The land where old things do not quite exist
Singapore is the land of new things. New roads, new buildings, new landscape spring up at an amazingly rapid pace.
A few weeks ago, we have had to say goodbye to East Coast Park McDonald’s. I don’t even care to know what that area is exactly called, because once you say East Coast Mac, everyone knows where it is, no further directions needed. I think every Singaporean would have quite a lot of memories from there. Whether it was a school excursion to the park, class gathering at the chalets, family BBQs or romantic strolls by the beach, we would have ended up at McDonald’s somehow or other. There is (or should I say ‘was’ now) also a bowling alley, and a Tunglok restaurant, where my ex-colleagues and I would go for dimsum buffet lunch whenever we felt like splurging from our paypockets.
That is all history now. The place is closed. After being opened for 30 years. When I was in the area to cycle 2 weeks ago, I could not even go in to take a photo, because the whole place was cordoned off. They are going to tear the place down, and in place of it, build something new and perhaps more futuristic. Do we need that? I can’t help but ask.
Then a few days back, we heard that Rediffusion will be gone from the airwaves at the end of the month, and will become history. After broadcasting for 62 years! Everyone my age or older knows Rediffusion. In the mid-80s till mid-90s, we had a white coloured one in our flat. I remember there was only 1 knob on it. Complicated? Definitely not. It was so easy to operate, anyone of any age can do it with ease. In an era where there wasn’t much alternative entertainment (unlike now, where we have too much fighting for our time), Rediffusion was quite the godsend for many. From that small speaker box, entertainment comes through – music and stories in dialect. When we moved house in the late 90s, there were more stations on national radio, more TV programs, Redifussion did not make it with us to our new place.
From then on, it was shoved to the back of our minds, until the past week when news of it closing down soon. It could not stand the test of time anymore. In the current world, it just isn’t as attractive, hence it cannot make enough money to fund its operations and have to end. I feel sad to it. I feel nostalgic. I wish they do not have to close. I wish they will survive. Yet, if they do, I do not wish them to change. And that will mean the same Rediffusion will not be able to compete with other technologies in our lives. Maybe there is no way out.
2 days back, another news came in. King Albert Park has to go too. Some new owner bought the place and is going to build it into a commercial/residential building. In landscarce Singapore, every land owner makes full use of their property to bring in money. Who would let it remain as a 2-3 storey place with only a few shops? I probably wouldn’t too, if I own the building. But again, I hate to see King Albert Park go. It’s the first place that comes to mind when I think of McDonald’s drive-thru. The fact that it is not far from my place also means it is a place I quite frequently go to. I enjoy walking up the ramp from the carpark and being able to smell roasted chicken from Cold Storage even before I am in there. More so, I enjoy the free first hour parking. 🙂
There are no more nice places in Singapore, I told Mr D. Maybe we should leave the country. Of course I am kidding. The latter part, not the former.
But seriously, I do not enjoy a place where we have to make everything look new, even when they are not. Our places of heritage e.g. Chinatown, looks
hideous funny to me because I would prefer them to look old, like how time really has taken a toll on them. Maybe we should save some painting costs. It is fine for buildings to look old. Just like humans, it is ok to look old. No?
Next to be struck off the list, Newton Circus is it? Word has it that it does not have heritage or historical value. So in landscarce Singapore, practicality prevails. Sigh. What can we do? People who are out of the country for 6 months should need a GPS even to walk around when they are back. This is how we are. I hope this is not the way we treat human beings too. Oh, and yes, it might be a good idea to be walking around with a camera always.