The Singapore Story Process



How familiar are people with the streets of Singapore in which they use to locate themselves everyday?

With the conversations with my father, I realised that Singapore used to have totally different street names in which differed between the different generations. My father used to tell me stories of the different street names and how different places were named differently in the past.

Upon hearing the brief to this project, I was sparked to use these stories heard from my father to spark some interest of these road names in our current generation. If it was not for my father telling me about such street names, I might have not known about it in the first place.. Therefore, i felt like not everyone is as privileged as me to have heard this from their fathers.

I started to formulate some ideas that I could have used for my video:-

  • Using old photos of my family members
  • Using landmarks mentioned
  • Old living conditions

Topics considered:-

  • Places with interesting names[ e.g. Ang Sar Lee- Serangoon/ Ang Sai / Orh Sai]
  • WW2
  • Traditions in the past


Upon the first feedback session, I was told to narrow down my selections and I decided to narrow it to the street names mainly in the two main central areas of Singapore’s past – Big town and Small town.




I wanted to tackle the main issue in the diminishing roads of Singapore across generations and address how there’s a disconnection between the different generation in terms of road names. Yes, the roads are not literally diminishing but how we see the roads varies across generations and even though we are all talking about the very same roads, in our minds, in each generations, we are actually relating to different connections of the roads.




Big town aka Tua Poh covering the area around Singapore River( inclusive of Clarke Quay area).

Small town aka Sio Poh covers the area North of Stamford Canal Road.



Map of Small Town(Sio Poh)

Small town consists of 7 main little streets all travelling parallel from each other and are numbered accordingly:-

Second Road( Ji Bei Lor ) – Victoria Street

Third Road (Sa Bei Lor) – Queen Street

Fourth Road ( Si Bei Lor) – Waterloo Street

Fifth Road ( Gor Bei Lor) – Bencoolen Street

Sixth Road ( Lak Bei Lor) – Prinsep Street

Seventh Road ( Chit Bei Lor) – Selegie Road


From the interview with my parents, it is known that the streets are named according to how far they were from the Main Post Office. Each street is well-known by their numbers in the past.



Map of Big Town (Tua Poh)

For Big Town, I only wanted to concentrate on some still known areas:-

Front of Temple( Tua Lao Ya Gheng Tao) – Philip Street

Side of Stream/ One-sided street ( Tua Pi Goi) -North Canal Road

Top of Little Hill (Sua Kia Teng) – South Canal Road

Horse Carriage Road ( Bhe Tsai Gor) – Upper Circular Road

Behind 18 riverside merchant house( Tsap Poih Kai Au) – Circular Road


However, many of these streets were already forgotten or lost which is why the data cannot be sourced out.


V I D E O G R A P H Y 


Brief introductions

I started the video with a brief introduction on what I would be touching on at the start as I wanted my viewers to know what this video will be about. As it was hard to explain in visual form, I decided to do it in text instead. I used the typewriter effect to make it more nostalgic.



Sketch of Small Town
Sketch 2 of Small Town

I wanted to create a Marauder’s map effect to show the maps of Big Town and Small Town. After doing Small Town I realised that my video will be very long and extensive if I did on big town also. So i decided to just emphasize more on Small Town. To do the effects, I drew out a simple sketch of the area with the roads and scanned it. Then i edited it on Photoshop and used AfterEffects to edit the movements.

The flashing effects of the street signs were taken by me when I went to explore the area the first time to get some footage. I decided to include it in to show the contrast between the old(map) and the new(street signs).




I added this segment to show that my idea all stemmed from stories told by my parents in which I wanted to incorporate into my video to give a more story-like feel of a person reminiscing the old road names and the effect of them trying to remember the past. It was hard to include any footage in the video as they were distracted in doing other stuff and not being camera-ready so it was more of a chill setting where they would just talk to me like how they always did making the setting have a more natural feeling. Therefore, I decided that I should just add some footages that I took on my trip there and the audio of their voices.




After consultation, I was told that I should conduct an interview to further prove the disconnection between the generations in their knowledge of the roads. Therefore, I decided to do it by creating a ‘game’ as knowing the public, it would be hard to get them to tell any stories just by asking. So I hoped that by playing the game first, it would make them more comfortable and more in the zone to tell us some further information.

First look of the Interview Board
Final placement of the Interview Board
Interview Board with answers

I wanted to make this video an enriching video that would educate the viewers about the history of such roads and make their old names known again. I feel like such a topic is very interesting and it is also includes to the culture of Singapore that is solely unique to us. Thus it’s important for us Singaporeans to preserve such a heritage that our previous generations has passed down.

The Board consist of two maps, one being Small Town and the other Big Town. Below the maps are the names of the current street names. What the public have to do is to match up the names of the current and the previous-known street names. I decided to use magnetic strips so that it is much easier for them to paste it.

However, after the interview, I realised that because the old street names were in dialect, it was very hard to translate it on text. So majority of the interview I had to explain the names vocally in order for the elderly to understand what names we were trying to say.

I also want to credit Kai and Chris for helping me with my interviews and filming of interview! Kudos to them!



Upon researching, I realised that the information for Tua Poh is lacking and insubstantial. This is already a obvious indicator that such information is already starting to diminish in the minds of our local Singaporeans. Therefore I had no other choice but to concentrate more on Small Town as it was embedded more into the minds of the locals.

After doing this project it made me realise that there are many things that the older generations are unable to pass down to us like the names of these roads as it is not as relatable as it was in the past. But knowing this, I now understand why my grandmother would always say she wants to go ‘Si Bei Lor’ to go and pray. This made me feel a much stronger connection towards them as I am able to relate to where she wants to go and why it is named Si Bei Lor to her.

I had many difficulties while doing this project such as interviewing people. People would naturally think I was selling things to them as I was holding a huge cardboard. Initially I thought that the younger generation was hard to interview but I realised that the elderly were harder to interview as they do not understand that it is a school project or they would not want to be filmed on camera.

It was a pleasure to interview some helpful elderly that featured in my video! To me he was the most knowledgeable person that I managed to interview, really knowing all the streets clearly. I realised that to approach the elderly, you have to approach those that are doing nothing so that when you ask them about this kind of stuff, they are more than willing to share it with you.




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