Amidst the hustle-bustle of modernity, our nostalgia keeps the past alive and revives the age-old tradition of storytelling in passing on cherished values to the next generation. — Foreword by Goh Chok Tong
In 1914, Tai Seng Village began to grow and flourish. It bore witness to 85 years of history, four generations growing up, and 1,500 families who call it home.
Once Upon A Tai Seng Village carries colourful memories from Tai Seng’s former residents. Compiled into a coffee table book, it narrates personal stories about the kampong spirit and growing up amidst the daily challenges and turbulent changes of a new and emerging nation as witnessed by the remarkable people of Tai Seng Village. This title is sponsored by the Singapore Memory Project as part of the Singapore50 celebrations.
Tai Seng was originally known as Charn Mau Hern, which is lemongrass farm in Teochew. In 1917, the co-author’s grandfather Ang Young Huat invested in a rubber plantation and named it Tai Seng Rubber Factory. It created many jobs and the village flourished. The road and village were named after the factory for its contribution to the community.
In the early years, Tai Seng village was under the administration of Bedok Rural District which had amenities like Ang Clan Association, Pai Chin School (renamed as Hong San School), Hong San Temple, market place and police post.
Criminal activities proliferated in Kampong Tai Seng due to the presence of Chinese secret societies and the large number of poverty-stricken people.
The development of Tai Seng started with the opening of Paya Lebar Airport in 1955 which was relocated to Changi in 1981.
The resettlement of Lorong Tai Seng residents in 1970s changed the face of Tai Seng Lane (Dacheng Lane), and now it has become an industrial zone for many international companies. DHL was the first multinational company to set up its warehouse and office in the Tai Seng Industrial Estate.
Much has changed and today the only surviving memory that still stands at Tai Seng Village is the century-old Hong San temple. But what hasn’t changed is its industrious spirit from which it first got its name.