Jul 31, 2011

Bus Stops as Heritage and Historical Markers?

14021 - Radin Mas Mosque

The other day I was out exploring during lunch-hour when I saw this near the junction of Kampong Bahru and Lower Delta Road. Assuming "Mque" is the short-form of "Mosque", I looked around the bus-stop for this "Radin Mas Mosque". Not a mosque was in sight from my position. While I am not Muslim, I can identify with this cruel joke played on me, at this time of the day, on a Friday. The nearest mosques are Masjid Al-Amin 800m away to the northwest and Masjid Temenggong 800m to the south.

When I got home, I checked for this Radin Mas Mosque online. What I read on Infopedia nearly sent a chill down my spine. The topic was Keramat Radin Mas and this is what is written:

There used to be Radin Mas Mosque or Masjid Radin Mas at the foot of Mount Faber but it had been demolished circa 2001 and replaced by a new mosque, Masjid Al-Amin which is located nearby.

Was the mosque demolished around 2001? If you tell me so while I chance upon the bus stop at night, I would most certainly freak out. Phantom bus stop? I entered a time tunnel? Or else why would the description of the bus stop remain unchanged for 10 years?

As I checked other sources, I witnessed even stranger things. The mosque is still marked on Google Maps (yea, we know their map view can be hopelessly outdated) but the Street View shows an empty land. Even the more updated shows the building right as if it is still standing today.

Masjid Radin Mas on Google Maps
The empty land in the street view, was this where Radin Mas Mosque once stood? Note the map view is still showing the mosque. (Source: Google Maps)

Masjid Radin Mas on
Even this more reputable and updated street directory is showing the mosque. Could the mosque be a subterranean one, like Masjid Moulana Mohamed Ali at Raffles Place?  (Source:

Since we have a world-class public transport system, it is inconceivable that there has been no review of bus stop description for a decade. Certainly no action was taken to update the description of this bus stop. Perhaps the authorities relied on the equally flawed Google Maps and when they could have used the government source, i.e. SLA's OneMap.

This slip-up led me to wonder whether bus stops can be used as heritage or historical markers. From the Radin Mas Mosque episode, while there was a little discomfort in being duped by the description (during lunch-hour on a Friday no less), I have to admit it was for me a teachable moment. If the description was generic enough like the nearest block number or street, I would not have known about this Radin Mas Mosque and its precise location. Thus the bus stop becomes a historical marker for Radin Mas Mosque.

Radin Mas Mosque survives today as the description of bus stop 14021. LTA is certainly doing an admirable job in preserving this historical landmark in name at least. In fact they can do more and I can see they have done so. The other day I was checking out the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station from the opposite side of Keppel Road and saw they had not updated the description for bus stop 14061.

14061 - Opposite Railway Station
Bus stop 14061 in front of Tanjong Pagar Distripark. Now that the railway station has ceased operations, should "Tanjong Pagar Distripark" be a more accurate description for the bus stop?

Before the railway station was returned to Singapore on midnight of July 1, I took a walk along the station side of Keppel Road. The bus stop outside is 14069 - Railway Station. Now that trains no longer operate from our latest national monument and I have been told even the big blue signage outside the station has been removed, this bus stop description can serve as a visual reminder that the building was once the railway station. If only our public buses call out the name of the stop (or major stop) like what buses in China are doing, we would have an aural reminder as well.

14069 - Railway Station
Bus stop 14069 in front of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

The former railway station is gazetted as a national monument so the terminal building at least is protected by state laws. However the same cannot be said for the railway quarters at Kampong Bahru side. When I checked the route information for bus service 143 plying the stretch, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the bus stop outside is "Melati Blk 2" and the opposite stop is "Opp Melati Blk 2". Blk 2 refers to the block fronting the road, once occupied by railway staff. Today the area is all fenced up.

The condition of the block does not suggest it will remain standing for long. And so the most important question - will LTA preserve this little heritage landmark - soon to be historical - on the description of its bus stops?

143 - Opposite Melati Blk 2 

143 - Melati Blk 2
Route information for bus service 143. Hopefully Melati Blk 2 can be preserved, just like Radin Mas Mosque, in time to come.


peter said...

Simple explanation for this: "Even this more reputable and updated street directory is showing the mosque. Could the mosque be a subterranean one, like Masjid Moulana Mohamed Ali at Raffles Place? (Source:"

Life is too comfortable. People and workers gone to sleep

yg said...

icemoon, not all mosques in s'pore have distinguishing external features. do you know there a mosque in the orchard road area? there is one on the first floor of a commercial building on bideford road.

when i read the title, i thought you were blogging about the lim chu kang bus-stop.

Icemoon said...

Thanks yg for sharing! I didnt know there is a mosque in Orchard Road area. Saw the mosque in Google, cant tell its function from the outside.

Personally I cant believe they slept for 10 years and still counting ...