Sunday, May 3, 2020

[Transport] Singapore Trishaws

My Personal sketch of a Singapore Trishaw





Trishaw, riding fast,
In it sits an old lady.
If you want 50 cents,
You’ll have to give a dollar.
Isn’t all this weird.

I'd always thought that the song 三轮车 (San Lun Che) was from Singapore, since I've been singing this children song from don't know when. But from research, it seems like the song actually originated from Taiwan. 

In truth, Trishaws could be seen along the roads of many Asian countries and some non-Asian countries, though how the trishaws are shaped do differ from country to country. This is also the case amongst ASEAN countries.

Trishaws with their passengers' seated in front 
Cambodia and Vietnam - Cyclo (See-Clo)

Trishaws with their passengers' seated at the back
Thailand - Samlo

Trishaws with their passengers seated at the sides
Philippines - Trisikad (Sikad or Padyak in short)
Myanmar - Saika 
Singapore - Trishaw; San Lun Che

Malaysia - beca (sees both passengers seated in front and at the side)
Indonesia - Becak (Sees both with passengers seated in front and at the side)

Singapore's Story

When the community offers little in terms of support, innovation comes alive. Jobs were scarce in the 1900s and especially so during and after the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. I remember seeing stories of young boys saying that they would like to own a trishaw when they grew up.

It cost anywhere from $500 to buy a trishaw - that's an exorbitant amount in those days. So many took to renting the trishaws.

As a child, I remember taking the trishaw a couple of times. It was definitely cheaper than taking a taxi but still, I believe that my family was concerned about safety and the other reason that I could remember my family saying was that we felt bad for the uncle who needed to trade his peddling strength for money.


Hop on a Trishaw for that Traditional Feel when Exploring a Town or City in Southeast Asia. (2011, January 10). Exo Travel. Retrieved from

Koh, R. Q. V, Han, J. 2014, 19 November. Trishaw. Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved from