samsu is distilled from fermented rice mash. samsu was a poor man’s drink. it was also used as an ointment and an offering during prayers, mainly by the chinese. pregnant (chinese) women used to bathe with it. like toddy, it was popular with those in the low-income group. however, it was cheaper than toddy and the kick, which was twice as strong, came quickly. many of the illicit samsu distilleries were hidden in the rural farming areas like tampines, yio chu kang, lim chu kang, upper thomson, upper serangoon and potong pasir. these ‘factories’ were usually located near some streams or ponds because a lot of water was needed for the production of the samsu.
Full article: http://yesterday.sg/lifestyle/moonshine-in-singapore/