Boon Tat Street

Boon Tat Street is a one-way street located in the Central Business District (CBD).1 It connects Amoy Street to the junction of Shenton Way and Raffles Quay.2 The street was named in 1945 after Ong Boon Tat (b. 1888–d. 1941), a Singapore-born businessman and former Municipal Commissioner.3

Originally called Japan Street, Boon Tat Street was the first street to be renamed after the Japanese Occupation (1942–45). It was named after Ong Boon Tat, a former municipal commissioner and businessman who owned New World Park, an amusement park, in Jalan Besar, as well as some brickworks, sawmills and rubber estates.4

From the direction of Amoy Street, the first landmark on Boon Tat Street is Telok Ayer Green Park, located at the junction of Telok Ayer Street and Boon Tat Street.5 Next to the park is the Nagore Dargah, a shrine and national monument, built between 1828 and 1830.6 Other prominent landmarks include Cecil Court, a commercial building built in 1984,7 and the Octagon, which was built in 1982;8 both located at the junction of Cecil Street and Boon Tat Street.9

The 26-storey high Octagon, a prominent landmark along the street, is a fully double-glazed, octagon-shaped office building, housing a banquet hall and three penthouse apartments at its top floor.10 Other notable commercial buildings on Boon Tat Street include The Globe, Tong Eng Building and the SGX Centre (Singapore Exchange).11

Lau Pa Sat, an eatery formerly called the Telok Ayer Market,12 is located at the end of Boon Tat street.13 The market was dismantled for Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) construction work during the 1980s. About 3,000 individual pieces were electronically tagged, and stored for restoration. Restoration was completed in 198914 and Lau Pa Sat was reopened on 7 February 1992.15 The presence of Lau Pa Sat and the neighbouring food vendors have made this street a popular food alley.16

Variant names
Chinese name: Ma-cho kiong pi (Hokkien), meaning “beside the ma-cho temple”, a reference to the Thian Hock Keng Temple17 near the start of the street.18

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja & Sharen Chua

1. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2014), 5. (Call no. RSING q912.6967 MMSD-[DIR])
2. Norman Edwards and Keys Peter, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 410, 453, 509. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
3. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 44 (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Song Ong Siang, One Hundred Years' History of the Chinese in Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1984), 99. (Call no. RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
4. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 44; Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 25 (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); Tan Bee Choo, Street Names in Selected Areas of Singapore: A Study in Historical Geography ([Singapore], 1976–1977), 31. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 TAN-[HIS])
5. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D; “Ann Siang Hill Park & Telok Ayer Green - Pioneers Trail,” National Parks Board, accessed 26 September 2016.
6. Christopher Hooi, National Monuments of Singapore (Singapore: National Museum, 1982), 20–21. (Call no. RSING 722.4095957 NAT)
7. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 447.
8. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 431.
9. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D.
10. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 431.
11. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D.
12. “Boon Tat St Stalls Return,” Straits Times, 28 February 1992, 25; Lisa Lee, “Rejuvenating Old Market,” Business Times, 17 February 1986, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 410.
14. “168 Years of Singapore History Wrapped Up in an Octagonal Structure,” Straits Times, 16 March 1990, 25. (From NewspaperSG)
15. “Standing Room Only as Crowds Throng Re-Opened Lau Pa Sat,” Straits Times, 8 February 1992, 19. (From NewspaperSG)
16. “Boon Tat St Stalls Return,” Straits Times, 28 February 1992, 25. (From NewspaperSG)
17. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 17, 44.
18. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 410.

Further resources 

Nirmal Ghosh, “Market Melange,” Business Times, 15 February 1992, 24. (From NewspaperSG)

Temporary Closure of Boon Tat St, Straits Times, 15 December 1991, 28. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as at 26 September 2016 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.

National monuments
Street names--Singapore
City planning--Singapore
Streets and Places