Preserve Heritage & History ? Or Earn Profits ?

On this day, 1st July 2011, this marked the start of a new chapter, a new era in Singapore, yet it also meant the end of a chapter, history, heritage and era in Singapore’s history too. It was the end of the KTM Railway operations in Singapore with the return of the Tanjong Pagar KTM Railway Station and Bukit Timah KTM Railway Station to Singapore and the KTM trains no longer operate from these 2 railway stations.

On the last day of the Grand Old Dame operations, it was a grand occasion to send her off away in style and passion, that unites both sides of the countries, Singapore and Malaysia, together, signifying and showing the close inter-relationship that both countries have over the centuries. The photojournalistic adventures of the Last KTM Train in and out of Tanjong Pagar KTM Railway Station can be found here on my photoblog.

What lies ahead ? The railway stations Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah will be preserved and restored for heritage purposes. However, the rest of the whole stretch of the railway tracks/line from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, is of great debate, concerns and discussions, from the people who are passionate and advocating preserving The Green Corridor, flora and fauna, to the history, heritage and culture, to the government bodies and non-profit organisations. The fate of the entire railway track is still unknown at this point in time of writing.

It’s a delicate issue, with land scarcity and increasing population versus preserving the greenery, tranquility and a green belt to keep the spirit and history of the railway tracks alive for the future generations. It’s also an opportunity for Singaporeans to get closer to nature and wildlife, along with outdoor recreational activities such as cycling (mountain biking) and trekking.

What is the answer ? Preserve Heritage & History ? Or Earn Profits ? What is the price of capitalisation ? Lost and erosion of Heritage and Culture … forever …

The railway tracks, along with parts and components of the railway lines, will be removed and returned back. While that is understandable, we might need to think how we can do something more, to rebuild back the tracks ? Or transform it into a Green Corridor Belt / Connectors for walking, trekking and cycling ? Or will we see more private properties being built on the land that the railway tracks once occupy ? I personally do not wish to see more private properties being built at the expense of the greenery being destroyed forever. How beautiful is The Green Corridor ? Check out my photos here!

Many people have stepped forward, with ideas, thoughts, pouring out of emotions and stories, through traditional media and social media. From the newspaper forums, letters to editors, blogs, facebook notes, websites, twitter and flickr, a lot more people are getting more involved and voiced out their inside to their fellow people. An individual effort maybe a small effort, no doubt it is small, remember, a tiny drop makes an ocean when they all combine together. Likewise, every individual’s effort to help spread this noble cause to preserve the heritage and The Green Corridor, the message will get across to the relevant authorities.

This is the power of social media channels and networks, harnessing them for a social and noble cause, showcasing the positive impacts and network outreach to the wider community, encouraging their fellow people to step forward too, to Pay-It-Forward, a collective effort to make this noble cause even bigger and wider.

What solutions can be implemented for the railway tracks/line a.k.a The Green Corridor ? Lots have been discussed and a summary of the various discussions/ideas by different people is here –

  • Transforming it into a unique railway track connector for cycling, trekking and walking
  • Linking to the various Park Connectors of the different nature reserves, parks of Singapore along the railway line
  • Some segments of the railway tracks can be gazetted into Nature Reserve especially Clementi to Bukit Timah stretch
  • Heritage and cultural museums for Tanjong Pagar Raliway Station and Bukit Timah Railway Station
  • Along some parts of the railway line, small scale gardening and farming can be allowed for the residents
While this is non-exhaustive, let’s keep this whole exercise, noble cause going! We all can make a difference, no matter how big or small, for our future generations, to remember and learn about our railway heritage, history and the friendship between Singapore and Malaysia.

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