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Singapore some time ago

Monomat

The article first appeared in Monomat, February 1, 2013.

Easo out in Singapore

Singapore is the most developed country in Southeast Asia. But on the other side of the equation, it is a prisoner of tourism destination high level of expectation.

As is the case with countries vying for prestigious place in international stage amid the rapidly growing status as economic hubs, it builds mega structures and modernises prime districts in the city in a way that only a certain group’s ambition are concerned, all the while disregarding the wisdom of efficient and quality living.

These photos revealed when Singapore was a more livable place a decade ago.

World class art center

Before there is the monolithic Marina Bay Sands or the hustle of Formula One night race, the city state of Singapore was not soring to the eye or too choking as it is now.

Then, the city was the center of attention largely for its durian-shaped theater on the bay “Esplanade”, opened in 2002. Southeast Asia grabbed a limelight in art cultivation, positioning itself on par with few other world class art centers.

The city of working class

Singapore is still the city of working class people. Packed public transportation modes like buses and MRTs, or crowded pedestrian precincts are the indicators.

People still allocate an amount of time seeking leisure near the Merlion, among other open, public venues in the city.

But now tourists set another must-visit site on top of the itinerary list, that is, the summit of MBS that comes in the shape of giant boat awkwardly placed on the tip of its three in-line buildings.

It is also a popular choice for Indonesian couples to do their wedding photography, a case of which is represented by a friend.

Now the island nation is among hosts to gas-guzzling automotive sport, the second in the region following Malaysia. The race to leverage status has somewhat shifted to grandiose building projects for rich society and overblown sports events.

Singapore some time ago
Merlion park
People ease out in the afternoon at Merlion Park

A decade ago, when giving oneself a night treat to the Clark Quay while looking at the business district where there stood skyscrapers and UOB tower as the highest building in the city at the time was a simple yet memorable experience, when buying marinated beef at a tiny stall “Bee Cheng Hiang” near the entrance of one of the plazas in busy Orchard Road was one of the things your family had asked to bring to Jakarta, when I went to Temasek and learned later that the word actually derived from a Javanese meaning “sea”, or when Changi Airport was abuzz with seemingly plain-box-shaped design on the outside but of ultra-efficient system of direction on the inside, Singapore in 2003 was a distinctive city in openness.

Well-planned perspective

Agus Chang is a writer who now works as an IT professional in one of the fastest growing banks in Indonesia. He has an interest in sports, technology and culture. He believes that intellectual and moral side of humans should work together in harmony to create a better world.


Hong Kong in bw

Public transportation is a crucial point to be noticed by government to grow prevalent economic scale throughout the city. In Hong Kong we can find various types of it, such as MTR, buses, taxis and street trams (only in Hong Kong island), provided to support its citizen to go to all district.

Hong Kong

People strolling around every corner of this city is a common view. It becomes a habit for Hong Kong people. There are many youngsters and senior citizen mingle on the sidewalk. Even past midnight on weekdays, the crowd still fills the streets looking for food or just enjoying the city’s atmosphere.

Hong Kong in bw

The city population daily needs are provided by ubiquitous retail spaces starting from groceries, restaurants, mini markets, famous brands outlets to shopping malls. These stores are placed side by side with the neighborhood. Apartments are often placed between stores.

Hong Kong in bw

Traffic jam frequently occur on regular days, but it is very light compared to the traffic city of Jakarta. Jay walkers are sometimes spotted. Hong Kong’s street is not too wide so when a bus stop to drop off and pick up passengers, it occupies the left lane which quickly creates bus queue behind.