One is in the furthest north, one in the deepest south. Both have connections to the sea and have great food. We will be getting to know Chong Pang and Telok Blangah better over the next few years. Here are 10 things we have found out so far.
This area used to be a rubber estate named Westhill Estate. It was renamed to honour Lim Chong Pang, a prominent businessman and a long-serving public servant. Lim was the son of rubber tycoon Lim Nee Soon (yes, Yishun is named after him).
Chong Pang City is known for its two distinctive Chinese-style gateways. These were comissioned in 1992 by the Chong Pang City Merchants’ and Hawkers’ Association, who wanted to create some buzz for their neighbourhood.
Chong Pang has a Sister City in China — Xindu in Chengdu. The statue depicting a mother panda and her baby panda at the entrance of Chong Pang Garden is a gift from this city, which in return has a Merlion statue gifted by Chong Pang. Another landmark is the statue that depicts a farmer toiling in the field, a nod to the neighbourhood’s agricultural past.
In 1938, a British Naval Base was constructed outside the former Chong Pang Village, which provided employment for the villagers until it closed in the 1970s. A focal point of this demolished neighbourhood was the Sultan Theatre, which was owned by Lim Chong Pang.
Today’s Chong Pang boasts a lively Chong Pang Market & Food Centre, often lauded by foodies for its tasty offerings. The nasi lemak, braised duck and white beehoon seem to come highly recommended, but honestly, everything looks pretty good.
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There are some differing theories as to how Telok Blangah got its name. Telok means “bay” in Malay, a reference to the neighbouring Keppel bay. According to Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics, “blanga” could refer to a clay cooking pot used by the southern Indians, and used here to describe the shape of the bay. Or, “blangah” could also refer to the Malay word for ‘bowl’ or ‘stopping place’. This would make sense as Telok Blangah was a port of call for Bugis traders during the monsoon season in the 1800s.
This area is rich in history. According to the Sejarah Melayu (the Malay Annals), 13th-century Palembang prince Sang Nila Utama landed on Telok Blangah beach when he first set foot on Singapore, which was then known as Temasek.
There are a couple of famous landmarks in the neighbourhood, including Mount Faber (formerly known as Telok Blangah Hill), a longstanding hotspot for courting couples; and the undulating Henderson Waves, which is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and possibly the most beautiful one.
The nearby Southern Ridges trail is popular with bird-watchers, and Telok Blangah also has some well-regarded shops that sell song birds.
Telok Blangah Crescent Market is very popular with residents and food-lovers alike, and is known for its porridge, curry rice, char kway teow, and lots of other local favourites.
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