Bum Boats on the Singapore River (1988)

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  • Regular price $96.00

Bum Boats on the Singapore River is an iconic painting of a scene that is now part of Singapore's history.         


The Story of the Bum Boats on the Singapore River


Bum boats, also known as tongkang in Singapore, are smaller boats used to transport goods from bigger ships anchored out at sea to the godowns at the banks of the Singapore River. 


The bum boats operated by the Teochew and Hokkien were called Twakow, marked with different designs.  The Teochew twakow were red while the Hokkien twakow were more colourful, with red, green and white.  


The front of the bum boats were often painted with "eyes", to enable the boats to "see"  any danger ahead.  OId rubber tyres were fixed to the side of the boats as shock absorbers. 


The Singapore River was filled with these colourful bum boats for more than 150 years, as they played a critical role in the commercial activities at the Singapore River. 


As part of the river clean up campaign in 1983, 800 bum boats were relocated to Pasir Panjang and bum boats disappeared from the Singapore River forever, except for the occasional tourist river taxis. 


The Story of the Painting


Acclaimed Singapore artist Low Hai Hong experimented painting oil on paper and loved the effects.  Painting oil on paper meant he could leave white spaces, similar to Chinese ink painting and even watercolour painting. 


In this painting, the waters of the Singapore River is marked with white space except for the reflections of the boats, further drawing our attention to the simple beauty of these bum boats. 



Title: Bum Boats on the Singapore River (1988)
Artist: Low Hai Hong 
Medium: Oil on Paper
Year: 1988
Dimensions (with frame): 56cm x 42cm
Buy: $2,400
Rent: $24 per week



If you wish to see the painting in person or have any questions, feel free to ask us anytime.  We offer a 100% satisfaction guaranteed, no-questions-asked, full-refund, returns policy. 


With art rental, you can enjoy affordable quality art at home. 


So rent a painting today and impress your guests this National Day!


Thank you for supporting our local artists!


Rent Bum Boats on the Singapore River because


it is an iconic painting. 


Learn more about the painting.




This painting was part of the "This is my Country" art exhibition held at ARTualize art gallery in July to August 2021.


"This is my Country" National Day exhibition continues, with Chinatown


You could take a little trip around Singapore town

In a Singapore city bus

To see Collyer Quay and Raffles Place

The Esplanade and all of us

Because in Singapore, Singapore

Our hearts are big and wide you'll find

Because in Singapore, Singapore

You'll find happiness for everyone

- Singapore Town, NDP 1997