Perspectives

Tan Tong Meng Tower: Singapore’s Haunted Condo In Thomson & The Truth Behind It

24 July 2023 | BY

You may not want to read this article at night, especially if you live in the vicinity of Tan Tong Meng Tower.

Tan Tong Meng Tower: Singapore's Haunted Condo & The Truth Behind It

Nestled among a cluster of newer high-rise condominiums on Thomson Road, Tan Tong Meng Tower stands out for several reasons – its stout build, conspicuous red and white exterior, and numerous claims that the old condo has been haunted for years.

From spooky noises to strange stories and eerie apparitions, the spine-chilling tales revolving around Tan Tong Meng Tower intrigue some and scare others. Either way, it’s worth sticking around as we dig deep and uncover the truth behind Singapore’s allegedly haunted condo.

Spooky noises, strange stories, and eerie apparitions

While it’s possible to dismiss one or two claims of supernatural occurrences, it’s difficult to ignore the abundance of unsettling stories surrounding Tan Tong Meng Tower that have surfaced over the years.

Tan Tong Meng Tower 370 Thomson RoadImage credit: Geomancy.Net

In addition to security guards spotting eerie apparitions near the swimming pool and car parks, it was revealed that the building’s management company received complaints from tenants regarding spooky noises within their units as well as around the main staircase.

Shady rental stories add to the condo’s reputation. Reddit user u/shrimp-pingu shares his encounter with a suspiciously cheap Tan Tong Meng Tower unit listed for rent, along with an odd agent who insisted on renting the unit to a single occupant – even though it was large enough for 2-3 tenants.

Similarly, a Hardware Zone user describes his disconcerting experience when inquiring about renting one of the condo’s units. “(I had a) weird worrying feeling,” he said, recounting how his rental agent alternated between claiming the unit was occupied and then suddenly saying it was empty – leaving OP with a distinct impression that something was being concealed.

Tan Tong Meng Tower PropertyGuru listingImage credit: PropertyGuru

It’s also interesting to note that rental listings for Tan Tong Meng Tower are extremely reasonably priced in today’s rental market – $2,600 for a 600sqft condominium – given that it’s possible to come across HDB rental apartments of the same size for $3,000.

Tan Tong Meng Tower pool - drowning incidentsAccording to several claims, there have been multiple drowning incidents at Tan Tong Meng Tower’s pool.
Image credit: PropertyGuru

Another user on Hardware Zone – whose ex-girlfriend’s family previously resided in the condo – confirmed that several drowning cases occurred in the condo’s shared facility pool. “One young boy drowned during my ex-gf’s stay there,” he said, adding that he found the repeated drowning incidents “strange given the size and depth of the pool.”

In addition to the plethora of unsettling claims online, most local taxi uncles are well-acquainted with the chilling narratives surrounding the haunted condo. While much of their knowledge stems from word of mouth, drivers who have ferried passengers to and from the enigmatic building possess their own eerie firsthand encounters to recount.

Painted red and white to ward off spirits

Painted red and white to ward off spiritsImage credit: EdgeProp, Geomancy.Net

The special meaning behind the red and white exterior of Tan Tong Meng Tower is another intriguing aspect of the building. The colour choice was allegedly advised by a Taoist priest, who suggested the use of red – a colour bearing good feng shui – to ward off malevolent spirits and protect the condo’s residents.

Adding to the mystery, according to a souce, Tan Tong Meng Tower is one of the only buildings in Singapore that obtained official approval to be painted in red and white – leaving us to wonder if any truth lies behind the haunted condo allegations.

Whitley Road and Thomson Road intersect at a T junction.Whitley Road and Thomson Road intersect at a T junction.
Image credit: Google Maps

Another theory behind the condo’s conspicuous colour scheme is its inauspicious location, which supposedly contributes to the building’s need for heightened spiritual protection. 

According to Chinese folklore, spirits are believed to follow roads, but can only travel in a straight path. In the case of Tan Tong Meng Tower, which is located behind a T-junction, spirits following Whitley Road will inadvertently continue their path directly into the condo, rather than diverting onto Thomson Road – therefore necessitating the use of red paint to ward off evil spirits.

Rumoured to be built by gangster Roland Tan Tong Meng

A quick Google search on the name “Tan Tong Meng” pulls up information about Roland Tan Tong Meng, a Singapore-born gangster and drug lord.

However, while there has been speculation about Roland Tan’s involvement in the establishment of Tan Tong Meng Tower – a connection which would have been deeply fascinating – the red and white condo was actually commissioned by a different individual named Tan Tong Meng.

Tan Tong Meng - National Liberary Board Singapore archivesThe actual Tan Tong Meng.
Image credit: National Library Board Singapore

In reality, the actual Tan Tong Meng was an upstanding businessman who was awarded 2 Public Service Stars (BMM) in his lifetime. While Tan Tong Meng owned the plot of land since the ‘50s, the condo itself was only built in 1976, when it became the first high-rise building in the area.

The truth behind Tan Tong Meng Tower

The original sales brochure for Tan Tong Meng TowerThe original sales brochure for Tan Tong Meng Tower.
Image credit: Janet Tan & Tan Wai See

While it is still undetermined whether the red and white condo truly deserves to be labelled as “Singapore’s haunted condo”, insights from 2 of Tan Tong Meng’s children – Janet Tan and Tan Wai See – shed light on an alternate perspective.

According to the siblings, the building was painted red and white at the request of Tan himself, as a symbol of his patriotism and love for Singapore. Because Tan kept 9 out of the 35 condo units under the Tan family name, it was also speculated that the “haunted condo” rumours arose as a revenge plot driven by other condo shareholders, who were frustrated at unsuccessful en bloc attempts.

Tan Tong Meng Tower along Thomson RoadImage credit: Street Directory

Behind the vibrant red and white of Tan Tong Meng Tower lies a tapestry of tales, allegations, and rumours. While the veracity of the claims revolving around the allegedly haunted condo continues to remain uncertain, a visit to the source of enigma is always an option for curious adventure seekers – although personally, we’d prefer to avoid the building, especially at night.

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Cover image adapted from: Geomancy.Net, PropertyGuru

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