The Rubber Plantations of Jalan Kayu - Photos by Ted Wilkins

Photos are from Ted Wilkin's personal collection.

(Text is written by Shantini J of 1E1 )

From the photos above, we can infer that there were rubber plantations in Jalan Kayu and that the rubber industry flourished. Furthermore, "the prosperity of Singapore at that time depended upon its use as a commercial emporium" (1) and rubber was one of the main exported items. Indeed, the export of rubber from Singapore had contributed to a large extent to the British government's economy and thus the colonial government must have encouraged the rubber industry. This point can be supported by the fact that ''the demand for land rose sharply when companies formed in Britain began to seek land for rubber plantations. Except in times of trade recession, demand continued until 1940, when rubber plantations in Malaya(and Singapore) spread over 2.1 million acres"(2). In addition , I can also infer that the rubber industry was technologically advanced and there was a mixture of manual work and the use of machines.I also infer that the rubber plantation business was one which was allowed both genders to worked in on what appears to be similair capacities. The photos show a young girl ,an older lady and a man are working together . In the past it was very unlikely that women and children worked unless it was one which was in most cases , involved helping out in a family business. Hence , a number of the rubber plantations could have been family owned or at least the land-owners employed entire families to work in the industry.
(1) & (2) Sources: Adapted from 'Administrative Reports of the Singapore Municipality' quoted in Contesting Space: Power Relations and the Urban Built Environment inColonial Singapore by Brenda S. A Yeoh. www.historycooperativeorg/proceedings/asslh/hagan.html


Lam Chun See said…
Actually there were lots of rubber plantations in the 50s in Spore. Just yesterday, I was having lunch at the Beauty World Shopping Centre. I spoke to one of the old hawkers and asked him if he knew what was the area where the shopping centre was located previously. He told me it was a rubber plantation and that there was a rubber factory just nearby. Unfortunately my Hokkien isn't too good so I missed many details.
nancy said…
me and my 3 siblings studied at jalan kayu primary school. my sis remembers walking thro the rubber plantation to get to school, and we had plenty of fun rubbing the rubber seed on a hard surface to heat it up, and burning it on the skin of an unfortunate friend!
Anonymous said…
Hi Shantini

I enjoy reading your postings a lot. Keep it up!

Mr Tan Yap Kin
Anonymous said…
Though I am not from Singapore , I have got an idea of the people and the tea plantations found there. keep it up !

P.S:we would like to see colourful pictures next time.