Bedok is an estate within the East region that is today bounded by the Siglap Canal, Marine Parade Road, Still Road, Jalan Eunos, Eunos Link and Airport Road to the west, the Paya Lebar Airport boundary to the north and the Bedok Canal to the east. Bedok sounds like the Malay word for the "drum", possibly a reference to its use at the mosque to announce prayer time to the faithful. Today, Bedok is no more the quiet village it once was. It has become a vibrant district of public and private housing estates, and industrial estates, with three MRT train station stops, including Kembangan, Bedok and Tanah Merah Stations covering a total area of 2,157 ha.

Bedok is derived from the Malay word for "drum" spelt bedoh with the "h" pronounced like "k". The drum was used in 'pre-loudspeaker days' at the mosque to sound out a call to the Muslim faithful for 'prayer time', and to convey to the nearby villagers important announcements or messages. The mosque which gave the district its name can still be found off Bedok Road. The fishing village that lined the coast, the Simpang Bedok Village, housed both Malay and Chinese communities. On the outskirts of Bedok, at Jalan Sempadan there is a cemetery where Rhio and Bornean relatives who had settled in the district, were buried in pre-Raffles' days.

Key features
Siglap in the southern part of Bedok, was a vast coconut plantation known as the Siglap Estate that stretched from the beach to Changi Road, and the narrow Siglap Road wound through it from Upper East Coast Road. There were also fishermen who lived on the Siglap stretch of the East Coast beach. The old Siglap 'wet' Market was popular which people in the area, and crowded on Sundays especially for breakfast. The Siglap Centre, a shopping complex now stands in its place, at the corner of Siglap Road and East Coast Road.

Bedok Resthouse by the beach was once as a popular landmark at the Bedok Junction until the late 1960s. In the immediate vicinity too was a delightful and quaint kampong, nestling comfortably under tall swaying coconut palms and where little chickens ran free. The Upper East Coast Road stretch just before Bedok junction had on the left, old bungalow villas as restaurants famed for its seafood and other Chinese a la carte dishes served in the open-air gardens. On the right of the road, hawker stalls lined the beach, although all that remains of these itinerant stalls is the hawker centre at the start of Bedok Road, rounding the end of Upper East Coast Road.

In 1966, reclamation works extended large parts of the coastal area, as Bedok was the starting point of the great reclamation scheme to Tanjong Rhu. The Bedok River still flows on the eastern fringe of the Bedok boundary.

The Bedok Boundary today
Today, Bedok is a vast area which grew mostly through public and private housing, and industrial development. Within it, new towns have sprung up with extensive public housing including Bedok North and Bedok South with its own self-contained Town Centre (Bus Interchange, Swimming Complex, Tennis Centre, Stadium etc.; Kaki Bukit, Bedok Reservoir (with a Reservoir) and Kembangan. The private housing is spread through Frankel Estate, Siglap and Bayshore. The old Bedok Road stretches from Bedok junction to Upper Changi Road. The New Upper Changi Road now cuts through Bedok Road and has overhead MRT train tracks with 3 train station stops in the Bedok area, including Kembangan, Bedok and Tanah Merah Stations. The entire Bedok area with 8 sub-zones, cover a total area of approximately 2,157 ha.

Vernon Cornelius-Takahama, 2000

Ramachandra, S. (1961). Singapore landmarks, past and present (p. 5). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
(Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 RAM)

Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then and now (p. 209). Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: SING 959.57 TYE)

Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore). (1994). Bedok planning area : planning report (pp. 5, 7, 8, 20, 29). Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority.
(Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)

The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive and complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Streets and Places
Law and government>>National development>>Urban development
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2004.