Fullerton Heritage - Singapore River

Raffles Place
South, Singapore
March 2013

(This article is part of Merlion Wayfarer's Fullerton Heritage Guided Tour series.)
Opposite Fullerton Hotel was Johnston's Pier, a jetty and landing-platform for the convenient arrival and departure of sea travellers. It once stood opposite Fullerton Square, and Hong Kong Bank Building at Battery Road and Collyer Quay. Built by the Municipal Commissioners, construction started in early 1854 and was completed on 13 March 1856. In its time many famous dignitaries, including British Royalty and other VIPs first set foot in Singapore on this pier. Johnston's Pier was named after Alexander Laurie Johnston, one of the earliest European settlers in Singapore.  This was later replaced by the current Clifford Pier.
Contrary to popular belief, the name "Ang Teng" was first used to refer to Johnston's Pier. When it was built, two handsome, stylishly designed ornamental lamp-posts, with fluted columns, turn-over leaves, and four copper lanterns were ordered from England to add a bit of elegance to its entrance. Another red lamp used to hang at the end of the pier, warning ships as it entered the harbour. Thus Johnston's Pier was popularly known as Lampu Merah or "Red Lamp" in Malay; and also, Ang Teng (the Hokkien, Chinese dialect name). Consequently, Lampu Merah and Ang Teng also became the name for Clifford Pier.
A major ship arrival occurred every 3-4 months. A flag would be raised atop the Fort Canning Hill, and the townsfolk would enjoy a bout of drinks to celebrate.
A bronze sculpture of coolies just outside the Fullerton Hotel.
This depicts a typical scene along the Singapore River some 100 years ago...