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Local pets of Tiong Bahru

One of my favourite things to do in Singapore is to stroll through the different neighbourhoods. Recently I decided to explore Tiong Bahru, one of the oldest housing estates of Singapore and now a quite hipster place with its many quirky shops and cafés. However, I went there to find more about the kind of pets Singaporeans own.

Overall, not too many people I know in Singapore own pets and you don’t come across people walking their dogs very often. However, I had heard that the Tiong Bahru Heritage Fiesta was on, which gave me an opportunity to find out more about the local pets that were common in Tiong Bahru “in the old days”. As part of the festival, 5 giant animal murals by artist Ernest Goh were plastered onto different housing blocks all over Tiong Bahru, so I set out to find them. The 3 animals I could find were a goldfish, a guppy and a rooster.

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Animals murals by Ernest Goh: goldfish, guppies and roosters used to be popular pets in Singapore in the past.
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Another charming reminder of Tiong Bahru’s heritage I came across was the bird corner. At this corner there used to be a coffee shop called Wah Heng, and a pet bird shop across the road. Because the displays of the birds in cages outside the pet shop attracted many people, in the 80s the owner of the coffee shop decided to install a metal structure to hang birdcages, so bird owners could come for a coffee and show off their birds. The bird corner was closed in 2003, but the metal structure for hanging birdcages remains.

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The bird corner – then and now

Nora, Singapore

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