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April 29, 2008

Anderson Bridge: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Anderson Bridge: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I could regurgitate verbatim all the staid details about Anderson Bridge like the fact that it was built in 1920 and named after Sir John Anderson, then Governor of the Straits Settlements. If you really like such a textbook version, head for the National Library Board’s officious document.

Borrowing the title from a 1974 John le Carre novel, here is my version of the Anderson Bridge based on the words “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”.

Tinker, Tailor
Town planners first tinkered with the idea of building Anderson Bridge to replace Cavenagh Bridge as it was judged to obstruct larger vessels from entering the Singapore River. The design concept of Anderson Bridge was thus tailored to permit more commerce up the Singapore River by boat. However even after the new bridge was built, administrators kept Cavenagh Bridge on its payroll, minus the vehicular loads.

The new bridge links the present Fullerton Road and Connaught Drive with two lanes on each side of a central divider. The architectural design of Anderson Bridge is of worthwhile mention. It has metalwork and plaster intricacies like no other bridges in Singapore. Three steel arches prop up steel ribs that extend across them like a scaffold. At each end of the bridge are two rusticated archways and a fluted pier.

Soldier, Spy
A morbid historical detail hangs from the arches of Anderson Bridge. During World War II, military soldiers strung dead heads of suspected civilian spies on the bridge as a threat to warn others not to break the law or aid the resistant movement. Such psychological warfare, while cruel and inhuman, has been a recurring practice in the history of wars. As a reminder to the younger generation who were born after WWII, this bridge and its heritage status should be highlighted.

Future Clues
Come 28 September 2008, global media will cast its glare on Anderson Bridge as Formula 1 racing cars zip through the metallic cage-like bridge in the F1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix 2008. This historic occasion will allow Anderson Bridge to showcase its heritage and architectural glory with millions of TV viewers all over the globe. Sharing the spotlight will be neighbouring landmark tourist sites like the Merlion Park and the Fullerton Hotel.

See More Places. Live More Life.

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Marjorie said...

Hi! I'm writing a novel based in Singapore and set during WW2. I'm interested in that little factoid about Japanese soldiers stringing the decapitated heads of suspected civilian resistance supporters. Can you tell me where you got this information? I'd love to follow up on it. Thank you!


Admin said...

hi marjorie,
thanks for reading my blog.
You can read more at this National Library link: http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_923_2004-12-24.html
all the best to you and your novel.

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