A Visit to a Malay Heritage District
Kampong Glam in Singapore is sometimes known as the Malay Quarter. Historically this seaside district was home to many ethnic Malays. The ancient Bugis seafarers and traders also set up villages here. Until today, Kampong Glam still retains strong ties to the ethnic-Malay and Muslim community.
The word 'kampong' means 'village' in the Malay language. 'Glam' refers to the Gelam tree (eucalyptus) that used to grow in abundance in this vicinity. The bark of the tree was used by the villagers to caulk boats.
The architecture of the shophouses in the neighborhood still retains much of the rustic and relaxed atmosphere of the old Malay village.
This stately mansion used to be the palace (istana) of a sultan.
Prior to Singapore's colonisation by the British in 1819, the Kampong Glam area was home to the Malay aristocracy of Singapore. It became prominent and more populous after the signing of a treaty between the British East India Company, Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor and Temenggong Abdul Rahman in 1819. The company was given the right to set up a trading post in Singapore under this treaty.
This is the Sultan Mosque, built under the instruction of the sultan. The original mosque built in 1824 was replaced with this much larger one in 1924, when the Muslim population of the district expanded.
The mosque with its beautiful architecture is considered one of the most important mosques in Singapore. It was gazetted as a national monument on 14 March 1975.
The Congkak is a traditional Malay game, the way it's played is somewhat like the Mancala of african origin. Such traditional games and toys can be found in a few shops in Kampong Glam.
Other interesting artefacts that can be seen here ..
And don't forget to try the delicious ethnic foods here!
Delicious and spicy ~
Photo credits: Joanne Zheng.