Ang Mo Kio

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Ang Mo Kio
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 宏茂桥
 • Pinyin Hóngmàoqiáo
 • Hokkien POJ Âng mô· kiô
 • Malay Ang Mo Kio
 • Tamil ஆங் மோ கியோ
Ang Mo Kio Planning Area locator map.png
Ang Mo Kio is located in Singapore
Ang Mo Kio
Ang Mo Kio
Location of Ang Mo Kio within Singapore
Coordinates: 1°22′12.6″N 103°50′44.23″E / 1.370167°N 103.8456194°E / 1.370167; 103.8456194Coordinates: 1°22′12.6″N 103°50′44.23″E / 1.370167°N 103.8456194°E / 1.370167; 103.8456194
Country Singapore
Aerial view of Ang Mo Kio Town Centre.
This photograph shows the Ang Mo Kio Town Centre in the foreground, and nearby HDB blocks in the background.

Ang Mo Kio (宏茂桥) is a new town situated to the north of Bishan, in central Singapore. Notable features of the neighbourhood include hawker centres, wet markets and HDB housing blocks. Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong is the Member of Parliament for this constituency. As an urban planning division, the Ang Mo Kio Planning Area lies within this region.[1]

The name of the locality is synonymous with phrases in the Hokkien dialect which either relates it as the "Red Tomato", or the "Bridge of the Caucasian". The Caucasian suggested could be a British Lady called Lady Jennifer Windsor. Lady Windsor was the wife of Lord Windsor, a wealthy merchant who had a huge estate in the Upper Thomson Area in the 1920s until after World War II. Ang Mo Kio could also have been named in reference to Mr John Turnbull Thomson, a British civil engineer and artist who played an instrumental role in the development of the early infrastructure of late 19th century Singapore and New Zealand. Old survey maps relate the area as the "Mukim of Ang Mo Kio" (Mukim meaning "area" or "precinct" in Malay).[2]

Origins[3][edit]

The present Ang Mo Kio area[4] remained largely uninhabited throughout the 19th century. Settlers were attracted to the area only around the start of the 20th century, as a result of the rubber boom. In the old maps of Singapore, much of the area was labelled as the Ang Mo Kio Forest Reserve with many plantation estates.

The village that sprang up with the clearing of the land took on the name "Ang Mo Kio". The immigrant Chinese, mostly Hokkiens were engaged in rubber-planting and tapping. Cheng San Village where Ang Mo Kio New Town now stands was once a huge rubber plantation. The 1922 to 1932 world slump in rubber prices made many tappers and labourers turn to pig and poultry farming or market gardening. During World War II when Singapore was occupied, more people moved to Ang Mo Kio to take up farming.

Lady Jennifer Windsor[edit]

Lady Windsor was linked to an unnamed crossing that bridged a stream running off the Peirce Reservoir. It suggested where the name "Ang Mo Kio" might have originated. An incident happened in 1923 when Lady Windsor lost 3 of her children; Harry, Paul and Angela. The 3 children were supposed to have visited a family friend staying in the Upper Thomson area, and were lost in the woods. It was later found that the 2 boys were playing by the wooden crossing when a sudden gush swept them away. Their bodies were found about 2 miles from the bridge. However, the body of Angela was never found.

It was said that locals started hearing cries of a little girl and that prompted Lady Windsor to stay by the bridge for the rest of her life. She told her close friends that she had heard her daughter voices by the bridge and she wanted to accompany her soul. Lady Windsor would spend the whole day by the bridge, reading or knitting. People soon got used to her perpetual presence by the bridge that they soon referred to the bridge as the "Red Hair Bridge"; which in its right sense should have been called "Lady Windsor Bridge".

Lady Windsor died in 1963 and it was only thereafter that locals no longer hear the voices of the little girl. Today, one could still see the disused bridge near the intersection of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Upper Thomson Road.

John Turnbull Thomson[edit]

John Turnbull Thomson(1821–1884) was responsible for building a bridge during the colonial days of Singapore, to facilitate logistic transportation to the nearby British military bases at Seletar until the British military withdrawal in the 1970s. After the bridge was completed, the locals often referred to it as Ang Mo Kio or "Caucasian Bridge" or "Red Hair Bridge", since it was built by a Caucasian; John Turnbull Thomson had a distinctive red-coloured hair. Nowadays, "Ang Mo" is a popular term to refer to Caucasians in Singapore.

The name "Thomson" was also used extensively in the naming of several roads in and around Ang Mo Kio. This above version of explanation is currently being listed at the Heritage Corridor in Deyi Secondary School located in Ang Mo Kio. The explanation is also more widely accepted by the local historians and listed in the National Library Board. The bridge, however, has no longer existed. It was, according to local historians, located at the junction of Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Upper Thomson Road. Little of the bridge built by Thomson remain.

Modern Day Developments[edit]

Development of the present Ang Mo Kio New Town[5] began in 1973,[6] and was the seventh New town to be built in Singapore. The early stage of construction took place by the Housing and Development Board under the Ministry of National Development, completed in 1980. The present 29 hectares (72 acres) self-contained town centre was built over an elongated valley formerly occupied by squatters. It has commercial offices, cultural and community facilities serving at least 200,000 residents.[citation needed]

The design of the town won the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Outstanding Buildings Award in 1983. The swimming complex at Avenue 1 also won the 1986 SIA Architectural Award for its unique "tetrahedral skylight" design. The first town to be designed in metric dimensions, it was the seventh housing estate town developed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).[citation needed]

Town Planning[edit]

Point blocks in Ang Mo Kio New Town.

The town has seven neighbourhoods, with Neighbourhood 1 to the west, and cycling in an anti-clockwise direction to Neighbourhood 6 to the north, and ending with Neighbourhood 7 for the town centre. The town centre is located in the heart of Ang Mo Kio and is sandwiched by two town gardens set on natural hillocks.

Following the norm from the 1970s, most of the flats are organised in 12-storey long blocks or 25-storey point blocks. In recent years, certain parts of the estate have been rebuilt as part of the long process of renewal. As a result, segments of higher blocks clustered together can be seen interleaved with the older blocks.[citation needed]

With Ang Mo Kio becoming an matured estate, several plots of residential land has been cleared up and sold to private developers for redevelopment. More and more private residential projects, like The Panorama Condo Singapore near the uncompleted Mayflower MRT and Centro Residences which is situated on the plot next to the Ang Mo Kio MRT Station, are being constructed as we start to rebuild the estate to cater to the needs of multi-generation families.

Transportation[7][edit]

Ang Mo Kio MRT Station mainly serves the New Town.

The town's road system utilises a hierarchy of road sizes by design: the major roads are referred to as "Avenues", and the local-access roads referred to as "Streets". The town's avenues are arranged in a grid-like pattern, with the streets filtering traffic from the avenues to the individual blocks. The town itself is served by the Central Expressway, providing a rapid link from the town to the rest of the island on the expressway network.

The town's road numbering system has the avenues in odd numbers generally running in an east-west direction originating from the south, while the even numbers run in a north-south direction counting from the west. Hence, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 runs along the south edge of the town to Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 in the north, while Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2 runs in a north-south direction to the west of the town, while Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 is located in the east. Street numberings are in two digits, with the first number corresponding to the neighbourhood it belongs to, while the second digit runs in numerical sequence.

Ang Mo Kio New Town was the first town to introduce this road numbering system, and it has since been replicated in other towns such as Hougang New Town, Jurong West New Town and Woodlands New Town. The newer towns such as Sengkang New Town and Punggol New Town no longer follows this system, however.

The town is well served by a multi-modal public transport system. Two Mass Rapid Transit stations serve the town, with Ang Mo Kio MRT Station at the centre of town, and Yio Chu Kang MRT Station serving the town's northern area. The Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange is directly linked to the Ang Mo Kio MRT Station via an underground pedestrian walkway, and provides feeder bus services from the MRT stations to each neighbourhood. Yio Chu Kang MRT Station is also served by bus services via the Yio Chu Kang Bus Terminal sited beside the station. Both the bus interchange and terminal offers trunk bus services to connect the town with the rest of the island, including a rapid connection to the city centre in the Central Area, as well as other financial and commercial districts in the central region of Singapore, including Shenton Way, Orchard Road, Marina Centre and Marine Parade.

Education[edit]

Ang Mo Kio St 52

Several preschools can be found in Ang Mo Kio including the Al-Muttaqin Mosque Kindergarten, childcare centres operated by NTUC, and also kindergartens managed under the PAP Community Foundation. Two special schools may also be found: Chaoyang School (APSN) which caters for children with mild intellectual disability aged 7–12 years old,[8] and Pathlight School with two campuses in Ang Mo Kio with a focus on autism.[9]

Mainstream Ministry of Education educational institutions based in Ang Mo Kio are as below:

Amenities[edit]

Administrative, legal, medical, religious, and social services catering towards the general public may also be found all over the Ang Mo Kio area, with a major community hospital Ang Mo Kio Thye Hua Kwan Hospital that offers rehabilitative care.[10] Recreational amenities include the Ang Mo Kio Park located on a hilly area surrounded by Avenues 4, 5, and 6 and alongside Mayflower estate, and also Bishan Park along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 which is frequented by people from both Ang Mo Kio and Bishan estates.

Several shopping malls are also found in Ang Mo Kio Central:

See also[edit]

References[edit]