:: trivia retrieved ::

Are you a GLAM person?

Do you regularly drive up DunearnRoad past Sixth Avenue towards Methodist Girls’ School? If you do you will notice that the road divides into 2 parts with a railing-road-divider in between. You can drive on the ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ road. On the road divider there is a row of about 40 or so ‘glam’ trees. The trees are not impressive, being small and slender with small pointed leaves.

What is interesting is that there is a place known as Kampong Glam in the Arab Street / Beach Road area. Perhaps, long ago Kampong Glam had a lot of ‘Gelam’ trees. The Malay/Indonesian name for the gelam tree is ‘kayu putih’ or ‘white wood’ tree. The leaves are crushed and distilled to obtain ‘Oil of Kayu putih’ (similar to Oil of Eucalyptus).

You can buy this Oil of Kayu putih (Minyak kayu putih) from a stall at Ghim Moh market or from the Indonesian stores in Queenstown Shopping Centre. [If you want to know more about Kayu putih, consult our expert Shawn Lum.]

Incidentally, there is a very fine old specimen of this tree in the Botanic Gardens (one of the plants privileged to have the hexagonal HSBC plaque). The bark of this tree is made up of thin layers and hence its other name, ‘Paper-bark Tree’.

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2000
Tan Wee Kiat


Written by Ivan Chew

19 September, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Year 2000

7 Responses

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  1. Hi Wee Kiat. Shouldn’t the Dunearn Rd in your opening sentence be Bukit Timah Rd?

    Anyway, I have just posted an article in my blog about that part of Bukit Timah Rd. I have post a photo of what I think are your glam trees. Do drop by and take a look.

    Lam Chun See

    24 September, 2007 at 6:39 pm

  2. Hi! Chun See,
    Yes, you are right about the road name — should be Bukit Timah Road rather than Dunearn Road.

    The photo in your blog shows the ‘Kayu-putih’ (wood that is white) trees on the road divider very clearly. Note the white-bark of the tree trunks.

    Will you be blogging about the Bukit Timah Railway Station? That is an interesting part of Bukit timah heritage, I think.
    tan wee kiat.


    24 September, 2007 at 10:14 pm

  3. I am afraid I don’t know enough about the Bt Timah railway station to write an article. How about you write one instead. You can post on your blog amd I will link to it or you can cross-post it to my site to add to my collection of Bt Timah Heritage Trails.

    By the way, I have more photos of the glam trees. But it was getting late and the photos were no good. Still I will upload to Flickr and let you know the address later.

    Lam Chun See

    25 September, 2007 at 9:25 am

  4. I have uploaded 4 glam tree photos here:

    Bt Timah Road - Glam Trees (6)

    Lam Chun See

    25 September, 2007 at 9:55 am

  5. actually, Wee Kiat you are correct in your assumption. Kampong Glam was indeed named for the gelam trees that used to populate that area. Although, until Chun See put up those pictures, i had no idea what they looked like!


    26 September, 2007 at 3:46 pm

  6. The comments in this post so far seem to suggest that Wee Kiat should post relevant photos in his blog to make his already very interesting stories even more so. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words. Time to get some beneficial exercise by walking around to take some photos, Wee Kiat. You can pass them to Ivan who will gladly post them for you in this blog, I am sure.

    victor koo

    27 September, 2007 at 11:46 am

  7. Hi! Victor,
    Yes, photos would add colour to the ‘retrievia’ stories. But as an old member of the M-R-T generation, it would take a long time for me to get going and post pictures. [M-R-T = Makan- Rehat-Tidor ]
    But please feel free to add your pictures and witticisms to upgrade the retrievia stories. This invitation is extended to all readers. Of course, the usual 3 constraints apply to all additions —
    the added material must not be illegal, immoral or fattening.
    tan wee kiat


    1 October, 2007 at 11:05 am

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