Amber Road Singapore is one of the most known locations in the region thanks to its rich history.
Connecting Mountbatten Road and Haig Road junction, Tanjong Katong Road is the famous L-shaped Amber Road. The prosperous early 20th-century businessman Joseph Aaron Elias and his family are closely linked to giving the road its name. Besides the businesses and its prosperity, the road has numerous landmarks that carry rich history among them the Chinese swimming club, which is perhaps the most famous of them all.
The road was officially named Amber Road in 1921. At this time, the Elias Family owned most of the properties in the area. The most accurate account of how the road got its name was documented by the Singapore Street Names
A Study of Toponymics authors
They recorded that the road got its name from the family trust fund, the Amber Trust Fund. This trust was established by the acclaimed businessman’s mother Serena Elias alias Mrs Sarina Elias Amber. The objective of the trust was to help educate young, poor Jews living in Singapore at the time. A supporting theory from Singapore Jews author
states that the name Amber is related to Elias’s mother family. It’s not
strange that Serena Elias gave the trust her family name, which in turn was adopted by the road. Rather than contradict each other, the accounts on how the road got its name actually support each other. There are other theories on the naming of the road, but many agree that the two are the most accurate.
Landmarks on Amber Road in Singapore
Most of the landmarks on Amber Road have been redeveloped and repurposed over the years of its existence. Some of the most famous ones are the The Big House,’ which was the primary home for the Elias family; and the Mandalay Villa, which hosted some of the prolific leaders significant in building Singapore to what it is today.
Quite a tragic history
With almost a century in existence, the Amber Road has had its fair share of bad times. It has been a host to two significant tragedies during its existence.
Operation Sook Ching
This operation took place between 1942 and 1945 during the infamous Japanese Occupation. The beach next to 27 Amber road turned out to be the main ground for Operation Sook Ching, an act of valor by Japanese soldiers. This was a massacre against anti-Japanese elements which led to the death of many Chinese men.
Maria Hertogh riots
Five years later the road found itself at the center of another tragedy. The road was one of the forefronts of the infamous Maria Hertogh riots which lead to loss of lives and
extensive property damage.
These two tragedies not only shaped the future of Amber Road but also Singapore as a country and in turn gave the road a place in the history books.