Searching for Singapore I

I’ve been living and working outside of Singapore for many years now, and every time I return, I’m reminded that I’ll never truly return to the Singapore I know.

It’s like that quote from Heraclitus – you’ll never step into the same river twice. It’s never the same river, and you’re never the same you.

My long-suffering wife knows of my street photography obsession (passion). She understands (bless her!) that I get cranky sometimes and need to go away for a while for an afternoon or two whenever we’re in Singapore.

I can’t help but walk around with my camera(s) with a sense of both recognition and alienation.

That’s the “chwee kueh” (water rice cake, according to Wikipedia) hawker auntie at the market near my place, where I also satisfy my cravings for “chai tow kway” (fried carrot cake) and “char kway teow” (unhealthy rice noodles with black sauce, pork fat, pork lard and cockles).

I have a mental checklist of food to tick off every time I’m in Singapore, such as satay, mee siam, mee rebus, hor fun…

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That’s the uncle who for some reason, prefers to sleep at the void deck on most afternoons.

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The above are homely scenes for me, while some of the scenes below remind me how commodified Singapore has become.

That’s a tourist, who, for some reason decides to lie down and take a nap near the Merlion Park.

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That’s another tourist … every time I am here I am reminded of how Singapore is a place for tourists… I wonder how many Singaporeans actually come here to take photographs …

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That’s at Waterloo Street, where you could find a street bazaar.

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And of course, that was the Chinese New Year period. Huat ah!

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And lion dance performances can really be mesmerizing…

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This is Ion Orchard, the shopping mall at Orchard Road.

And there’s something about the architecture that puts together celebrity culture with consumer culture.

We’re all encouraged to shop like celebrities.

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Sometimes we “relac one corner” (relax) and claim a little space for ourselves.

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And maybe we’ll find something meaningful after all …

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This is “Searching for Singapore I”. Part Two, in full colour, will arrive in due time.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Searching for Singapore I

  1. Don’t know much about photography but your images provide an intimate and warm contrast to the glossy corporate images of Singapore and quietly reminds me that visiting another country is a lovely glimpse of someone’s home– that’s more than an attraction site 🙂

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