In Singapore, black and whites refer to the colonial-era bungalows of that color combination built here by the British for married officers and civil servants. The oldest date back to the 1890s and the newest to the 1940s. About 500 or so survive today, and most are owned by the government and rented on a monthly basis. Naturally, clusters of black and whites were built near military installations, from Tanglin to Sembawang, Portsdown Road, and Alexander Park. The higher your rank, the larger your house; some are quite grand. The white paint was used for its cooling properties and the black trim contains creosote to ward off termites and other insects. To see a string of them, from the Tanglin Mall (at the junction of Tanglin, Grange, and Napier roads), walk south about a half a mile along Tanglin Road and you’ll witness several on the left side of the road.

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