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Kampong Glam - Arab Street - Singapore

Published August 15th, 2011

The area's name is derived from two Malay words, Kampong, meaning "village" or "settlement", and Glam (or Gelam) referring to a variety of eucalyptus (Melaleuca leucadendra) or paperbark tree, which used to grow abundantly in the area. Its naturally peeling bark was used by boat builders in the village to caulk boats, while its leaves provided cajuput oil (from Malay: minyak kayu puteh, or white wood oil) which could be used to treat muscular aches and pains, as well as respiratory problems.

In the early twentieth century, commercial activities in Kampong Glam expanded as new shophouses and residential buildings were built. A multi-ethnic community soon developed there, comprising not only Malays and Arabs but also the Chinese and Indians.

Later, due to an expansion of commercial activities and an increase in immigrant settlers in Kampong Glam, the Arabs moved to areas like Joo Chiat, Tanglin and Bukit Tunggal (the stretch of Dunearn Road near the junction of Balmoral Road and Chancery Lane, near Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) today, was called Tunggal Road).

Since the 1980s, several large portions of the area have been declared National Heritage sites and have been protected for conservation. In 1989, Kampong Glam was gazetted as a conservation area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Some of the conserved sites in Kampong Glam include the Sultan Mosque, the Hajjah Fatimah Mosque and the Istana Kampong Glam, the palace of the former Sultan.

Like Little India and Chinatown, Kampong Glam has been restored, refurbished and new life breathed into it, bringing back the former colour and vibrancy of the area. Rows of conserved shophouses can be found in Arab Street, Baghdad Street and Bussorah Street. Many of these shophouses have new tenants such as design and IT firms, art galleries, crafts and curios shops, food caterers and restaurants. They blend in with traditional businesses like textile and carpet shops, blacksmiths and shops selling religious items used by Muslims. It is also an area of good restaurants, from Malaysian coffee shops and bakeries to fine modern European dining.

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The Sultan Mosque and kampong Glam museum welcome travelers whom want to do a bit of sightseeing. If you relish ethnic shopping, the bazaars here sell cheap wicker items, cheap textiles and perfume, just to name a few. Arab Street is a gastronomical haven with an authentic spread of mediterranean, Middle East, Malay and India cuisine. Here you can see some friends chilling out with a ukelele in front of an old steel door of a shop house in Haji Lane.

  • February 12th, 2011
  • Canon EOS 500D
  • 43mm / f/5 / 1/13 sec
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Also, a street away from the Sultan Mosque, you’ll also find Haji Lane, a charming lane that’s a dream come true for fashionistas. Stocked with independent boutiques, stylishly cool second-hand clothes stores and quirky outlets selling a cornucopia of novelty knick knacks, this is one of the most pleasurable places for a spot of shopping in Singapore.

  • August 8th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/1.8 / 1/100 sec
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Although the ethnic Arab population in Singapore has never reached large proportions, their influence is immediately obvious through such street names as Bussorah, Muscat, Baghdad, and, of course, Arab Street, the center of modern Kampong Glam -- a neat little shopping enclave for textiles and regional handicrafts. Note that the shops along Arab Street close on Sunday.

  • August 8th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/1.7 / 1/13 sec
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If you are more of a shopper, then don’t forget to visit the many small shops on Arab Street that sell everything from Persian carpets, lace, batik, semi-precious stones and an assortment of handicrafts. The traditional Indian textile shops sell many kinds of fabrics. The beautiful mannequins are so good to look at and many (all!!)are better than live models - they don't complain!

  • August 12th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/1.7 / 1/100 sec
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The mosques in Singapore are a wonderful blend of Muslim influences from around the world. The grand Sultan Mosque has the familiar onion dome and Moorish styling of the Arabic Muslim influence. The smaller but fascinating Hajjah Fatimah Mosque is a blend of cultures, from Muslim to Chinese to even Christian -- testimony to Islam's tolerance of other cultural symbols. On the other hand, the mosques in Chinatown, such as Jamae Mosque and the Nagore Durgha Shrine, are Saracenic in flavor, a style that originated in India in the late 19th century, mixing traditional styles of Indian and Muslim architecture with British conventionality.

Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/singapore/0077022921.html#ixzz1V5MUA8UD.

  • August 12th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/1.7 / 1/20 sec
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It is full of traditional stores selling carpets, household wares and textiles. Its major landmark, the Sultan Mosque, sits in the heart of this enclave and is open to all visitors, as is the nearby Malay Heritage Centre, where you’ll learn about Malay history and culture.
Foodies will also delight in the offering of the neighborhood’s culinary fixtures like Warung M. Nasir, Rumah Makan Minang, Salero Mundo and the iconic Zam Zam Restaurant. And true to Singapore’s reputation as a multi-cultural cosmopolitan city, there’s even a halal Swedish café called Fika on Arab Street.

  • August 12th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/1.7 / 1/20 sec
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It is full of traditional stores selling carpets, household wares and textiles. Its major landmark, the Sultan Mosque, sits in the heart of this enclave and is open to all visitors, as is the nearby Malay Heritage Centre, where you’ll learn about Malay history and culture.

  • August 12th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/2.5 / 1/20 sec
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The alleyways of this cultural precinct are filled with the smells, sights and sounds of spices, tourists, school kids, rattan furniture shops and oil-based perfumes. Take a walk down to Bussorah Mall to experience the rich delights and charms of the many cafés, eateries and street stalls here. The tattoo culture is very strong in this area. Nearly a third of the folks have some markings on the body - I loved the contrasting expressions on the tattoo and the owner!!

  • February 12th, 2011
  • Canon EOS 500D
  • 50mm / f/2.2 / 1/60 sec
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The Sultan Mosque and kampong Glam museum welcome travelers whom want to do a bit of sightseeing. If you relish ethnic shopping, the bazaars here sell cheap wicker items, cheap textiles and perfume, just to name a few. Arab Street is a gastronomical haven with an authentic spread of mediterranean, Middle East, Malay and Indian cuisine.There are may small shops and restaurants. Some of them are run by young people and some even bring their dogs to work!

  • February 12th, 2011
  • Canon EOS 500D
  • 50mm / f/2 / 1/50 sec
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Haji Lane is located within Arab Street Singapore, a lively district that is rich in Islamic history and culture. Now the old shop houses are rented by chic boutiques like these and are a favorite of the young trendy designer crowds.

  • August 8th, 2011
  • Panasonic DMC-G10
  • 20mm / f/1.8 / 1/200 sec

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