28 Dec, 2009
Singapore has a colourful past and I am most nostalgic about its past while appreciative of the convenience and affluence of the new Singapore. Seeing the photographs below, you will notice some areas are well preserved by the Singapore Government especially the City Hall area while other are lost forever such as the hustling and bustling of Chinatown and the Singapore River (present Boat Quay and Clarke Quay). I do not have much memory about Orchard Road (too poor then), but I do have a fond memory of the place I lived which was near Lau Pa Sat and the scenes of the Singapore River and short houses are still vivid despite I was about four or five years old then.
I used to live in a kampong (Malay word for village) where your neighbours are often your best friends. We have Malay and Indian friends playing spiders and soccer and my Malay neighbour taught my mother how to make Satay (a Malay delicacy). Social harmony was at its best. I also remember most of the houses did not have a door, meaning I could just walk in and visit my neighbours anytime. The secret: most houses had a few dogs and they recognised familiar faces. Now, most people live in a flat (or I call pigeon holes) and most people prefer to maintain their privacy and somehow the relationships are often superficial.
The kampong I lived was called Ang Sar Li (red zinc sheets, present Lorong Ah Soo area), it has rubber plantation, vegetable farm, pig farm, rivers, wells, cats, chickens, ducks and dogs and the scenery was just stunning. One of the most stunning landscape was the sunset scene at the now Chua Chu Kang kampong, too bad digital camera had not been invented back then, anyway I would have no access as I was on a camping assignment while doing National Service. The other night I was with my 10-year old daughter and was telling her about my kampong life and I asked her what would she tell her child next time about her childhood, it looks like it is going to be reading story books, playinging computer games, watching TVs and visiting other countries. That is how pathetic our children are nowadays. The government should have preserved some of the kampongs for our children and their children. No land? you must be kidding, just look at so many empty prime land plots in many MRT stations outside the CBD. BTW the last two remaining kampongs in Singapore are Pulau Ubin and Lorong Buangkok.
The old charm of Chinatown could have been a prized tourist attraction instead of the indignant sneer by the tourists of the squeaky clean Chinatown now in name but have no substance, see the old Singapore Chinatown’s charm:
Human emotion is a very strange thing, the older you are, you get nostalgic. When you are young, you want everything new, you hate the old stuff. I were young once but now my heart aches every time an old building get demolished. The latest one being the 7th Storey building along Rochor Road that was demolished this year. So sad 🙁
Other nostagic links:
- memories of the good ol’ days
- Stunning Old Photos Of Singapore You May Not Have Seen Before
- Jalan Kayu Trail Blog
- Save the kampung
- the walk down the Bukit Timah corridor: From the site of the Green Spot to a very green spot …
- Remembering childhood in Singapore (part 1)
- How about heritage index? (The Straits Times 7 Jan 2012)
- Singapore Memory Project – A good intention but badly implemented official portal
- Remember Singapore Blog – A highly recommended blog that detailed many heirtage and historial places in Singapore
- Rare footage: Magical trance in old Singapore
- Singapore awakening in 1983– rare footage of life in the CBD shohouses in 1983
- Chinese Dialects – Uniquely Singapore
Share with us your comments here. Enjoy the photos, source: Flickr.