Tiong Bahru
has always had that particular nostalgia to me...not much, but enough to bring back memories of days gone by. I grew up and went to school somewhere nearby, and somehow or rather, its development and physical changes have somewhat been something that I was indifferent about the last few decades, until I realise the true beauty that lies within during my short sojourn there recently.
Nothing can prepare me for the beautiful rows of houses and apartments that lined this estate, and I thought it was the right thing to do for the authorities to preserve them. I guess the estate's beauty too has drawn me in to then make the decision to capture these elements in my photography works.
Here is Part 1 of some of my snapshots:
"Built in the 1930s, Tiong Bahru Estate is one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore. It was the first project undertaken by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), a government body administered by the British colonial authority, to provide for mass public housing in Singapore. The estate consists of about 30 apartment blocks with a total of over 900 units. The apartment blocks are made up of two to five-storey flats and the units are assorted three to five-room apartments."
I took refuge at the Tiong Bahru Market before the start of my sojourn, imbibing in my morning regular cup of coffee. I must say the coffee from the Coffee Museum stall is really something. In fact you can buy the coffee powder that they used, with a minumum purchase quantity of 500g.
I decided against getting it during the start of my work...but I do need that reminder to come and make that purchase when I pass by this place again.
The above is the Google Map of my entire trail. I started out from the Tiong Bahru Market, before heading in an eastwards direction. The trail should be going clockwise , if based on the map above.
Taken from Wikipedia:
"The construction style of the estate is a mix of Streamline Moderne and local Straits Settlements shop-housearchitecture. The flats feature rounded balconies, flat rooftops, spiral staircases, light wells and underground storage and shelters. One notable feature of Tiong Bahru estate is that all its streets are named after Chinese pioneers of the 19th and early 20th centuries (Lim Liak, Kim Pong, Guan Chuan, Chay Yan, etc.)."
The picture above shows the famous gathering place of bird-singing afficianados. I didn't realise that each hook was numbered, probably to be used in competitions or to be booked by others. Perhaps some slots are luckier, or perhaps some slots are just plain lucky because of the number tags that are assigned to it. (Picture below). Who knows?
The Link Hotel above and below was so named as it has a linkway between 2 blocks of apartments, and above a major roadway. The linkway could be seen on the right side of the picture above.
The hotel was converted from residential spaces, as part of the authorities' plans to reuse and reinvigorate the area, into something more commercially viable. Whether this plan is successful or not, I guess only time can tell.
From Wikipedia:
"It is apparent that a lot of effort was put into designing the estate with a series of flats that are visually pleasing. Thus the flats in the Tiong Bahru estate contrasted markedly with those of the much later post-war mass housing programs undertaken by SIT’s successor, the Housing and Development Board. In contrast with the aesthetic art deco theme of the Tiong Bahru flats, the flats built by the Housing Board in the 1950s and 1960s are starkly utilitarian in appearance and design; where flats are almost identical in their two-dimensional “matchbox” style."