exploringsingapore is exclusive ExplorerSG mini series where we reveal some of the lesser-known places, facts and history of Singapore.
You may have heard of Sang Nila Utama in the history books, but do you know Badang, Singapore’s very own Hercules?
The myth tells of a poor man named Badang who captured a water demon who have been stealing his fishes. In return for its release, the water demon granted Badang superhuman strengths. With his newfound strength, Badang was able to complete laborious tasks with relative ease, earning the respect of the villagers.
News of his immense strength soon reached the King of Singapura, who conferred him the title of a warrior. A contest was soon held with Wadi Bijaya, India’s strongest man.
In the last event of the contest, Wadi Bijaya was barely able to lift a large rock located at the front of the palace. In contrast, Badang lifted the rock over his head and hurled it towards the mouth of Singapore River, winning the contest. Badang spent the rest of his years defeating other challengers and protecting the King. His grave was purported to be located at Buru Island, Indonesia.
In 1843, a 3m by 3m stone believed to be the Badang Stone was blown into pieces to make way for ships sailing along the Singapore river. A fragment of the rock was recovered and named “Singapore Stone”. It is currently on display at the National Museum of Singapore.
(Image credits: National Museum of Singapore, Choo Yut Shing)