[Creative Commons licensed picture courtesy of Flickr user ChanC]
Singapore is an amazing place.
It is a small island stuck in-between Malaysia and Indonesia. Within many of our lifetimes it was the location of some of the worst ethnic violence seen anywhere in the post-war era. Conversely, within ALL of our lifetimes it has been a shining example of strength through ethnic diversity and a model of progressiveness and modernism.
I've been to Singapore twice - both visits almost 20 years ago (am I really getting that old?!)
When I was there I saw the slow, relentless urban renewal effort in action. Old-fashioned Chinese "shop house" neighborhoods were being systematically torn down and replaced with more modern facilities for living and for commerce. There was some sadness around this march of progress - but perhaps more palpable, a sense of excitement for the future.
Fast-forwarding 20 years from my last extended stay in Singapore and the International Herald Tribune is reporting today that only one old-fashioned rural village remains in Singapore and it, too, is slated for "renewal" itself before long.
The IHT has a nice [short] video about Singapore's last village and the relentless march of time. Are there any "old Asian hands" among our readers who can remember the old Singapore?
[International Herald Tribune]