Amoy Street, Singapore
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Amoy Street starts at its junction with Telok Ayer Street and McCallum Street and ends with its junction with Pekin Street, now a pedestrian mall. It is intersected by Boon Tat Street and Cross Street.
Etymology and history
The name Amoy is an English transliteration of the Zhangzhou pronunciation of the words 厦门 (pronounced Xiamen in Standard Mandarin and E-mng in Standard Hokkien.) The Zhangzhou Hokkien pronunciation was used instead of Standard Xiamen Hokkien because of the overwhelming numbers of Zhangzhou people who left Amoy (now Xiamen) in China to settle in Singapore through the city's port. Amoy Street is one of the old streets developed during the 1830s defining Chinatown under Stamford Raffles' 1822 Plan. It was listed in George Drumgoole Coleman's 1836 Map of Singapore as "Amoi Street", which was probably a reference to the many migrants who came from Amoy.
During the British colonial era, Amoy Street was noted for its opium smoking dens. The Chinese name for the street is based on landmarks in the area: it is called ma cho keng au in Hokkien (rear of the Ma Cho Temple), or kun yam miu hau kai in Cantonese (behind the Kun Yam temple), referring to the Thian Hock Keng Temple on Telok Ayer Street where both goddesses were worshipped.
Amoy Street was also known as ha mun kai in Cantonese, ha mun being the Cantonese pronunciation of the characters representing the name of the place Amoy.
The street was also known colloquially as Free School Street or ghi oh khau (front of the school) because the Cui Ying School was built here in 1854. It was in one of the shophouses here (Number 70) that the first Anglo-Chinese School was started on 1 March 1886. The shophouse has since been marked as a historic site.
- Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2004), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern University Press, ISBN 981-210-364-3
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