Ang Mo Kio


Ang Mo Kio is located within the north-eastern region. The name Ang Mo Kio which in Hokkien literally translates as "red-haired man's bridge", where ang mo was a colloqial term for a Caucasian person. Development of Ang Mo Kio as we know it today began in 1973 and was completed in 1980. The present 29 ha self-contained town centre was built over an elongated valley formerly occupied by squatters. It has commercial offices, cultural and community facilities serving at least 200,000 residents. The design of the town won the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Outstanding Buildings Award in 1983.

History
The area remained largely uninhabited throughout the 19th century. Settlers, were attracted to the area only around the turn of the century, as a result of the rubber boom. In the old maps of Singapore, much of the area was labelled as the Ang Mo Kio Forest Reserve with many plantation estates. The name Ang Mo Kio which in Hokkien literally translates as "red-haired man's bridge", where ang mo was a colloqial term for a caucasian person. It pointed to John Turnbull's bridge over the Kallang River near what is now the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. The village that sprang up with the clearing of the land took on the name "Ang Mo Kio". The immigrant Chinese, mostly Hokkiens were engaged in rubber-planting and tapping. Cheng San Village where Ang Mo Kio New Town now stands was once a huge rubber plantation. The 1922 to 1932 world slump in rubber prices made many tappers and labourers turn to pig and poultry farming or market gardening. During World War II when Singapore was occupied, more people moved to Ang Mo Kio to take up farming.

Development of Ang Mo Kio as we know it today began in 1973 and was completed in 1980. The present 29 ha self-contained town centre was built over an elongated valley formerly occupied by squatters. It has commercial offices, cultural and community facilities serving at least 200,000 residents.

Key Features
The design of the town won the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Outstanding Buildings Award in 1983. The swimming complex at Avenue 1 also won the 1986 SIA Architectural Award for its unique "tetrahedral skylight" design. The first town to be designed in metric dimensions, it was the seventh housing estate town developed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Two MRT train stations, Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio, with a nearby bus-interchange make travel to and from this location very convenient. The cluster of villages became a well-planned new town in less than a decade.

Variant Names
Origins of Name: Literally translated, Ang Mo Kio means "red-haired man's bridge" in Hokkien.



Author
Vernon Cornelius



References 
Brazil, David. (1991). Street smart: Singapore (p. 149). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 BRA) 

Brenda S. A. & Lily K. (Eds.). (1995). Portraits of places: History, community and identity in Singapore (pp. 164-166). Singapore: Times Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 POR)

Hall-Jones, John. (1979). An early surveyor in Singapore: John Turnbull Thomson in Singapore, 1841-1853. Singapore: National Museum.
(Call no.: RSING 925 THO)

Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore). (1996).
Ang Mo Kio planning area: Planning report 1996. (pp. 6, 8, 22). Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority.
(Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
 



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
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Urbanization--Singapore
Street names--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Arts>>Architecture>>Residential buildings

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