Kallang


Kallang is bounded by the northeastern boundary of the Central Area, the Central Expressway, the Pan Island Expressway, the proposed Kallang Expressway, Mountbatten Road and the East Coast Parkway. It covers nine subzones and a total area of 920.7 ha.1 Some of Singapore’s earliest settlers lived in Kallang. They were boat-dwellers whose descendants still reside in the area today.2 A long-standing landmark in Kallang is the former Kallang Gasworks.3

History
The Orang Kallang were among the indigenous inhabitants of Singapore. They constituted half of the approximately 1,000 residents in Singapore at the time of Raffles’s landing in January 1819.4 The Orang Kallang were boat-dwellers who lived in the swamps at the mouth of the Kallang River, which was named after the community.5 When Singapore was ceded to the British in 1824, the Temenggong of Johor relocated the Orang Kallang to Pulai River in Johor.6

In G. D. Coleman’s 1836 Map of the Town and Environs of Singapore, a long stretch of the coast along Kallang was sand and mud, with mangrove marsh and swampland blanketing the Kallang Basin. Coleman’s map also depicts a Bugis village located between the Rochor and Kelang (Kallang) rivers, as well as a road named Jalan Bugis.7 In the early days, Bugis traders unloaded cargoes from their sail boats at the Kallang Basin, where Tanjong Rhu is today.8

Key features
The Kallang River, which is the longest river in Singapore, flows from Peirce Reservoir to the coast at Nicoll Highway.9

One of the longest-standing landmarks in Kallang is the former Kallang Gasworks, with its distinctive appearance and gas odour.10

In the early 1930s, extensive filling and reclamation took place in Kallang for the construction of Singapore’s first international airport. Completed in 1937, the Kallang Airport was in operation for some 18 years. It was replaced by the Paya Lebar Airport, which opened in 1955. The former airport building and part of the premises subsequently became the headquarters of the People’s Association.11

In 1936, the Happy World (later renamed Gay World) amusement park opened in the area between Mountbatten and Geylang roads.12 Nicoll Highway, the first short cut from the East Coast to the city, was completed in 1956. Adjoining the highway is the Merdeka Bridge, which had two lions at both entrances to commemorate Singapore’s struggle for independence.13

Other prominent landmarks in Kallang were the National Stadium (1973)14 and the Singapore Indoor Stadium (1989).15

In 1987, pollution from industries and farming at the Kallang Basin was cleaned up for the development of Kallang Riverside Park, where water-skiing has become a popular activity.16

Variant names
“Kallang” could be a corruption of the Malay word kelang (meaning “mill” or “factory”), as there used to be many saw mills and rice mills in the area. It could also mean “a shipbuilding place”.17

Hokkien: ga lang kio, ka-lang kio (both meaning “Kallang bridge”) or hue-sia (“fire stronghold”.18

Cantonese: ka-lang kiu ( “Kallang bridge”) or mui-hai kuk ( “coal vapour office”).19

Tamil: kalang villakukhudu (“Kallang light cage”), referring to a landmark demolished in the late 1990s.20



Author

Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1993). Kallang planning area: Planning report 1993. Singapore: The Authority, pp. 4–7. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
2. Turnbull, C. M. (1989). A history of Singapore, 1819–1988. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 5. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
3. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 163. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
4. Turnbull, C. M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005. Singapore: NUS Press, p. 25. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
5. Turnbull, C. M. (1989). A history of Singapore, 1819–1988. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 5, 8. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])
6. Logan, J. R. (1847). Biduanda Kallang of the River Pulai in Johore [eBook]. Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia, 1, p. 299. Retrieved from World eBook Library via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg
7. Survey Department, Singapore. (1836). Map of the town and environs of Singapore [Survey map]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

8. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 163. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); The Bugis fleet arrives. (1936, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 499. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
10. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 163. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
11. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1993). Kallang planning area: Planning report 1993. Singapore: The Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 205. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
12. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 205. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
13. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1993). Kallang planning area: Planning report 1993. Singapore: The Authority, pp. 4–8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN); Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 205. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
14. Low, J. (2003, February 16). National Stadium to make way for sports centre. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Tan, E. S. (1989, October 26). New indoor stadium booked all the way up to 1994. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then & now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 205. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
17. Raja-Singam, S. D. (1939). Malayan street names: What they mean and whom they commemorate. Ipoh: The Mercantile Press, p. 112. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 RAJ)
18. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 198. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Firmstone, H. W. (1905, February). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42, pp. 100–101. (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
19. Firmstone, H. W. (1905, February). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42, pp. 100–101. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
20. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 163. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])



The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
City planning--Singapore
Streets and Places
Urbanization--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Geography>>Population>>Urban Planning
Arts>>Architecture>>Area planning
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Urban planning