At the intersection of Lorong 19 Geylang and Lorong Bachok stands this shophouse from 1929. #HEREitage
It’s built in the late shophouse style (1900-1940s), which is known for eclectic designs. Think decorative exteriors and ornamentation such as brightly-coloured ceramic tiles, festoons, and plaques. Late shophouses also famously mix cultural influences, with Chinese porcelain-chip friezes alongside Malay timber fretwork, French windows framed by Portuguese shutters, and Corinthian pillars throughout.
But take a closer look at this one — there’s even more to discover. It’s covered in rich floral and animal plasterwork, with tile design that mixes aesthetic sensibilities. The naturalistic imagery in the ceramic wall tiles is typical of Peranakan influence, while the geometric patterns in the floor tiles are more prevalent in Anglo-American cultures.
Along the perimeter of the shophouse, there are panels depicting scenes from Chinese tales, such as Hou Yi, a mythical archer who shoots down nine of the ten suns. And on the front pillars are Sikh guards moulded on relief, created to watch over the building. This replaces the traditional “door gods” of Chinese culture, gesturing too to the broader connections between the Chinese and Sikh communities.
In Singapore, the threads of our varied histories are woven together, in ways that may seem chaotic at first glance. But it’s a confluence of influences that’s distinctly ours. Whatever the metaphor we use to think about ourselves (rojak, potpourri, or late-style shophouse), it comes back time and again how it’s all in the details. For it’s here that connections are thrown into sharp relief (literally), and the uniqueness of every brick, tile, or individual is highlighted and celebrated. #SGinHarmony