Saturday, June 01, 2013

Finally I met someone who knows the Nine Bridges

Long time readers of this blog and those who have read my book will know that I grew up in a kampong near the present CTE called Lorong Kinchir. Lorong Kinchir only got its name after Lorong Chuan was completed in 1963, joining Braddell Road to Serangoon Gardens. Before that it was a dirt track which ran from Braddell Road to Upper Thomson Road and did not have an official name – at least not that the kampong folks knew of. At that time our address was 288 Ang Mo Kio. The local folks called it Chui Arm Lor in Hokkien, or Water Pipes Road. Another name was Kau Tiao Kio or Nine Bridges. This was because the nearby Kallang River and its tributaries crossed our road nine times from Braddell Road to Upper Thomson Road.


Over the years, I have yet to meet anyone outside of our kampong who knew this name, except perhaps, Freddy Neo. But two days ago, I finally met a 79-year-old gentleman who did. He grew up in a kampong just like ours in neighbouring  Yio Chu Kang. He was being interviewed by a group of Sec 4 students from Nanyang Girls’ School, and I was helping out as an interpreter in case the girls could not understand Chinese dialects. This event was held at the Lions Befrienders Senior Activity Centre @ Blk 150 Mei Ling Street. It was organised by the Singapore Memory Project.

It was a meaningful session. Both the seniors and the young ladies enjoyed themselves. The girls certainly learnt a lot about the Singapore of the past; something they might not be able to learn from the textbooks. I think this initiative to involve school children in interviewing senior citizens to gather memories for the SMP is an excellent idea. It kills several birds with one stone. Both young and old benefited from the session and SMP harvested many memories at one go.

7 comments:

Zen said...

Old kampongs in lorong chuan and lorong kinchir were totally wiped out from the local map, not a trace of their former self exists, except perhaps one industrial building (formerly producing timex watches) next to the junction of lorong chuan and lorong kinchir It was later renovated and turned into a commercial complex. We older residents could hardly recognize the exact location our former kampongs when passing along the main road, let alone our present kids who hardly know that kampongs were once existed in Singapore. It is most likely that this location is presently sat on top by bishan smrt train repair depots and their storage yards.

Chun See Lam said...

I did some checking. I think our home is near the entrance of the Australian Int'l School.

Zen said...

One thing is for sure, braddell road remains the same road we know of whether in the past or even now. Australian Int'l school appears to be nearer braddell road but than our former home was further away from it.

Veena said...

your blog really inspired me to my soul, I use to visit your blog daily, it is just awesome. Veena, India

Jiasheng said...

Hi, my father chanced upon this website and was really interested to share the history of Kau Tiao Kiu. Beside the barber shop, there is a Tai Shan medical hall. Opposite the medical hall there is a Lim Hui provision shop owned by Tan Chong Hock, director of Choon Boon Chinese School. Hope this bring back some memories for you.

Chun See Lam said...

Thanks for sharing Jiasheng. But I think your dad may be mistaken about the position of the TCM shop.

Andrew said...

Ooooh exciting...i haven't been able to find enough info on the bridges since watching the 'Hey Singapore!' episode about them. :D