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"Sor Leng Ngia: The rise and demise of the trishaw industry in Singapore 1945-1983

Lim, Jason (1995) "Sor Leng Ngia: The rise and demise of the trishaw industry in Singapore 1945-1983. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis traces the rise and demise of the trishaw industry in Singapore between 1945 and 1983. Trishaws ("Sor leng Ngia" in the Henghua dialect) first appeared in significant numbers in the streets of Singapore during the Japanese Occupation between 1942 and 1945. In this history, I attempt to demonstrate how the industry was bound up with major events and changing perceptions in the transformation of Singapore since 1945.

Two distinct phases of the industry are chronicled in the thesis. The first, from the end of the war to independence in 1965, charts the rise of the industry following the ban of rickshaws in 1947. In that year, the Singapore Trishaw Owners Association was established and three years later, the riders founded the Singapore Hired Trishaw Riders Association. The trishaw industry was formally recognized by government agencies and the public with the establishment of these two associations. However, the industry actually began to be marginalised from the mid-1950s onwards due to changes in the urban landscape and transport sector.

The second period covers the history of the trishaw industry from independence until 1983. These years marked great changes in Singapore’s cityscape and transport systems, which led to the inevitable decline of the trishaw industry. The tourist boom of the late 1970s failed to revitalise the industry and by 1983, both the owners’ and riders’ associations had collapsed. The dissolution of both associations marked the end of an era in the history of transport in Singapore as well as the vanishing of a traditional urban occupation.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Asian Studies
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Warren, James
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