Today in Singapore I had a full day. First I went on a walk around Queenstown. It’s the first satellite town (self contained residential area in the suburbs) that was planned due to overcrowding in the city center. It was supposedly named after Queen Elizabeth since it was planned around the time she became queen. She her self has never been there in any of her visits. It did form a successful template around which other townships were built.
We passed by several old estates which are likely to be demolished including the first HDB blocks 45, 48 and 49 on Stirling road as well as the HDB terraced houses. Tanglin halt (after the Malaysian railway stain that was there) will be gone in a couple of years as will the 3 storey SIT flats (a predecessor to the HDB).
There was a time Singapore was not the safe place we know it to be now. Just behind Jesus saves sign one of the region’s most notorious bank robber and gunman Lim Ban Lim was killed in 1972. A year later using a gun became a capital offence.
One of the few buildings that will persist beyond the changes is the library. They even had a little vegetable garden in the back.
After lunch I found myself at the Yueh Hai Ching temple. It is a Teochew temple started around the early 1820s. It houses shrines for two deities one of which is the goddess of the sea Mazu as it was initially set up for seafarers to give thanks for a safe journey. The temple was renovated in the late 90s and became a national monument however water damage and termites saw the place deteriorate. It was again restored using photographs and consultation with experts to what it may have looked like in the 1800s. One of the most impressive things is the intricate decorations of figurines, animals and dwellings on the roof made of porcelain.