Five from Five

It has been five years since I moved to Singapore, so I thought I would take a look through my archive and pick out five photos that represent Singapore to me. I had never been to Singapore before or even travelled to Asia but in May 2007 I boarded the one-way flight from London Heathrow to Changi.

Singapore is a great place to start any Asian adventure, it really is Asia for beginners. Lots of modern amenities but still plenty of traditional Asian charm. When searching through my photos I was trying to pick a selection that represented this. I was also hoping to have one photo for each year but that possibility soon faded during my selection process. I spent first few months exploring and then my enthusiasm to discover new places must have faded.

A monkey sits on a tree in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore

A monkey sits on a tree in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore June 17, 2007

The first place I lived was very near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, home to many troops of macaque monkeys which I used to think were cute. That myth was dispelled on a mangrove canoeing excursion in Krabi when one bit our guide.

A woman cleans the shutters on the first floor of a shophouse in Ann Siang Hill, Singapore

A woman cleans the shutters on the first floor of a shophouse in Ann Siang Hill, Singapore May 18, 2010.

This is one of my favourite photos and not just of Singapore. You may have noticed I have already posted it in the early days of this blog. The old shophouse building with the different coloured shutters and the lack of health and safety concerns really make this picture for me. Luckily unlike many areas in the city this area is protected so hopefully these great buildings with lots of character won’t be replaced by soulless high rise office blocks.

Women practice a dance rountine at the void desk of a HDB estate in central Singapore

Women practice a dance rountine at the void desk of a HDB estate in central Singapore December 4, 2007

I was hunting around Singapore to document daily life in the city and I think trying to make a picture for a christmas card. I found myself at the Rocher Centre, probably looking to take a picture of the washing hanging from the flats. This was when I noticed these two “aunties” practicing a dance routine. I had my 70-200mm and 1.4x converter with me which meant I could stay at a discrete distance so they would not react to me, or become embarrassed and shy away from the camera.

The sun sets over the South China Sea as seen from KM8 beach bar in Singapore

The sun sets over the South China Sea as seen from KM8 beach bar in Singapore November 18, 2007

KM8 used to be a really laid back place to chill out, it had a good vibe at weekends with live music and fire dancing. It felt like an upmarket beach shack, it has since been replaced by the rather swanky Tanjong Beach Club, which I have only been to once so I feel it would be unfair to pass judgement on TBC without trying it out again. But I feel it is a real shame that Singapore seems to be losing a lot of the more laid back venues and replacing them with more upmarket places that lack the same amount of charm.

The Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Marina Bay Financial Centre (L) are seen at dusk in Singapore

The Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Marina Bay Financial Centre (L) are seen at dusk in Singapore July 4, 2012

The Marina Bay Sands and I’m sure a lot of the Marina Bay Financial Centre did not exist when I was riding in the taxi from the airport in May 2007. This serves me a reality check on how quickly the city is changing, all of these massive buildings rising up from reclaimed land in the space of five years.

Singapore is a city with many contrasts; the old shophouses sitting among shiny cube farm behemoths, the wealthy and the poor, the buzz of the city and laid back hum of the cicadas in the nature reserve. Doing research for this post made me realise I should not get complacent and think that I have seen all there is to see. The city is constantly changing and I will always be able to find someone doing something interesting somewhere. I need to take my cameras out more and explore the still undiscovered and rediscover my favourite parts of the city.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: New Zealand « Rob Dawson's Blog

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