During the early 1980s, rumours of the impending demolition of Bugis Street to make way for a transport station began to circulate. A group of hawkers who plied their trade there appealed to the Member of Parliament for Kampong Glam against this decision. Transwomen were also warned to stay away from Bugis Street by the authorities. The Citizens’ Consultative Committee for Kampong Glam met up with The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Hawkers’ Department with a proposal to convert Bugis Street into a food centre. The idea was rejected.
In the latter part of 1985, Bugis Street was demolished, all the street hawker stalls were cleared and they relocated to the other areas of Singapore to continue their business. In 1987, as part of the Singapore Tourism Board’s efforts to preserve, conserve or redevelop iconic sites and tourist attractions, a decision was made by the Singapore Tourism Board to give Bugis Street a makeover.
In the mid 1990’s, Bugis Street reopened for business. The news was welcomed by former hawkers and retailers, resulting in the full occupation of the retail and entertainment outlet once again. Nevertheless, this overwhelming response unfavourably lured lawbreakers. The sale of illegal and pirated goods sprouted. Bugis Street’s management took this matter seriously and, with the help of local authorities, such activities were strictly prohibited.
In 1997, Bugis Street Development Private Limited embarked on the upgrading of the thoroughfare. The original main street was transformed into a road lined with 2 rows of stalls. In 2004, Bugis Street expanded the 2nd floor with an addition of 64 stalls. Bugis Café was established to target the teen market. This completed Bugis Street as a trendy, fashion haven for the young to hangout. In support of ‘Entrepreneurship Education and Service Quality’, Bugis Street Development Private Limited collaborated with Singapore Polytechnic to provide entrepreneurship training in a realistic environment by renting retail space to the Singapore Polytechnic students.
Currently Bugis Street has about 600 concept stalls and the number is expected to grow. Future developments are in the pipeline to make Bugis Street a better and more exciting street shopping complex.
Bugis Junction is made up of three streets - Malabar Street, Malay Street and Hylam Street. The streets were the first in Singapore to be air-conditioned.
Bugis Junction, opened on 8 September 1995, was managed by a Japanese company, Parco. The old shophouses on Malabar Street, Malay Street and Hylam Street were rebuilt and weatherproofed, and the streets covered with transparent glass domes to make them part of a shopping mall. The whole unit was incorporated into an existing pedestrian shopping mall on Bugis Street which is connected to Bugis MRT station by an underpass. Bugis Junction features a hotel, a 15-storey office tower, food outlets, departmental stores and an umpteen number of shops selling all and sundry.
- Dazzled, "History of Bugis street and Bugis Junction", Blogspot, 19 April 2012.
This article was written by Roy Tan.