Tiong Bahru Murals: Welcome to the Past!


After the excitement of roosters, goldfish and goats died down, Tiong Bahru estate went back to its usual level of activity. The goats are starting to look a little creepy, the roosters are gone, and the goldfish looks like it would prefer to be swimming around in a cleaner pool of water.

And then, one day, without any fanfare at all, this appeared.

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru Mural1

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru Murals (2)

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru Murals (1)

“Pasar and Fortune Teller” is located at the back alley of Block 73 Eng Watt Street

Did this scene really exist along this little back alley not too many years ago? It’s likely! Today in Singapore, there aren’t any makeshift roadside stalls (none that are licensed anyway!) so one can only imagine what street life looked like in the 60s and 70s through pictures and old films. How cool is it then that the very talented mural artist Mr Yip Yew Chong has managed to create not one, not two but three beautiful murals in Tiong Bahru estate from this era? Isn’t this the perfect estate for such art? I sure think so.

And just look at how much he has captured!! I think I cried a little when I saw this next mural.

“Home” is lcoated at Block 74 Tiong Poh Road

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru mural2

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru mural3

Ah Pui and Ah San on TV! And that TV! The window grilles! That rattan chair! The family portrait! Those calendars!!! THAT CLOCK! The Ah Pek in those home-made boxer shorts! He practically painted my 80s home!

The bird series $1 dollar note? Axe brand medicated oil? The pi pa gao box? Telephone directories! That thermal flask? That formica side table? I wanted to hug it all!

I stood there and took all of it in. I just stared and stared and the memories just came flooding back. Which was a little awkward because this is painted on the side of someone’s home so I was a little afraid to linger longer than I should.

And what of this? What a common sight not too long ago, and now, where have all the birds and bird owners gone?

“Bird Corner” is located at Block 69 Seng Poh Road

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru Murals (4)

L.I.F.E - Tiong Bahru Murals (5)

Just a group of Ah Peks seated at the void deck on a random afternoon, listening to the chirp of birds. Those slippers! The traditional Ah Pek uniform of white tattered t-shirt, and staple food of black coffee with toast – When did this regular everyday sight begin to disappear?

A little distance away is Link Hotel, and I’ve long heard that it organises regular bird singing mornings on its premises but have yet to see one. So far all we’ve seen is row upon row of empty hooks, waiting patiently for singing birds in their cages.

The closest MRT station to these awesome murals would either be Tiong Bahru or Outram though the walk from Tiong Bahru is more pleasant. Don’t forget to check out the many eateries in the area – we particularly like Pralet for meals, and Orange Thimble for ice cream.


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