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Archive for January 14th, 2008

Mr Rajaratnam and Kampong Glam

Talking about Mr Rajaratnam reminds me of Kampong Glam. Mr Rajaratnam was the MP for Kampong Glam for many years.

Incidentally, ‘Glam’ is not short form for ‘Glamour’, neither is it another way of spelling ‘Glum’. If ‘Glam’ doesn’t stand for ‘Glamour’ what does it stand for?

The word ‘Glam’ stands for ‘Gelam’, the name of a tree. The common name for this tree is ‘paper-bark’ tree. This refers to the tendency for the bark to shred in a paper-like manner. The wood is whitish, which leads to the Malays referring to it as ‘Kayu putih’. The scientific name for this tree is Melaleuca cajuputi (notice the similarity between ‘cajuputi’ and ‘kayu putih’). The leaves of this tree are collected and distilled to obtain ‘Minyak kayu putih’, a medicated oil similar to Oil of Eucalyptus.

Now comes the $64 question: Can you find this tree in Kampong Glam?

Yes. There are some Gelam trees planted in Kampong Glam and, near Kampong Glam, in front of the HajjahFatimah Mosque in Beach Road.

There is a whole row of these trees on the road divider outside the Methodist Girls’ School in Bukit Timahand several in Havelock Road.

Oh, yes, there is a grand old Gelam tree in the Botanic Gardens (near the famous Tembusu Tree which is shown on our $5 note and on a postage stamp).

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2003/ 2004
Tan Wee Kiat


Written by Ivan Chew

14 January, 2008 at 1:34 am

Posted in Year 2003/ 2004