Thursday, January 2, 2014

Destructive Trends

Our American guest did not hide his disappointment when we drove him to Bugis as requested. He had come all this way to see Bugis Street, not Bugis Junction.

Decades ago, as a young Hewlett Packard R&D engineer charged with technology transfer, he was making his first trip to Singapore. After spending nearly 22 hours changing planes and in actual flight, he finally dropped his bags at the hotel and made a beeline for Bugis Street, at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. He had heard about the famous "ladies" of the night who will pose with you for a polariod photo at $10 a snap. One specimen did grab his hand and shoved it up her skirt to demonstrate she was the "real thing". What happened, he asked, where are they now? We don't know, we confessed. Maybe at Changi Point, maybe at the Four Floors of Whores in Orchard Road.

As Little India is slowly being sanitised, another landmark is about to be erased. Very soon, one needs to go to their dingy dormitories to meet the migrant workers. Horrors, like heading for Auschwitz to see a real Jew. Recall our forefathers were also migrant labour, some were actually locked away when Singapore was Syonanto. Except for the dastardly few who collaborated with the Japanese invaders, as a translator or wearing their police uniform.

Rumour has it that Benjamin Sheares Bridge will also go under the wrecker's ball of the construction crews. Many an overseas visitor waxed lyrical about the fabulous city skyline coming into view as they were driven in along the East Coast Parkway. The route from Ayer Rajah Expressway heading for the airport was just as scenic, with the Flyer on one side, and the Marina Bay Sands casino on the other. Now all they see will be the boring concrete walls of the underground stretch of the Marina Coastal Expressway.

We worry about the core of the Singapore identity being diluted. We should also worry about the familiar places being eradicated, places we grew up in, places alive with fond memories of yester years. It's bad enough there's no heart in the city; soon, the soul will also be extinct.
Not Bugis Street but Gurney Drive, Penang, Malaysia

55 comments:

  1. Almost all places I grew up in are all gone. Houses in Joo Chiat, Joo Chiat market and cinema, kampong at Eunos are all gone. Even my school was relocated.

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  2. Benjamin Sheares bridge was built unnecessarily high in order to support the shipping industry in Kallang Basin back in the day. Soon it became obsolete as the industry moved to Jurong. If indeed the bridge faces the wrecking ball then another blunder is erased from our history books. Our boys in white have this thing of keeping the records books unblemished.

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    Replies
    1. The shipyards did not become "obsolete". They were forced to move because the powers that be decide to move them to support their plans to make Jurong the hub for shipyards Their licences were terminated..Many folded as they could not afford to pay the new rents at Jurong and it was not economical to move. Kallang was an easier access to small ships going for repairs. One of those which folded was Ho Ah Lam shipyard, then hugely successful. Typical of their planning and heavy-handedness. Build the bridge first then move the shipyards afterwards.

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    2. When the despotic Kims of North Korea built the ski resort or the tallest hotel in the world, the western press were quick to condemn. When the red dot tear down a budget terminal built a few years ago or an iconic landmark, the fawning press praised the great leaders for great foresight and the virtue of "looking around the corner for its citizens" (ahem The Economist ahem). Rewriting history is not restricted to despotic political parties, it is also abetted by supporting contingents of intellectuals and media tycoons who have vested interests to ensure history remember the "correct things".

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  3. PAPigs would not know what makes Singaporeans special;
    Even if they got slapped in the face with it.

    PAP Chicken Joke
    ----------------------------
    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

    A: It was a homeless white chicken. It had to cross the road after selling out it's home.

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  4. The country' soul had been taken out long ago. Hence the need to create artificial areas of cultural interest. Little India, Geylang as a Malay cultural attraction. Not to mention the new Chinatown. Why did you not think of taking your guest to the Shitty Times? The specimens could be there. We have the word of David Marshall.

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    Replies
    1. It started since the old National Library was torn down. When you do not have memories of landmarks and space in your growing up years, what is there to anchor down your feelings for the country?

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  5. If you love change and new things, you'll love it in Singapore!

    Come on laa, not many of Singaporeans I know has nostalgic sense to things. Every 2 years, change new mobile fone, every 3-4 years change to a newer car, every 5-6 years relocate to a new property. Yet here we are complaining about our landscape, buildings, structure got torn down to be transformed.

    Want to complain, look at the man in the mirror first.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Lord, it's hard to be humble
      When you're perfect in every way
      I can't wait to look in the mirror
      'Cause I get better lookin' each day
      To know me is to love me
      I must be a hell of a man
      Some folks say that I'm egotesticle
      Hell, I don't even know what that means
      I guess it has somethin' to do with the way
      That I fill out my skin tight blue jeans

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    2. @ Bear,
      care to share with us what you see in the mirror ?

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    3. I see a stupid man who took everything that was thrown to him but he had enough of it.

      Now sifting through the debris and discerning which is garbage and which is shit.

      Delete
    4. anyway, if u want to question others and leave comments, man up. sign in. be a man.

      Delete
    5. anyway, if u want to question others and leave comments, man up. sign in. be a man.

      Delete
  6. You should introduce your friend to the many new forms of depravity available in Singapore. I found the old Bugis Street nothing but sad and tasteless. However as a defender of free choice I think even depravity and tastelessness should should find expression if it can be done without bothering other people. I just do not lament the passing of the Old Bugis Street.

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    Replies
    1. Don't cry for me Singapura.

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    2. Right, and you should tell your friend "Fuck Off." What do you think Singapore was...

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    3. I know what Singapore has become, a soulless place full of thin skinned people who can't take fair criticisms.

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  7. Singapore Aunty1/03/2014 10:40 AM

    We want to be THE JEWEL wo, so how can keep old dirty things leh..

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    Replies
    1. IS the family's jewel..nothing to do with you, lest you think you have anything to benefit, other than squandering more of your money in the perpetual sameness-malls.

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    2. These soulless vanity projects sickens the spirit.

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  8. What I found tasteless was the reference to Auschwitz in this article. It has no relevance whatsoever to the article's main point of Singapore losing its heritage and/or soul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dorms turning into concentration camps?

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    2. Since the banning, they have found other places for revelry. That is progress from PAPs well-thought out playbook don't you think?

      http://therealsingapore.com/content/naked-and-drunk-foreign-workers-spotted-bugis-mrt-station

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    3. I cannot see the linkage between Little India losing its heritage and the living and working conditions of our migrant workers. More importantly, it is the comparison of the living and working conditions of these migrant workers to the concentration camps, and done in a light-hearted manner, that is ill-advised and insensitive. So while there are issues that need to be addressed with regards to our migrant workers, it is not in the context of this article.

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    4. Concentration of monies from head fees (levies).

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  9. Must be because somebody's view in the ivory tower kena blocked by the flyover, hence the decision to tear it down.

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  10. Notice also that the extremely and wastefully high concentration of MRT stations within the CBD. Most likely the URA planners, MPs and ministers bought private properties there for investment. The outskirt areas of the same size have 1 or 0 MRT stations whereas the CBD has close to 20. Ridiculous planning. No wonder so jam.

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  11. You can be sure that one particular house at Oxley Drive will be preserved

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soon the owner will be moving to a shoe box size compartment, oops it's apartment.

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    2. Sure, even when LKY asked it to rebuild...no one dare to take up his challenge..and yet his daughter had written that it should be "preserved."

      Looks like another groupthink..

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    3. LKY deserves to get his wish to rebuild his house at Oxley Rise...into a ISD interrogation and detention HQ or a shrine to cater to his worshippers.

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    4. Soon the owner will be moving to a polished box. Now do you get it. Geez.

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  12. Year Zero is near. The Great Sanitisation is almost complete.

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  13. I thot years of liberal arts in Oxbridge and Ivy league shud have taught our great leaders something about the value of culture. Turned out everyone of them had no moral fibre to resist the temptation of the GDP BONUS. Knowing that an overwhelming contribution to GDP GROWTH comes from digging more holes and filling them with concrete, no wonder droves of papig cronies have set up so many $2 companies as middlemen to the construction industry. Now that the real estate bubble has to be maintained via rationing of construction of new flats, all the more urgency to "re-develop" all the little indias one can find, tear them down resolutely, and pour more concrete to boost GDP and profits for the cronies. Wat does teo think? Dumb question, teo is a scarecrow.

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    Replies
    1. I do not think even Oxbridge and the Ivy League can uproot what RI and ACS implanted. Oxbridge and the Ivy League will only add the right veneer.

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    2. Problem is very few of them studied liberal arts in Oxbridge or the Ivy League universities. Most of them go into the sciences - engineering and mathematics. Some majored in philosophy and politics and economics (as a whole as in PPE in Oxford). And law, of course.

      It is all about facts and figures. All about bottom-line and nothing about humanity.

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  14. //Now all they see will be the boring concrete walls of the underground stretch of the Marina Coastal Expressway.//

    Is only 3.6km that is underground at moment, and you complain about the view in a moving vehicle? This is just a small warm up !
    Get ready when PAP's PWP & Khaw's masterplan for the underground city is unveiled. The Montreal's RESO is a 32km of underground malls, residences, carparks & offices. Since red dot is constantly trying to out-do itself in ranking, bet you ours will be one of a unique longest kinds of underground that can pack those million rats. Just throw in the never ending shops and malls and food courts, viola ! You have the winning recipe for the perfect maze and eternal distraction for guinea pigs.

    More GDPs..huat ah!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is only one 6 foot underground monument I look forward to.
      Unfortunately, he does not seem to want to cooperate.

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    2. You know that story — the Chinese story about the boats and the fog? As the boatman, he hits another boat, and he starts swearing at the other –”You, why didn’t you look where you were going?” And then the fog lifts for a moment and he sees there is nobody in the other boat. And he feels like a fool.

      Feel free to occupy it. That 6 foot monument is yours for the taking in the meantime.

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    3. Most people rather enjoy the sight of that gaping mouth supported by kee chiu's devoted arms! Every time they show him on tv, pink face and drooling, whole coffee shops across the land (and sea) explode in a rapture of joy, may his majesty live on and on in this state of suspended torture. Japanese collaborators fate well deserved! I heard Lee Teng Hui is also turning senile from a Taiwanese friend, the two can meet in the collaborators' reporting stand when recalled.

      Meanwhile, the jockeying in the papig camp intensifies, just like the Manchu courts intrigues before the death of emperor kangsi. Who will be emperor yong zheng? Who will be the eunuch's choice?

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    4. I think LHL is doing a good job in tearing down PAP's legacy.

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    5. LHL can end PAP's legacy with a clImax if he were to depart jointly with the old fart.

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  15. They planned to decentralize the Business Distrct, yet the MRT Stations are hubbed in the Town Area/CBD.

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  16. Singapore is nothing but a transit hotel for maximizing the profits of the Familee business. Best not to get too attached to it.

    What I am worried about this obsession with economic growth, however, is the destruction to nature. Already I have seen countless patches of secondary forests and green fields being flattened for more schools, condos and malls.

    I fear also for the damage to the seabed the MCE tunneling had done.

    I shall end with a bit of Native American wisdom:

    "Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."


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  17. What economic benefit is there in demolishing the Benjamin Sheare's Bridge? They might turn it into a shopping mall, or a carpark, or both. And the top of the bridge provides a grand bungee jump, with or without the bungee cord.

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    Replies
    1. Condo..or High Rise Offices...or serviced apartment...and next to the F-1 circuit. all up to your imagination..

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  18. Aiyoh, if we dont tear down the old building, and build new buildings, how are we going to justify the Minister's Pay...and the influx of Work Permits / EPass...and of course the amount of Workers' levy the government is receiving.

    Think lah...they must have reason..

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  19. Our PAP MPs sometimes does not seem to be able to think seriously. That tudung issue has been created out of PAP's fear of insecurity. Yet they are insisting that WP must state their stand when it is essentially a problem created by PAP itself.

    Frankly why should the WP fall into their trap when PAP should honestly tell us what is the real problem with some uniformed staff wear something to cover their heads? Anyway didn't the nurses used to wear something on their heads previously? Why must they insist the WP state their stand when in the first place it is not as if the whole gang of PAPigs will listen to the opposition?

    Cannot solve their problem then try to push it to the opposition to answer for that, WTF PAP?

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  20. Our Police and have riot squad , water canon , tear gas and people on par roll but cannot handle a small riot and need Gurkhas to handle. What does it shows ? They have no guts nor the confidence to exercise what they are trained for. The day they let Mas Selamat escape , the day when they ask public to get private contractor to carry the WWII bomb away , the day when our Policeman got into murder , it has proven the state of affairs. Be it MIO TV or NPB , they are all in a mess. Performing below par and never seem to feel sorry for the people whom they have taken for ride. Do we need more screw ups to decide in 2016 ?

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  21. The single most destructive trend in Singapore.
    Allowing an increasingly senile political leader to exert undue influence over the political ideology of Singapore.
    For far too many years than is healthy for Singaporeans.

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  22. Singaporeans exist for the sole purpose of lee empire building funds. Once the wear and tear takes place and productivity diminishing, they will be teared down and sacrificed for newer, younger, more hungry homo sapiens.

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    Replies
    1. and it does not matter whether they are local born or not. So long as they can contribute to the lee empire building funds is all that matters.

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    2. So who ask you to be so stupid and vote for PAP?
      You asked for it.
      You got the government you deserved.

      You know you will have to Pay & Pay when you vote PAP.
      So why are you complaining now?

      Vote Opposition for a Singaporean-Singapore.
      Not a PAP-Singapore.

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  23. Change is inevitable in any country, but we have really changed for the worst so far.

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    Replies
    1. Dialogue from the movie Hobbit:
      ----------------------------------
      Tauriel: When did we allow evil to become stronger than us?
      Legolas: It is not our fight.
      Tauriel: it is our fight.

      Vote Opposition;
      If you think it is our fight.
      http://the-hobbit.tumblr.com/post/52763370154/when-did-we-allow-evil-to-become-stronger-than

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