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Kreta Ayer Road, Singapore

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Kreta Ayer Road, SingaporeKreta Ayer Road, Singapore (29 July, 2017)

Kreta Ayer Road is a minor road in the Singapore Chinatown. It runs in a single direction from Neil Road to New Bridge Road/Eu Tong Sen Street, and is intersected by Keong Saik Road.

The name Kreta Ayer means "water cart" in Malay. It refers to bullock carts used to carry water. For the same reason, Kreta Ayer Road is known in Hokkien (Taiji Romanisation) as Gu3 Chia3 Chooi4 meaning "water oxcart (road)". This is because The bullock carts carrying water used to pass through Kreta Ayer Road on its way into the city. In this respect, Kreta Ayer Road played a similar rôle as Burmah Road in Penang.

In today's modern society we often forget how life was like in the early 19th century, when Kreta Ayer Road was laid out. At that time, there was no electricity or piped water. Battalions of bullock carts were used to bring fresh water to the houses in the Singapore township. Of course, much of the residential houses were thatched, with brick shophouses appearing only later on.

Kreta Ayer Road was a working class neighbourhood. From the late 19th century until the early part of the 20th century, it was the destination for earthy pleasures, as brothels and opium dens were the main commercial establishments at that time. Since then the street has been gentrified for

Kreta Ayer Road road signKreta Ayer Road road sign (29 July, 2017)


  1. Singapore Street Names by Victor R Savage and Brenda S.A. Yeoh (2004), ISBN 981-210-364-3

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