The public bathing pagar at Katong Park

14 01 2020

Katong Park is where a last bastion of a 1870s coastal defence fort, built quite foolishly on sand, can be found. Once fronting the sea, the former defensive position turned recreational space, was also where a bathing pagar – the first to be established by the Municipal Commission for public bathing – was to be found.

Children at the bathing pagar at Katong Park, 1969 (Kim Hocker Collection).

The construction of the pagar – an enclosure extending from the sea shore originally made of wooden stakes – came on the back of the commission’s thrust to provide public facilities for sporting pursuits (see: A short history of public Swimming Pools in Singapore and Parting Glances: the boxing gym at Farrer Park) in the 1920s and 1930s. The original public pagar at Katong was opened by Mr William Bartley in December 1931 – in the same year that Singapore’s first public swimming pool, built using the disused service reservoir at Mount Emily, also opened.

Another view of the pagar in 1969 (Kim Hocker Collection).

Private bathing pagars were especially common then. They were constructed primarily to keep bathers safe and keep the sharks outs and were found at seaside homes and hotels, and at private swimming clubs. A shark attack in 1925, which resulted in the death of an unfortunate bather, Ms Doris Bowyer-Smyth, prompted the Singapore Swimming Club to erect its pagar soon after.

A bathing pagar seen in the sea in front of Beaulieu House, which had been a private seaside residence before it was acquired for the construction of the Naval Base in the 1920s (photo: National Archives of Singapore).

The Chinese Swimming Club’s Bathing Pagar.

The Katong Park pagar,  which was concretised in the 1950s, stood until work on reclamation started in 1971. All that now remains to remind us of the seaside – the reason for Katong Park’s coming into being in 1928, is the last bastion of Fort Tanjong Katong.

Fort Tanjong Katong

Among the first set of instructions given by Raffles to Farquhar upon the establishment of Singapore as an East India Company trading post was to have a defensive position in the Tanjong Katong area – at Sandy Point or Tanjong Rhu. The thought of a fort was in fact broached from time to time in reviews conducted of Singapore defences, but it wasn’t until 1878 that a coastal battery at Tanjong Katong would be established with a strengthening of coastal defences in the face of a possible Russian threat.

The sandy base meant that the fort’s high range finding tower moved with each firing, not only requiring a recalibration of the range finders with each firing but also made them impossible to use when the tower shook. The fort, built at sea level, also acquired a reputation for being a “wash-out fort” and was decommission in the early 1900. The fort’s southeast bastion, which were uncovered several times following the conversion of the grounds of the fort into Katong Park were once again uncovered in 2004 and can now be found at a corner of Katong Park.

Fort Tanjong Katong Source: Wellcome Collection (CC BY 4.0)


Fort Tanjong Katong’s southeast bastion.


Another view of Fort Tanjong Katong’s southeast bastion.


The area where the sea – and the pagar was.



Let’s do the Puka and a lot more!

1 09 2013

There is only one place in the world where you would want to do that Puka, and it is right on Boracay’s Puka Beach. Puka Beach, right at the northern tip of the island paradise is just so incredibly beautiful, that it would certainly have anyone doing what the three ladies, Valyn, Atsuko and Han Joo, are seen here doing – jumping for joy!


Taking its name from the puka shells found there, the beach is in fact number 84 on CNN’s list of the 100 best beaches in the world. It is one of several parts of Travel + Leisure’s 2012 Best Island in the World I certainly did not get enough of during a magical trip to the island I made with nine other bloggers which came with the kind sponsorship of Tigerair Philippines and the Philippine Department of Tourism that was organised by



There is more on Puka Beach on three previous posts: It’s more fun hopping, skipping and jumping to and in Boracay!Life’s a Boracay Beach; and The irresistible urge to get wet in Boracay . Yes, it did leave a deep impression on me – but it isn’t just doing the Puka, that does have me determined to find my way back to the island.


Beyond doing the Puka and the incredible beaches (see: Life’s a Boracay Beach), well behind the screens (the beach sand screens that is) and certainly beyond what I did ramble on about in my series of posts, there are perhaps some of the best of and in Boracay that do also deserve a mention (it is a good enough excuse to use some previously un-posted photographs)! These include:

Best Selfie Spot


Crystal Cove

(Fairways and Bluewater Resort)

Best Person to Pose with


The Amazing Show

Best Spot to have that Ice Lolly


Puka Beach

Best Practice on the Island


The effort taken in keeping Boracay clean

Best Restaurant Decor



The Indigo at Discovery Shores

Best Spot to get Fishy




Possibly off Ariel’s Point

Best way to shelter from the rain


Best Place to get caught in a Limbo


The Amazing Show

Best Investment


A waterproof bag or pouch

(Han Joo shows how not to use one)

Best Spot to Unleash that Caveperson in you


Crystal Cove

Best In-Water Photo Spot




Crystal Cove

Best Solo Jumpshot Spot


Crystal Cove

Best Ways to get around



On a tricycle taxi (or anything with a side car)

Best Places to Eat and Shop



Best Way to get fruity


On watermelons

It’s easy now to get to Boracay from Singapore with Tigerair Philippines flying direct and you can win a 5D/4N trip for two by voting either for me or if you see fit, the other nine bloggers at the Boracay Island Escapade Vote and Win Contest – do hurry as you have just 24 hours to do so – voting closes at 12 noon on 2 September 2013.

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My Posts on Boracay

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Hopping, skipping and jumping to Boracay Getting beach-y …
Jerome-6426s Jerome-6696
That irresistible urge to get wet … More to Boracay than just getting wet …
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The Shangri-La – a slice of heaven … More heavenly places to stay at …

The trip to Boracay was made possible by Tigerair Philippines and the Philippine Depa

rtment of Tourism. Tigerair now flies direct to Kalibo Airport – for more information on flights to Kalibo, do visit


Getting there:

Location information:

This is a repost of my post on Boracay Island Escapade. Do cast a vote for me and stand a chance to win a trip 5D4N trip for 2 to Boracay at Boracay Island Escapade on (you may cast one vote a day and voting ends at 12 pm on  2 September 2013).