Sunday, July 14, 2013

Prewar buildings in Singapore and Malaysia

At first glance, I thought this is in Kuala Lumpur but it is not. It's a corner coffeeshop in Keong Saik Road in Singapore. I was mistaken because there are coffeeshops like this here in Kuala Lumpur. As a matter of fact, KL and Singapore share the same history of immigrant Chinese coolies arriving on these shores and the lifestyle and types of building styles that emerged from those early days.

Today, this type of buildings can still be found in Malaysia, even in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, in Chinatown. There is a pub (don't remember the name) in Jalan Tun H S Lee formerly known as Jalan Bandar and prior to that High Street, that looks quite like the outfit in the picture. Customers sit at the five-foot way on high chairs at the bar. There is live music at this bar popular with foreign tourists, mostly Caucasians, I noticed. Worth checking out if you are in this part of town.

This building in the image dates back to prewar 1939 and the coffeeshop/cafe business in this premise has been around for four generations.

FOR about 75 years, Tong Ah Eating House has stood out in Keong Saik Road for its distinctive red-and-white facade and shape as it sits on a triangular plot of land.

But from tomorrow, this old-school coffee shop will head out to a new shophouse, even if it is just a few doors down the same road. More..Pre-war coffee shop moving out


  1. I stayed in a boutique hotel at Keong Saik Road for quite a number of times when I used to go to Singapore for business when I was still with my previous company.. no wonder this view of the building looks so familiar to me, hehe..

    1. What a coincidence! It must have been near your place of work then.