stories of chinatown
trip planner
what's happening
media room
visitor information
directory listing add all to trip planner   |   go to trip planner >>
by category by alphabet by precinct heritage brands  
Amoy Street
Ann Siang Hill
Ann Siang Road
Anson Road
Banda Street
Boon Tat Street
Bukit Pasoh Road
Cantonment Road
Chin Chew Street
Chin Swee Road
Chinatown Food Street
Club Street
Craig Road
Cross Street
Duxton Hill
Duxton Road
Erskine Road
Eu Tong Sen Street
Gemmill Lane
Hokien Street
Jiak Chuan Road
Kadayanallur Street
Keong Saik Road
Kreta Ayer Road
Maxwell Road
McCallum Street
Mosque Street
Murray Street
Nankin Street
Neil Road
New Bridge Road
New Market Road
North Bridge Road
North Canal Road
Pagoda Street
Park Road
Pickering Street
Sago Lane
Sago Street
Smith Street
South Bridge Road
Stanley Street
Tanjong Pagar Road
Teck Lim Road
Telok Ayer Street
Temple Street
Teo Hong Road
Tras Street
Trengganu Street
Upper Cross Street
Sago Lane map | list | print
Heritage Marker SB09 - Street of the Dead
Sago Lane
Heritage Marker SB27 - Fan Tsai Mei: Foreign Brothels & Gambling Dens
Sago Lane
shop info ^ scroll up to directory
Heritage Marker SB09 - Street of the Dead
Learn more about Chinatown's rich history by visiting our Heritage Markers. Installed at places of historical significance around Chinatown, each plaque provides a short history of the location in three languages - English, Simplified Chinese and Japanese.

Death houses once lined both sides of Sago Lane. A death house was literally where the poor came to die. Rooms and dormitories housed the dying, and attached to them were funeral parlours. Medical care was minimal, for those who entered a death house did not expect to recover. As dismal as they were, death houses actually played an important role in Chinatown. Most of Singapore's poor Chinese immigrants lived in overcrowded quarters, where there was hardly enough space for the living, let alone the dying. This, coupled with the superstition that dying in one's home brought bad luck to the remaining residents, led to the creation of death houses. At these death houses, the dying were at least ensured a place to rest and a proper burial.

The dead person would be laid out in a Chinese coffin surrounded by colourful paper effigies of worldly goods, such as money, cars and houses. The effigies would then be burnt with some personal items belonging to the deceased. This ritual symbolises the assurance that wealth and comfort awaited him in the spirit world.

Death houses were outlawed in 1961 and shops selling funeral paraphernalia sprung up in their place.
Sago Lane
+ upload photo and videos
^ scroll up to directory