Singapore's last village

[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]

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I have to agree with the comment about Singapore 50 years ago. It was a truly amazing place then, and when I was there with the merchant navy, I also felt that it was like my home.To come ashore in Sembewang, and make our way to the city in a pick-up taxi, was a wonderful experience. The people were, and are amongst the friendliest in the world.I still like the place, having returned a few times recently, but the memories of the old Singapore are unforgettable
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It is over 50 years since I first visited Singapore, I was in the Navy at that time, and I shall never forget the charm it had - a simple bus ride from Sembawang Dockyard on the Tay Koh Yat bus into Singapore.
Stop off at Nee Soon for a beer, wander through the back streets to find craftsmen made articles to take back to Australia. A short taxi ride from Sembawang village down to the Johore Straits to the Melbourne Bar excellent food, the most tranquil place on the planet!
Now you have a clinically clean 'Jap' city, with every conceivable amenity, with the majority of the people living in huge concrete jungles.
You are the envy of the rest of the world but you have lost your charm and you don't have a soul.
But you cannot take away my memories of what I called HOME when we were on Far East duties for 6 months at a time. I still love Singapore people they are still as gracious as they ever were.
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Woah, after staying in Singapore for 15 years (my whole life), I had not even knew that such a place had existed! Interesting...
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