Hop On a Trishaw and Experience How Singaporeans Travelled in the 50's


“三轮车
跑得快
上面坐个老太太”
Trishaw runs fast, on it is an old lady.

This is an old children’s song familiar to many Singaporeans. Trishaws, three-wheeled vehicles with pedals, are a rarity today. Back in the early 50’s, they were a common mode of transportation. That said, they can still be sighted around the central parts of Singapore, like Bugis, Chinatown and, sometimes, City Hall.
Trishaw uncle of the yesteryear. Credit: Singas

Trishaw uncles are usually skinny and have very tanned skin. It is no surprise as they have to slog it out for long hours under the scorching sun.

Here’s how it works: You tell the trishaw rider where you want to go, both of you agree on a price and off you go!

Sit comfortably and relish in the feeling as the wind comes gushing against your face. Open your eyes to the wonderful sights and ready your cameras so you can keep those gorgeous sights. For my fellow Singaporeans, take it as a trip down the memory lane, winding down the streets of our Lion City and looking at how much our nation has grown these 50 years.

Credit: Philippe Put

From a third-world nation, it has progressed tremendously to what it is today, with clean streets, awe-inspiring skyscrapers and the beautiful greenery that surrounds. Don’t you just feel that sense of pride? As you recollect, you might want to listen to some National Day songs we are all so familiar with like “Where I Belong” or “Home” for an enhanced experience. Imagine how hard our forefathers toiled, just like the trishaw men, to forge a future so bright and let that sense of thankfulness emerge.

Credit: We That Travel

Business today is pretty slow even as it has been promoted to tourists and that could be due to the fees they charge. But, hey, remember that they have to use every strength and might in their feeble legs to bring you to witness the glorious sights of the city. Age has already caught up with most of them and they have to wage both a physical and mental battle. Some trishaw peddlers even smoke just to muster enough energy for the next ride. Don’t forget that they also double up as your personal tour guide; not only do they take you to different places, they can also explain their histories and give you great suggestions on where to go, what to eat, etc. After all, these seniors have accumulated years and years of experience living here.

Try it once, at least! And show your trishaw uncle some appreciation; ferrying people manually ain’t easy. If you’ve enjoyed your ride, tip him, maybe?

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