Did you know that Siglap is derived from the Malay word si-gelap meaning “dark one” or “the darkness that conceals”? It is believed that Siglap was so named either because of a solar eclipse at the time of the village’s founding in 1821, or in reference to the thick canopy of coconut trees in the area that let little sunlight through.
There are different accounts about the founding of Kampong Siglap, which was most likely established in the 19th century. One oral history account claims that Tok Lasam, a prince from Minangkabau in Sumatra founded Kampong Siglap in 1809 while another dates its founding to the mid-17th century.
Today, you will find the graves of Penghulu (chieftain) Tok Lasam, his wife and his Panglima (commander-in-chief) standing at the end of Jalan Sempadan (border street in Malay). They are the only ones left of the former cemetery and are marked with yellow that denotes royalty.
When redevelopment of this area occurred in the 1990s, community leaders petitioned successfully to retain this significant grave while others were exhumed and reinterred in the Muslim cemetery in Lim Chu Kang.
While you’re here, don’t forget to pause to admire the these original condition two-story terraced houses before they too disappear for good.