Sunday, February 26, 2012

Buffalo Road

Our second stop was Buffalo Road, which was just beside Tekka Market. I always hear people mentioning the name of this road but have never thought of questioning the origins of it.

I personally love the name of this road! Moo…

After researching, we learnt that Buffalo Road was originally one of the oldest arterial roads in Serangoon Road and it can be found in old maps as early as 1836. In Hokkien, this road was also known as Kampong Kerbau Race Course. The name originated from a village, called Kampong Kerbau, which once stood there. A Chinese transliteration of the Malay name “Kampong Kerbau” means “where buffaloes are kept”. Hence, to put it simply, the road was named Buffalo Road as it was a place where buffaloes were kept.

Can you imagine buffaloes walking on this road?

All seven of us are in the picture. Hmm, who is taking the photo?

Every morning, Buffalo Road bursts into a riot of colours. Stalls along narrow walkways sell jasmine garlands, loose flowers, mini oil lamps and many other items. Very often, these items are quickly bought by Hindu devotees heading to the nearby temples, for instance the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple.

Information Board on "Buffalo Road"

Other interesting information which we stumbled across was that Buffalo Road was also known for another activity – fortune telling. All along the Buffalo Road, Indian fortune tellers offered their services and at the height of their popularity, more than a dozen Tamil astrologers lived together in a house on Buffalo Road which doubled as a fortune tellers’ centre. Apart from astrologers, many other types of fortune tellers operated on Buffalo Road: palmists, numerologists and parrot-astrologers. 

Snake charmers displaying their skills along Buffalo Road, c. 1900

Last but not least, originating from Poona, near Mumbai, there were also snake charmers who brought their craft to Singapore and performed along Buffalo Road.


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