Fragments: Tiong Bahru Road

It was a spontaneous decision, a spark from nowhere, that led me to Tiong Bahru Road.

Tiong Bahru Road is known to Singaporeans for its wet market, Lor Mee (yellow noodles in thick gravy), and cafes in quaint shop-houses. I haven’t been to this place in years, and it feels the same, yet different.

The same rustic magic still lingers in the air, but it feels that modernity has left its fingerprints all over too. My fuzzy memories may be playing tricks on me, I thought. I decide to take a long lunch here, and capture some more peculiar moments around this place. Drawing in the magic gave me inspiration.

The air here is quieter. You still hear the humming from the cars now and then, perhaps the honking and beeping too from the traffic congested on the one lane road. The buzzing of the traffic light is missing from an unregulated cross junction. The incessant chimes from an elevator is missing.

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In a city that likes to whitewash and standardise, it is rare to spot street art around. The street art is pleasant to see. It was so fresh, so out-of-the-blue, and so vibrant. I felt its shyness – hidden at a quiet alley, as if too ashamed of reveal itself to the glaring faces of well-plastered white walls along the main streets.

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I do come off as a little anti-progressive/anti-development/anti-technology (however you want to label). Truth is, I really relish the serenity, and the simplicity of the past. Still, there is another part of me that embraces technological advancements and change; it is inevitable after all. (I am born in 1995, which I view is an awkward transition period from the simplicity of the past to the technological explosion of the future).

The war between nostalgic past and relentless modernity continues. I wonder how much will this place change in another few years’ time. In retrospect, this war is fought as much on the physical landscape as it is in the hearts of the many Singaporeans, growing through these changes.


Images: taken on 27 Sep 2017 at Tiong Bahru Road.

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