ReTRIeVIA

:: trivia retrieved ::

Archive for February 2008

Page 13

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Many cities have banned the rickshaw. In Singapore the rickshaw was phased out in 1946 – 1947.
In the Indian city of Calcutta (Kolkata) it was in use till 2006 when a law to ban rickshaws from
its roads was passed. (TIME Magazine, 18 Dec 2006).

“WHEELS OF MISFORTUNE: Invented in Japan, rickshaws became a ubiquitous symbol of Western imperialism in the 19th century as native coolies hauled around their foreign masters in places as far afield as Shanghai and Zanzibar. But as they were steadily replaced by more efficient – and less demeaning – conveyances, the two-wheeled, human-powered carriages gradually disappeared from streets around the world.”

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Written by victorkoo

29 February, 2008 at 10:10 am

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Page 12

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With their low wages, rickshaw pullers could afford only the cheapest of meals. One of their
meals consisted of three (or more) bowls of plain yellow noodles cooked with green
vegetables and dried shrimps.

As this dish was popular with the rickshaw pullers, it became known as ‘rickshaw noodles’.

It is still possible to find food stalls that sell rickshaw noodles. One such stall is located in
the Maxwell Road Food Centre just across the road from the old Jinrickshaw Station.
Note the words “RICKSHAW NOODLE” on the sign.

Written by victorkoo

28 February, 2008 at 10:00 am

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Page 11

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At the Jinrickshaw Station there is a plaque describing the history of the jinrickshaw.
Below is an excerpt from the plaque to give an idea of the fares paid by passengers.
The wording on the plaque also indicates that many rickshaw pullers hoped to go back
to China rather than settle here permanently.

“Early rickshaws were small, lightweight, hooded carts with large wheels, pulled by a single man. Hoods that were easily erected provided protection against the rain or strong sun, and, in some cases, prying eyes. A hood up in fair weather often meant that the passenger was a call girl or some character of disrepute. For three cents, one could go half a mile (0.8 km), or for 20 cents, have the rickshaw at one’s disposal for an hour. Most rickshaw pullers were coolies, who laboured in the hope of saving enough money to return to China after their sojourn. So popular was the rickshaw that it edged out its competitor, the steam tram.”

Written by victorkoo

27 February, 2008 at 10:00 am

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Page 10

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With the increasing number of rickshaws plying the roads in Singapore, a separate department
was set up in 1899 to register and inspect the rickshaws. In 1903 the Jinrickshaw Station at
the junction of Neil Road and Tanjong Pagar Road was built to house this rickshaw registry
and inspection centre.

However, the activities that go on within the Jinrickshaw Station building nowadays are
very different from those for which it was built.

The building currently houses a restaurant and nightclub with the sign “the one LCD KTV”.

Written by victorkoo

26 February, 2008 at 10:00 am

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Page 9

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Jinrickshaw (Rickshaw)

The word ‘jin-rick-shaw’ (or ’jinricksha’) literally means ‘man-power-carriage’.
Later, the words ‘jinrickshaw’ and ‘jinricksha’ were simplified to ‘rickshaw’.

The rickshaw was first brought into Southeast Asia from Shanghai in 1880.
Fares were cheap and the rickshaw’s popularity grew rapidly.

This photograph shows a rickshaw puller in normal day attire – long sleeves
and straw hat to keep out the sun; shorts and unbuttoned shirt to keep
cool; a towel around the neck for wiping off sweat and dust; and barefooted
for a better feel of the road.

Written by victorkoo

25 February, 2008 at 10:00 am

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Page 8

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Transporting heavy and bulky items by hand was laborious, costly and slow.
In order to move goods more quickly and safely, carts came into use.

With the main weight of the load resting on the wheel-axle, and not on the
man’s body, the cart could then be moved by pulling or pushing it. A simple
cart could have one wheel, such as a wheel-barrow, or two wheels as shown
in the pictures.

When a cart was upgraded by adding seats and a roof so that it could
carry passengers, it would be regarded as a ‘carriage’. An example of a
two-wheel carriage is the Jinricksha (Jinrickshaw).

Written by victorkoo

24 February, 2008 at 10:00 am

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Page 7

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There are several ways of moving goods manually. One interesting way, seldom
seen nowadays, was to balance the load on the head as shown in this stamp. In
the basket were various kinds of ‘roti’ (bread) and pastries.

The next stamp shows a hawker selling the popular local food ‘satay’. To move
from one place to another he would divide his goods into two loads and balance
them on a bamboo pole across his shoulders.

While the satay-hawker’s goods are divided into two loads to be carried by one
man, the bottom picture here shows one load being carried by two men.

Written by victorkoo

23 February, 2008 at 10:00 am

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