Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Singapore...Then and Now

I like to think of Singapore as a revolving door. It's constantly moving at a steady pace within it's "door frame" of values. New business opportunities and ideas easily take their place in the rotation and just as rapidly, the stale ideas and failed business ventures go out. It's a constantly moving marketplace.

And it never stops moving.

To maintain its foundation is the mixture of Asian and Western values which I think of as the door frame. These are what keep the nation in harmony. They anchor this revolving door and keep it from falling off it's hinges.

For example: New restaurants come in (i.e. Chili's) and the failed attempts go out (i.e. Taco Bell).

This is also the same for shops, companies, hair products and even Boston Baked Beans.

Yes. I was deeply upset about the sudden lack of my BBB's.

But back to what I was saying.

It's amazing to me just how fast and how often this little island reinvents itself. It's like it never sits still. I'm constantly being rerouted around construction sites around the entire country and I don't even recognize the area between the mainland and Sentosa anymore. It's changed dramatically in just the year and a half that I've lived here.

So when the gals at work sent me emails with pictures of the "old" Singapore. I was beyond intrigued. This place has changed so much more than I even thought. It doesn't even look like the same Asian city.

I've shared a few of these treasures with you below. Next to each one, I've attached the modern day equivalent. Some of the differences are so astounding that you can't even recognize it as the same space.

The Singapore River

Sembawang Beach

Orchard Road

The NCO Club (as it was referred to in the 1960s)

Eu Tong Sen Street

The Esplanade

Clifford Pier (as it was referred to in the 1960s)

Capitol Theatre

*Some of the buildings I've shown you have been placed on the historical registry (or the Singaporean equivalent) and are kept in their natural state. That's why a few aren't that different.

In all though, it's amazing to me just how much Singapore has evolved in the mere 44 years that it's been an independent country. It went from jungle to metropolis in an astounding amount of time. Most countries take hundreds of years to build themselves into what Singapore has become in just decades.

Pretty sweet, huh?


Sandra said...

The pictures you posted brought back memories, especially the one of the beach. Yes, we had "real" beaches back then. I fondly remember when I was growing up weekends spent at the beaches here. Now most of them are "fake" i.e. reclaimed land and definitely not as nice. I miss that.

Mae Mastura said...

oh yeah we got LKY to thank for that. it still amaze me when i see pictures of singapore then and now. my dad used to joke that with the constant digging and building, one day singapore will just fell through to the other side of the globe! LOL. i think it's more like, if we stop digging and drilling and building, it's like we stop progressing. =)

Brad Farless said...

Singapore definitely rocks when it comes to rapid modernization. You're right about it looking not much the same...

Sandra, I was also going to say that Sembawang Beach looked nicer before, when it had beach sand, though I don't have fond memories of it.

The biggest shocker to me are the photos of Orchard Road. They look nothing alike, at all.

Give Singapore another 30 years and it will be beyond what most 1st world nations have I bet. Well, unless the economic problems don't even out soon anyway.

sbinny61 said...

Also Singapore wasn't so crowded back then. It's the crowds that annoy me now. You can't even walk into most restaurants here on weekends because of the long queues. My daughter who is in Australia loves the life and "space" there and does not want to come back. Good and bad everywhere I guess but for her more plus points overseas.

RONW said...

definitely some mixed blessings.