Once Upon A Glorious Time At the Istana, Singapore News & High Tales
Siblings Hajah Maimunah Shaik Madar, 84, and Haji Ansari Shaik Madar, 79, have fond reminiscences of a childhood spent inside the grounds of the Istana. They aren’t the youngsters of the Straits Settlements governors and Singapore presidents who lived or worked there. Nor are they related to the numerous foreign dignitaries ushered by means of the gates because the late nineteenth century. Their father was a Turkish immigrant who had a job as chief orderly at what was then often called the government Home. From the early thirties to late 1940s, he and his family of thirteen children lived on the grounds in a bungalow, which has since been demolished. Mr Ansari, a retired financial institution officer, recalls the ceremonial pomp associated with the government Home. Both the Istana (“palace” in Malay) and Sri Temasek bungalow have been completed in 1869. In 1992, they had been gazetted as national monuments. The Istana was supposed as the residence for the governor of the Straits Settlements. The undulating, leafy grounds had been bordered by Orchard Street to the south, Cavenagh Road to the west, Bukit Timah Street to the north and Mount Sophia to the east.
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