Tiong Bahru: Nostalgia Hotel’s Rooftop Pool and My Thoughts about the Singapore Flag

Passed by a couple of times and was intrigued by this new boutique hotel that doesn’t really look very new. Well I only started noticing the rooftop pool quite recently, so perhaps it’s an old refurbished building?

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

I decided to check out the official website of the hotel to find out more and I came upon it’s interesting history page with a whole write-up about Tiong Bahru and even recommendations of the best food. Of course I never go by the official hotel websites, and I always check tripadvisor first. Just so you know it’s number 77 on Tripadvisor out of 250, and you can read the reviews here. The location has been praised for being away from the busy city, but the rooms have been deemed tiny but comfortable. I looked at the travellers’ photos and the infinity pool looks interesting, especially with that view of the traffic.

History of Tiong Bahru

Once the choice locale for the upper class, a place where the rich and powerful lingered…….all its streets are named after Chinese pioneers of bygone days…..one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, built in the 1930s.

Gastronomy in Tiong Bahru

Built in 1930s Tiong Bahru Estate is one of the oldest housing estate in Singapore. Many will still remember the brilliant sounds of singing birds along the traditional kopitiams, where bird lovers gathered every morning over coffee and tea……

Popular Food Centres and Eateries

Hainanese Curry Rice
The old-world item is fast to eat but slow to cook. And it’s more famous chicken-rice cousin, it is not to be found on China’s Hainan Island but only at 57 Enghoon Street #01-88 right behind the hotel

Hong Kong Jin Tian Eatery House
Popular Charsiew / Roast Duck Rice / Roast Pork at Enghoon Street Blk 58 #01-15 just around the corner

Yong Tau Hu
Beancurd eating house just along Tiong Poh Road

Tiong Bahru Food Market


Teochew Fish Porridge 02-73
Kampong Carrot Cake 02-53
Teck Seng Soya Bean Milk 02-69
Joo Chiat Kim Choo 02-49


Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee 02-01
Tiong Bahru Curry Noodle 02-23
Lor Mee 178 02-58
Yuan Ji Fishball Noodle, 02-72


7 Original Tiong Bahru Fishball 02-20
Tiong Bahru Mian Jian Kueh 02-34

Also couldn’t help noticing the display of the Singapore flags as National Day approaches. Somehow when I see flags displayed at commercial establishments, they seem neutral, but less so with homes. My thoughts about this phenomenon where in our country our flags are not neutral. I was compelled to write about it as I visit many expat blogs and they were impressed at how patriotic Singaporeans are. So I felt like I have to present the inside story. I would love to take the complement about patriotism if it were 100% true. I mean that the flags were a true representation of patriotism and they were all proudly put up by the citizens themselves and not just the people from the grass root organizations.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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5 Responses to Tiong Bahru: Nostalgia Hotel’s Rooftop Pool and My Thoughts about the Singapore Flag

  1. bonnie says:

    so i was apt hunting last week and i realy do notice a lot of ppl with flags hanging outside their windows…clothes too of course, hahaha

  2. Crystal says:

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been here a year, but I don’t know that I see Singaporeans as overly patriotic. Flying the flag seems more like obedience to the dictate that you fly it for National Day. Many of the Singaporeans I know struggle to reconcile a Singaporean identity with a more ethnic identity in part because Singapore insists on your identify as a racial group before you identify as Singaporean.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I think you’re very cued in to the Singapore scene 🙂 I think a lot more than people who have been here as long.

      It’s true about the divisions into racial groups….on our passport, identity card, employment form, job adverts etc. Very hard to forge a Singaporean identity. Sometimes I wonder if it’s partly because the country is just 46 years old….but then I realize there are all these other factors.

      • Crystal says:

        I wonder if the way the country came into existence has something to do with it. The “American” identity was forged as a very “us” vs “them” thing. We set out to be NOT ENGLAND, and in doing so created an identity. Obviously, over 225 years later that’s not our identity anymore (and I know a great many anglophiles, myself included) but it did create an identity.

        When people immigrated to the US, we were focused on absorbing them rather than allowing them to keep their own enthnicity. This is an over simplification, as the explanation of who got to be white and under what circumstances is long and complex (I actually took an entire class on that as an undergrad) but people of Irish descent or British descent don’t hold onto that identity for long. I don’t identify as a European-American or a Canadian-American or whatever…just as an American. Ravi does identify as an Indian American (mostly because my culture doesn’t really seem to get that India=Asia) as opposed to an Asian American but he also largely dispenses with any label other than American, and he’s a first generation child as opposed to my 5th or 6th generation.

        This is not to say that we don’t have other identifiers…Bostonian, New Yorker, Southerner, religion-based (Jewish, Christian, Atheist, whatever), East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, etc. Or a political based one–red state, blue state, etc. But for us, it’s easy to first identify as an American, and using that language of American-ness gives us (presumed) shared experiences, like McDonalds and Sesame Street, and Disney. I assume that a girl my age also was listening to (or at least hard of New Kids on the Block) and watched Beverly Hills 90210, wore certain fashions (leggings with big shirts and plastic neon earrings) and can relate to the experience of moving out for college or that first apartment. There are shared cultural experiences that overshadow geography and religion. I just don’t see that here as much.

        There was an article, recently that talked about a Singaporean musical artist who’s leaving Singapore because of lack of support. There is no “Singaporean” music, fashion, comedy, etc scene. Largely it’s all imported, with few exceptions (like Wild Rice’s productions). The TV scene is largely imported, the music is largely American, etc. It’s hard to build a national identity without that sort of shared experience/cultural currency.

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