1960s Avenue

This weekend I managed to drop by The Arts House for a little walk with a friend after a very productive homework-completion session in the afternoon and I felt like I learned many things that I should be shared. There was an exhibit ongoing in The Gallery of The Arts House (that ends tomorrow by the way) done up by a couple of university students exploring the things in Singapore built by the pioneers and founding fathers, that our generation has missed. 

It’s a shame because the things I saw were beautiful even from photos and the stories behind each one of them made me wish I was born just that decade earlier to at least experience a little of it before it was all gone. Now, we can only read about it and hope to feel half of what it really felt like for our parents to be in these places. 

I imagine that one day 50% of the buildings around us will no longer be there, replaced by even higher, high-rise skyscrapers full of rat-racers. I don’t think I’d like that very much. Someone once said that if insects perished from the face of the Earth, within a couple of generations, every other species would as well; but if humans perished from the face of the Earth, every other living species would flourish. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

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Also, I read about this thing called ‘Kampung spirit’, it sounds pretty distant now, like a far-fetched thing I can only dream about. I wish I could say ‘hi’ to every neighbour in my block, and I could know the names of at least those neighbours around my age and we could meet up for dinner before heading home together once in a while. I wish I could walk up flights of steps to hang out in their houses and they could do the same. Or maybe where I needed help with something, I knew of at least one out of the goodness knows how many people who stay in the same block as me who could offer me that help. And how lovely would it be, if when someone wanted something sewn or had extra cloth they wanted to throw away, they’d think of me, walk flights of stairs down to my unit and offer all that to me. 

Heartening it was, though, to find out about movements attempting to retain these efforts, do check them out in the following sites: 

Blockpooling- http://www.blockpooling.sg/

Good Neighbours Project- http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10333p.nsf/w/CNGNP14_ABOUT?OpenDocument

And I suppose a good way to start appreciating what we have now is to understand everything else before what we have now. Asking our parents for their stories could be a start- from favourite childhood games to where they used to stay, to what education was like in their time. From there, we learn to story of where what we are experiencing today came from. We are all part of a chapter in a bigger book than we think, dating back to the 1960s. Let’s write our chapter well.

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