Tanjong Pagar: Their Views, Our Lenses by River Valley High School

A picture speaks a thousand words - be it the history, architecture or culture. Tanjong Pagar: Their Views, Our Lenses will show you how three Secondary 4 students from River Valley High School view Tanjong Pagar. From this photo essay, we hope photographs taken from our perspective will showcase how the landmarks in Tanjong Pagar and its surroundings continue to be of interest to both young and old. 


Tanjong Pagar houses both historical and modern buildings, and hold the stories of many Singaporeans, past and present. During our walk throughout Tanjong Pagar, we encountered people from all walks of life - from tourists and working adults to the elderly congregating together and conversing with each other – part of the hustle and bustle in the heart of Tanjong Pagar. We are fond of hearing the daily chatters of people in the street to the sounds of zooming vehicles. We can even smell the aroma of local delicacies such as the famous oyster pancake from Maxwell Food Centre! Tanjong Pagar also provided an enriching experience for us through the appreciation of the different buildings, such as the Pinnacle @ Duxton. Standing at the site of Singapore’s first HDB flats, the Pinnacle is now one of Singapore’s most creative block of HDB flats. Tanjong Pagar allowed us to reflect and better appreciate Singapore – through the different builds and architecture around us and also our local delicacies. Here are some key spots that are of interest to us. 


Maxwell Road Food Centre


We really enjoyed the trips to Maxwell Road Food Centre because of the huge variety of food available there - bubble tea, oyster pancakes, ngoh hiang - you name it, they have it! Maxwell Food Centre has a rich history of being a wet market with a government co-operative store during the Japanese Occupation and now, is a popular hawker centre in the Central Business District. It was voted Singapore’s favourite hawker centre in 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of City Hawker Food Hunt. Maxwell Food Centre has definitely left many sentiments for many of us, especially the foodies.


Jinriksha Station


Just right across the road, we can see Jinrikisha Station. We were quite attracted to it because of its odd v-shaped design, pretty architecture and warm colours that coat the building. This meant that aesthetically appealing photographs can be taken here! Being part of the Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area, the Jinrikisha Station has been well preserved to look just like it did when it was first built in 1903. At that time, Jinrikisha Station was a rickshaw depot that house hundreds of rickshaw pullers a day. Today, Jinrikisha upholds its values of hard work and resilience and continues to stand tall as a significant site in Tanjong Pagar. 


Duxton Shophouse


Another place for Instagram-worthy photographs is definitely the Duxton Shophouses. These colourful shophouses are always crowded with both locals and tourists dining in restaurants or hopping from cafe to cafe. Little did we know, there once stood a nutmeg plantation here, and years later, was a place frequented by rickshaw pullers. 


Thian Hock Keng Temple


Amongst all these unfamiliar places, we found a familiar place - it was Thian Hock Keng Temple. We first visited the temple when during a school learning journey. We learnt that people originally came to this temple (which used to be a makeshift shrine) to request for favours from the gods to protect them and to thank Mazu, the Sea Goddess, which the temple was built for, for a safe voyage. Philanthropist Tan Tock Seng was recorded to have donated to replace this makeshift shrine with what we now know as Thian Hock Keng Temple, which was associated with Singapore’s Hokkien community. 


Tanjong Pagar Railway Station


Other places that we enjoyed exploring in Tanjong Pagar is the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station which has a rich history and was gazetted as a national monument on 9 April 2011. Unfortunately, it is now closed to the public as it is under renovation for Cantonment MRT Station. We will be able to see this new MRT station running with the same design and architecture as the past! The next time you find yourself walking along the streets of Tanjong Pagar, do look out for these significant sites that hold great value and heritage in Singapore’s history! 


Click the link below to watch the video done by the students. 


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About River Valley High School (RVHS) Collaboration


This programme is a collaboration between River Valley High School and National Heritage Board (NHB)’s Singapore Heritage Festival team for students to contribute to the Singapore Heritage Festival lineup of activities. The programme allows for students to extend their skill sets and engage in authentic learning. The key strength of this programme is the opportunity for students to conceptualise and hence propose how they would enthuse the public in learning more about our heritage. The authentic experience of research and field work is invaluable to their learning. In addition, the mentorship from NHB widens their perspective not only in the heritage of our nation but also the use of different genre in presenting this heritage to allow for a varied audience profile. Explore the photo essay by students from River Valley High School as they present Tanjong Pagar, through their lenses. Find out more on Instagram:@tanparison


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