by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala
Haig Road connects Geylang Road and East Coast Road. The road is named after Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Bemersyde, the commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force in France from 1915 to 1918. Located in Katong, the road used to be part of the former Kampong Serani.
History and landmarks
Haig Road was named after Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Bemersyde, who won the war of attrition for the British and worked to better the lives of wounded and retired servicemen.1 Haig Road and Still Road once straddled the Confederate Estate, which was owned by Chew Joo Chiat. The road was thus part of a large coconut plantation, for which the estate was known.2 Haig Road also used to be part of Kampong Amber. The road continues as Amber Road after its junction with East Coast Road.3
Around the 1950s, an increasing number of Eurasians moved to live along Haig Road and the place became known as Kampong Serani (“Eurasian Village” in Malay). Kampong Serani consisted of little wooden terrace houses set in three rows, making up three sides of a rectangle. The fourth side was a mansion where the landowner of the kampong lived, segregated from the rest of the village. Kampong Serani soon became a landmark to taxi drivers and trishaw riders. The Serani residents were said to have shared a tight communal bond strengthened by their activities together. With the development of public housing flats in Singapore, residents moved out of the kampong gradually.4
Haig Road was also home to colonial government quarters. During the Japanese Occupation (1942–45), these buildings were used as social sites by the Japanese soldiers.5
From a seaside suburb, Haig Road developed into a traditional low-rise residential area. Its landscape changed dramatically after land reclamation works, which led to the creation of East Coast Park, a manmade lagoon and a small jetty. Condominiums and luxury chalets were also developed in the area.6
Due to their proximity, Haig Road also shares the excitement of the Geylang Serai bazaar. During the Hari Raya Puasa festive season, the bazaar bustles with stalls selling clothes, shoes and food.7
In 1995, Dunman High School moved to a site near the junction of border of Dunman Road and Haig Road. In its place now stands Tanjong Katong Secondary School.8 Other landmarks found along Haig Road include Geylang Serai Community Club and Tanjong Katong Primary School.9
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
1. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Publications, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
2. Kong, L., & Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Archipelago Press, p. 39. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS])
3. Survey Department, Singapore. (1961). Singapore 1961: Katong [Map accession no.: SP001506_6]; Survey Department, Singapore. (1933). Geylang Mukim (Geylang Mukim) and Siglap Mukim [Map accession no.: SP005925]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
4. Braga-Blake, M., & Ebert-Oehlers, A. (Eds.). (1992). Singapore Eurasians: Memories and hopes. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 62–65. (Call no.: RSING 305.80405957 SIN); Kong, L., & Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Archipelago Press, pp. 33, 39, 43, 49. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS]); Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions. pp. 142–143. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
5. Kong, L., & Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Archipelago Press, p. 43. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS])
6. Kong, L., & Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Archipelago Press, pp. 58–63. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS]); Loh, K. F. (2000, April 30). The lure of Tanjong Katong. The Straits Times, pp. 1, 6; Ho, K. (2002, July 8). New kids on the block. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Hari Raya light-up. (1998, January 12). The Straits Times, p. 28; Geylang Serai countdown. (2005, November 1). Today, p. 25; Bright lights, Geylang city. (2008, September 12). Today, p. 74. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Ciao Leonardo, hi Tanjong Katong. (1996, December 6). The Straits Times, p. 9; Saying goodbye in a unique way. (1994, December 4). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Survey Department, Singapore. (1970). Singapore. instrumental plot – Geylang and Katong [Map accession no.: TM000878]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
9. Mighty Minds Singapore street directory. (2015). Singapore: Mighty Minds Pub., pp. 113, 113A. (Call no.: RSING q912.5957 MMSSD)
Lee, K. L. (1968). Haig Road – general view  [Photograph] [Online]. Retrieved from PictureSG.
Lee, K. L. (1992). Haig Road no. 129: exterior  [Photograph] [Online]. Retrieved from PictureSG.
The information in this article is valid as at 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.