Telok Kurau Road



Singapore Infopedia

by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala

Background

Telok Kurau Road connects Changi Road to Marine Parade Road. Named after a fishing village called Telok Kurau on East Coast Road, the road has been a popular middle-class residential district since the 1960s.1

History
The word telok kurau is Malay for “mango fish bay” – telok means “bay” and kurau is “mango fish”.2 Before kampongs were phased out by the 1980s, a Malay village known as Telok Kurau used to be located on East Coast Road.3


In the pre-war days, it was common to see Indians in Telok Kurau. They reared cows, leading the animals about freely on public roads. The cows were led from one house to another and milked whenever someone wanted to buy milk.4

Telok Kurau Primary School, formerly called the Telok Kurau English School, was established in 1926. Originally a two-storey wooden building set in the middle of a coconut plantation,5 it shared the same football field with the Telok Kurau Malay School which lay in the adjacent compound.6 During the Japanese Occupation (1942–45), the school was used as a screening centre for the Japanese military’s Sook Ching massacre.7

Later in 1950, the road also had its share of violence during the Maria Hertogh riots.8

Description
Since the 1960s, Telok Kurau has been a sleepy and tranquil suburbia in Katong, known mostly as a middle-class residential enclave. The suburb roughly covers Telok Kurau Road, which is intersected by several smaller roads: Lorongs G, H, J, K, L, M and N Telok Kurau; Jalan Baiduri; St Patrick’s Road; Joo Chiat Avenue; and Joo Chiat Place. The charm of this area has been attributed to the presence of unimposing buildings: a mix of modest bungalows, terrace and semidetached houses as well as low-rise apartments that exist among coffeeshops and small businesses. Despite the thronging urban development in nearby Katong, the Telok Kurau area has managed to retain its charm.9

Since the 1990s, new housing projects have altered the landscape of Telok Kurau, though not drastically. Low-rise buildings still dominate the landscape, with few tall condominiums in the area. New semidetached houses have sprung up and, together with freshly painted terrace houses, they constitute a notable feature in the changing landscape of Telok Kurau.10



Author

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References 
1. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 380 (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Eunice Low, et al., Life in Katong (Singapore: National Library Board, 2002), 19. (Call no. RCLOS q959.57 LIF-[HIS])
2. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 380.
3. Lily Kong and T. C Chang, Joo Chiat: A Living Legacy (Singapore: Archipelago Press, 2001), 49 (Call no. RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS]); Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 307. (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-HIS])
4. Kong and Chang, Joo Chiat, 73. 
5. Tracy Quek, “SM Lee Returns to Bid Farewell to Old School,” Straits Times, 6 December 2000, 2 (From NewspaperSG); Kong and Chang, Joo Chiat, 127.
6. “I Grew Up Completely at Ease with Malays,” Straits Times, 30 September 2003, 17. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Kong and Chang, Joo Chiat, 127.
8. “Police Make 700 Riot Arrests,” Straits Times, 15 December 1950, 1 (From NewspaperSG); Low, et al., Life in Katong, 9.
9. Lisa Kong, “New Telok Kurau,” Straits Times, 5 December 1992, 14 (From NewspaperSG); Kong and Chang, Joo Chiat, 25.
10. Kong, “New Telok Kurau.” 



Further resources
Chua Chong Jin, “It’s Off to Market for Fresh Lessons,” Straits Times, 26 October 1989, 25. (From NewspaperSG)

Mary Rose Gasmier, “A Multi-Faceted View of…,”  Straits Times, 22 December 1992, 4. (From NewspaperSG)



The information in this article is valid as at May 2020 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.


Rights Statement

The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

More to Explore

Beach Road Police Station

ARTICLE

The Beach Road Police Station was built by the colonial government in the early 1930s. Part of the expansion plans of the local police force during that period, the station was one of many built in the city area and it had remained operational until 2001. The colonial-style building was...

Finlayson Green

ARTICLE

Finlayson Green is the name of both a traffic island (a small raised area on a road which provides a safe place for pedestrians to stand, and acts as a divider that channels traffic flow) and a street in the Central Business District. The green lung served as a road...

Beaulieu House

ARTICLE

Beaulieu House is located at 117 Beaulieu Road, within the grounds of what is now Sembawang Park. Built sometime in the 1910s, the house was believed to have been owned by a Jewish family by the name of David, before the building and the surrounding land were acquired by the...

Pinnacle@Duxton

ARTICLE

Pinnacle@Duxton is a public housing project at 1A Cantonment Road. It is the first 50-storey public housing project in Singapore, and also the first in the world with two sky bridges linking seven towers. The sky bridges create two layers of sky parks that offer panoramic views of the city....

History of urban planning in Singapore

ARTICLE

Urban planning in Singapore began in the 1820s when Stamford Raffles implemented a land-use plan later known as the Raffles Town Plan. However, for most of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Singapore’s physical growth was haphazard and largely unregulated. It was only in the...

Former Asia Insurance Building (Ascott Raffles Place)

ARTICLE

The former Asia Insurance Building is located at 2 Finlayson Green. With 18 storeys rising above a double-volume ground floor, it was once the tallest building in Southeast Asia at a height of 270 ft (82 m). Designed by one of Singapore’s pioneer architects, Ng Keng Siang, the office building...

Mountbatten Estate

ARTICLE

Mountbatten Estate is one of the five subzones in the Marine Parade area within Singapore’s Central Region. It spans a total area of 161 ha. It was named after Lord Louis Mountbatten, who later became Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Today, Mountbatten Estate is described as an area with a mix...

Development guide plans

ARTICLE

Development guide plans (DGPs) are detailed short- to medium-term land-use plans completed between 1993 and 1998 as part of a comprehensive review of the Master Plan 1985. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the national land-use planning agency, divided Singapore into 55 planning areas and drew up a DGP for each...

Joseph Aaron Elias

ARTICLE

Joseph Aaron Elias (b. 1881, Calcutta, India–d. 16 July 1949, Singapore), also known as Joe Elias, was a successful entrepreneur and well-known personality in Singapore’s Jewish community. He held offices as a justice of peace and municipal commissioner of Singapore. Elias Road and Amber Road were named after his family....

Singapore Civil Defence Force

ARTICLE

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is a uniformed organisation that provides emergency services to the nation both during peacetime and under crisis. It serves not only as a fire-fighting authority, but also provides first-aid and rescue services, and acts as an educator on fire safety procedures. ...