My recap of recent Heritage and Conservation news

The roles, significance and importance of Singapore’s heritage, history and culture had been in the limelight and headlines recently. Happening at an important crossroad in time for Singapore, 2014 is Singapore’s 49th year birthday and we are reaching the 50th mark in 2015, that’s a significant milestone for us since our independence in 1965. While there were events, exhibitions, trails and guided walks during Singapore HeritageFest 2014, there were also other news that showcased our delicate balance in conservation and preservation versus future development for the nation.

Here are some of the areas that came into the limelight recently

Tanglin Halt Estate

One of the older HDB housing estates in Singapore,  it was reported in Channel News Asia on 27th June 2014 that 31 HDB residential blocks will be re-developed. While the relocation of the residents and local businesses around the  Tanglin Halt area will take place over the next few years, it’s inevitable that the changes and re-development will come eventually in the near future. The flats were iconic in a way that they were part of Singapore’s early HDB residential blocks, after Singapore’s first HDB estates in the areas of Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Tiong Bahru.

Before the time comes to an end for the rustic neighbourhood, I am planning to capture more of the lifestyle, architecture and surroundings. While I managed to photograph Queenstown area before it was torn down and getting ready for future developments and new residential flats, I reflected and realised that I didn’t do enough when it was still around. I must remind myself not to make this mistake again.

Dakota Crescent

Another housing estate that will bite the dust, an area that I like to go and explore because of the Old Dove Playground located there! This rustic and retro housing estate is built by SIT when Singapore was still under Colonial rule. The SIT flats designs were unique and there were not many SIT housing estates in Singapore today – Tiong Bahru where it is full of life and residents, while Silat Walk, the residents had left and relocated nearby their former neighbourhood.

Located in a prime plot of land on the edge of the city/cbd circle and right beside Circle Line Mountbatten MRT Station, it was reported in Channel News Asia on 24th July 2014 that the residents of Dakota Crescent will have to relocate by end of 2016. It will be interesting to see if the Old Playground at Dakota Crescent will be preserved with some of the SIT flats for history and conservation purposes.

Having photographed and documented Dakota Crescent over a few years when I started to photograph and document the Old Playground in May 2011, I visited the Dakota Crescent occasionally and added photographs to my collection. Dakota Crescent had many friendly and cute cats and if you are a cat lover, you will definitely love them!

While the Dakota Crescent has a shorter life span left as compared to Tanglin Halt Estate, I hope that I can go more in-depth into Dakota Crescent and add on to the photography documentation here on my Flickr collection, before the decision for Dakota Crescent future takes place.

Sungei Road

The place to find used goods, a market that breathes a kind of totally different kind of life from the modern cosmopolitan Singapore city lifestyle. An area that attracts both the local and international visitors, it is unique and special that brings us back into early Singapore days. While I may not buy the things from Sungei Road, you may never know what you can find in Sungei Road market.

I wonder what is the lifespan left for Sungei Road ? Time for me to do something.

We are now at a crossroad in our history, while we are tracing our roots, history, heritage and culture from our early days till today, we are facing urban renewal and re-development dilemma situations. The decision to preserve versus the decision to change, renew and  redevelop for the future generations.

This is the time for all of us, everyone of us in Singapore, to come together and make decisions. Let’s not change everything, renew and redevelop, we still have to keep some history, conservation and preservation for the future too.

Old Playgrounds – Personal Project & Adventure

My personal project and adventure with the Old Playgrounds started around August 2010 when I first watched Royston Tan first documentary titled Old Places on Okto channel. After watching it, the memories came coming back to me, it was very nostalgic and heart warming. It seems like that was something missing inside me and I was searching for it, searching for the purpose somewhere. The Old Places documentary inspired me to do something different with my photography shooting and story writing. I wanted to go and explore all the locations listed in the Old Places documentary, photograph them, document, tell and share my photo stories to everybody. In the process of searching for all the Old Places, the journey took me over 3 years and still counting, making new friends who loved the nostalgia and wanting to explore their childhood memories or growing up memories of the Singapore they knew and looked back fondly upon.

My main Old Places adventure trail got me more into writing about our history, heritage, conservation and preservation matters, I dare not profess that I am an expert nor an historian or even a specialist in them. I am doing my small part to document, photograph and share my photo stories and my adventures to be part of a bigger memory pool by fellow enthusiasts to remember our Singapore Memory. The Old Playgrounds was part of the a few locations inside the Old Places list of locations and it was part of my bigger adventure to explore Singapore all over again. During my adventure and exploring Old Places, I started to discover my Old Playgrounds and they were iconic cultural locations that shaped Singapore in her early independent years, a place where children had their fun, leisure, recreation and play time, long before the arrival of the internet and IT gadgets. I always remembered playing at the Old Playgrounds, the joys, the laughters, the tears, the sweat, the pain if we fell down or knocked ourselves. Our memories of playing at the Old Playgrounds were priceless and pulls many heart strings inside me, that got me more in-depth into discovering the Old Playgrounds that are still remaining in Singapore’s history.

I confessed that I slacked off and deviated away from Old Playgrounds Personal Project and Adventure, it was very embarrassing for me considering how much I wanted to do it and complete this particular adventure. I was around the half-way mark based on my research and reading up of the Old Playgrounds in Singapore, through Singapore Memory ProjectMosaic Memories ~ Remembering the Playgrounds Singapore Grew Up In and the Google map showing the Old Playgrounds locations produced by Justin Zhuang. There were a few more Old Playgrounds that were not inside the Google map, that I discovered when I was exploring other Old Places and areas with my friends and spotting them. As the time gap got bigger, I woke up and decided, it’s time to complete my Old Playgrounds, I want to and I will finish where I started and left off. I will first finish up visiting, photographing and documenting the remaining Old Playgrounds on my list. The selected photographs will be uploaded into my Flickr Collection on my Old Playgrounds first. Every Old Playground in Singapore is unique and special therefore, I will dedicate and write for each Old Playground location on my list. The older photographs that I took will reappear from my hard disk database and prepare them for the recognition that the Old Playgrounds deserve. Their photo stories are already on my Photography website/blog!

While it may be easier for readers (and Search Engine Optimisation) to read and find all the Old Playgrounds in one lengthy post, I want to give each and every Old Playground that is on my list a unique post/page on her own. This is my Old Playgrounds Personal Project and Adventure.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

My Heritage Adventure Round Up Summary

Recently, on my personal website/blog here, I have been writing more on those technology gears and IT accessories,  introduction and reviews. I have not been actively writing on my heritage adventure details, mostly photographing and documenting while observing and reading for some other topics that I hold closely to my heart.

Finally, I am putting it down in my heritage adventure round up summary as of today’s post, a few interesting adventures of mine to share here

Singapore Memory Project 

Do you recall my post “Singapore Memory Project – 5 million by 2015” This is something that I wanted to share my stories and photographs, many different memories of Singapore from my childhood days till today, my ongoing heritage, history, conservation and preservation personal projects. My stories and photos are currently still being collected and curated – I need to kick start my sharing there soon, if you have stories, memories and photographs to share of your Singapore, do join and share!

National Heritage Board (NHB) Void Decks Traveling Exhibition and my contributing post

My interesting journey into heritage, history, conservation and preservation with my photojournalism writing and thoughts, starting from the Green Corridor adventure, to covering, documenting and photographing Old Places, with my collection of stories here, to photographing, documenting and sharing traditional performing art troupes that faces huge challenges in the modern era. The next contribution was a post on “Void Deck – Our Cultural Communal Space“, written in support of NHB’s third community heritage exhibition on void decks entitled “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces.”  I was there at NHB official launch of NHB’s “Our Void Decks, Our Shared Spaces” and I was very happy that I was able to contribute in a small way towards heritage, history, conservation and preservation in Singapore. The exhibition highlights the history and development of void decks in the HDB heartlands, their common features and uses, and their role in providing shelter, building community and promoting racial integration. The exhibition is currently on display at the void deck of Blk 2, Saint George’s Road for the month of April before travelling to Marine Parade and over void decks around Singapore.

– Lost and Found ~ Ancestors (maternal family tree line) found at Bukit Brown

After my 1st time exploring Bukit Brown with Nature Society Singapore, I was amazed by the lush beautiful greenery along with the history and heritage there. My instincts and curiosity in wanting to know and explore more about Bukit Brown brought me an adventure into the history and heritage of my maternal family tree, which in my conversations with my aunties, uncles and cousins, I found ancestors (from my maternal family tree) at Bukit Brown, 2 Great-Grandmothers, 1 Great-Grandfather, 1 Grand Uncle and 1 Great-Grand Uncle.

My 2 Great-Grandmothers and 1 Great-Grandfather are slated for “en-bloc” because their “homes” that they were resting at, is in the plans of the upcoming 8 lanes expressway. When I first visited Bukit Brown, it never dawned upon me that I walked past my ancestors without knowing they were there and I had a connection rooted there.

For my Grand Uncle and Great Grand Uncle, they were located at another location, top of the hill/plateau, finally found them after getting the assistance of the caretaker Ah Hock, found on 5th May 2012. A more detailed post will be done when I do finish the Google Maps on where to park the car, where to start walking and how to get up there to pay respects, for the rest of my maternal family tree line.

That’s the end of my summary here, dated 6th May 2012, however, that’s not the end of my adventure in my ongoing heritage, history, conservation and preservation personal projects. I have to follow up on

– Green Corridor ~ the railway lines and the community garden at Clementi Avenue 4

– Bukit Brown ~ my history, heritage and family connections ,  the greenery and wildlife conservation

– Old Places ~ an urgent sense to photograph them before it’s torn down

– Submitting and contributing stories, memories and photographs to Singapore Memory Project.

This documentary photojournalistic adventure is taking me to places far beyond my imagination and I am documenting it as much as possible.

Heritage Event : Heritage Along Footpaths

Do you remember the time when you were young and growing up in Singapore ? How was it like ? Different age groups will give very different stories of their memories that they grew up with and the younger generations today will not have the chance to go through their forefathers lifestyle and activities.

The National Heritage Board, is organising a Heritage Event, known as Heritage Along Footpaths, bringing us back in time and history, to re-introduce trades that were once common in Singapore. This would definitely suits the older generation because it would invoke many of their memories – childhood, teenager, growing up years and suits the younger and middle generation too, sharing the memories that their seniors/forefathers had last time. Here’s a map of the Heritage Along Footpaths event !

Some of the trades that would be re-introduced would be

– Street Barbers

– Cobblers

– Fortune Tellers

– Ice-ball Sellers

– Kachang Puteh Sellers

Heritage Along Footpaths will be held over 2 weekends in December 2011.

Dates : 3rd and 4th December ; 10th and 11th December 2011

Time : 10am to 5pm

Locations : The Singapore Art Museum and Stamford Arts Centre (along the mural wall facing Middle Road)

I am looking forward to go back in time into Singapore’s history, reminisce and enjoy the heritage and culture of our forefathers.

Singapore Memory Project – 5 Million by 2015

Memories, whether is it childhood, growing up, working adult or as mature/senior member in society, memories played a very important role and element in our human race. Memories define us, a human being, sociology of family, friends, society, countries and the entire human race.

“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.”
Mattie Stepanek

Singapore, a young country by independence, it has changed a lot, from a sleeping fishing village, to a bustling harbour that connects the East and West on the trading route, a British Colony, gaining full independence and transforming over her independence years till the cosmopolitan city today, the changes were tremendous, revolutionary and evolutionary, it’s not just changes to Singapore, worldwide, many countries are going through many many changes too, only memories can serve the human race to remember.

Singapore’s story is unique in her own way, as much we had progressed a lot in prosperity and standards of living, some of our history, heritage and landmarks were gone in our quest for economic survival, it’s inevitable that this journey was started upon. Therefore, as Singapore progressed today, a lot of us started to “take stock” and seriously look into how can we preserve our unique and special memories ? My personal in-depth thoughts on History, Heritage, Preservation, Conservation is a good starting point to read.

Our National Library Board, formed irememberSG and they are now actively collecting Singapore Memories, with a target to collect 5 Million Memories by 2015. It’s an awesome noble and worthy movement, it’s viral, active, lively, nostalgic, beautiful and engaging, not just for us Singaporeans, it’s for our friends and visitors too!

Let’s spread the word, tell your family members, loved ones and friends around you, spread the viral movement, let’s all help to collect Memories of Singapore and contribute ! Stay in touch and connected here –


Let’s all make it happen !! 5 Million Singapore Memories by 2015 !!