Bukit Ho Swee

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Bukit Ho Swee
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 河水山
 • Pinyin Héshuĭshān
 • Hokkien POJ Hô-súi-san
 • Malay Bukit Ho Swee
Bukit Ho Swee is located in Singapore
Bukit Ho Swee
Bukit Ho Swee
Location of Bukit Ho Swee within Singapore
Coordinates: 1°17′16.5″N 103°49′43.4″E / 1.287917°N 103.828722°E / 1.287917; 103.828722Coordinates: 1°17′16.5″N 103°49′43.4″E / 1.287917°N 103.828722°E / 1.287917; 103.828722
Country  Singapore

Bukit Ho Swee is a small housing estate located in Bukit Merah, Singapore. The estate is located near Beo Crescent, Jalan Bukit Ho Swee and Taman Ho Swee.


Bukit Ho Swee got its name from Tay Ho Swee (1834- 1903), an influential Chinese opium and spirit farmer, timber merchant and ship owner.[1] He was also the son of Tay Han Leong, the first opium and spirit dealer in Singapore.[1] When Bukit Ho Swee got its official name in 1907, it was an area with many plank and attap houses.[1]


Bukit Ho Swee had a prominent Chinese community dating back to the days when Singapore was under British rule. Built over with wood frame huts with thatched roofs, it was an unplanned self-built township of about 20,000; although, like favelas everywhere, no census was ever taken. Its rabbit warren of narrow lanes, passable only to pedestrians, made it an ideal base for gangs who could escape police pursuit which was too dangerous.

A major fire, the Bukit Ho Swee Fire, broke out on 25 May 1961 and the wooden huts were completely destroyed. The recently constituted Housing and Development Board (HDB), moved in quickly to construct low-cost housing in the form of apartment blocks. Since these were easily patrolled by the police, gang power and influence waned.

As part of the HDB's plan to move locals out of squatters into "estates", a school was opened to serve the residents. Bukit Ho Swee Secondary School opened in 1967 and was located at Lower Delta Road. In 1991 it merged with the now defunct Tiong Bahru Secondary School (est. 1966), located several minutes' walk away.[2] The site is now occupied by PSB Academy Delta campus.


Bukit Ho Swee is now a residential estate and little remains of its chaotic past. Tiong Bahru MRT Station is the nearest MRT station. Nearby schools and educational institutions include Zhangde Primary School, Gan Eng Seng School, Henderson Secondary School, Outram Secondary School, PSB Academy and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

The entire Bukit Ho Swee town, and its neighbouring areas such as Delta Avenue estate and Indus Road is currently managed by Jalan Besar Town Council.


  1. ^ a b c Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2003), Toponymics – A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern Universities Press, ISBN 981-210-205-1
  2. ^ Bukit Ho Swee Secondary School (between 1961 and 1967)[permanent dead link]. NLB

Bukit Ho Swee today. From left to right: Hendersonville Housing Estate, Gan Eng Seng Secondary School and Bukit Ho Swee Housing Estate. River Valley lies in the background.