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.
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.
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.