Monday, 24 August 2015

Singapore's old gables IV

The gables of the House of Tan Yeok Nee (1885) at the corner of Penang Road and Clemenceau Avenue are among some of the oldest in Singapore which are well preserved. (Another old building with beautiful gables, is the old Thong Chai Medical Institution (1892) at Eu Tong Sen Street.. See

Picture above  and the close up on the left shows gable along the front of the building. The picture below shows the gable found at the side of the building. 

Beautifully preserved, the building used to belong to a businessman from China, Mr Tan Yeok Nee. Built in 1885, the building is now a national monument.  

 The building is typical of Teochew-style residential buildings, with many features representing the five elements that contribute to the balance of Yin and Yang,. The gable end with its serrated ends. seems to depict the fire element, if I am not mistaken.

All pictures in this post taken on 22 August 2015. 

Knock, knock, who's there?

The building has seen many occupants -- and weathered many upheavals through the ages, including the Japanese Occupation.  After the Tan family moved out in 1902, it was once acquired by the Tank Road Station master, then the Anglican Church which used it as a the St Mary's Home and School for Eurasian Girls (1912), and then the Salvation Army (from 1938 with a break during the World War II when the house was very badly damaged, till 1991 when the Salvation Army HQ was moved to Bishan). It was then sold to the Cockpit Hotel and later, the Wing Tai Group. After a very comprehensive renovation, it was leased out to the Chicago Booth School of Business, the lease of which expired this year, with the graduation of the last cohort.

This gable belongs to Tong Sian Tng Temple at Devonshire Road.  It has very pretty motifs (like embroideries) decorating its slopes. Reminds me of a very delicate doily (one which you would use to serve a specially-baked cake).  This gable is just one of the building's many, and one which you can only see after entering its courtyard. About the temple, it was completed in 1870 and is also a teochew-styled building. According to one blogger, it was "super good" fengshui to visit it on 8 Feb, 2015. Anyone visited it on the date? :)

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