Preamble: From infrastructures to our everyday playground; from lost traditions to forgotten playgrounds. Singapore has changed a lot over the years since it gained independence in 1965. In this photostory, I will take you through some of the nostalgic places we have locally since Singapore gained its independence in 1965 to the late 1990s.

Singapore Under The British Rule (1800s-1950s)

Fort Siloso played an integral part in Singapore's defence during World War II. The forts were built to defend Singapore against an invasion by sea from the south. However, during the Battle of Singapore in February 1942, the guns were turned 180 degrees inland to fire at Japanese forces approaching Singapore from the north. The fort's guns were fired at Japanese positions and troops who were advancing toward the city area from Tengah Airfield. The British and local troops who were retreating from the overrun Pasir Laba Battery and heading back to British lines via the sea were mistaken for Japanese troops and fired upon. This building is now known as the Surrender Chambers and has a vivid portrayal of the scenes of the British and Japanese surrenders with actual footage of the war being played interactively. This is on the upper storey; the ground floor has been turned into a souvenir shop. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore, the fort was used as a prisoner-of-war camp.

One of Singapore's oldest fort owned by the British (in the past) at Fort Siloso, Sentosa. These were the guns that protected Singapore in the past.

Housing in the 1960s

Built in the 1920s, Tiong Bahru is the oldest housing estate of the city-state. It was the first project undertaken by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), a government body administered by the British colonial authority, to provide for mass public housing in Singapore. Tiong Bahru houses close to 900 apartments in 30 apartment blocks made up of 2 to 5 story high buildings that are close to 100 years old. The old estate brings back many wonderful memories from the past for most of the people residing in there.

A typical block in the Old Tiong Bahru Estate. In the background, there seems to be some restoration works done on the exterior parts of the building as part of Tiong Bahru's preservation.

Dakota Crescent, located along Old Airport Road and situated close by to Kallang, is the location of one of the oldest public housing estates in Singapore, being developed and built by the Singapore Improvement Trust way back in 1958. Till today it houses 19 blocks in the estate, serving residents that are of the older generation. It is also home to a nostalgic cafe, Tian Kee and Co. Cafe, that serves delicious pastries and drinks in a 1960s retro theme featuring marble tables and fluorescent light bulbs.

One of the 19 blocks in Dakota Crescent Estate.

Playgrounds In The 1970s

Have you ever been to any of the iconic playgrounds of yesteryear?

The memories of these playgrounds are precious to a whole generation of Singaporeans born between the seventies and eighties. Today, most of them were demolished, with only a few of them forgotten in the corners of the old estates. It is only a matter of time before they vanish and be replaced by the new plastic playgrounds with rubber mats.

The Dove Playground that can be found in the heart of Dakota Crescent.
The Clock Playground that is found in Jurong West. Barricades can be seen surrounding the playground, indicating that it is about to be demolished.
This is the iconic Dragon Playground at Toa Payoh. It is a favourite haunt for families to bring their young children here to have some fun.

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