Present(ing) the Past again (Part 1 of 7)

30 Dec

Singapore has gone through many physical changes over the last few decades, with some iconic landscapes of a generation already lost, e.g. the Stamford Road National Library building, but many still remain.

In a bid to recapture some lost memories, I flipped through family albums to find old photographs I could use to express my nostalgia. The exercise reconnected me with my personal memories and also those of my family. Returning physically to the same location of the original photographed image allowed me to reconnect with that memory. Standing on the ground where that photograph was taken made me feel like I was there again, even if only in my mind.

It was truly looking into my past.

Part 1: Day out at the Esplanade Park

This picture was taken in the 1950s, at the Tan Kim Seng memorial located within the Esplanade Park.

Tan Kim Seng fountain at Esplanade Park

Tan Kim Seng fountain at Esplanade Park

When I was doing this shoot, it was drizzling intermittently which was a huge bother. I had to seek shelter in between attempts to find a proper angle to make the photograph align to the sculpture. All the while, I was thinking where my grandfather (who was most likely the photographer) would have stood to take this shot of his family.

syncing TKS

The original picture was taken when my grandparents brought their children, i.e. my father and his siblings out to the Esplanade. Back then it was right next to the water where the Singapore River meets the sea. I actually had other pictures of the area in those times. I could see the Fullerton Hotel, only that it was still the General Post Office. The “iconic” Merlion wasn’t born yet and of course, the “durian” Esplanade Theatres by the Bay was perhaps only an idea in the back of someone’s head. 

It made me stop and think just how much our little nation has grown.

The fountain still works in present day. City Hall in the background is now currently under renovation to be reborn as The National Art Gallery of Singapore – a development I eagerly await.

I wonder…while Grandfather stood to compose this picture, with the colonial grandeur of City Hall as backdrop, would he have ever fathomed that the building would one day be the home of visual art in Singapore? And even more unfathomable, that his works would find their way onto its white washed walls too?

Interesting thought no? 🙂

yuehann’s notes…

In a nutshell, this post is Looking into the Past – a Singapore version.

I had been meaning to take more photographs in the same vein after my last blog post on this topic. Therefore, I jumped on the chance to do so in response to an Open Call from Drama Box for their online e-zine “Draft“.  The theme was on “Memory x Space” and I thought it would be a perfect fit. Luckily for me, they thought so too!

Click here to read me (from Page 68). 🙂

Today’s post will be the first of seven updates I will make over the next few weeks. In these updates,  I hope to share more of the stories behind making each image.  All these images were lovingly taken by hand, and with a huge dose of personal nostalgia.

I share this experience humbly. Do share your thoughts and perhaps, memories too. 

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6 Responses to “Present(ing) the Past again (Part 1 of 7)”

  1. Sze Hong December 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Wonderful piece, Yuehann. Admirable exercise. Thank you. Looking forward to subsequent parts.

    • yuehann January 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      Thanks Sze Hong. I enjoy sharing it with others too!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Posing at the Lim Bo Seng Memorial (Part 2 of 7) | Still.Life. - January 28, 2014

    […] took this shot around the same time as the previous one taken at the Tan Kim Seng Fountain, which mirrors the original photograph in the sense that it was also an outing on the same day. It […]

  2. Present(ing) the Past: A Date at MacRitchie Reservoir (Part 3 of 7) | Still.Life. - February 14, 2014

    […] born in reaction to Looking into the Past. Read the very first blog post here & also Part 1, Part 2 of the series. And also a related article I wrote for online e-zine Draft (pg […]

  3. Presenting the Past: The Pelican of Ang Mo Kio (Part 4 of 7) | Still.Life. - May 20, 2014

    […] born in reaction to Looking into the Past. Read the very first blog post here & also Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 of the series. And also a related article I wrote for online e-zine Draft (pg […]

  4. Presenting the Past: Chinese Gardens Playtime (Part 5 of 7) | Still.Life. - June 30, 2015

    […] first born in reaction to Looking into the Past. Read the very first blog post here & also Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of the series. And also a related article I wrote for online e-zine […]

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