My dad gave me a lift to my office few days ago. He haven’t been to my office yet and I’m having a hard time telling him the exact location. Our BLOG2u/BAK2u office is at the junction of Middle Road and Queen Street. But my dad don’t know where exactly is Queen Street. I have to give him directions when we are near Middle Road.
When we reach there, he said “Aiya, next time just say Sa Beh Lo.” “Sa Beh Lo” is the hokkien word for “The Third Horseway (Road)”. Chinese call “三馬路”. Gee, I didn’t know that Queen Street is call “三馬路” in the past. I only knew that Waterloo Street is called “四馬路” or “The Forth Horseway (Road)”.
So I asked him more about these alternate road names. They have an interesting names for all the places in the past. For example, the area around South Bridge Road is call “大坡” (Big Slope) and the area around North Bridge Road is call “小坡” (Small Slope). “坡底” (Bottom of the Slope) would mean both “大坡” and “小坡”.
The roads intersecting Middle road have their own name.
North Bridge Road is 大馬路 (The Big Horseway)
Victoria Street is 二馬路 (The Second Horseway)
Queen Street is 三馬路 (The Third Horseway)
Waterloo Street is 四馬路 (The Forth Horseway)
Bencoolen Street is 五馬路 (The Fifth Horseway)
Prinsep Street is 六馬路 (The Sixth Horseway)
Selegie Road is 七馬路 (The Seventh Horseway)
Which makes logical sense if you look at the map along Middle Road.
The Hainanese community was the largest dialect group living at Middle Road area in the past (Between Beach Road and North Bridge Road). That section of Middle Road is also called 海南一街 (Hainan First Street). Purvis Street and Seah Street are called 海南二街 (Hainan Second Street)and 海南三街 (Hainan Third Street) respectively.
It’s always interesting to find out about the alternative road names given by the older generations. They make the history of the place more interesting.
Maybe next time when I take taxi to office, I should try telling the taxi uncle “小坡三馬路”. I wonder if he knows.
BTW: Do you know that the National Heritage Board is conducting a blogging contest? Check out their website for more information. Grand prize is a Nintendo Wii. Woohoo!!