Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lost Roads and Heritage: Jalan Tukang Area

Lost Roads and Heritage: Jalan Tukang Area

Whatever happened to the Malay roads of "Jalan Jentera", "Lorong Tukang Satu", "Lorong Tukang Dua", "Lorong Tukang Tiga", "Lorong Tukang Empat" and "Lorong Tukang Lima"??

Map of Jalan Tukang Area in 1966. Credits: http://hm.onemap.sg/

Background

When Singapore merged with Malaysia in the 1963, it was an era of industrialization. Jurong became the main area for that purpose and infrastructure was build to facilitate with the growth and development of the area. Naturally, as a state of Malaysia, new roads and areas that were build at that time were given Malay names.

The main road was previously known as "Boon Lay Road", the street suffix was changed to "Jalan Boon Lay". From there, many other roads that were build in that area were given Malay names as well. Roads that were known as "International Road" was once known as "Jalan Utasan/Jalan Bekalan". Here is a list of other roads that were renamed to English in later years.

Jalan Rehat - Quality Road (Lorong Kerja Satu and Lorong Kerja Dua merged and became defunct)
Jalan Perkakas - Chin Bee Road (Renamed after the real "Chin Bee Road" became defunct)
Jalan Peng Kang - Corporation Road
Jalan Gerabak - Tractor Road
Jalan Pabrik - Jurong Pier Road
Jalan Gudang - Jurong Port Road

The newly established Jurong Town Corporation, delegated at that time to develop the Jurong industrial area quickly renamed to the current English/Chinese names you see to day. Despite placing emphasis on multiculturalism, JTC's preferences were more aligned to Chinese names as most of the investors were Chinese. The proposal of mainly Chinese street names was rejected by the Street Naming Committee and multi cultural names like "Naythel Road" and "Soon Lee Road" soon appeared, retaining however a majority of the Chinese name changes of the roads in the area.

Jalan Tukang, together with Lorong Tukang Satu till Lima and Jalan Jentera was retained in part of the "multi cultural" naming initiative of the Jurong industrial area. Tukang in Malay meaning "skilled craftsman" housed many individual factory properties in the 60s and 70s, reflecting the industrialization and purpose of the area.

Lorong Tukang Satu - Lima, Jalan Jentera

Jalan Tukang and Lorong Tukang Satu till Lorong Tukang Lima was the result of this "multi-racial" emphasis of toponyms. However, when I was there, I have discovered that there was no Lorong Tukang Satu till Lorong Tukang Lima except for roads reading "Tukang Innovation Drive" and "Tukang Innovation Grove".
Streets Signs of "Tukang Innovation Drive and Grove"
Thanks to Google Maps, Lorong Tukang Satu till Lorong Tukang Lima did existed before. Credits to Google Streetview, these are my findings.
Jalan Tukang area in Google maps.
As shown in Google Maps, seems that Lorong Tukang Empat and Lorong Tukang Lima is what is left of the area. Lorong Tukang Satu has been renamed to Tukang Innovation Grove. Google Streetview has not updated their maps and streetview photos, thus Lorong Tukang Empat, Lorong Tukang Lima and Jalan Jentera still appear on their maps and photos of the area instead.
Street signs of Lorong Tukang Empat, Lima and Jalan Jentera as shown on Streetview

Lorong Tukang Empat

Lorong Tukang Empat in 2009 Google Streetview
Lorong Tukang Empat in 2009 Google Streetview
Lorong Tukang Empat in 2009 Google Streetview
Lorong Tukang Empat in 2009 Google Streetview
Entrance to Lorong Tukang Empat in 2009 Google Streetview
Entrance to Lorong Tukang Empat in 2011 Google Streetview
Lorong Tukang Empat in those days seem to be filled with parked trailers, garbage and remains of former factory fencing and gates, presumably from during the time of the 70s. Just like its sister roads of Lorong Tukang Dua and Lorong Tukang Tiga, the lane has since been defunct and exhumed. What is left today is just a clean field.

Lorong Tukang Lima

Lorong Tukang Lima in 2009 Google Streetview
Lorong Tukang Lima in 2009 Google Streetview
Lorong Tukang Lima in 2009 Google Streetview
Entrance to Lorong Tukang Lima in 2011 Google Streetview. 
Today Lorong Tukang Lima is part of Tukang Innovation Drive. Like its expunged sister road, Jalan Jentera, it has since been cleaned up and widen.

Jalan Jentera

Jalan Jentera in 2009 Google Streetview
Jalan Jentera in 2009 Google Streetview
Junction of Lor Tukang Empat and Jalan Jentera in 2009 Google Streetview
Jalan Jentera meaning "Mill Road" links the former Lorong Tukang Satu, Lorong Tukang Dua, Lorong Tukang Tiga, Lorong Tukang Empat and Lorong Tukang Lima. With Lorong Tukang Dua, Lorong Tukang Tiga and Lorong Tukang Empat being expunged, the road now forms a big "u" and its now called "Tukang Innovation Drive".

Conclusion

Tukang Innovation Drive 2015. Formerly known as Jalan Jentera
Tukang Innovation Drive 2015. Formerly known as Jalan Jentera
Judging by the streetview photos, the Lorong Tukang roads were used as parking space for trailers and flatbeds. I can understand their intention to upgrade the roads to better serve the future industrial developments but they didn't need to change the names of the roads to generic ones. I don't know why JTC Corporation changed the names of Lorong Tukang Satu, Jalan Jentera and Lorong Tukang Lima but it sure sounds a hell lot better than "Tukang Innovation". The Malay names bring identity and uniqueness into the area, complimenting the adjacent Jalan Tukang really well. It saddens me that in order to bring in progress, tradition and identity is at the expense of it. Just like the kampongs and farmlands the government has taken away from the citizens, the remaining Malay road names that bring showcase our Malayan heritage are being gradually being replaced or expunged by development and English names.

Credits: Google Streetview, Google Maps.
http://remembersingapore.org/2013/01/18/singapore-campaigns-of-the-past/
http://www.rubanisation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=216:a-note-on-my-role-in-the-singapore-street-naming-committee-&catid=40:articles&Itemid=56
The Politics of Landscapes in Singapore: Constructions of "nation"

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