Rickshaws in Singapore Article

The term " rickshaw” is a great abbreviation from the Japanese word " Jinrikisha” or " Rikisha”.[1] In the 1880s, the rickshaw began to displace gharries (horse-drawn carriages) as the key mode of inexpensive transport in Singapore.[2] An extensive study with the " rickshaw” in 1921 Singapore necessarily examines rickshaws as a setting of transportation, as well as an avenue to gain insights into the lives of rickshaw pullers. Inside the latter feeling, rickshaws in order to bring the lives of the the general public into sharper contrast, building a social good sorts. This essay is going to first analyse rickshaws as a transport type in 1921 Singapore, prior to proceeding towards the individual pullers.

Rickshaws had 2 wheels and were taken by one individual. There were recently 2 classes of rickshaws: 1st Category (rubber tyres) and next Class (iron tyres). Yet , by 1920 there were not any 2nd Course rickshaws in Singapore. Rickshaws had collapsible canvas hats for refuge purposes. In addition , it had a canvas display that was theoretically water-resistant, for prevention of the weather. The screen expanded from the passenger's feet to his torso, and was fastened on the sides with snap-on keys. But it would not keep out driving rain, so the traveler had to wear a raincoat. The rickshaw puller could have worn a shorter canvas hide over his shoulders in the rain, although most of the time he ran simple to the midsection.[3] New rickshaws were being brought in from The japanese in 1921, which expense $180, doubling the original cost of $90. Because of this boost, some rickshaws were made in your area but had been inferior for the imported ones. Rickshaws inside the Municipality increased from 8022 (1920) to 9244 (1921) and the patterns of the pullers owing to elevated competition significantly improved. This kind of rise was due to the slipping employment in estates. In 1921, rickshaws began to face competition coming from omnibuses, which in turn foreshadowed their particular eventual displacement by power-driven transport. Small 7 seater omnibuses, which are converted by Ford Car Chassis, charged cheaper prices than the rickshaws. Furthermore these types of omnibuses had been pneumatic-tyred and light, thus they were doing little trouble for roads. That they plied standard routes and fulfilled a long-felt need of cheap and easy transport intended for poor people.[4]

An owner-puller configuration characterized the rickshaw system in 1921. A great owner was the person whose name stood in the enroll as the possessor of your licensed rickshaw. Owners of rickshaws generally came from the same area in China and dialect group as their pullers. They were primarily Hengwah, Hockchia, and Hokkien. There were around a thousand owners of rickshaws in Singapore prior to 1928; most were men of small capital. A few owners, who had limited assets, drawn their rickshaws themselves. There have been a few exceptions where puller advanced to owner. For example , Lee Choon, who was cheap and never smoked opium, manufactured enough in a single year of pulling to buy a rickshaw. Only around two pullers in a hundred owned their particular rickshaws. All of those other pullers hired rickshaws via owners on a shift basis. The typical change was to get half a day. The day change lasted via 6 was to 2pm whilst the night time shift survived from 2pm to night time / 5pm to 3 are. In 1916, first class rickshaw rental costs were 50-60 cents each day. During happy times, the rickshaw puller required home at most 60% of his daily earnings although he did not make anything in slumps. In this way, the rental program made owners rich and pullers, poor and exploited.[5]

Rickshaws had been under the jurisdiction of the Jinrikisha Department (Part of the Cars Registration Office). The section collated a large number of statistics related to rickshaws. 1857 new rickshaws were authorized during 1921. 27, 663 first class rickshaw licenses and 6 second class permit were granted during 1921. Each certificate cost $4. Note that far more licenses were issued than there were rickshaws (9244). This may be because a solitary rickshaw could possibly be pulled by many different...

Bibliography: Administration Statement of the Singapore Municipality for the Year 1921. Singapore: The Straits Moments Press, LIMITED., 1922.

Peet, George M.. Rickshaw Reporter. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press SDN BHD, 1985.

Warren, James Francis. Rickshaw Estafette: A People's History of Singapore 1880 – 1940. Singapore: Singapore College or university Press, the year 2003.


[1] Sharifah al-Attas, " The Rickshaw Ride”, New Straits Times (Nov 2000), s

[2] Wayne F. Warren, Rickshaw Messager: A Someones History of Singapore 1880 – 1940 (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2003), p. 70.

[3] George L. Peet, Rickshaw News reporter (Singapore: Far eastern Universities Press SDN BHD, 1985), l. 68.

[4] Administration Report of the Singapore Municipality intended for the Year 1921 (Singapore: The Straits Moments Press, LTD., 1922), pp. 1-19.

[8] Malaya Tribune (16 Sept 1921), p. 5.

[13] The Malaya Tribune (2 Jul 1921), p. five.

[14] The Straits Occasions (16 September 1921), s. 8.

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