Memories of the lost world that was Somapah Village

16 12 2010

I have but vague memories of a world that once lay at the gateway to my playground by the sea. It was a world that now seems so distant in time and in space, and one that for me comes back in bits and pieces. That was the world that was once the bustling Somapah Village, located close to the 10th milestone of Changi Road, a place that was a major settlement in the area, deserving a mention in the RAF Information Booklet for New Arrivals for its Veterinary Clinic from which dog licenses could be obtained: “Travelling from Changi, Somapah Road is the first turning left after the overhead pedestrian crossing in Suicide Village – an off-white bungalow almost at the end of the road”.

Somapah Village was one of the main settlements in the area and served as the gateway to some of the villages that lay along the old coastline (source: National Archives).

My acquaintance with the village goes back to the early days of Singapore’s independence, when my parents who were in the civil service, made regular use of the Government holiday bungalows near Mata Ikan Village. Somapah Village was where Somapah Road met Upper Changi Road and served as a gateway to the coastal villages that lay to the south-east of it, including Mata Ikan, which was located a mile or so down the road at the coastal end of Somapah Road. Passing through the part of the village which had always seemed a hive of activity in the mornings was also the trigger for me to look out for the red swastika that would be perched on the top of a building, having developed a fascination for the symbol from the many encounters I had with the Nazis that had to do less with my overactive imagination than with the nightly dose of the exploits of Vic Morrow’s character Sgt. Saunders on Combat! The red swastika belonged to the Red Swastika School that was in a quiet part of the village along Somapah Road on the right as we made our way towards Mata Ikan, and was the left facing symbol used by the Taoist Red Swastika Society as opposed to the right facing swastika used by the Nazis, not that I noticed it then.

A photograph of the old Red Swastika School along Somapah Road (source: Red Swastika School's website).

Besides the memories of the red swastika, I do have some further memories of Somapah, two of which relate to visit to the GP’s clinic which was on the right side of the village along Somapah Road (facing south). What I can recollect was that it was perched on a raised area from the road, a unit in a row of shophouses. Both visits made to the GP were certainly painful ones, the first involved my mother who needed the GP’s attention to remove a fish hook which had lodged into the flesh around her knee as she climbed over a sea wall at Mata Ikan. The second was made for my benefit, one in which I sought relief from a painful encounter with the zipper of my shorts.

A scene from Somapah Village in 1986 - I believe the GP's clinic was in the row of shops in the background (source: National Archives).

It wasn’t so much the GP’s clinic that my earliest memories of the village were connected with. Those were of the market, which I believe was on the side opposite the shops where the GP’s clinic was located. It was where (the bungalows we holidayed at were self-catering and featured a well equipped kitchen), my mother would on every other day during our stays, shop for supplies of fresh produce and fish. We could of course rely on the mobile vendors: vegetables, fish, meat and eggs were sold from the back of a pick-up or a van that went from house to house, but the market always offered a much larger assortment. The market was where I had my earliest memories of seeing Sting Rays up close, displayed on the table of a fishmonger close to the entrance of the market. Being the inquisitive child that I was, the market was always a great source of fascination for me.

A barber's shop at Somapah Village (source: National Archives).

On the subject of mobile vendors, one that I was particularly fond of seeing was the bread vendor, who made an appearance every morning with his colourful display of bread dangling from a rack of sorts that was mounted on the back of a motorcycle. His arrival meant I could get my day’s supplies of the sweet grated coconut buns that I never could wait to sink my teeth into. Another one on two wheels that I would look out for would have been the milkman, with a milk can mounted at the back of his bicycle from which he would dispense milk in glass bottles. It is only very recently that I realised that the milk actually came from a dairy farm that was in Somapah Village itself – learning of the farm’s existence from an article on the ThinkQuest website.

A Chinese Temple (source: National Archives).

There are a few who remember the area having lived in the village, including a few readers who were kind enough to share their memories of Somapah on my post on Mata Ikan. One was a Mr Koh who described where the GP’s clinic I mentioned was: “The GP’s clinic was indeed situated close to a row of shophouses. It was located up a small slope called Jalan Somapah Timor. It was opened in 1962. Opposite the clinic and across the road was an open field with some cattle for diary purpose. Beside the clinic was a PAP kindergaten, my first school. Opposite it was a small police post. The market was an open-air market. Some of the vendors had shops with wooden top for their goods; the rest would place their items on ground sheets”. Another who goes by the moniker “sotong” added “my first sch was the PAP kindergarten too. i used to stayed in a house at jalan somapah timor, where the airport was separated from my place by a major road..still rem often seeing and hearing plane flying over my house. Also rem the days accompanying my mum to the market near my kumpung, eating chicken rice in this shop for i think 50cents per pack. but unfortunately i can’t rem exactly where my old house use to be located”.

Chinese Medicine Shop at Somapah Village (source: National Archives).

These days, there isn’t really much to remind us of that Somapah. The village and all around it has all but disappeared and only a few remnants of the area are left. Most of Somapah Road has gone, just a little maybe 50 metre stretch left of it located somewhere close to where Singapore Expo is off Changi South Avenue 1, relegated to a road that serves as a driveway to a car park. Across the road there are a few reminders of the time from which my experiences of Somapah Village were connected with including some of the roads such as Jalan Tiga Ratus and the buildings that were the former Changkat Changi Primary School that rose on a small hill along the Changi Road (now Upper Changi Road) next to Jalan Tiga Ratus which was built in the later half of the 1960s.

Across the road at Jalan Tiga Ratus, the buildings that were the Changkat Changi Secondary School (1st Photo) and Changkat Changi Primary School (2nd and 3rd Photo) built in the latter part of the 1960s still stand.

Across the road a big void greets the observer where once a bustling Somapah Road and Village had stood.

A gate stands across where Somapah Road had once run towards the coastal village of Mata Ikan.

What used to be Somapah Road near the junction with Upper Changi Road.

Where a village once stood ... now an empty field.

The little bit of Somapah Road that's left ... relegated to an access road for a car park.

A dead end for Somapah Road.

The view of the empty grassland from the south.




77 responses

18 12 2010
James Seah

Thanks for a wonderful update on our old kampong at Somapah…a place when we always say: “Going to Singapore”, not to town”. It the rustic kampung in the past.

Its surreal. These old photos of our “memory aids” which lag in time and space of the same place, different times, different memories. Happy blogging. Thanks for sharing.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

31 03 2011

Somapah started as a plantation in around 1850 when Mr H. Somapah, originally an India convict (due to some family dispute back in India), became rich in Singapore after his release and purchased many pieces of land in Singapore, one of which is Somapah (Changi). He passed on the land to his son W.L.S Basapah. Basapah was involved in a peculiar murder case in 1919; he killed his brother-in-law Ram Mohan Singh. You may read the story here. By the way, Basapah was later released.

The land (about 1000 acre of coconut plantation) was then purchased by the Quek brothers (郭巨川 Quek Kee Suan, 郭镜川 aka 郭新 Quek Shin). The Queks were originally poor. They helped out their father in tapioca plantation in Malacca. They later became rich. The Queks were prominant Hainese leaders in Singapore and Malaysia. They donated land in Somapah Village for Red Swastika School (, Kwang Boo Martial Arts Association ( and the Sinchew Hainanese Association, which are all located within the vincinity of the “market” in Somapah. Their contribution can be read here: and

I walked by these buildings everyday in the 70s and 80s.

1 04 2011
The wondering wanderer

Hi Koh, thanks for all that wonderful information! 🙂 What was life in the village like from an insider’s viewpoint?

1 04 2011

Life was quite comfortable living in Somapah. Personally I did not feel any difference from my classmates who lived in the city. It is only in recollection and in talking to people who have never lived in rural areas that the spartan lifestyle becomes more obvious. In order that I will not forget the kind of life that I had back then, I do not wear a wrist watch nowadays, on purpose. It reminds me of the time when I could not afford a watch, and life went on quite well without telephone, TV, washing machine, instant water heater, electric iron …

22 04 2011

I believe I am the second last who left Somapah somewhere in 1984 due to resettlement.Very sad indeed.

But as a sigh growing up boy, I love to watch the mata ikan pretty girls walking and cycling in and out.On a few occasions,place wrapped object on the road just outside Red Swastika School,hiding one corner,watching the reaction of those who spotted and opened it.Many got fooled.
I wish to take this chance to apologise to those people.
How wonderful if I can meet my old kampong folks regularly.

15 05 2011

Koh say W L S Basapah “killed his brother-in-law”, i.e. was guilty of manslaughter or murder. Also say Basapah released. If released, how can he be guilty?

21 05 2011

Being guilty of manslaughter or murder may not necessary mean that the offender will be punish by death penalty.Surprise that even lawyer dun know that.Nothing unusual for a prisoner to be discharge early ,especially in the olden days and especially for those who are rich and powerful.
Those days even innocents can be frame,charge for offences for something that they did not commit.,by some law enforcers just to get promotion.Corruption,torture,abuse of powers are normal then.
Worse is those tortures during the Japanese Occupation.
Sad to see some reader being so carried away .

22 05 2011
edmund goh

Re-read my comment, “Agongkia”. I (not Mr Taki) wrote death or jail. Anyway, do you have evidence that he was found guilty? I doubt it. I’ve had the records checked, out of curiosity. He was interrogated and cleared.

7 09 2011

Basapah “killed his brother-in-law” should be changed to “was charged in court for murdering his brother-in-law”. No defence was called as he was discharged by jury 2 months later, and that was after the prosecution had produced a number of witnesses.

Some “random, hack newspaper reports” about this peculiar case:

19 05 2011
Edmund Goh

Mr Shintaro Taki makes a good point. In fact, Koh has made two serious errors which, as a lawyer, I would warn are libellous. H. SOMAPAH DID NOT MIGRATE HERE AS A CONVICT. His father, Harumalpah , migrated here, and Somapah was born here. There are unsubstantiated and disputed claims that Harumalpah had been a political prisoner of the British in India, and was shipped here to work for the colonial govt. as an artisan.

And, if William Basapa had been found guilty of the murder of his brother-in-law, the British court in Singapore would have jailed or executed him.

I hope Mr. Basapa’s descendants track Koh down and sue him. (I know their lawyers are Drew and Napier). Koh should read the obviously professionally researched and written history of this illustrious family in — the writers of which used National Archives and other (cited) authoritative sources, i.e. not some random, hack newspaper report.

22 05 2011
Ivy Yong

Alamak Edmund Goh! Thanks for telling me about this website. What for you argue, leh??? these sit-in-coffeeshop-talkcock old futts hide behind common name like Koh and penname like agongkia…how to sue, leh??? Anyway doubtful they got money hor!

24 08 2016
Marie-Ann Mathot

I think Drew & Napier have better things to do with their time than get involved in a historical discussion. People make mistakes, assuming that what they read somewhere is the truth. A polite comment pointing out and clarifying the mistake is sufficient. Why on earth should they be sued?

1 06 2011

Ivy Yong,
I am a typical somapahan .Somapah way of asking question leh. I am Goh Ah Gong,no money ,sit in cofeeshop but got typical name .Can I get to know you ?Do you have chinese name?What is you name?

1 06 2011

and Edmund Goh,

Can’t you see that I address SHINTARO TAKI SAN and did I mention anywhere that the subject was found guilty?Did I write the word death or jail?I am more curious than you.Do you know how is he cleared?You mentioned you are a lawyer,I am also one,but paiseh…kopitiam lawyer.You know whats that?

2 06 2011

Thanks for the memories … grew up in Somapah….

2 06 2011
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

Kiok, you’re welcome! That’s nice! Any memories to share? 🙂

3 06 2011
Ivy Goh

Adoi! Agongkia you chiko you! do something constructive for the happy memories of kampung Somapah, leh — log into and vote for the names of upcoming mrt stations. Last one on the list is choice of Changi Buisness Park station or Somapah Station. Do your bit for the beloved old kampong — you, Edmund, Koh and all. (and no need to be cheeky with me. I’m 79 already!!!

4 06 2011

People who lov e somapah area can keep name alive!!! now have voting for new mrt station names, including maybe somapah station. See please and clicking SURVEYS!

9 06 2011

@Ivy Goh,

Sure or not? I thought you are Ivy Yong earlier?No impersonating please.If you 79,.then I am 81 .But same surname how to cheeko?Dun surprise and claim that you are my sister.I got heart problem.
Name can change but not surname.

Okay,on my love for Somapah…,I had actually voted for the name to be call Somapah Station and even propose that Expo Station should be rename Gulega Station somewhere in the net..But somehow I later deleted my comments as I try not to be everywhere.

I have even tried to tender for the original Somapah Road road sign with LTA at the minimum bid of S$50.00 that time.But I have problem gaining access,so that is one of my greatest regret I have as I cannot bring it along with me when I go. .hehe..

Resettle me elsewhere and leave the place breeding mosquitoes is something that hurts me.If one will to visit there,one would have discovered a small car park ,which was closed.Not many people notice it..I returned and visited there very regularly for a jog and stoped after they blocked the car park which was built after the resettlement.I love its quietness and watching the moon is something special for me.I done that in my childhood days and everything was the same to me if I do not look at the surrounding..Now its all gone.

But advisable not to jog alone now.I notice there are wasp/bees there while jogging and the place is not well maintain.Beware of lighting and mosquito too .I have not been there quite sometimes.

10 06 2011
Ivy Yong

Goh is married name, Yong maiden name. Now widow. You should revisit Somapah area, now beautiful and growing. Nice park too.

12 06 2011

Those visiting the park in the day should look out for hornets/bees .Not suitable for jogging or walking,to me.
I have the habit of visiting in the night .An ideal place for me to take a nap with fresh air ,but is not advisable to anyone.

24 06 2011

I hardly have a chance to sleep more than 3 hours a day and though I have the chance to do it tonight,I am unable to because Red Swastika School appear in my mind again…..

The school has cause me some disturbances that haunt me till today.
Once,they cage a chimpanzee(to me) in a cage in the school compound(some says its orang utan)but anyway ,this is how it cry……Oo Oo ah ah ah ah…..Oo oo ah ah ah ah…
This animal is a nuisance to me whenever it cries as it affect my study.I wonder how the student can take it .I once sneak into the school and feel sad on its confinement.I am staying near the school though not its student.Can anyone remember this swinging animal?

Another thing that remind me of the school is the swings and see saw.
On the right far end of the school towards Mata Ikan direction,on the open field,there are see saw and swings.
It was brought to my attention that it can swing by itself in the night ,as if children are playing on it,though no one can be seen around.Anyone heard of it?
On one night while sleeping,that see saw appear again.
As I am staying nearby,I decided to take a look to find out the truth……..

21 08 2011
Big Fish

So you are the one who spread rumours about the swing…. I am a ex student from Rea Swastika and was haunted by the story about the swing………….

24 08 2011

Hehe..Big fish,we may have met.Four of my siblings were former student of Red Swastika School(Somapah).I have nothing to gain in spreading those rumours.
Many students told me about the swings .Brought this up here just to see whether some of you have heard that .This was somewhere in 1970s.
Since you were also haunted by the hearsay,then it prove that I am not lying.The chimpanzee too,was caged for months.Maybe not during your time.
I like to pick up those siang sze tous outside the school whenever I need it.There is also a story on the trees.But I would not go further.hehe..

10 07 2011
Shintaro Taki

Good news!!! take a look soon. May need to revise comment about shortness of Somapah Rd. Looks like extension is being made.

31 08 2011
Richard Toh PK

Hi all readers, My name is Ricard Toh P K, a Somapahian 1963 till 1975. I graduated from Red Swastika School in 1975, and my father’s barber shop was at the Somapah Road junction that was featured in one of the pictures. Indeed, all the pictures and the descriptions of the Somapah Village are just amazing in recalling my lovely memories of my childhood life. I hereby thank the author from the bottom of my heart, for your passionate and patient efforts that make this episode possible. Thank you and I look forward to having more interactions soon.

25 09 2011

used to spend a lot of time at Jalan Tiga Ratus in the early 80s as a parent worked in Changkat Changi Secondary School. literally watched Simei being constructed across the road before my eyes. unfortunately i don’t have much recollection of Somapah because i was just a kindergarten kid then. Changkat Changi Secondary used to have students who lived on & commuted daily from Pulau Ubin – think it was the secondary school closest to the island.

21 11 2011

I was googling for my graduation class and stumble upon your blog. Wow and wow! I never knew my primary school has so many history. I only knew it was previously situated near Changi, but by the time I got into the pre-primary class, it was already moved to Bedok North. Funny thing is, even though it’s a relatively new school compound, haunted stories surfaces almost immediately. Like how the wall painting at the ground floor will move at night and those 3rd cubicle in the girls toilet were always locked because it’s haunted… and we also heard about the haunted swings from one of our teacher, he said the school had to move because the old compound was haunted by a monkey or something… LOL… Well well…Now I know…

25 02 2012

I cried reading this post just stumbled upon your blog . Thank you so much for bringing back my childhood memories … I used to stay around this area and ccps used to be my school.

27 02 2012

Which year?There are annual gathering for some of the CCPS /CCSS class mates and schoolmates.

28 02 2012
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

Thanks for visiting Siti – glad the post brings back memories. 🙂 Where exactly did you live?

27 02 2012

Thks for the wonderful write up. I really enjoy reading it. I have blogged on this subject. If you were living in that village you may even know my two frens from Somapah. I have used your pics also. Thks in advance. Do check it out.

28 02 2012
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

Hi Gintai, thanks for visiting the blog and for your kind feedback. I noticed the pingback and visited your post. Unfortunately I did not live in Somapah – I was very much a urban kid who grew up in the new kampongs – the HDB estates. I was an occassional visitor though, passing through the village and sometimes stopping by on my way to Mata Ikan. Appreciate that you’ve let me know about your use of the pics – and acknowledged that the source of them. Just to point out that the banner you’ve used is not of a village in Singapore. 🙂 Jerome.

3 04 2012
Changi Ten Miles

Hi All,

I was from Somapah. I spent my 17 years of childhood there. As mentioned in the other blog, I lived quite close to Min Zhong Public Primary School.
@agongkia, are you referring to the big big tree (with sea eagles) opposite Rea Swastika? Heard ghost stories about that tree. Heard that they had “difficulties” in bringing down the tree after everyone moved out from there.

@Gintai, cannot access to that link.

27 04 2012

@Changi Ten miles.
Yes.I managed to get hold of one of the sea eagle’s feather (about 18 inches)and kept it for some time. (I call sea duck)
I saw the tree on the surface after being uprooted (behind expo 8) and its no longer there.I have many Mata Ikan friends .We may have met.I use to attend Min Chong sports club anniversary dinner but left recently. Many of your Min Chong neighbour use to gather at Tampines N2 every Sunday morning.You can find your neighbour there.

30 06 2021

My sister took a photo of that big tree (Alstonia angustiloba) way back in 1990s before it was attacked by the fig around 2000s and had to be felled when SUTD was constructed.

8 02 2014
Lui Tai Khim 雷大钦

Hi, good weekend,
We’re you staying bear 799-G Somapah Road or know people stayed near this address ? I am trying to look for someone Cheers, Lui Tai Khim

1 12 2014

@Lui T K
799 G is somewhere near Red Swastika School but the address is shortened before resettlement.
I am close to a family at 786C.
Families stayed around there are the Goh,Sng (hokkien) Tan ,Lee and Tong(Hailum).etc.Are you looking for your teacher ?

20 04 2012

There’s a FB page dedicated to Changi 10 miles:

5 08 2012

It heartens me to find this blog and refreshes me about my childhood growing up in somapah village. All the photographs featured here brings back fond memories. Memories that stay etched in my mind all these years. Memories that nobody can relate to no matter how much I describe to them. Till now.

I grew up off Jalan Somapah Timor. A village only accessible through a dirt and rocky track from the tarmac road of Jalan Somapah Timor. Still remember my house number is 22-G. Went to the PAP kindergarden and attended primary school at Changkat Changi Primary school. Finished my PSLE in 1988 and resettled in the same year. I think my family was one of the last few to move out as I still remembered all my surrounding neighbours had moved away, houses torn down and me running around looking for stuff in these rubbles barefooted.

Still remembered the giant tree with the sea eagle nest purged on top of the tree. The elevated coffee shop with my favourite bak chor mee. The corner chicken rice stall. The fat dentist and the nearby fried carrot cake stall which allow us to bring our own ingredients to add into the dish. The sundry shop owner with 3 down syndrome children. The barber shop that I had my hair cut. The bicycle shop located high up the steps. The open air cinema which I frequent. The tropical fish shop that I like to admire at the fishes. The eerie abandoned Red Swastika School that I dare not enter to investigate. The Tua Pek Kong temple that I frequently cycled past as I go around exploring the village on my BMX bike. Catching spiders, fishes in the longkang. Climbing trees to eat rambutans. Swimming in ponds. And the list goes on….

I really missed my childhood days growing up in somapah village and it will be great if I can recreate a model of it but I can’t do it alone as my experience and memories are limited. It might just be my dream to create one and share it with my love ones. Its great to see and find fellow somapah villagers here. Can’t really describe how I felt when I chance upon this blog and looking at the old photographs. Bringing back old memories. Thanks to Jerome for making this possible.

20 08 2012

I was a student at Changkat Changi Primary School from 1970 to 1975. I lived at Gulega Road until we were resettled in 1985 and moved to Tampines. Thanks to Jerome for the photos. I spent many wonderful years cycling to Mata Ikan (Windsor Drive) where one of friends’ family owned a factory making white emulsion from cockle shells. It was there that we caught our first sea horse. I also have fond memories of the market and the open air cinema. My mum kept chickens and we had many surplus eggs. On weekend mornings, we set up a stall outside the cinema with the eggs in the trays perched on top of an empty orange crate (illegal hawking from age 8 to 14 / 15 LOL). We managed to sell most of the eggs each weekend as they were free range and that was our marketing spin. We also had to be alert to spot the Ministry of Environment inspectors and take cover once they had been spotted. However, on a number of occasions, there were lapses and being kids, the inspectors just shooed us along. The reward for our efforts from my mum was usually a bowl of bak chor mee from the stall next to the Chinese medical hall in Jerome’s photo.

My mum also raised porkers and we sold them to the butchers within the market. One of my classmates’ dad was the middleman – essentially, my mum would approach him and he would then sought the buyers for the porkers. As he got a commission based on the selling price, my mum was ensured of the best price for the porkers. It was a big event on the day of the sale – out come our note pads and pens to record the weights of the cages first, then the weights of the cages with the porkers in them and then deduct the weights of the cages to get the weights of the porkers – no calculators and they were measured in katis and tahils. The weighings wee done using a giant daching which we borrowed from our friendly neighbourhood provision shop.

Happy memories!

20 08 2012

I was a student at Changkat Changi Primary School from 1970 to 1975. I lived at Gulega Road until we were resettled in 1985 and moved to Tampines. Thanks to Jerome for the photos. I spent many wonderful years cycling to Mata Ikan (Windsor Drive) where one of friends’ family owned a factory making white emulsion from cockle shells. It was there that we caught our first sea horse. I also have fond memories of the market and the open air cinema. My mum kept chickens and we had many surplus eggs. On weekend mornings, we set up a stall outside the cinema with the eggs in the trays perched on top of an empty orange crate (illegal hawking from age 8 to 14 / 15 LOL). We managed to sell most of the eggs each weekend as they were free range and that was our marketing spin. We also had to be alert to spot the Ministry of Environment inspectors and take cover once they had been spotted. However, on a number of occasions, there were lapses and being kids, the inspectors just shooed us along. The reward for our efforts from my mum was usually a bowl of bak chor mee from the stall next to the Chinese medical hall in Jerome’s photo.

My mum also raised porkers and we sold them to the butchers within the market. One of my classmates’ dad was the middleman – essentially, my mum would approach him and he would then seek the buyers for the porkers. As he got a commission based on the selling price, my mum was ensured of the best price for the porkers. It was a big event on the day of the sale – out come our note pads and pens to record the weights of the cages first, then the weights of the cages with the porkers in them and then deduct the weights of the cages to get the weights of the porkers – no calculators and they were measured in katis and tahils. The weighings wee done using a giant daching which we borrowed from our friendly neighbourhood provision shop.

Happy memories!

10 11 2012
Dr Dos

Happy to read all the posting frm our former village people. I used to stay at Gulega Rd.
from 1957 to 1970.
From Bedok Boy Sch, failed primary 6 and transfered to CCP.Back then there used to be
the pig and vegetable farm with some names
i still recall,like the Ah Lok farm Ah Seng and the chicken farm.
We live in a row of attap house beside the Ah Goo who made the rattan furnicture and basket. The pond behind our house used to be my sole searching place with a hut resting just like a resort.The open air cinema, the market, the barber, the ‘cap gi ki’ are once
which until today makes me want to u-turn the time.
The poor which we had once live thru can never match the happyness we share together. sorry i am starting to get emo.

21 11 2012

@Dr Dos
Talking about Chap Ji Kee,you reminded me of one provision shop besides the cinema .The owner Ah Yong scolded me when I am placing a bet for someone because he accuse me of mentioning the word Banjee at the counter,even no one around,which I did not.I boycott him after that . Buying Banjee and chap Ji kee from shops is a thrill.Look her look there.Luckily there are few mobile Chap Ji Kee collectors during those days.

16 02 2014

Hi Dr Dos, may I ask your address in Gulega road. I have many photos of old area, but do not know how to upload on internet. I can send email if you want or somebody teach me to upload them.. 🙂 alvin

16 02 2014

Hi Luck, may I ask your address in gulega road. we probably know each other as I was in CCPS the same time 1965-1970. I can send you my old class phot0. let me know 🙂 alvin

2 08 2019

Hi, My address at Mata Ikan is 54 Windsor Drive… opposite a Christian church… anyone live nearby there?

26 05 2021
Allan Goh

Hi, my name is Allan. My ancestors hv been living at no. 6 Windsor Drive since early 1920s ( before WW2) till resettlement kicked in 1980s. We moved to Tampines New Town in 1984. My Kampung house was in the heart of Mata Ikan village.

So pleased to read these stories & photos that brought me back to the beautiful Kampung memories.

26 05 2021
Allan Goh

Hi, my name is Allan, used to live at no. 6 Windsor Drive, nxt to the provision shop if you still remember. My father was mobile hawker selling Walls ice cream on a, 3 wheeled motorcycle.
My ancestors had settled in the heart of kampung Mata Ikan since early 1920s..

23 02 2013
Rachel Tan

Hi! I grew up in Jalan Tiga Ratus and I left during 1980. I had studied 3 years in Red Swastika School, Somapah Road. Heard about the swing, see saw and haunted stories. I have so much good but vague memories on Somapah village and Jalan Tiga Ratus. It’s all my childhood. So glad to find someone who was once living there :))

16 02 2014

Hi Rachel;, I have many photos of Red swastika, I phot0-copied them from Simei community centre. if you like I want to post them on the internet. I just don’t know how???. let me know, I an send email also. 🙂 alvin

3 04 2013
Long Poh Seng

Hi, Bro

I am Wilson Long. We lived in 15 Gulega Road.. Left the villiage in 1978 and shifted to CCK(HDB). Really missed all the old kumpong day……

16 02 2014

Hi Wilson, where is 15 gulega road. ??? I live in Blk E-1, gulega road. is it near the church outside, along the rows of concrete 1 houses?? just before the bread shop?? 🙂 Alvin

24 06 2013
alvin lee

HI , I am Lee Ngian Loong, I lived in Blk E-1, Gulega Road from 1958 to 1985. My family business is ang-ku kway. CCPS 1965 – 1970. I really enjoy your blog. I have a lot of photos from the changi community centre that I want to share with everyone . please let me know how to do it. Keep up your good work. 🙂

10 02 2016
Stephanie Ho

last time my hse is blk E-9… used to study in the kindergarten

20 01 2021
Toh ah tiong

I stayed 125C gulega road. In red swastika 1980-1984 and 1985 new sch compound in bedok. Technically I moved out of gulega village in 1984 Dec.

15 09 2013
Ginny Webb

(Having difficulty posting a reply- hope this one works) Thanks so much Jerome for your blog, and to all the Singaporeans who have responded with their memories of Somapah. My own unique experience was as an RAF kid (long story- Anglo-Burmese Mum, South African Dad, based at Changi, ended up in Australia!) and those memories of a childhood in the late ’60s in The Old, all but lost, Singapore are deeply etched into my being forever! More here:

23 12 2013

That medical clinic was manned by the late Dr Sheng Nam Chin, who passed away in September 2007 at the age of 76. He was Legislative Assemblyman for Nee Soon from June 1959 to 1963, initially under PAP but in 1961 under Barisan Sisialis after expulsion from PAP. He was Parliamentary Secretary (Health) whilst in PAP. In the 1963 Legislative Assembly Elections, he did not stand as a candidate. In the early 1970s, he moved on to become a stock-broker in ? Lyall & Ewatt leaving that clinic to be run by Dr Johnny Yeo Meng Siang. The clinic was named Sheng Clinic, now re-located to Jalan Pari Burong qpposite the northern end of Bedok Road.

8 02 2014
Lui Tai Khim 雷大钦

Hi, he was my family doctor. I think most people in the area visited the clinic. Cheers, Lui

26 12 2013
alvin lee

HI Hiko, thank you for the refresher. as a kid, my parents brings us to see Dr. Sheng. until now, I did not know his rich background. thank you once again.
does anyone have more photos of the old somapah market area??
other than those we see on this blog??

17 01 2014
Derrick Tan

Hi Alvin, I’m trying to locate two sisters, Rayme and Susi . Family name is Kutty. They lived in Gulega Road and used to work at my father’s Hotel, Country Club Hotel in East Coast Road.
Not sure if you know of them and where they are now.

11 02 2014
alvin lee

Hi derrick, sorry for this late reply, as I do not check this website regularly.

No, I am afraid I can’t help. Kutty does not sound Chinese??? I will ask around. I have lots of somapah hpotos but I do not know how to upload to share with all. any ideas???

8 02 2014
Lui Tai Khim 雷大钦

Dear All,
These photos brought back my old memories. I used to stay at Jalan Tiga Ratus. Somapah was the regular place for me as I studied at Red Swastika. Perhaps, from this FB group, I am able to connect to long lost childhood friends and Neighour.

By the way, anyone used to stay near 790-G Somapah Road or know people stayed near this address ? I am trying to look for someone Cheers, Lui


11 02 2014
alvin lee

hi lui, some idea where 790-G might be/// is it near the market ?? Alvin

14 02 2014
Lui Tai Khim

Hi Alvin, thanks. It was located near to Mata Ikan area. Any idea ? Were you staying near Mata Ikan. Thanks, Lui

16 02 2014

Hi Tai Khim, I lived in Gulega Road in CCPS 1965-1970. I have many friends in Mata ikan, e.g. Ms Ng Ngoing Keng, who is now the principal in MOE schools, Lee Meng Keng,, Lee Meng How, Tan Kok Sim, Chua Su Peng, Heng family who owned a large coconut plantation, I can send you our primary school class photos then you can see the actual person. I used to hang out at Padang Terbauka community centre a lot,. Mr Mong was the in charge there then. I met him again 2 years ago. I got a lot of old photos from the Community centre. I want to upload the photos, but do not know how. Alvin 🙂

16 02 2014
Lui Tai Khim

Hi Alvin, good weekend. I lived at Jalan Tiga Ratus and have studied at Red Swastika School from 1969-1974. Moved to Bedok Reservoir in 1981 because of resettlement. My first house was at 408-B Jalan Tiga Ratus, which was behind the bee Hoon factory and the candy shop,万成 (in front of CCSS).I lived with my auntie and her family was in poultry farming. At the age of 10, my family moved to further in of Jalan Tiga Ratus,120 Jalan Tiga Ratus. The family I wish to look out is Lee family, the father is Lee Hong Chu (passed away about 50 years ago) and the mother is Lim Tuan Nam. They have two sons and one daughter. Perhaps, you may send the photos to my mail: Thanks and cheers, Tai Khim

22 12 2014

A new beginning for Somapah village- Singapore University of Technology and Design

23 03 2015

I’m a descendant of Somapah. Thanks for this article. Good to know what he has done for this nation.

26 11 2015
Changi Ten Miles

I would like to remind folks to join this group to contribute any pictures you have.

24 11 2017
Bryan Teo

Wow…I stumbled across this post years late! Won’t be surprised if I don’t see any replies.

My grandparents used to live in a bungalow at one end of Gulega Road – one of the first houses, and it was pretty much kampung the rest of the way. They vacated the house when I was about 10-12 as my grandfather fell and broke his hip.

I was very young then but still have vivid memories of the place – it was a bit of a trek to get there back then as we lived in Bukit Timah. It was great as the bungalow had coconut trees, a custard apple tree, and lots of space to run around.

Friends of my grandmother had a chicken farm further in, I remember the Red Swastika School in the area.

I can still see the light green walls of the bungalow, and my grandfathers’ red Ford Anglia in the carport.

Thank you for bringing these memories back to life!

4 04 2018

Google linked us to this article. It brings back good memories, thank you.

5 01 2020
Leo Low

Nice blog. Nice memories. My grandparents lived at Somapah and I never forgot my wonderful experiences exploring the area whenever I visited.

The clinic at the top of the slope is Oei Clinic, at the front is a stall selling the best char kuey teow. The countless movies I watched at the open air cinema…ooohh….nostalgia.

Thanks for rekindling those memories.

5 01 2020
Leo Low

Correction…I think Oei Clinic is actually on the same site after the PAP kindergarten relocated.

1 10 2020
Jerome Lim, The Wondering Wanderer

Hi, a media company is looking for ex-residents of Somapah Village to interview for a programme that they are producing for CNA. Would anyone here be keen to talk to them?

29 03 2022
Viveka Foo

I chanced upon Jalan Tiga Ratus enroute to the Changi Beach. It brought back cherished memories of my maternal grandparents’ place…

The monthly visits from Toa Payoh to my grandparents’ place in the 70s were always a treat. It was like going into a different world…the fragrances from the nature…and being surrounded and chased by the poultry.

Such Joy, Such Fun!

10 02 2023
Peter Gregory

Thanks for making Somapah Changi a place in the web. The temple you show had had (two times gone) a makeover since the time I remember it. Back then I was twelve years old and wandered around on my own feeling completely safe in ‘suicide village’ as it was called (because of the lethal crossroads). I wandered into the little temple and sat down cross legged on the sand floor. It was really just a corrugated iron hut with a statue of the Buddha and some oracle sticks in a box on the wall. To me it was a peaceful meeting place of heaven and earth.
I’m surprised no one seems to have mentioned the Opera House which was full up every Saturday afternoon. We could hear the caterwauling performance and applause all the way down the road.
Once a small resinous tree in our garden was covered with Atlas moths. What a sight that was! Unforgettable. All this was in the late sixties. The Beatles were no1 with ‘Yellow Submarine”.
On school days I used to catch the gharry to Seletar, along with all the other Brit kids. Then later on to Changi Grammar down the road the other way.
There was quiet, shady jungle round the back of the busy village where native houses stood on tip toe, with sheaves of copra piled up underneath them.

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