Some things I’ve seen in two days


Blocks 3, 4, 8 to 11, and 11A to 14 are some blocks of flats in Hougang Avenue 3 and 7 that will be cleared by August 2008 as part of the HDB’s plans to continually improve facilities and land conditions in Singapore. Armed with a deep sense of impending loss, I decided to drop by for a photo shoot for an upcoming project. Yet, what was supposed to be a nostalgic journey turned into one filled with sympathy at the living conditions and despair the place seemed to be in.

HDB rental flats

Three things really struck me was how as I walked up the stairs of a block of rental flats.

Firstly, almost every floor had a spray-painted sign that read “O$P$”, a sign that loan-sharks frequented this area and how desperate these people were that they had to lend money from them.

Secondly, the corridors of each floor were dim and musty that even the most optimistic tenant would be overshadowed by the lighting conditions.

Finally, many tenants had electricity meters that operated on some kind of credit top-up system, too poor to afford regular electricity bills.

You wonder with so much economic prosperity in Singapore, surely these people deserve better living conditions simply by the fact that they are citizens as well. Suddenly, I felt my initial disappointment of “yet another demolition” was uncalled for because these people definitely deserved better.

But at the same time, these people seemed to cherish their “community” better than their material well-being. The nearby market and town centre was bustling with old folks sitting around and just watching the world go by, and I can understand how the demolition would take this all away too.

Corporatisation of coffee shops
Is it just me, or are our coffee shops increasingly being bought up by corporations? Today, I read about how foodcourt operator, Koufu, had paid $12 million for a coffee shop in Jurong. Might we soon expect similar signages, uniforms and perhaps even standardisation of food variety like in every Koufu coffee shop in Singapore? Would all coffeeshops and hawker centres become air-conditioned?

I think the common thread of these two things that struck me in the past two days is how I have yet to reconcile progress and nostalgia, returning once again to the fundamental tension between modernism and postmodernism. Is newer always better? Is there value in the past?


No Responses Yet to “Some things I’ve seen in two days”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: