Located to the west of Jurong Lake, Taman Jurong is part of the larger Jurong West housing estate. It was developed in 1964 to house the workers and the families of the nearby industrial areas. Taman means “garden” in Malay, suggesting that Taman Jurong was meant to be a housing estate in a garden, as a contrast to the adjacent heavy industries.
The area that we now know as Taman Jurong was bounded by Jalan Peng Kang and Sungei Jurong (part of which was later redeveloped as Jurong Lake). The road name of Jalan Peng Kang refers to the larger area of Jurong, which was known to the Chinese as peng kang (秉江). Today, Jalan Peng Kang has been renamed, and Jurong is no longer referred to as Peng Kang anymore. There was also a Kampong Sungei Atap, and a Chin Bee Road (振美路) leading to it. Both the kampong and the road were displaced by the development of Taman Jurong. Today, Chin Bee Road runs within the industrial area to the West of Taman Jurong.
Initially, all the names in Taman Jurong were numbered, from Taman Jurong 1 to Taman Jurong 12 (skipping 11), while the main road running through the estate was just named Taman Jurong. In 1970, the even numbered roads were renamed “(something) Ching Road”, describing sceneries and possibly referring to the “garden” in Taman Jurong, while the odd numbered roads were renamed “Yung (something) Road”, describing eternal progress. More specifically, the roads were renamed (in order from 1 to 12) Yung Loh Road (永乐路, Chinese for “eternal happiness”), Yuan Ching Road (园景路, Chinese for “garden scenery”), Yung Ping Road (永平路, Chinese for “eternal calmness”), Hu Ching Road (湖景路, Chinese for “lake scenery”), Yung Kuang Road (永光路, Chinese for “eternal light”), Tao Ching Road (岛景路, Chinese for “island scenery”), Yung Sheng Road (永升路, Chinese for “eternal rise”), Ho Ching Road (河景路, Chinese for “river scenery”), Yung An Road (永安路, Chinese for “eternal safety”), Shan Ching Road (山景路, Chinese for “mountain scenery”), and Tah Ching Road (塔景路, Chinese for “pagoda scenery”) respectively. Segments of Taman Jurong and Taman Jurong 2 were also restructured as Yung Ho Road (永和路, Chinese for “eternal peace”). The road names describing sceneries might be referring to the Jurong Lake (and within it, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens) which was also being developed at that time. The main Taman Jurong road was also renamed Corporation Drive, while the adjacent Jalan Peng Kang was renamed Corporation Road. Shan Ching Road was subsequently expunged, and a new road named Kang Ching Road (岗景路, Chinese for “ridges scenery”) was added. Corporation Walk and Corporation Rise were also built, serving the landed properties.
Yung An Primary School
Yung An Primary School was set up in 1977, and occupied the premises of Boon Lay Garden Primary School at Boon Lay Avenue (where River Valley High School is now) in its first year. Its school building was completed for the 1978 academic year, together with the adjacent Merlimau Primary School and Yuan Ching Secondary. The three schools shared a common school field.
Both Yung An Primary and Merlimau Primary share the same building design; the same design was also used for a few other schools, such as Westlake Primary and Ghim Moh Primary (both built one year earlier).
In 2003, Yung An Primary and Merlimau Primary merged with the nearby Jurong Town Primary to form Lakeside Primary School. The school is now situated at the junction of Corporation Road and Corporation Drive. The vacated Yung An Primary building then served as the temporary premises of various groups, such as Singapore Autism School, Yuan Ching Secondary (while its new building was being constructed), Jurong Christian Church and Calvary Bible-Presbyterian Church.
The history of Merlimau Primary School extends beyond that of Taman Jurong. It was set up in 1966 on Pulau Merlimau (now reclaimed as part of Jurong Island) as Pulau Merlimau Primary. In 1978, it shifted over to Taman Jurong, and “pulau” was dropped from its name. After the merger with Yung An Primary and Jurong Town Primary, the premises of Merlimau Primary was taken over by Yuan Ching Secondary, and the school building was demolished to make way for a school building for the latter.
Along with the school building of Merlimau Primary, the original buildings of Yuan Ching Secondary were demolished in 2006 to make way for a larger campus. During the reconstruction from 2006 to 2008, the school occupied the vacated campus of the adjacent Yung An Primary.
Although the school was named after the adjacent road in English, its Mandarin name took a different form. Rather than called yuan jing (园景), the school is known by the similar-sounding name of yun qing (耘青). This name is supposed to refer to the notion of “efforts” and “rewards”, more befitting for the school than the scenery of gardens as depicted by the road name.
Taman Jurong Cinema
Taman Jurong Cinema was one of the earliest modes of entertainment for the estate, alongside the drive-in cinema nearby. It was operated by Shaw Brothers, whose logo is still visible today after the cinema closed down in the 1990s. It currently houses a coffee shop.
The Shaw Brothers logo is still clearly visible
Behind Taman Jurong Cinema once stood Singapore’s very first hawker centre – an initiative by the government to house hawkers in a permanent, sanitised location. Yung Sheng Food Centre was known among the locals as liu shi tan (六十摊) or liu shi dang (六十档), Mandarin for “sixty stalls”, as there were exactly 60 stalls in the hawker centre.
In 2003, Singapore’s first hawker centre was demolished to make way for Singapore’s first five-storey hawker centre. The new Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre was completed in 2005, and accommodated stalls from the original Yung Sheng Food Centre, and the nearby Corporation Drive Market and Corporation Drive Food Centre. It consists of 3 storeys of stalls and 2 storeys of car park.
Blk 63 to 66 Yung Kuang Road
These four blocks stood out as iconic buildings in Taman Jurong due to their formation. Rather than 4 separate slab blocks, as per most other housing blocks in Singapore, they were arranged in a diamond-shaped formation, with corridors connected between blocks on all levels. As such, it can be seen as one gigantic block rather than 4 distinct blocks.
The NTUC FairPrice in the middle of the diamond
In the middle of the central “courtyard” stands a lone one-storey building occupied by a supermarket. Although located at arguably the most isolated spot in the area, the NTUC FairPrice outlet seems to be the one commercial space that attracts the most people. The other commercial units are lined up along the ground floor of the blocks, just like most other HDB flats with ground level commercial spaces. However, due to the unique arrangement of the diamond, most shops have double frontages, facing outwards and into the diamond at the same time.
The commercial units on the ground floor
Jurong Stadium and Jurong Town Swimming Complex were constructed on the western side of Taman Jurong, providing sports facilities to the residents. However, the swimming complex was eventually closed down and coverted into hard courts in 2010, most likely due to the opening of more attractive swimming complexes in the region, such as Jurong East and Jurong West Swimming Complexes, resulting in dwindling usage at Jurong Town.
The “H” shaped JTC flats, with every two flats sharing a central lift core
As Taman Jurong was built to serve the industrial areas, many flats here were built by JTC rather than HDB. These flats were then handed over to HDB in 1982, and many have since been demolished for redevelopment.
Blk 9 Yung Kuang Road
Facilities there included a playground and a sheltered sitting area
In 2006, SERS was announced for 6 blocks of flats at Yung Ping Road and Yung Kuang Road. These flats were paired up and connected to a central lift core at specific levels. The units were also paired up, with a stair core serving 2 units on each floor, connecting them to the specific levels with continuous corridors served by the lift. While such an arrangement within each flat was common at that time, even among flats built by HDB, it was less common to have the lift core as a separate structure, serving two distinct blocks.
The staircases leading from the courtyard
Due to the uniqe formation of the blocks, the lift lobby is not connected to a larger void deck area. Instead, it stands isolated in the middle of the “courtyard” space within bounded by the pair of blocks. 2 concrete structures stand next to the lift lobby, housing the mailboxes.
The façade created by the corridors and staircase landings
The cantilevered corridors and staircase landings create an interesting façade on each of the blocks. However, the lack of a ceiling over the corridors makes them highly prone to rainy weather.
The flats were left in a state of decay, just before demolition
The residents were offered replacement flats at Kang Ching Road, and the blocks stood vacant for a few years before being demolished.
West Point Hospital
Since the 1970s, residents of Taman Jurong (and the entire Jurong West in general) were served by the Jurong Hospital, located next to the abovementioned JTC flats and across the road from the diamond blocks. The private hospital is now known as West Point Hospital, and continues to serve the healthcare needs of the residents. However, it is no longer their only options, as many public healthcare services have been established in Jurong in recent years, namely Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Jurong Community Hospital and Jurong Medical Centre.
West Point Hospital
Other than the first hawker centre in Singapore, this area also boasts Singapore’s first and only permament drive-in cinema. It was operated by Cathay Organisation, located on a plot of land between the estate and Jurong Lake, leased from JTC. The cinema could hold up to 900 cars and 300 more people in its gallery. While it was well-received initially, its popularity dipped over the years. Crowd control over such a huge area proved to be difficult, and unpredictable weather also affected the screenings. The cinema was eventually closed in 1985 when Cathay decided not to renew the lease from JTC.
Fairway Country Club, standing where the Jurong Drive-in Cinema used to be
In the early 1990s, the plot of land was developed as Fairway Country Club, and the huge parking area for the drive-in cinema was converted into a golf course.
Next to the drive-in cinema was Jurong’s very own water theme park. It was opened as Mitsukoshi Garden, after its developer Mitsukoshi Limited, but was renamed CN West Leisure Park when it was bought over and redeveloped by West Overseas Co. Private Limited. In the late 1990s, it became known as the Club Hawaii Resort, and most recently, the Japanese Fishing Village.
Jurong Town Primary School was the first school to be set up in Taman Jurong. Its building is designed in the same way as many other government schools set up in the 1960s, such as Telok Ayer Integrated School, New Town Primary School, Permaisura Primary School and Farrer Primary School.
The school merged with Yung An Primary and Merlimau Primary in 2003. Today, the old building is occupied by Yuvabharathi International School.
Taman Jurong Bus Terminal along Hu Ching Road
Taman Jurong Bus Terminal is a short-lived roadside bus terminal located along Hu Ching Road. It was the first roadside bus terminal to be constructed in the last few decades, ever since the widespread adoption of larger bus interchanges. It was constructed solely for bus service 49, which connected Taman Jurong to the rest of Jurong West. From November 2015 onwards, bus 49 was extended to Jurong East, and Taman Jurong Bus Terminal was retired.
Corporation Drive Market and Corporation Drive Food Centre were two single-storey zinc-roofed structures located at the junction of Corporation Drive and Hu Ching Road, near where the Taman Jurong Bus Terminal was established. Corporation Drive Market was originally known as Jurong Market I, and was renamed in 1979.
The two structures were demolished after the stalls were relocated to Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre.
The adjacent flats (Blk 139 to 145) were chosen for SERS in 1996, and the residents were relocated to Corporation Spring precinct at Yung Sheng Road. These blocks were then demolished by 2000. The plot of land (including the part occupied by the market and food centre) is now occupied by the Lake Vista precinct and the upcoming Yung Ho Spring I precinct.
Across the road, between Yung Loh Road and Yung Ho Road, was an iconic single-storey concrete structure that served the banking needs of the estate. Initially occupied by the Bank of America, it was then taken over by DBS bank, before staying vacant for a few years. It was eventually demolished in 2015 to make way for the Yung Ho Spring II HDB precinct.
SuperBowl Jurong is an entertainment complex located at the southern end of Taman Jurong. Other than the bowling alley, the complex also houses a supermarket, a fast-food restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, karaoke lounges and other commercial tenants.
The complex houses SuperBowl, McDonald’s, KTV lounges, among other facilities
It was put up on sale in September 2015, and depending on the decision by the eventual buyer, the complex may be refurbished or even demolished.
Next to SuperBowl Jurong along Yung Ho Road is a single-storey building housing a KFC outlet.
A humble KFC outlet stands next to SuperBowl Jurong
The main city entrance
Among the various theme parks in Singapore, Tang Dynasty City was probably one of the most short-lived. Designed after the Tang Dynasty capital of Chang’an, this theme park opened in 1992, but was only opened for 7 years. Upon its closure, it was left vacant for yet another 9 years before it was finally demolished.
HDB flats in the background
Scenes from the Tang Dynasty City
The Tany Dynasty City was surrounded by a replica of the Great Wall of China, creating a secluded space sheltered from the adjacent Ayer Rajar Expressway. Attractions include replicas of pagodas, grand temples, and terracotta warriors.
The streetscape of Chang’an was replicated
In addition to being a cultural theme park, Tang Dynasty City was also supposed to be a movie town, similar to the Tuas TV World. The first TV serial produced by the studio was Legend of the Beauty (一代天骄), which was filmed even before the attraction was opened to public. However, despite this additional commercial aspect, it began to lose money due to a fall in visitor numbers. Visitors were turned off by the high entrance fees and a lack of novelty in the attractions. While other similar Chinese-themed attractions such as Haw Par Villa and Chinese Garden manage to survive till today, through measures including the waiving of entrance fees, the Tang Dynasty City could not sustain till the new millennium.
The empty plot of land
The original vehicular entrance from the junction of Yuan Ching Road and Yung Ho Road
Today, the plot of land remains empty, awaiting future development, most likely in lieu of the Jurong Lake District or the upcoming high-speed rail station at Jurong East.
File Last Updated: December 11, 2015