Nun Walking, Tiong Bahru


Tiong Bahru is one of the old public housing estates in Singapore. The flats were built in the 1930s by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), the precursor to the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

I like etymology and toponymics (look them up) so here goes: Tiong Bahru means “New Cemetery” (thióng 塚 – Hokkien for cemetery, bahru – Malay for new). Pretty cool, eh, that a place can be named after two languages? The reason for the name was that until the 1920s, there were a few cemeteries in the area. The graves were exhumed about 1925.

Today, loads of cafes, restaurant and even an independent bookstore has emigrated to Tiong Bahru mingling comfortably with the old coffeeshops.

Here a nun walks past the old cemetery stomping ground. I wonder if she was walking where some person was buried. God rest his or her soul.

 

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