|Bugis Walkabout will take you through Capitol Building/Theatre, Coleman Street, Hill Street Hawker Centre, Masonic Lodge, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The Substation, United Chinese Library, MPH Building, Original RGS School fence from Queen Street, St Joseph's Church, Former St. Anthony's Convent, Queen Street, Another Day (The Coolies) & The Explorer' Sculptures, Singapore Calligraphy Centre, Middle Road Church, Central Sikh Temple Site, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bugis, and much more.
The first Bugis settlers, from Sulawesi in Indonesia, came to Singapore in 1820. Traditionally seafarers and pirates, the Bugis held power in the Riau Islands for a long time. When the Dutch began to exercise a trade monopoly in the region, the Bugis' seat of power in Riau was threatened. Armed clashes with the Dutch resulted in 500 Bugis fleeing to Singapore with their chieftain, Arong Bilawa, in February 1820. Bringing with them their prized trade network, the Bugis quickly formed an important component of the island's economy. Their presence was significant enough for Raffles to take notice; he allocated land in Kampong Glam specifically for their use. The Bugis later set up a large village, Kampong Bugis, along the shores of Rochor River, near today's Kallang Bridge.
The Dutch eventually allowed Arong Bilawa to return to Riau but he had settled in Singapore by then and, along with many of his followers, chose to remain. Many inter-married with the local Malays and assimilated into Malay culture. The community thrived and Singapore soon became the centre of Bugis trade in the region.
The infamous old Bugis Street in the 1950s - where Bugis Village is currently located - used to be a haven for transvestites, prostitutes and rowdy sailors. In the mid 1980s, Bugis Street had to be demolished to make way for the Mass Rapid Transport. The street hawker stalls and vendors had to be relocated to other areas in Singapore. This signified a sad loss to one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions and very much missed by tourists. In 1988, as part of Singapore Tourism Board’s efforts to preserve or re-develop iconic sites and tourist attractions, Bugis Street was re-created.
Today, Bugis Street has become a unique retail shopping location.
Download the Bugis Walkabout guide here. This whole walk will take you more than an hour. Enjoy!