Tanah Merah, Singapore


Tanah Merah, Singapore

SG neighbourhood
englishname=Tanah Merah
chinesename=丹那美拉
poj=
pengim=
pinyin=Dānnàměilā
malayname=Tanah Merah
tamilname=தானா மேரா

Tanah Merah is a residential area in eastern Singapore. It is wedged between neighbouring areas Bedok, Simei, Changi and East Coast. Tanah Merah consists largely of private residential properties and is also known for its recreational activities.

Etymology

The name "Tanah Merah" is an old name that appears in the seventeenth century (1604) map by Manuel Gomes de Erédia on Singapore, and is referred as "Tana Mera". This place name is likely to have been an important reference point for the "orang laut" (sea Gypsies) in their activities in the region.

The Malay name for this area is probably derived from British references to this area based on the various surveys done. The name is derived from the red lateritic cliffs along the coast that were visible from the sea, hence the name "Tanah Merah" or "red land". The earliest written reference comes from James Horsburgh's 1806 chart of "Singapore and Malacca", which has the name "Red Cliffs". Later, two sets of red cliffs were identified in Franklin and Jackson's 1830
Bedok area) and "2nd Red Cliffs" (Tanah Merah area). J.E. Tassin's 1836 "Map of Singapore" refers to the area as "1st Red Cliffs" (Bedok area) and "2nd Red Cliffs" (Tanah Merah area). While the other place names in Singapore were mentioned by their Malay names in the above maps, this area was recorded by its English reference, which shows that it had not as yet been given a local name. Later, the road leading to "Large Red Cliff" was named "Tanah Merah Besar Road" while the other was named "Tanah Merah Kechil Road". "Besar" means "large" while "Kechil" means "little" in Malay.

The presence of weathered lateritic soil provided the red-orange colouring of the area that led to its name even before Raffles' founding of Singapore. The exposed red lateritic soils were probably visible to many passing boats and hence the "landmark" was captured in early maps of Singapore.

History

When land reclamation works began in the early 1970s, most of the coastal hills were levelled and dumped into the sea to create the present East Coast. The East Coast Parkway was constructed almost completely on reclaimed land. The location of "Tanah Merah Kechil" cliff is where Temasek Primary School now stands. One can still see where the hills abrubtly end at the junction of Bedok South Avenue 3 and Upper East Coast Road at one end, and New Upper Changi Road at the other end.

"Tanah Merah Besar" was a large coastal cliff located approximately at the southern end of Changi Airport Terminal 3. Its base was exposed to large tidal surges which created a 'thunderous roar' as the waves crashed on its rocky base and the sound echoed in the hollows and cavelets. It was reported that the booming sound was loud enough to be heard at a nearby village, especially during the monsoon season. Hence the name of that village, "Kampong Ayer Gemuroh", or Thundering Water Village. Now, the only reference to the village is a drainage canal sometimes referred to as Ayer Gemuroh Canal, which was once "Sungei Ayer Gemuroh", that runs along the West Perimeter Fence of Changi Airport, behind Changi Prison.

Transport

Tanah Merah has a number of available transport routes in and out of the area, making its accessibility little cause for concern. New Upper Changi Road, which runs through the heart of Tanah Merah, offers a number of bus services, some of which travel long distances.

Raised above the middle of New Upper Changi Road is Tanah Merah MRT Station, a railway station which also operates as an interchange for passengers who wish to travel by train to Singapore Expo and Singapore Changi Airport. Its neighbouring stations are Bedok MRT Station and Simei MRT Station.

The bus stops next to Tanah Merah MRT Station are usual pick-up and drop-off points for shuttle buses which take passengers to nearby places such as National Service Resort & Country Club and Changi Naval Base.

By sea, it is also home to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal with regular service to the Indonesian Riau Islands.

Recreation

Being home to four recreational clubs, Tanah Merah offers a vast spectrum of recreational choices such as golfing, tennis, bowling, swimming and water sports amongst other activities.

Tanah Merah Country Club (TMCC)

TMCC has one of the most expensive club membership rates in the country. This is justified by its extensive variety of recreation including golf courses, swimming pools, a gymnasium, a jackpot room, tennis, squash and basketball courts as well as lessons and courses on various interests such as dancing.

National Service Resort and Country Club (NSRCC)

Established to be a recreational spot for full-time National Servicemen, NSRCC abuts the East Coast beach on the outskirts of Tanah Merah.

Laguna National Golf & Country Club

Aside from being a golfing club, Laguna offers spa services, and other recreational activities such as tennis.

Singapore Armed Forces Yacht Club (SAFYC)

Founded by a group of sailing enthusiasts in 1967, SAFYC specializes in sea sports and activities. It offers water sports courses and an array of other amenities for MICE and private functions.

References

*Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2004), "Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names", Eastern University Press, ISBN 981-210-364-3
*cite web | title=Tanah Merah Country Club official website | work=Tanah Merah Country Club — Recreation | url=http://www.tmcc.org.sg/recreation.html | accessmonthday=October 20 | accessyear=2007
*cite web | title=Tanah Merah Country Club official website | work=Tanah Merah Country Club — Social Activities | url=http://www.tmcc.org.sg/social.html | accessmonthday=October 20 | accessyear=2007
*cite web | title=SAF Yacht Club official website | work=SAF Yacht Club — About Us | url=http://www.safyc.org.sg/about.html | accessmonthday=October 20 | accessyear=2007
*cite web | title=SAF Yacht Club official website | work=SAF Yacht Club — Facilities | url=http://www.safyc.org.sg/facilities.html | accessmonthday=October 20 | accessyear=2007


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