As you walk along Balestier, one building stands out for its distinctive décor. Known to the locals as the Sim Kwong Ho shop house, this building was one of the several shop houses owned by Madam Sim Cheng Neo, a wealthy developer.
The architecture and ornamentation of the shop house reflects a hybrid style of architecture shaped by East and West influences. European glazed oral tiles, oral wreaths and festoons adorn the façade of the building. At the same time, phoenix and dragons make up the décor of the building’s façade as these animals are considered auspicious. The Chinese tradition of placing guardian warriors at the entrance of one’s dwelling is given a local twist by featuring carvings of Sikh men, who were employed as guards and policemen then.