About Us

A Beginner’s Guide to TCM by Seth Lui

Many people do not understand Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) very much. Hence, we worked with Seth Lui to share what’s found in a TCM hall. The video featured our chest of drawers containing raw Chinese Herbs, our equipment used such as the slicers, grinders, mortars and pestles, glass jars with herbs and tonics, and modern supplements or Chinese Proprietary Medicines (CPM) featuring JinQiang Bu Shen Wan 金枪补肾丸 and Lingzhi Jin Feng Wan 灵芝金凤丸.

Source of Video: Seth Lui

A Brief Introduction

Ms Chan Mei Yi, General Manager and third generation of Thye Shan Medical Hall, starts by introducing how Thye Shan began in 1955 by her grandfather, the late Mr Chan Chak Poey.

She talks briefly about how the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) industry has evolved and the challenges we faced over the years, and how that has shaped the Thye Shan today.

As a TCM provider, Thye Shan currently has 3 retail outlets, and wholesales both locally and overseas.

Our Founder – Chan Chak Poey

Thye Shan Medical Hall was founded in 1955 by Chan Chak Poey who had migrated to Singapore from China’s Guangdong province.

Mr Chan was an apprentice in his Father’s TCM Hall when he was growing up in Guangzhou.

In Singapore, after a series of hardships, he finally fulfilled his dream of setting up his own TCM Hall in Chinatown to provide quality medicine and services to all.

Our Beginnings in 1955 (Pre-Independence Singapore)

The first Thye Shan Medical Hall was started at 207 New Bridge Road. It was a corner shophouse at the intersection of Pagoda Street and New Bridge Road. You will notice People’s Park Market on the top right with pre-World War II Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats at Smith Street in the background.

This was a time before the Independence of Singapore in 1965 and before World War II. Quite noticeably, there was no overhead bridge linking New Bridge Road to Eu Tong Sen Street, and the Chinatown MRT was not built then.

Photo of Chinatown in 1955, Source: Yip Cheong Fun, National Archives of Singapore

Stories in Chinatown

These old shophouses were built in the 1930s or earlier, with their facades conserved till today. Streets were bustling with activity from the day, all the way through the night. The Night Market (Pasar Malam) along Pagoda Street and New Bridge Road was a common sight.

With Singapore experiencing more than 200 days of rain in a year, Chinatown would be flooded by rising water. People would hide under the Five-Footway passageways (五脚基) beneath the shop houses which functioned as hideouts from the natural elements.

Photo of Pagoda Street in 1963.

Five Footway Festival 2019

Mr Chan K Y, Director of Thye Shan Medical Hall, speaks about his childhood days in Singapore’s Chinatown in Cantonese. He recounts some significant features of Chinatown amidst the Five-footway festival in 2019.

Source of Video: Chinatown Business Association (CBA)

Modern Thye Shan and Chinatown

Over the years, Chinatown has developed very much. A simple overhead bridge was built to link to New Bridge Road to Eu Tong Sen Street. This was converted to a garden bridge subsequently. Roads were developed, and the Chinatown MRT station was built. This greatly solved the flooding issues faced.

The modernisation of Chinatown led to numerous ups and downs in the business. During the decade long construction of the MRT, garden bridge, and connecting roads, there were high barricades that caused business to suffer tremendously. Thye Shan not only survived World War II, but also faced numerous crises such as the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, SARS in 2002, Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

Over the years, Thye Shan modernised with the developments and regulations of the TCM and healthcare industry to become who we are today.

Night Market (Pasar Malam), Pagoda Street in 1976 (Left Photo), Day Street Market in 1980s (Right Photo).

What We Do

Thye Shan is in the business of providing quality Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) products and services. With more than 60 years of history, we have ample experience in providing you with only the best quality.

Thye Shan has 3 retail outlets in Singapore (2 in Chinatown and 1 in the prime shopping area of Singapore, Takashimaya at Orchard Road), and wholesales to many other outlets both locally and internationally.

Awards & Accolades

Heartland Enterprise Star Award by Heritage Enterprise in 2014, presented by Minister Heng Swee Keat. To qualify, the enterprise must be an expert in the field and have contributed significantly to conserving a legacy in Singapore for 25 years.

A Heritage Brand by the Chinatown Business Association (CBA) in 2012. To qualify, the brand must be established in Chinatown for at least 30 years. Less than 30 companies qualified for this award. 

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