Pasir Panjang

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Pasir Panjang
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 巴西班让
 • Pinyin Bāxī Bānràng
 • Malay Pasir Panjang
 • Tamil பாசிர் பாஞ்சாங்
Pasir Panjang Village, along Pasir Panjang Road
Pasir Panjang Village, along Pasir Panjang Road
Country Singapore

Pasir Panjang is an area in the south-western part of Singapore. It is located at the southern part of the Queenstown Planning Area, an urban planning zone under the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Kent Ridge Park is a topographical feature which runs through Pasir Panjang.

Etymology[edit]

The name Pasir Panjang appears as "Passir Panjang" in 1851. The Malay word pasir panjang literally means "long sand", a reference to the long sandy beach that stretched along the coast in this area.

Pasir Panjang is known as hong heng sua in Hokkien, meaning "Hong Heng's plantation".

History[edit]

Pasir Panjang Road, which once hugged the coastline, was laid down as far as the Jurong River by John Turnbull Thomson by 1850. Thomson was Government Surveyor of Singapore from 1841 to 1853.

In 1910, the Government took over the opium industry and a state-owned factory was established at Pasir Panjang. In the 1920s, many of the wealthy Chinese built holiday and residential bungalows along the coast, some of which are still visible today in this area. In 1930, some of the Malay families from the Kallang River Basin area were resettled here when Kallang Airport was constructed. In 1957, the Malay settlement here became known as the West Coast Malay Settlement. Right up till the early 1960s, this area contained many Malay fishing villages.

Since the late 1960s, the whole length of the coast, from the Singapore River to Jurong, has been reclaimed for wharves, almost entirely devoted to containerisation. The coastal area at Pasir Panjang has also been extensively reclaimed for the Pasir Panjang Terminal of the Port of Singapore.

Battle of Pasir Panjang[edit]

From 13 to 15 February 1942, a decisive battle for Singapore in World War II was fought on the slopes of Pasir Panjang, now Kent Ridge Park.

The Japanese 18th Division, well-armed and heavily supported from the air, descended upon the ridge, determined to capture it from the Allied forces. Defending the ridge were the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Malay Regiment, the British Second Loyals Regiment, the Australian Bren-Gun Carriers and the 44th Indian Brigade. Although the Allied defences on Pasir Panjang Ridge outnumbered the Japanese, the attackers had more ammunition and were far more ruthless fighters.

The Allied forces put up a heroic show, especially Second Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi of the Malay Regiment who led the combined Allied forces in battle. The Allied forces fought the Japanese to the bitter end. When ammunition ran out, they took on the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat and did not give up even when they were down to their last few men.

The Japanese did everything they could to force a surrender, including creating a lethal oil fire in a drain that the soldiers had to cross to clear the ridge. Despite this, the brave Allied soldiers refused to abandon the ridge, preferably to die honourably than surrender. Two soldiers were burnt alive when they tried to cross the drain, while four others collapsed before they even got there.

Second Lieutenant Saidi, like a true hero, was one of the last defenders on the ridge. He was captured by the Japanese and bayoneted to death. On 14 February 1942, the Japanese won Pasir Panjang Ridge. The following day, the British surrendered.

Highlights[edit]

Pasir Panjang Road[edit]

Main article: Pasir Panjang Road

Pasir Panjang Pillbox[edit]

Main article: Pasir Panjang Pillbox
Pasir Panjang Pillbox

Pasir Panjang Pillbox is a concrete machine-gun pillbox built before the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Singapore and sits beside Pasir Panjang Road. During the war, it was on the coast; however, due to post war land reclamation, it is now .75km from the sea.

Pasir Panjang Terminal[edit]

PSA Vista building at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

In 1993, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), now corporatised as PSA International, started constructing a new container terminal at Pasir Panjang, the Pasir Panjang Terminal. The terminal is located approximately 7 km west of the company's other container terminals at Keppel Harbour. This new, S$7 billion terminal, represents an immense expansion of PSA's container port. When fully completed in 2009, it is expected to raise PSA's container handling capacity by a further 18 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per year. The terminal's first four berths, of the planned 26, opened in 1998, with two more berths becoming operational by the time of the terminal's official opening in March 2000.

Old Pasir Panjang Police Sub-station[edit]

In 1986, the old Singapore Police Force Pasir Panjang Police Sub-station was vacated after almost 4 decades of service, its duty and areas of jurisdiction taken over by Pasir Panjang NPP and West Coast NPP respectively. Originally constructed in 1950, its location near the crossroad junction of Clementi Road, Pasir Panjang Road and West Coast Road provided the local residents of the many Malay kampungs dotted around the road and area with the security of a police presence. The old building was torn down in 1991 and the land leveled. The site is now a new condominium apartment - The Spectrum, which is built directly over the old police building and the surrounding land.

References[edit]

  • Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2003), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern Universities Press, ISBN 981-210-205-1
  • Norman Edwards, Peter Keys (1996), Singapore - A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, Times Books International, ISBN 9971-65-231-5
  • National Heritage Board (2002), Singapore's 100 Historic Places, Archipelago Press, ISBN 981-4068-23-3

External links[edit]