06 September 2007

Rock, jazz and songbirds silenced

Singapore's cityscape is one of the most changeable in the world. We demolish and rebuild all the time. Sometimes protests are made when historical buildings are demolished, but more often, small things that don't seem that important, or are part of our everyday lives are lost too. Full essay.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny isn't it that everything (well almost) nostalgically worthwhile has been torn down or remade but old Geylang is still remaining plus more!

The road is little changed except for the influx of "tourists"

What the fuck!

Anonymous said...

Pls inform the author that the songbirds crowd has shifted to the new blocks diagonally across, along zion road. Its now held in the gardens of Boon Tiong Rd Estate. Its different...but the people are still the same...

Anyway thats life in Singapore ...changes and more changes...changes for the sake of changes...though it does not make sense...eg National Library, Esplanade Outdoor Stage, CPF, etc...

Haiz......

Readymade said...

Don't quite understand why you listed Scotts together with the bird-singing arena and the Esplanade outdoor theatre. Scotts was always owned by a private commercial entity which naturally pays attention to profit. The bird-singing arena and the Esplanade are government-built for public use.

ExExpat said...

Hey Alex - I totally share your sentiments, and whether a landmark - building or cultural - is commercial or not doesnt matter at all.

I jsut had dinner near Scotts Center, this building is really missing there, the gentle slope was on most postcards of Orchard Rd. WHat are they going to build there?

Regarding the Outdoor arena, I can add the info that it will be enlarged, it was outgrowing its intention, published in April:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/271154/1/.html

http://www.esplanade.com/download/web/press/press_releases/PressreleaseOutdoorTh07_final.pdf

I am sure they will do a good job building something nice, surely the job of informing the public is not perfect.

I have grown into a habit of just making snap shoots of nice cozy or green areas in Singapore, and overview pictures from Equinox, and repeatedly this proved interesting when suddenly something dissappeared... too much construction going on here.

Regarding our construction frenzy, a friend of mine once fantasized and jockingly said:

"One day, they might just say NOW WE ARE DONE and stop all this nonsense!"

ExExpat said...

Of I just found an interesting note on the http://www.esplanade.com/ site (right middle, no URL):

Because of increased construction cost, the construction of the new bigger stage is delayed, or rather again under review to cut costs!

Isnt that funny, something great that worked fine is floored, just to build something bigger, but then the big thing is too xxx, so now we have a patch of grass.... I am going to follow this one up, it seems to make a point that redevelopments are sometimes done to hastily, without public consultation, without proper contingency planning. Hmmm....

Colin said...

The Theatre on the Bay was torn down because its capacity was getting too small for existing demand; they've temporarily demolished it and shifted its location to build one that can accomodate a much bigger audience.

kelvin said...

hello.... i live nearby and we were reassured that the bird corner would not be physically removed with the development of the new hotel.... now that the hotel is ready, it seems that someone forgot to inform the owner that he has to invite the birds and their owners back! everyday, i pass by the empty corner, and wonder what will happen next.... the corner has been depicted in a famous painting by Chua Mia Tee and also, a set of stamps from the 1980s showning our Tourism sites...

I just hope that it WILL come back...

Marc said...

Stuff changes, that's just how life is and it's easy to go down the "oh, that's corner mama shop I went to for years is now a 7-11" route, but that's life.

I've just moved from Eng Hoon St (Tiong Bahru) after 5 years living there. The bird singing area has been disused or out of commission for at least 3 years now... but there's no shortage of others around Singapore if you take the time to look. Perhaps not ones listed in guide books, but real and existing all the same.

During my time in Tiong Bahru we had "the old markets", "the temporary markets" and now "the new markets" (which I think look great). I've heard many "oh, I miss the old markets" conversations, but believe me, they were hot, smokey and short of seating.

And I went back to Eng Hoon St last week to visit my local hardware store. There's a winebar on the street now (joining the cooking school cafe that popped up last year etc). No-one's forcing the change in the nature of the suburb, it just is.

Evolution, change, development. Fight it and tire yourself out but you won't make a difference.

=) Marc

Anonymous said...

I've already posted comments on this issue a couple times. I know that change is inevitable. Buildings cant be around forever and sometimes its more efficient to just build a new building instead of restoring one. But what's with bulldozing buildings that are still okay.. like my old school for example. Its completely fine and even when I was there many years ago, they were constantly painting or building a new wing of some sort. This is what I dont get and dont like. If it aint broke, dont fix it.
They revamp areas only to tear it down later. I have several examples but its too long to write. There is also something to be said abt a society that doesnt tolerate things that arent new and shiny. Dont be too cocky abt change, it can become a turnoff. I've met someone who told me that he will bypass singapore on his next trip around asia because its too commercialized and unnatural.

Larry said...

Thanks for mentioning the book. I bought a copy and enjoyed reading it.