How would you describe Singapore in one word? I used to say it’s tiny — a response I’m sure is also often uttered by most Singaporeans. But now that I’ve gone through these snapshots, I feel like it’s time to come up with a new adjective.
1. The sand stockpile across Bedok Reservoir
The stockpile of sand is meant for future projects. But every now and then, whenever I drop by Bedok Reservoir, all I can picture is the Sahara Desert.
A rather surreal and unusual sight, I must say, considering Singapore is known for its skyscrapers and city life.
2. Haw Par Villa
If I were to pick the worst place to bring a yellow-bellied kid to, Haw Par Villa would be the top of my list. Its impressions of Chinese folklore’s 10 Courts of Hell is crazy frightening.
I bet tourists will do a Kevin-Bacon-Footloose-jump-back move when they see this gruesome scene — especially after they’ve basked in the glorious view from the Singapore Flyer.
3. The migrant workers’ dormitory
Many migrant workers come to Singapore to pursue job opportunities to support their family back home. Besides dealing with the overcrowded and messy dormitories, they also have to endure the social stigma of being a foreign worker.
4. Sundays at Orchard Road
Most of our foreign domestic workers’ rest day falls on Sunday. If you’re ever around Orchard Road — specifically, Lucky Plaza — on Sunday, take a minute to soak up the scene. Odds are, the place will be packed with Filipinos. The Little Manila of Singapore is the favourite hot spot of the community.
5. Senoko Fishery Port
When I came across this picture of Senoko Fishery Port, I went, “Those still exist?” Some of us may have had our feet splashed at at the wet market, but how many of us have actually set foot into a fishery port? Singapore may be small, but there are still a couple of gems out there that we may not have discovered.
6. New public housing
Apparently, HDB flats can look posh too. One writer at CNN even likened it to a luxury hotel. I can understand that, because… well, take a look at that majestic sight.
7. Rochor Centre
The iconic building is going to be demolished soon to allow room for the construction of the North-South Expressway. Let this sink in.
8. The homeless
Just because we don’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. According to one writer at Youth.sg, some of the homeless are estranged from their families, kicked out by relatives or left home of their own accord.
9. The haze
Singaporeans are not hardwired to withstand the haze. Scratch that, no one is. Hopefully, the brief experience has taught us not to take clean air for granted.
10. The hailstorm
According to the World Risk index, we’re currently at the 15th spot. Which means that there’s a slight chance of a natural disaster happening in Singapore. Knock on wood, but hey, you never know, right? Life is unpredictable.
11. Richard Koh’s photos
Richard W J Koh is an award-winning photographer from Singapore. Take a look at this phenomenal picture of our HDB flats taken from an aircraft. Who knew you can turn an ordinary scene into something so breathtaking? It’s all about the angle.
12. Traditional Peranakan shop houses
And speaking of angles. If it weren’t for the heading, you’d probably think this is a picture of a quaint town in an exotic country. The Peranakan shop houses’ timeless pastel colours reflect a life of simplicity.
13. Street art
Mural paintings are a common sight in Singapore. Street art, on the other hand, are much rarer. Hmm, could this be one of the reasons why we were once named as the second coolest country in the world?
Singapore may be a multiracial country, but I bet there are many things that we still haven’t heard of. Thaipusam is a Hindu thanksgiving festival celebrated in honour of Lord Subramaniam. The spikes you see in the picture? They can weigh up to 40kg. Mindblown.
15. Keong Saik Neighbourhood
All-round cool band Beastie Boys shot their pulp noir music video, The Gala Event, at Keong Saik Neighbourhood back in 2007. And to think I was ecstatic when Tom Waits sang about Singapore.
16. Kampung Lorong Buangkok
We’ve got trouble. There are a few homes in Kampung Lorong Buangkok that have undergone upgrades. Does this mean our last surviving village is disappearing? Only time will tell.
17. Singapore’s massive flood
Singapore usually doesn’t flood, so when one strikes, you know it’s bad. This massive flood has caused a lot of headache and hindrance to the public. All I can say is, I’m glad those PE lessons and NAPFA tests haven’t gone to waste.
18. This HDB block
Here’s another gorgeous picture of our HDB flats. This shot was part of the HomeScapes Photography exhibition that was launched back on June 2015. Who says old can’t be beautiful?
19. Police uniform
The local traffic policewoman uniform used to be white during the late 1960s!
20. Samsui women
All of the remaining Samsui women are in their twilight years. The sentiment alone goes to show that our country has come a long way.
21. Bryan van der Beek’s photos
Photographer Bryan van der Beek captures a location at different times within the same photo. Original and fascinating, his photos make you look at the little red dot in a strikingly different way.
22. Murad Osmann
Murad Osmann is known for his Instagram photography series “Follow Me To”. Kampong Glam, a place we’re familiar with ever since we went there for our primary school excursion trip, looks unique and evocative in this shot.
23. Grocery shopping
Ah, gone are the days when all homemakers would buy their groceries while walking down the street. Now many of us turn to grocery delivery service and online concierge.
24. Tanglin Hill Brunei Hostel
There’s an unequal sign between the phrase ‘hauntingly beautiful’ and Singapore. At least, that was what I originally thought. Looking at this photo, I couldn’t be more wrong.
25. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
This snapshot looks straight out of a Studio Ghibli movie. I’ve been to the area countless of times, but this picture never fails to make me do a double take.
26. Little Guilin
If Mediacorp were to film another period drama series, this is the place they would go to. The sight’s a breath of fresh air, especially when you’re the type that gets easily caught up in the urban lifestyle.
27. Lazarus Island
Lazarus Island sounds like something you would hear in a Jurassic Park movie. During an interview with The Straits Times, 60-year-old Mr Leow said that it’s unnecessary to travel to another continent to take beautiful shots when we already have a stunning beach. I rest my case.
28. Japanese Cemetery Park
Located in Hougang, it is Southeast Asia’s largest Japanese cemetery at 29,359 square metres. With over 500 tombstones, some of the notable graves include secret agent Tani Yutaka and Terauchi Hisaichi, the son of the 18th Japanese Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake.
29. Portsdown Road water tank
Maybe it’s because of the HDB water tank incident, but this photo of the gigantic container gives me the heebies-jeebies. Let’s not beat around the bush, this is not the type of idiom you’d normally associate with Singapore.
30. 2013 Little India riot
When news of the riot broke, we all thought it was a prank. When we took a closer look at the scene and realised it was real, we felt like we just got punched in the face with a knuckle duster.
All in all, Singapore is a culturally diverse country in a little red dot! Let us know how these photos have changed the way you view Singapore!