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Kreta Ayer Road, Chinatown, Singapore.

Kreta Ayer Road (Chinese: 水车路) is a one-way road located in Chinatown within the Outram Planning Area in Singapore. The road links Neil Road to New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street, and is intersected by Keong Saik Road.

Etymology and history[]

In the olden days, water drawn from a well near Ann Siang Hill was taken down in bullock carts, hence the name Kreta Ayer, which means "water cart road" in Malay. The Hokkiens refer to this area as gu chia chui, and the Cantonese call it ngow chay shui also meaning "bullock water cart" (the word "road" is elided). Kreta Ayer Road was officially conferred in 1922.

Kreta Ayer Road defines for the Chinese in Singapore, the Chinatown area. For the Chinese, the Chinatown area is referred also as tua poh or "greater town" district. In the 1880s, Kreta Ayer was the red light district of Chinatown. The Chinese traveller, Li Zhongjue, observed in 1887 that the street was a place of restaurants, theatres and brothels and where "filth and dirt are hidden".


  • Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2004), Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern University Press, Template:ISBN

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