Tuesday, 31 May 2011
a walk along Petain Road in Singapore
am taking a short break from the blog postings of our Mediterranean Cruise to catch up with some of the more recent happenings in and around Singapore!
recently we went to Petain Road in the Little India area of Singapore...... so lets go take the walk:
If traveling by MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) then exit at Farrer Park station which is on the NE (north east) line and look for EXIT G:
once you exit, turn left on Serangoon Road..
as you walk along the left side of Serangoon Road, look across the road at those older Shop Houses, yes, they do need a little tender loving care ..... but look closely at the hand painted tiles....
see the lovely tiles of the birds above? It is too easy to miss seeing some of the 'beauty' of these Shop Houses as we hurry on by ....
A little further along on the left is the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, and then on the opposite side of Serangoon Road, is Petain Road, you cannot miss it.
After turning into Petain Road you will first notice this building with the winding staircase .... a very common sight in Singapore!
then you will see a small worship house, set back off the roadway ......
this street is also home to a few cats as seen here drinking water from the puddle on the road:
and just a short distance across the road you will see the intersection of Petain and Sturdee Roads .....
a friend recommended a visit to Petain Road as an area to see some beautifully renovated Shop Houses in the block called "Petain Court" ..... and she was not wrong!
Like many of the nearby roads that were built after World War I, it was named after men who had distinguished themselves in World War I battles. Petain Road was named after the Marshal of France, Henri Philippe Petain (1856 - 1951).
The street was once a swampland filled with vegetable gardens cultivated by Chinese farmers. In 1916, the swamps were drained and the farmers moved out, and the area was converted into a residential neighbourhood.
It is here that architecture typical of 1920s Singapore can be seen at its best. Termed Singapore Eclectic or Chinese Baroque, the architecture is a blend of European, Malay, Indian and Chinese influences.
The row of 18 ornate terrace houses share the same characteristics - carved wooden eaves found in Malay houses, Indian-style stucco pillars, classical-inspired columns and pilasters, facades made up of colourful Spanish floral tiles and Chinese symbols in the bas-relief plasterwork depicting animals and flowers.
The covered five-foot walkway (as above) linking the houses is beautifully tiled. Look up at the well-preserved houses to spy the modesty window. This is just above the heads of visitors and it opens out (unknown to the visitors) to allow the occupants to see who came a-calling. Take note also of the pintu pagar, the half-size swing doors fronting the main full-size doors. The half-doors had a practical use: they encouraged ventilation while affording the occupants privacy when the main door was kept open.
The back lanes of the houses are distinguished by a chute opening through which the residents would throw out garbage that would be swept out twice a day when the Rochor River tides came up. The chutes are no longer used although they are still evident.
Continue on past these beautiful Shop Houses and walk towards Jalan Besar (as in above Google Earth Image) where there are a few older and certainly less cared for, Shop Houses that are close by the corner of Petain Road:
by looking at these, you will appreciate the time and effort that has gone into preserving the Shop Houses in Petain Road.
Hope you enjoyed the walk!
a few of the blog posts in my "walk series" are as follows: