the banker’s of choice for civil servants, Malay royalty and Chinese entrepreneurs. Giants of the Malayan economy like (tin) Yap Ah Loy, Loke Yew, Khaw Soo Cheang, A Guthrie, Loke Yew, (padi) Choon Chen Kean , (rubber) Tan Chay Yan, Tan Kah Kee, Tan Cheng Lock and others leveraged their business growth on Chettiar credit and co-investment. The authors argue convincingly that the Chettiars’ success was based on accessibility, simple loan procedures, strict adherence to British law and a reputation for honesty whilst charging lower interest rates than Sikh and Chinese moneylenders. Though always on the right side of the law, at times their liberal lending practices to the more vulnerable segments of Malayan society appears to have been self-serving and pre-meditated. Their greatest competitive advantage was their universal accessibility through the Kittangi branch banking network. The Kittangi branches enabled over an estimated 1,039 banking firms to be located in even the most remote parts of the Malayan hinterland and operate as a highly organized community. The Chettiars deployed their capital with a disciplined interest rate structure and customized financial instruments that could meet a wide spectrum of financial needs ranging from that of a single day loan for a day trader up to that of a syndicated loan with a 5 years horizon for a tin/rubber tycoon. The extraordinary risks they took, which European banks were averse to take, gave them commensurate extraordinary returns. This book will be an indispensable reference for scholars in the fields of Malayan economic history, Malayan banking, Indian immigration and Chettiars. It also sets a benchmark for meticulous research and extensive bibliography. Despite its heavy subject matter and wide breadth it is concise, well organized and an easy read.
The Chettiar Role in Malaysia's Economic History content media
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microindia
Aug 26, 2018
In Articles
Broadcast on Gold 90.5 FM, Vintage Show, 29 July 2018 The Market Street-Raffles Place area had about 200 Indian businesses and professional firms. These were spread out over the 4 main streets – Chulia, Market, Malacca, D’Almeida Street – all filled with old shop houses. Architecturally, the 3 streets looked like Chinatown. Chulia Street Chulia Street was a center for Tamil Muslim businesses. It used to be called Kling street from the 1822 to 1922, when it was renamed as Chulia Street at the request of the Indian community. Chulia refers generally to Tamil Muslim businessmen in particular and the word comes from a corruption of the name for a Tamil Kingdom, Chola or Chulia kingdom. Businesses in shipchandling (supplying provisions to ships), stationery and textiles were there - like ASM Dawood Ship Chandlers, Ghulam Stationers, RM Allapitchay Maricar Moneychanger, etc. A couple of today’s famous names, listed company Second Chance and Mohamed Mustafa started out from this street (more on 12 Aug article). Market Street Market Street was also known as Chetty Street and famous for its Chettiar bankers. There were 6 Chettiar Kittangi-shophouses with about 200 to 300 Chettiars bankers living there. For local entrepreneurs it was not easy to get loans from an established bank then. The Chettiars were almost the sole source of business loans then for a SME business. There were also Indian provision shops, barbers, goldsmiths, curry mills, banana leaf restaurants and even a Saree shop called Nalam Stores. There was also a shop house mosque at 16&18 market street (where UOB building is today), Masjid Maulana Mohamed Ali. Today this mosque is located underground below the UOB building. The name Market street comes from the Lau Pa Sat market which even today lies at the very end of Market street near the junction of Robinson Road. Earlier in the 1800s it used to be located near the where Republic Plaza is today. Malacca StreetMalacca street was the center for Gujerati spice traders - like Jumabhoy, Nomanbhoy, Jitendra Kantilal, etc. There was always a strong smell of spices - nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon. There was a popular Paan (Indian Betel leave snack) shop, run out of a street cart owned by a Sikh at the corner with Market Street (see photo) and a Chinese coffee shop opposite, these places were popular for gossiping. The most famous person of the street was Lee Kuan Yew who had his first office of Lee & Lee law firm at 10A Malacca Street (where Republic Plaza is today). His first staff member was a Chettiar, S Ramasamy from a nearby Kittangi at 54 Market Street. Who then served him as his private secretary till the 1970s and also as the PAP MP for Cairnhill in 1960s. Directly on the opposite side of the Malacca street junction with Market street was the junction with Telok Ayer street (today’s Golden Shoe building). In those days, Telok Ayer street used to run straight through Church street and intersect with Market street and the original Lau Pa Sat in the 1800s was located at this junction (today’s Republic Plaza).
Jul 29 2018 Chulia, Market,Malacca Streets,1975 content media
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microindia
Aug 26, 2018
In Articles
Broadcast on Gold 90.5 FM, Vintage Show, 22 July 2018 My name is Subbiah. Before I introduce my topic and get started I want to take a moment with you to travel through time to 1975. It will take just a minute, close your eyes and unlock your imagination as we do a bit of time travel. You are going to take a leisurely stroll down an unknown street. As you take your first steps, you hear the call of the Muezzin for prayer (Azaan), “Shadu Alle Illaha Illallah”. You look to your right and there is a crowd of bearded Muslim men in Sarong and Songkok hurrying to the mosque. As you pass them, on your left you hear a money changer shouting US$, Pounds, US$ pounds. You cross a two lane street with busy traffic and in the shop houses on your left you see shaven headed and bare-chested Indian men sitting on the floor in front of low desks. They are Chettiar bankers bent over their desks and writing on open account ledger books with total concentration. Then you smell the sweet smell of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg followed immediately by the pungent smells of garlic, pepper, onions and other Indian provisions. As you turn your head away from the strong smell you see a colourful sari shop across the street with shining sequins. As you feast your eyes on the rainbow of colours you are accosted with the smell, the strong smell, of roasted coffee and sweet tea. As the coffee smell fades away your ears are irritated by the rolling sound of iron plates from a metal workshop on your left. You quickly dash across the street to escape the din and run into a barber shop and just past it flour and curry dust floats your way and its sharp smell accosts your nose. As you stare at the curry mill your eyes tear up with the irritation. Crossing a couple more banana leaf restaurants you come to the end of the street and curious ….. You look up at the street sign to see where you are ……. Where are you? The sign says Market Street ….. The original Little India of Singapore from 1822 to 1977.
Jul 22 2018 Strolling Down Market Street, 1975 content media
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microindia
Aug 17, 2018
In Articles
Broadcast on Gold 90.5 FM, Vintage Show, 19 August 2018 Chinatown began from the next street – Philip/Telok Ayer Streets. The population mix of the Market street residents was about 90% Indian and 10% Chinese. The Indian resident population was about 1,000 and many more used to come into the area during office hours. There were Tamil Muslims wholesalers and retailers, Chettiar bankers, Hindu Tamil provision shops, Sri Lankan Tamil lawyers, Brahmin and Malayalee office workers, Sikh Jagas, Gujerati (Hindu & Muslim) spice traders, Sindhi retail shops and Hindi Paan shop owners. All of India was represented here. Even what we call Little India in Serangoon Road today, though much large in size is not as diverse. It is mostly a Tamil area. MARKET STREET WAS TRULY A MICROCOSM OF THE BREADTH AND VARIETY OF INDIA. This was very special. I grew up there in one of the shop houses in the 1960s and 70s till it was redeveloped in 1977. During office hours it was like any other commercial area and it was quite multi-racial. By about 4pm, offices would close in those days, and the commuting workers would return home and the Indian workers would come out to enjoy the cool air after closing their shops by 6pm. The area will become an entirely Indian area with men loitering on the streets and in Raffles Place Park. They would be in their sarongs and 555 cotton singlets with small transistor radios listening to Tamil radio – with MGR and Sivaji songs softly wailing into the night. They all lived in bachelor dormitories mostly on the upper floors of the shophouses. 10+ workers would stay on one floor and have common cooking facilities. I don’t think there were any resident women in the area. If they brought their families over to Singapore then they would move out to alternate quarters. But there used to be some children, especially in the Chettiar Kittangis. All boys, they would stay with their fathers and attend schools nearby like – Gan Eng Seng, Peck Seah, Trafalagar, ACS, RI, etc. They would come out and play football or badminton at Raffles Place. The day would also be interrupted by the call to prayer 5 times a day from the nearby Masjid Moulana shophouse mosque along Market Street. The mosque is still there but underground, below UOB bank. Many shop houses did not have permanent staircases to save valuable commercial space along the 5-foot way. A mobile wooden ladder was lowered through a hatch on the second floor to the street level. The resident employees would come down in the morning by 8am and the ladder will be removed. They could only go back up to their quarters only at night at about 7pm, when the ladder was lowered down again. Another common sight was the “pail” lift. On the street level, there will be many itinerant vendors of mee goreng, rice, soup, satay, magazines, tea, etc. From the upper floors, a pail on a rope will be lowered with money in it as payment. The vendor will take the payment and put the change and the purchased item into the pail. Then the pail will be lifted up by hand. By 9pm the area quietens down as people mostly would prepare to sleep by then. In the morning they would usually wake up by 6am and the shops would open from 8am onwards.
Aug 19 2018: Raffles Place Residential Life, 1975 content media
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microindia
Aug 17, 2018
In Articles
Broadcast on Gold 90.5 FM, Vintage Show, 12 August 2018 In the 1820s, this area was designated as the de-facto Indian business area by the British administration*. This was the first and premier Indian business area in Singapore from about 1822 – 1977, or 150 years. Nearby Tanjong Pagar was the largest Indian enclave by population – due to the shipyard, hospital and railway workers. For business Market Street was the main area. In those days, Tekka – today’s Little India – was only a sleepy suburb. It has incubated many Indian businesses including: · Mohamed Mustafa – whose father sold Indian tea at the street corners in the evening from a thanda** that is carried on the shoulder. Mustafa was a boy then. · Scotts Holdings/Jumabhoys – they started as spice traders on Market/Malacca streets – they went on to list ASCOTT Holdings, develop Lau Pa Sat and Hippo tour buses, etc. · Second Chance – Salleh Marican, who was nominated as a candidate for the last Presidential elections, had his first tailor shop at Bonham building in Chulia street and went on to develop his chain of tailor shops and Golden Chance jewellery shops. · Syed Mohamed Rice Traders – their original rice import business was at Market street – they are one of the largest rice importers and known for the Anarkali rice brand today. This is a photo of their shop house on market street where Golden Shoe complex is today (Photo courtesy of National Archives). · P Govindasamy Pillai or PGP – his chain of provision stores was headquartered at Market street and he was the richest Tamil in the 1960s and 70s. · Nomanbhoys – another large commodity trading house started from Market street. The list can go on. Basically when the Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar areas were redeveloped in the 1970s and 80s all the Indians and Indian businesses moved out. Many, especially retail businesses, went to Tekka and this is how today’s Little India grew in importance in the late 70’s. Trading businesses and professional firms moved into the new commercial buildings along Cecil Street and Shenton Way. Many are still there in these buildings like Shenton House, Tong Eng Building, Afro-Asia Building, etc. *The Jackson Plan or Raffles Town Plan, an urban plan of 1822 titled "Plan of the Town of Singapore" shows an area earmarked as “Chuliah Campong” near to where the Clarke Quay MRT station is today. This was apparently never executed, as this area has never had any record of links to Indians. It appears to have been a Teochew quarter from very early days. Though the presence of an Arab built mosque, Masjid Omar Kampong Malacca in 1820 (the oldest mosque in Singapore) and the existence of a Kampong Malacca (till the 1910s) indicates that there would have been a Muslim settlement there prior to the Jackson Plan. It is likely to have been a mixed settlement of traders with connections to Malacca – Bugis, Arabs, Indian Muslims and Malays. ** Thandas were vessels to carry hot tea/coffee. They were carried around by being hung on both ends of a flexible wooden/bamboo pole and balanced on the shoulder. This was a very common device used by all types of itinerant food vendors. For a photo please see article on "Raffles Place Residential Life".
Aug 12 2018: Market St - Business Incubator, 1975 content media
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microindia
Aug 17, 2018
In Articles
Broadcast on Gold 90.5 FM, Vintage Show, 5 August 2018 D’Almeida Street D’Almeida Street was the center for banks and had had many big European style buildings. There were 3 Indian banks there – Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and UCO Bank. There were also a few European banks - ABN AMRO Bank, Mercantile Bank and Bank Indo-Suez which was memorable for its large stone lions at the entrance. These banks and buildings had resident Sikh security guards as jagas. Raffles Place Raffles Place along with nearby High Street was the premium shopping district in Singapore then – like Orchard Road is today. Apart from Robinson’s and John Little’s much of the smaller retail establishments were run by Indians. There were 2 Sikh owned department stores where today’s Chevron House/Clifford Center are located – Bajaj Textiles and Gian Singh Department Store (which later became Oriental Emporium). Major retail outlets with a prominent presence on Raffles Place were - MS Ali (the largest pharmacy, Tamil Muslim), Motiwalla’s (a large stationer next to Robinson’s, Gujerati), Marican & Sons (the largest magazine shop, Tamil Muslim) and Raja’s College (the first commercial private school, Hindu Tamil). The commercial buildings - Bonham, Mercantile, Arcade buildings in particular - housed many professional Indian law firms, audit firms, accounting firms, travel agencies, moneychangers. Change Alley Change Alley and the Arcade were filled with Tamil Muslim and Sindhi retail shops selling – like a Lucky Plaza – perfumes, watches, luggage, gifts, tailored clothing, toys, electronics, etc. Change Alley also had a sizeable number of Chinese retailers selling a wide variety of things (perhaps a third of the shops).
Aug 5 2018 D’Almeida St And Raffles Place, 1975 content media
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microindia
Jul 19, 2018
In Articles
This article is gives a preview of the 5 radio broadcasts on Market street as the first Little India of Singapore. The next 5 articles cover in more detail, and rich with photos, the lost and forgotten Indian heritage of the area in tandem with matching radio podcasts. The Market Street/Raffles Place area is the oldest and longest serving Indian settlement in Singapore. For about 150 years, from 1822 until it was redeveloped in 1977. The area was all shop houses, and I lived in one also. It had about 75% Indian and 25% Chinese population mix. Chinatown began from the next streets - Telok Ayer and Philip. The Indian resident population was about 1,000 and many more used to come into the area during office hours. There were about 200 Indian businesses and professional firms in the area. They were spread out over the 4 main streets – Chulia, Market, Malacca and D'Almeida – and in Change Alley and the Arcade in Raffles Place. It was really a Little India – as no one Indian group dominated it. There were Tamil Muslim wholesalers and retailers, Chettiar bankers, Hindu Tamil provision shops, Sri Lankan Tamil lawyers, Brahmin office workers, Sikh jagas, Gujerati Hindu textile traders; Bohri and Khoja Muslim spice traders, Sindhi retail shops, Hindustani Paan shop owners and Malayalee civil servants. All of India was represented. Even what we call Little India in Serangoon road today is not so diverse. It is mostly a Tamil area. Market Street was a true microcosm of the variety and diversity of India. SELF-SUFFICIENT INDIAN AREA One Indian Muslim mosque – Masjid Moulana Mohamed Ali 4 banana leaf restaurants/cafes – India Coffee House, Jinnah Café, Shanmuga Vilas, Thiruvangur Cafe 1 saree shop - Nalam Store Few Indian provision shops – Rai Trading, P Govindasamy Pillai, K Syed Mohamed 1 flour/curry/spice mill Few Indian barber shops – Odeon Indian Goldsmiths – pathars Paan shop – Bon Paan Indian shipping agencies (for tickets to India) The Indians living there hardly had any reasons to leave the area. The main reason to leave the area was to watch Indian movies at the Diamond and Royal Theaters in North Bridge Road (near Arab street). The Hindus did not have a temple in the area, so they had to go to either the temples in Chinatown, Tank Road or Serangoon Road. Infact, Market street together with Tanjong Pagar were the two areas Indians from other parts of Singapore came to for shopping for Indian items.
Market Street: Self-Sufficient and Diverse Indian Area content media
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