18 June 2008

In the heartlands

Photos from where most of us really live: the hawker centre, the neighbourhood shops, the playgrounds. Nothing at all like how our tourism pictures portray Singapore. Photo essay.


Chee Wai Lee said...

Wonderful job! Like yourself, I enjoy taking pictures of everyday Singapore life in equal parts to "downtown".

One quick comment: On the durian pictures, you (or I) should try to capture the "traditional way" of serving durian in areas like Geylang before it's too late and everything is served in their plastic-wrap form! Hehe

yuen said...

nice photos; taking a break from heavy stuff? I thought I would list your articles with no. of comments, indicating level of interest among your readers
Why only 'practical NGOs' and for economic reasons?
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 00:37 1 Comments

15 June 2008
Did unbridled capitalism leave people vulnerable to oil and food price rises?
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 01:46 3 Comments

13 June 2008
Norway legalises gay marriage
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 22:01 0 Comments

Rainbow rising in the Western sky
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 17:46 2 Comments

Gopalan Nair's quickie press conference
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 01:59 2 Comments

09 June 2008
Pity that Youthquake 2 didn't make it to the Richter scale
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 15:05 11 Comments

08 June 2008
The Singapore Democratic Party: method or madness?
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 16:43 28 Comments

07 June 2008
We duds at the pinnacle of evolution
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 03:19 16 Comments

US Catholic group spends franctically to oppose gay marriage
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 02:16 1 Comments

05 June 2008
Whose misbehaviour diminishes us all?
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 01:26 27 Comments

04 June 2008
Attorney-General says "human rights now a religion" with fanatics
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 18:23 5 Comments

03 June 2008
A family's invisibles
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 01:09 6 Comments

01 June 2008
Necessary conditions for economic growth and the varnished truth

posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 13:07 5 Comments

30 May 2008
The second Burmese conversation
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 02:45 2 Comments

The displacement of reason
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 02:36 14 Comments

27 May 2008
Seminar on Internet regulatory reform
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 14:15 0 Comments

26 May 2008
From Azerbaijan with camp
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 17:04 1 Comments

24 May 2008
Where are we now with stem cell research?
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 23:33 10 Comments

23 May 2008
We're prepared to listen, says government
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 16:29 10 Comments

Cuba holds anti-homophobia event
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 03:19 2 Comments

22 May 2008
The unnatural afterlife of the Section 377A debate
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 15:09 6 Comments

20 May 2008
Long term investments or long shots?
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 02:59 7 Comments

18 May 2008
Burma should be suspended from Asean
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 16:11 4 Comments

16 May 2008
Gay marriage victory in California Supreme Court
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 04:42 2 Comments

12 May 2008
Stop demolishing, start integrating
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 23:27 9 Comments

11 May 2008
Hong Kong broadcasting regulator's decision overturned by court
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 16:48 7 Comments

09 May 2008
Here's proof: Section 377A being enforced
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 13:20 12 Comments

08 May 2008
In the eye of the cyclone stands immobile the junta
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 16:53 12 Comments

IDAHO - International Day Against Homophobia, 17 May 2008
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 11:41 0 Comments

MICA acknowledges the internet proposals submitted
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 11:40 0 Comments

06 May 2008
The pigeons are among us already
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 14:14 12 Comments

04 May 2008
Guilty until proven innocent: the case of William Ding
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 15:22 11 Comments

03 May 2008
Packable politics and its press
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 19:35 8 Comments

01 May 2008
HIV hits new high. Solution: punish
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 02:26 17 Comments

29 April 2008
China and (inter)nationalism
posted by Yawning Bread Sampler @ 18:12 7 Comments

Anonymous said...

Check out this flickr group with the same objectives as your photo essay:


Larry said...

Thanks for the explanation of the term "department store". It never made sense to me, but I thought it was the difference between American and British English.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, the term 'department store' is used in many countries, not only in Singapore. I saw many in Indonesia, and also in Malaysia...

Ray said...

Yes please! Keep what you can. Even if its just in pictures.

Every time I come home, it like a little piece of what I knew just disappears.

Anonymous said...

Nice photos of the heartland. Thanks. I had some of the best and cheapest durians from a similar market in Bedok.
Regarding the translation of the chinese store sign, "Department" reflects our British colonial (perhaps stiff upperlip?) heritage. I agree almost every store to shopping malls such as Yaohan and Emporium were called department store when I grew up in the 70's.

Anonymous said...

a "department" store is meant to have sections specializing in particular type of products, e.g., woman's clothing, with staff having relevant expertise (the buyer who knows the market trends and orders the right kinds of merchandise at the right amount/price, the sales staff who know the products and the customer requirements...)

WalMart is not a "department" store, because it saves money by having minimum customer support, and better off people used to disdain shopping there, but today's situation is very different - people want bargains and no longer feel they need the better services the department stores supposedly offer

the little HDB general stores are called "department stores" because of the chinese translation 百货公司 is vague enough to describe both - a shop with many types of goods; the english translation is then taken along even though the meaning is not right


Anonymous said...

The term "department store" is almost universal to English speaking countries:


Singapore Indian Voice said...

Those are all great, but pic no.9 is my favourite!

Billybong said...

It's almost a historical walk through when viewing your photos!

It's unfortunate that many of the practices we used to see frequently are fast disappearing. Many will be missed.

I applaud the efforts in attempting to pursue recycling as a culture, but the approach is wrong. As you have pointed out, the bins are labelled in English only; alienating the older population. Education should begin from the young and work their way upwards into society as standard practices.

In this regard, we have a lot to learn from the Japanese.

nhyone said...

The bazaars are very formulistic too.

Gaudy mattresses: no harm since they are going to covered by bedsheets anyway.

Public phones: do people still use them?

Heng said...

Here's a link to a past project by 2 local artists about collective memories, nostalgia and shifting sentiments of home.

jon said...

I love your web site & commentary. Your photo essays are terrific. This is social history that you're writing & you are a national treasure. I take a few shots in Singapore too around the HDBs and the Hawker Centres:



Anonymous said...

I love your photo collection of the Heartlands, one important feature of heartland life that I would like to include would be - funeral services under the void deck.

bariles said...

I am a Filipino who used to work in Johore Bahru. On weekends, I often cross the bridge to your country. These images brought back a lot of memories of the backlots behind Singapore's highrises. I used to stay in the apartment of a friend.

And hey, kudos to your DAYOFF campaign. Have passed them to my friends.

Ciao! :)