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How a ‘decorated’ lamp post in Tuas South became a beacon for cyclists, earning a rare exemption from authorities

SINGAPORE — Talk to avid cyclists and they might tell you about one specific lamp post located at the south-west corner of Singapore that has gained mythical status among the community.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the authorities will no longer remove the stickers on Lamp Post 1 (pictured) — a rare move welcomed by the cycling community.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the authorities will no longer remove the stickers on Lamp Post 1 (pictured) — a rare move welcomed by the cycling community.

  • The legend of Lamp Post 1 in Tuas South Boulevard goes as far back as 2014
  • This was when a group of 60 cyclists publicised their journey to the western part of Singapore
  • It is now decorated with many stickers pasted on it by cycling groups
  • The stickers appeared when there was greater interest in cycling during the partial lockdown last year, cycling veterans said
  • Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said the authorities will no longer remove the stickers on Lamp Post 1 

 

SINGAPORE — Talk to avid cyclists and they might tell you about one specific lamp post located at the south-west corner of Singapore that has gained mythical status among the community.

Located along Tuas South Boulevard and dubbed “Lamp Post 1”, the street light has become known for the many stickers and logos put up by cycling groups, as it serves as a waypoint for those who dare venture so far west.

More recently, it also became the subject of a small controversy because the beloved stickers were removed from the lamp post as part of routine cleaning.

Then, on Thursday (Jan 7), Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that the authorities will grant an exception to this lamp post and will no longer clear stickers on it, a move that has been cheered by cyclists who spoke to TODAY.

Mr Ong said in a Facebook post: “Urban folklore has it that cyclists on round-island trips will make a pit-stop there, where they will take photos with the lamp post, and leave their favourite stickers behind.

“We decided to make an exception for this lamp post, given that it's a far-out location and a special spot to help cyclists find their way.”

The lore about Lamp Post 1 varies from cyclist to cyclist, but stories go as far back as 2014, when a pack of more than 60 cyclists from the popular Love Cycling Singapore group travelled to Tuas in an event called “Song Song to Jurong”.

It was the group’s co-founder, Mr Woon Taiwoon, 47, who was arguably the first to place a “Pedal Until Shiok” sticker on a lamp post they found in the farthest reaches of Singapore to mark the end point of their route. The sticker was later removed by the authorities.

Mr Woon said: “People always think that Singapore is a very small place, so our group was trying to spin a story about journeying to the West, just like the Chinese legend.

“It started off as a joke, but when people saw our posts about the ride later, the lamp post became a big thing when others also rode there to take photos.”

As land reclamation took place in the following years in preparation for the upcoming Tuas Mega Port, the Lamp Post 1 designation is believed to have moved to another lamp post farther south along Tuas South Boulevard.

In 2017, the current Lamp Post 1 was “discovered” by another group of serious cyclists, consisting of triathletes and competitive cyclist Terence Lee Meng Kai, 31, who founded the interest group Bike Guru.

“We found that there was this new street lamp that extended out into the reclaimed land area, and so we decided to take a photo there,” Mr Lee said. Just as before, word then got out about a new target for cyclists to reach.

However, it was only during the circuit breaker when people had to stay home in April to June last year that stickers began to proliferate on the lamp post, as more residents took up cycling, he said.

Street light maintenance contractors would still remove the stickers whenever they carried out works on the lamp posts in the area, with the last such removal in recent weeks. Cyclists would usually paste more stickers on the lamp post after each cleaning.

These “decorations” have also become more complex over time, Mr Lee said. Some would place their stickers and drape flags between 5m to 10m high on Lamp Post 1, which required a ladder to reach.

Interior designer Jonathan Chua Chin Lip, 52, told TODAY that he placed a pirate flag there on Nov 14 during a round-the-island ride, which led some in his bicycle group to worry that the authorities may finally clamp down on these actions.

The flag was ultimately removed along with all other stickers that were on Lamp Post 1 last month and that also fuelled these anxieties.

On Mr Ong's announcement that he said was unexpected, Mr Lip added: “I am totally overjoyed, totally ecstatic with the decision.” 

While some cyclists such as Mr Lee were cautious about offensive or dangerous material being put up on the lamp post, most cyclists cheered the move as a welcome development for the community.

However, none of those interviewed could say if they had seen any offensive material or slogans on the lamp post in the past.

Mr Woon from the Love Cycling group said that the Government’s “rare” move to grant an exception has to be applauded.

“There is a risk of people putting up offensive stickers and all, but I think it reflects that we are more open and accepting as a society to let this happen, much like the ‘love lock’ bridges in Europe and the wishing trees in Hong Kong.”

He was referring to pedestrians who would place padlocks on public bridges in France and Italy, as well as Hong Kong shrine worshippers who would throw their written wishes tied to oranges on trees at Lam Tsuen village.

“It shows that we are more mature and can laugh at the smaller things in life. The simplest way would have been for (Mr Ong) to deny and ban the stickers, but I’m happy that we are not as straight-laced and prudish as we would like to think,” Mr Woon said.

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