Lost Buildings and Lost Heritage

One core aspiration arising from the Our Singapore Conversation is “That lives are lived with purpose: Community preserves its shared spaces, memories and heritage.”

I reflected and traced my life journey from birth.

1. The very flat I lived in at Block 60 Ganges Avenue built by Singapore Improvement Trust (before HDB) was demolished.

2. The neighbourhood primary school, Delta West Integrated School, where I studied for six years was demolished.

3. The secondary school I studied in for four years, Gan Eng Seng School sited at Anson Road, was demolished.

4. Even the Junior College I attended for two years, National Junior College was demolished and in its place is the current Nanyang Girls’ High.

5. The iconic National Library at Stamford Road where I enjoyed going to and borrowed library books, was demolished.

Sad to see these buildings gone. I can only pass by these places and say to my daughter, there once was this building which was part of me. You need to imagine what I say.

We did not own a black-and-white film-based camera back then, not like now with widespread availability of digital cameras, and therefore did not capture these places on films. We can only go to public archive to get to see these places. I always felt nostalgic when seeing old Singapore on film.

What sadness when heritage lost to economic developments. Could this be avoided in urban planning? If you look at Europe, they are proud of their old buildings, the older the better.

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