Chai Chee (Chinese: 菜市), also known as Kampong Chai Chee, is a housing estate located in the town of Bedok in Singapore. The estate was named after a village known as Kampong Chai Chee which formerly occupied the vicinity. It is served by two major namesake roads, namely Chai Chee Street and Chai Chee Drive, with minor lanes of Chai Chee Road, Chai Chee Avenue and the original Jalan Chai Chee.
Before the estate was built, the area was primarily farmland over a series of rolling hills. The kampong, or village, was located on a high hill around where the Singapore Anti-tuberculosis Association Clinic now stands. Before, one needs to go downhill to reach the clinic. Today the clinic sits much higher than the surrounding areas after the hills were levelled.
Kampong Chai Chee
Kampong Chai Chee was formed in the 1920s as a Chinese village off old Upper Changi Road (then known as Changi Road). The village developed in the area around the former Peng Ann and Peng Ghee roads. A market serving the village used to exist at the junction of these two roads.
A 1971 article in The New Nation described Kampong Chai Chee as a large village spread over several hills and valleys. It consisted of mostly attap houses among tall coconut palms, set back off dusty roads.
Redevelopment as Chai Chee estate
When development began in the late 1960s, the estate was built originally with 40 blocks of flats, consisting mainly of rental units. It was the first Housing and Development Board estate to be built in the eastern part of Singapore. Community amenities were built, such as a market, food centre, shops, banks, library, community center, kindergarten and a bus terminus. To provide for employment, there were 3 factories built - Rollei Cameras, Varta Batteries and Nippon Miniature Bearing (NMB).
Chai Chee Estate quickly gained importance as it was then the only urban estate in the mainly rural part of eastern Singapore. In the early 1970s, the electoral division of Chai Chee stretched all the way southwards to Upper East Coast Road. This led to the naming of the school there as Chai Chee Secondary School, even though today that area is no longer part of Chai Chee Estate.
Educational institutions in Chai Chee include the East Coast Primary School, the Ping Yi Secondary School and the NPS International School.
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