Tras Street

Tras Street runs between Enggor Street and Cook Street. A portion of the street, from its junction with Wallich Street until its end at Cook Street, is a one-way road. It was extended in 1924 up to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital at Ang Siang Hill.1 It was named in 1898 after a Malaysian town called Tras,2 in accordance with an 1898 municipal resolution to “use names of rivers and districts in the Malay Peninsula as being better adapted to the naming of streets”.3 Tras Street lies in Chinatown and is a part of the Central Business District.

First built in 1829, the Hong San See Temple was once located at Tras Street.4 Hokkiens from the Nanan clan from Fujian, China frequented this temple.5 A road widening project in 1908 involving government acquisition of the temple’s site resulted in its relocation to Mohamed Sultan Road. Tras Street was also the site of the Chinese Kindergarten School located within Kindergarten Building, which was officially opened in 1927.6

Today, Tras Street is lined with many shophouses, many of which are 2- and 3-storey buildings.7 These shophouses, of which some are conserved pre-war buildings, are homes to shops, eateries, pubs, boutiques and offices. As part of the Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area, and located within the historic district of Chinatown, there are efforts underway to bring back the old charm of Chinatown to Tras Street. Vacant tracts of land and unrestored shophouses were sold in the 1990s, which resulted in a handful of commercial enterprises on the street today.8 Buildings found on the street include Lian Huat Building, Union Building, Hotel Amara Singapore, Sunshine Hotel and Maxwell House.

Variant names
Chinese names: Cho-su kong khau (Hokkien) and Cho-sz kong and zu shi gong kou (Cantonese), meaning “Mouth of the Cho Su Kong temple”,9 and a reference to the Hong San See Temple.


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Untitled. (1924, October 14). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who's Who Publications, p. 313. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
3. Firmstone, H. W. (1905, January). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 4, 136, 137. (Call no.: RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS)
4. Dhoraisingam, S. (2010). Singapore's heritage: Through places of historical interest. Singapore: Dhoraisingam S. Samuel, p. 346. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SAM-[HIS])
5. James, J. (2001, October 5). Work on oldest monastery completed. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Untitled. (1927, June 29). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 474. (Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
8. Rashiwala, K. (1994, September 22). Goei group clinches half of shophouses at URA auction. The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editioins, p. 387. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can 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.

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