Telok Ayer

telok ayer marketThis street used to run along the seashore, hence its name Telok Ayer which means 'water bay' or 'watery bay' in Malay. In 1822, Telok Ayer was the primary area set aside by Raffles for the Chinese community. This was one of the first streets in Chinatown and the main landing site for the Chinese immigrants. Being one of the first streets, it formed the backbone of the development the Chinese immigrant community in early Singapore.

Temples were built for both religious and social reasons as they were often used as ad hoc meeting places for various clans and dialect groups. The Chinese and Muslim immigrants, after perilous sea voyages, would pool their resources to build temples and mosques to offer their prayers in gratitude for their safe passage in the seas. The more well known and important ones in the area are Fuk Tak Chi Temple, now restored as a museum, the Thian Hock Keng Temple, the Nagore Durga Shrine, and the Al Abrar Mosque.

A new feature in the area is the Speakers' Corner. Located in Hong Lim Park, the Speakers' Corner provides Singaporeans with a venue where they can speak freely outdoors in public on almost any issue. Drop by the park between 7 am and 7 pm daily and watch Singaporeans wax lyrical on issues close to their hearts.