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Sep 27, 2013

Four Beauties of Simei

1.  貴妃  (Guifei)   2. 昭君  (Zhaojun)   
3.  貂嬋  (Diaochan)   4.  西施  (Xishi)

When my family and I moved to Simei in April, 1988, I kept an old newspaper clipping which appeared in The Straits Times published on 11 March, 1988.

These eye-catching murals of Yang Guifel and Xi Shi recall different periods of Chinese history for residents of Simei  estate.  - Pictures by LESLEY KOH.  Source:  The Straits Times.

Four legendary Chinese women return to housing estate.
Four Chinese "beauties", removed about a year ago from their home in a housing estates named after them, are making a comeback of sorts.

The estate they left is Simei, which means "four beauties" in Chinese, and the four women are Xi Shi, Diao Chan, Yang Guifel and Wang Zhaojun - legendary characters in Chinese classical literature.

In June last year, four main roads in Simei bearinng their names were renamed simply as Simei Streets 1 to 4 because some residents found the Hanyu pinyin names hard to pronounce.

But the beauties have returned, though in a different form.  The Housing Board started having the four beauties painted on wall murals in some void decks there late last year.

One of these beauties, Yang Guaifei, was the favourite concubine of Tang Dynasty Emperor Xuan Zong.  She was killed in a riot started by An Lushan, one of the Emperor's military officials.

The second, Xi Shi, was given to the Emperor of Wu by Emperor Gou Jian of Yue.  While the Emperor of Wu was indulging in Xi Shi's beauty, Emperor Gou Jian conquered the state of Wu.

Wang Zhaojun, the third legendary figure, was a maid presented as a peace offering to the Emperor of Xiongnu by Han Emperor Yuen.

Diao Chan, the last, was a character in the book,
 Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  A songstress, she outwitted two conspirators who were plotting to overthrow the kingdom.

A spokesman for the board said:  "This will not only make the place more attractive, it is in keeping with the thematic significance of the estate's name".

A housewife, Mrs P. Ramesh, 35, thought the painting of Xi Shi in Block 116, "very appropriate".

"But I would appreciate it better if there was a plaque or something next to it telling me more about who she was".

The paintings of the beauties will be on the walls of eight blocks.  Each mural costs about $800,

So far, two mural has been completed -  Guifei graces the wall opposite Block 107's lift lobby and Xi Shi is seen in Blocks 116 and 123 in Simei Street 1.

The board will decide where the other murals will be painted when more blocks in the estate are completed.
Simei housing estate in Singapore was like a "foreign" place to me before I "migrated" from Clementi in the west to Simei in the east.  It is our same country, our same homeland though.

In the "From rustic kampong to a vibrant community" blog I contributed to "Everythingeast" website to share my personal memories and experiences as a resident of Simei for over 20 years.

I described myself as an "immigrant" of Simei on this blog.  Please find out Why .

This "incidental blog" took me many months to prepare because the physical transformation and the "New Look, New Faces" of Simei estate to upgrade, enhance and improve the environments of the residents for a better future of Simei.

In October, 2009,  Member of Parliament for East Coast GRC and Adviser to East Coast GRC Grassroots Organisations, Ms Jessica Tan, together with the architects and the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) Working Committee invited the residents of Block 101, 102, 105 to 117, 119, 120 to 139 Simei Street 1 to preview the NRP preliminary design and participate in the forum at the Changi Simei Community Centre.  The presentation by the architect was followed by a dialogue session.

The resident participants were represented by young and old, all ethnic groups and various walks of life at the session.  For instance, the parents of young children who are concerned about the safety of the kids to play at the playground, the convenience of elders who need accident-free ramps for the wheel-chairs, the adequate public lightings with lamps for the security of young girls walking alone in the night, to cater to the amenities and needs of the residents and the community.  Shelters with overhead bridges and pedestrian links to bus-stops and MRT stations, schools, markets and shops for those who travel by public transport.
As a resident of Block 122 Simei Street 1, I cannot avoid to notice the developments and changes to the neighbourhood since the beginning of 2013.  Hoardings were erected everywhere with alternative access and routes for the pedestrians with appropriate direction signboards.

The work schedule and the work in progress posters were displayed prominently in the estate by the contractors for the information of the residents.

Views From the Window

These photos of the precinct garden under construction ...

The completed precinct garden (day and night) ...

Painting of the buildings under NRP

The original colour scheme in brown before NRP

Repainting the final coat of colour to change from brown to turquoise

The New Precinct Playgrounds


The many months to wait for the new playgrounds and the new colour scheme for the buildings under the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) is worthwhile for the residents of Simei.



Blogger babytobeat said...

Thank you so much for all the information! You helped me out for my project :)

June 6, 2015 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Hi "babytobeat", thank you for your comments on this blog.

I am glad that the information posted on my personal blog helped you out for your project.

It is indeed my pleasure as much as you found it helpful.


James Seah

June 8, 2015 at 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice blog .
from 2003 to 2013 has been one of my favourite eras of my time in simei .
Even though I live in Tampines now , I still occasionally visit to bring back the memories .

October 5, 2016 at 6:10 PM  

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