Tucked away in a secondary road in Balestier is the former Sun Yat Sen Villa. Just over a hundred years ago, it was the Southeast Asian (Nanyang) headquarters for Sun Yat Sen’s revolutionary activities with the Tong Meng Hui secret society.
The funds and support he raised here with the Tong Meng Hui had a role to play in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty – marking the end of millennia of dynastic rule in China with the Xinhai Revolution in 1911. The Republic of China was established, Asia’s first. It had a western style parliamentary system although that didn’t last long.
Few Singaporeans, nor northern mainland Chinese know about the existence of this place which in our minds, a glaring blindspot.
First, it makes for a worthwhile visit to understand that Singapore’s relationship with China goes back a longer way than Deng-Lee relations, or the post-LEE post-Terrex new normal. Second, that Singapore had a hand in the birth of modern China. Sun Yat Sen visited Singapore nine times between 1900 and 1911. The villa was gazetted as a national monument in October 1994 and is now known as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.
Altitude: 200feet / 60m