During World War II a lot of these homes were occupied by the Japanese and many atrocities were believed to have taken place. This interesting article in Expat Living Magazine describes in more detail the history of these stately homes, and one families experience of living in their "Black and White". Well worth a read.
"This Mount Pleasaant black and white bungalow has an extensive garden of over 30,000 sq ft of land SNAKES, TOADS AND BATS. The black and whites are not suitable for Caucasian wives who get hysterical when they see snakes and fruit bats as these will be your neighbours together with butterflies, birds, crickets and mosquitoes.
Rentals of some of these homes are as high as S$25,000 a month and even at that price, believe it or not, hard to come by. When one becomes available, there is usually a bidding war between eager, newly arrived expats who want to live in a piece of history. Personally, though I think they are wonderful to look at and I can understand the dreaminess of living in a piece of Colonial history, I would not want to have to deal with the bugs, monkeys and the amount of effort and cost of upkeep that goes along with one of these homes. For me, my nice new 6th floor apartment is just fine thanks! For another great description of a Black and White click here and read an article first published in The New York Times (2008)