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.

How Much 100% Singapore Do You Remember?

I haven’t been writing down here for quite some time, especially those from my deep thoughts and feelings on topics that are close to my heart. Today, after watching the first episode of 100% Singapore – ?????? on Channel U Singapore, it was like going back in time again, whereby Royston Tan Old Places and Old Romances coming together to invoke my nostalgic childhood memories growing up in Singapore.

What are the unique and special things/memories that make us 100% Singapore that a fellow Singaporean can identify themselves with together, a common bonding and understanding? How much of these memories were lost? How much can we remember or even recover? Will this provide the spark again to encourage Singaporeans of young and old to strive forward together and build a stronger common bonding and togetherness in memories, history, heritage and culture? Is it too late? Or is this cross-road that Singapore is now currently going through, a good timing to start coming together even stronger and recollecting our history, heritage, culture and memories?

I believe everybody can plays a part, regardless of how big or small. With my fellow photography enthusiasts and heritage buffs, we have embarked on our own personal documentation journeys of our memories and history, at times bringing fellow enthusiasts along to share our adventures together. This gives me a good time to reflect as well, with my Old Playgrounds Personal Project completing in the near future, I am looking back, thinking, reflecting and planning on my Old Places Personal Projects that I have personally embarked upon. I am asking myself, where and which area of Singapore’s Old Places, Old Romances, History, Heritage, Culture and Old Memories can I embark on next?

Maybe I will keep on watching 100% Singapore every Monday from 8pm to 9pm on Channel U, it might just give me the spark/inspiration that I will choose for my next Personal Project. It’s an ideal time for us to take stock of our lives, at a cross-road and stopping to look at the directions, ahead, left, right and before/behind. The pace of life at times is crazily fast and furious and we have lost a lot of our wonderful childhood memories and fun. While we continue to strive and create the wealth and prosperity for a better living in the future, we must not throw our memories, our history, heritage and culture behind and away into books/social media platforms/digital backups.

Alright, time to also ask myself, how much 100% Singapore do I remember 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.