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Mar 28, 2016

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour by My Community (Part 2)

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour

This is a continuation of Part 1.

The group left Yin Fo Fui Kun Cemetery for our next destination via Blk 32 Holland Close where we were told the MP from Tanjong Pagar GRC (i.e. Chan Chun Sing) have his "Meet the People Session"; none of us could figure out the geographical wisdom of placing Buona Vista (not Queenstown which is another division under the GRC) under Tanjong Pagar and to add to the confusion, Eu Chai pointed out Buona Vista used to be under Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC! We passed by the pyramidal roof Queenstown Lutheran Church where Eu Chai spent his kindergarten years and observed the facade remain largely unchanged through the years.

Our destination is Commonwealth Crescent Neighborhood Centre which comprised of shop units arranged around a quadrangle and itself surrounded by blocks arranged in a circular manner much like a walled village. The highlight here is Sin Palace Hair Dressing and Beauty Saloon managed by Mr Ong Choon Kwee, one of Singapore's last experts in the traditional art of ear cleaning. I love ear cleaning within the comfort of home and wondered how the experience is like outside. According to My Queenstown Heritage Trail booklet, after the haircut:
Next, he will use his assortment of tools, ranging from tweezers, brushes and picks, to fish out the ear wax. Then a small fluffy brush is swished around the inner ear before he wipes his customer's eye and nose. Thereafter, the tongue is scrapped gently with a special knife to remove any white coating.
Kudos to the tour organizers who asked for permission tactically, without revealing the actual number of participants, to allow the group to enter the saloon. There was a customer inside and what a shock he must have felt as we took turns to squeeze into the confined space behind the chairs for our shots. Outside the saloon, we met Mr Lim Thiam Choo from Queenstown Poh Piah, another pioneer business from the neighborhood. Interestingly they are in the niche business of selling pohpiah skin. The elderly Lim retired in 2011 and his eldest son has carried on his tradition.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Sin Palace Hair Dressing Saloon - 乐宫冷气理发院. I'm not sure why 乐宫 becomes Sin Palace, is "Sin" a dialect reading of 乐? Behold, you see our group's reflection in the glass.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
To call this old-school (and the customer surprised) will not be an understatement. I love the tap in front of the saloon chair. 

Singapore's first flatted factory at Commonwealth Drive, a short way away, was our next stop. Inaugurated on 30 May 1965, the success of this pilot project had the Economic Development Board (EDB) go on to build 38 more flatted factories across the country. The star here is not the modern-looking building but Madam Noorsia Binte Abdul Gani who has been living with her husband and four children in Commonwealth since they relocated from Toa Payoh 31 years ago. She was a former employee of Wing Heng, an electronics company, at the flatted factory. As the organizers and guide repeatedly emphasized, the location of the light industry factory in Queenstown meant a ready supply of labour and encouraged women to enter the workforce. For Madam Noorsia, her house was nearby and so was the children's school; it was convenient for her to fetch the kids and prepare meals for the family.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The first flatted factory managed by Mapletree Investments today looking surprisingly modern

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Madam Noorsia, in what used to be her children's school, recounting her experience living and working in the Commonwealth Neighborhood

At MOE Heritage Centre where Madam Noorsia recounted her experience, there was special arrangement to have a tour within a tour. Opened in September 2011, the Heritage Centre took over what was New Town Primary School which in turn absorbed what was Permaisura Primary School in one-half of the compound. And so Eu Chai handed us over to the MOE staff but not his mike, as he jokingly acknowledged the teachers had no need for any assisted device to project their voice. We were broken up into two groups and guided by docents who are retired principals. The galleries that showcase Singapore's education story from the early 19th century (note: photography not allowed inside) was a brief respite from the heat outdoors but the best had to be the free snacks and gift (notebook with PETS Coursebook cover) for us, normally reserved for teachers on guided tours. In fact we ended up grabbing last year's SG50 "Good Morning 'Cher" goodie bag from them as they dished out the surplus. We ended with a group shot at the lobby.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
MOE Heritage Centre is opened to public every Friday and from Monday to Friday during the school holidays

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The garden where I saw rice, kangkung, chye sim and sweet potato being planted

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
With Compliments from MOE Heritage Centre

On the way to visit the VIP block, we stopped for a photo op at Blk 85 / 86 Commonwealth Close. This would be a nondescript grassy slope between two blocks if not for the picture Choo Lip Sin, one of My Community's volunteers, was going to show us - a beaming Lee Kuan Yew captured at the same spot due to, presumably, the success of HDB's "Home Ownership for the People" scheme that was launched in the 1960s with Commonwealth as the first precinct.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
What is Lip Sin holding in his file? Here is the close up of the content.

The VIP block is so named because one can enjoy a panoramic view of Queenstown and hence the perfect place to bring in foreign dignitaries in the 1960s and 1970s to showcase Singapore's success in public housing. One lady resident recalled the impromptu visit by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1965. As we listened to her account of the visit (she was a kid at that time), we can't help but contrast with the visit by the Duke's grandson and granddaughter-in-law in 2012 also in Queenstown (they visited the Strathmore area) where activities were "staged" to the amusement of netizens. Block 81 the VIP block and the neighboring Block 82 and 83 gave the neighborhood the colloquial name Chap Lak Lao (Hokkien: 16th storey). As we made our way up to the 16th floor corridor, we had a demonstration of the range of the wireless receiver. We could still hear Eu Chai who chose to remain at the playground below the block.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The lady resident recounted the visit by Prince Philip

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The panoramic view from the top of Blk 81

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
From the lift landing looking across Queensway, a forested patch beckons us

The VIP block has such commanding presence due to the number of floors and the building situated on high ground. To get to Ridout Tea Garden, our next stop, we had to descend down a flight of steps to Queensway. We were told by Eu Chai the road had been raised from the last few steps actually going up; and also widened, from the bizarre zig-zag boundary fence of the former Baharuddin Vocational Institute compound due to road reclamation of the school compound.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
An oddity - steps leading up to the pavement due to the raised level of the road

So we trooped to Ridout Tea Garden. No, we weren't there for the McDonald's though we did pass through it to get to our next destination and being told in no uncertain terms by Eu Chai this was our last stop to answer nature's call before the end of the tour. Must I add the feeling of air-con was refreshing from the late morning sun outside and the soft drinks (need to pay, of course) a life saver for some people? Formerly Queenstown Japanese Garden, the first Japanese-themed community garden in Singapore, it was opened in 1970 as recreational facility for residents in Queenstown. Unfortunately it was burnt down on 26 June 1978 from a huge blaze originating from a furniture shop in the garden. In fact, one can see a L-shaped scorched red-bricked wall outside McDonald's, the remnant from the 1978 fire, so we were told. From the ashes of the former garden, Ridout Tea Garden comprising a pavilion, tea kiosk and Japanese-styled garden was built in 1980.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The burnt red-bricked wall that reminds us of the 1978 fire
Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Ridout Tea Garden behind McDonald's, the Japanese-styled garden is obliterated?

After Ridout Tea Garden and making our way through FarEastFlora to Ridout Road, we found ourselves outside Queenstown boundary in a forested area with good class bungalows (GCB) hidden behind fences and trees. Like Eu Chai who had no idea such a world existed during his childhood years staying at Margaret Drive, many Queenstown residents are probably ignorant what lies underneath the forested patch visible from Blk 81 the VIP block. Those who can afford the bungalows do value the privacy and exclusivity. I do not recall seeing any residents in the sprawling estate other than a yellow Porsche that left us in the dust.

One such bungalow is 35 Ridout Road, the first GCB on your right as you exit FarEastFlora. We were told this desolate bungalow was sold at a staggering ballpark of S$95 million! According to the news, the sprawling 73,277 sq ft freehold site was a "trustee sale due to a court order arising from the resolution of a dispute in the family of the late property tycoon, Chow Cho Poon". The site is so big that it can be subdivided into four smaller GCB plots.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The original two-storey bungalow at 35 Ridout Road

The Ridout and Pierce Road area is also home to two members of the diplomatic corps. 23 Ridout Road, a conserved GCB designed by architect Frank W Brewer with exposed bricks and textured plasterwork, is residence for the Ambassador from the Royal Dutch Embassy. The Residence for High Commissioner of India is at 2 Pierce Road. India House, as it is popularly known, is a tropical black and white bungalow thought to be commissioned by wealthy businessman Ong Sam Leong in 1911.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Residence of the Dutch Ambassador with a distinctive style inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
An eclectic house at 2 Pierce Drive

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Another black and white bungalow

The number of surviving colonial bungalows in the area point to its history as one of the earliest of the postwar military estates built in the 1920s to accommodate the growing number of military personnel on the island; in this case Ridout Road to the north of Tanglin Barracks (also Ridley Park to the south) house married officers and their families. Even the road names reflect our colonial heritage: Sir Dudley Ridout was General Officer Commanding of Troops in the Straits Settlement from 1915 to 1921 and Sir Frank Swettenham was Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1901 and 1904.

As we trudged on to reach our end point at Holland Road, trees line the single carriageway, shielding us from the brutal heat of the midday sun and also remind us what was there before the arrival of the colonial bungalows in the 1920s. The guides shared on the rubber trees in our midst, the vestiges of Ulu Pandan Rubber Estate that the area was once a part of. Our end took us right to the beginning of Queenstown's social history as a rubber plantation. After all, the first residents in Holland and Commonwealth were gambier and rubber planters working on land holding owned by the Chinese businessman Tan Kim Seng.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Along the lonely road with vestiges of the rubber estate

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
At the end point

Our Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour ended at 1230 sharp at the junction of Peirce Road and Holland Road. To the organizers, guides and participants who had made it this far with me, thank you!

***

If you are interested to join the free Commonwealth and Holland Village heritage tour by My Community, do check out the schedule on their Eventbrite. As I see it, the first public tour starts from Sunday, 15 May 2016 and it has been sold out.

Mar 25, 2016

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour by My Community (Part 1)

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour

Having accepted the invite to the media preview of the new heritage tour by My Community, I made my way to Holland Village MRT Station on a Sunday morning to catch the group of "media folks" assembling at 8.15am for the tour. As a first-time participant of their heritage tour, I was given a copy of their "My Queenstown Heritage Trail" booklet which I'm told would be revised soon. By the way you can download the booklet and other publications on My Community's page. All participants were handed bottled water. While the tour took place mostly within sight of civilization housing estates, I'm glad for this bottle even though I brought my own, for it served me well in the arduous journey ahead. Like they say, save the best for the last.

What's unusual is that we were also handed this red compact multi-channel wireless receiver, complete with lanyard and earpiece. No prize for guessing its purpose. With the device, the guide who has the wireless sender can be some distance away from the participants doing an auditory introduction of the landmark without shouting his voice hoarse. Call me suaku (mountain tortoise) but I have never used one in my tours local or overseas. Credit to My Community for innovative use of technology. The device is useful for it allows the participants to wander away from the tour group (not too far of course) and still enjoy running commentary from the guide.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The audio receiver that accompanied me for the trip. Sad to see it go back to its rightful owner when I took this picture at the end of the trip. The earpiece is disposable but I will keep it as a souvenir. 

We were told guides for My Community tours are not fixed. Our tour guide this time is Huang Eu Chai who is a volunteer guide and trainer in Friends of My Community. From his personal website I learnt that he is actually a travel consultant specializing in Italy. Eu Chai spent his childhood and adult years in Queenstown. With such relevant personal and industry experience, he is the best man for the job. Indeed, his excellent tour leading skills coupled with the smooth delivery of his commentary shine through on that Sunday morning.

First stop was Chip Bee Gardens but the storytelling started at Holland Village Station. Eu Chai shared with us one interesting nugget on the station design; the proposal to have the exit situated right after the fare gate that would lead one ascending from concourse to ground level to the open space in front of the shop houses, i.e. what is Holland Village Park today. This was not realized; we have exit B and C today on the Holland Village side connected by a "Shop and Dine" corridor to the station.

Design of Holland Village Station exits (image credit: SMRT). Read this complaint how commuters are forced to walk 300m to catch a train.
The post-war history of Holland Village can be read in the context of expanding suburban civilian and military population in Queenstown, Pasir Panjang and Alexandra. It was at Chip Bee Gardens that a military estate comprising six blocks of apartment flats, semi-detached houses and two rows of shop houses was established in the mid-1950s to house British army personnel and families. The apartment flats, between Jalan Rumia and Jalan Merah Saga, are history; in its place is the Merasaga Condominium built in the 1990s. The two rows of shop houses are still at Jalan Merah Saga. While at the back-lane of the Jalan Merah Saga shop houses, Eu Chai shared one geographical tidbit. According to him, the lane did not acquire the name "Warna Road" until quite recently and this apparently was an inconvenience for a residence with opening to the lane. A quick check of old street directories seems to support this. Willyn Ville address is 1 Holland Ave but the entrance is along Warna Road.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The shop houses along Jalan Merah Saga. The ground floor served as a mess hall for the British soldiers before they were converted for retail in 1978, according to info from My Community. Does anyone know which unit exactly?
Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
The back-lane of Jalan Merah Saga shop house that is now Warna Road
Warna Road
Old street directories (left: 1998, right: 2000). The 2000 edition is the first time Warna Road is marked. Considering Willyn Ville was built in 1982, Warna Road did not have a name for many years? The 1998 edition also has a small mistake in the position of the premature right-angled exit of Warna Road.

Having finished Chip Bee Estate, the group made our way to Holland Road Shopping Centre opposite. The new building on my right seems a little out of place. Then I realized the old Taman Warna Post Office which I used to see from Holland Village side had been demolished. By the way, Holland Village with its trademark windmill building (more on this later) was not named after a Dutch settlement. By most accounts, it was an architect and amateur actor Hugh Holland that Holland Road was named after in 1907 and from which the village derived its name.

We stopped at Thambi Magazine Store and Money Changer where arrangement had been made to interview the young boss Sam (Mr P. Senthilmurugan). The elder Mr Thambi (Periathambi G) whom many associated with this iconic magazine stall had passed away in 2013. We learnt from Sam that the business started from his grandfather who delivered newspapers to the military camps and his father expanded into magazines due to a demand from the British servicemen and their families in the area. The store carries about 4000 magazines in the course of the year. Many are in English dealing with specialised / hobbyist topics commanding price tags typical of imported goods; there is certainly an upmarket feel browsing them along the five-foot way. One Caucasian tour participant remarked, "I like them, very simple". He was referring not to the magazines but the mass market children toys on display outside the entrance, reminding us their clientele does span a wide segment of the population.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Eu Chai interviewing Sam on the history behind Thambi Magazine

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
One is spoilt for choice at Thambi Magazine
Further down from Thambi Magazine, we stopped at the site of former Eng Wah Open Air Cinema at 3 Lorong Liput. Popular among local residents, the open-air cinema was established in the mid-1950s and specialised in Chinese wayang. I learnt the rows of benches for the theater were each rented for 50 cents per show. Affordable entertainment, assuming the bench was long enough to be shared! There is a link here with Thambi Magazine; as shown in My Community's file photo, it was at one corner of the site that the business had their makeshift stall (according to Sam, the business moved around Holland Village before settling at the current spot). The site was boarded up during our visit. No, it is not the open air cinema that was boarded up but Holland Road Shopping Mall (to distinguish from Holland Road Shopping Centre along the main road). The mall had been demolished. Yes, you read it right, Holland Village's iconic windmill building is no more in the name of makeover.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Tucked between the two units at Lorong Liput is a staircase access advertising ice agent and school bus service business. Eu Chai also shared one particular unit along this road that is often changing owner due to ... bad fengshui?

Next stop was Jia Ying Wu Shu Memorial Hall / Ying Fo Fui Kun Cemetery accessible via Holland Ave - Holland Close. This is a significant landmark in the trail as the Ancestral Hall actually predated Queenstown as part of the original 88-acre cemetery established in 1887 for Yin Fo Fui Kun clansmen from Jia Ying prefecture in Guangdong for burial and ancestral worship. The original cemetery (Shuang Long Shan or Double Dragon Hill) was compulsory acquired by HDB in the 1960s as a "logical extension of the Queenstown development". This extension are the estates of Buona Vista and Commonwealth; the hillock we see today walking down Holland Ave is a stark reminder of the cemetery's location. Today only 4.5 acres remain of the original 88; the neat rows of headstones, all looking surprisingly uniform, are from the original cemetery. The group learnt there are no physical remains under the headstones (note: from MyQueenstown Heritage Trail booklet, the ashes in urns were placed at either under the headstones, at the columbarium in the old Ancestral Hall or at the newer Ying Fo Fui Kun Memorial Hall; it remains to be seen how any urns are still under the headstones). As it was approaching Cheng Beng (Chinese's All Souls' Day), we saw folks making offerings and a canopy set up in front of the Ancestral Hall to prepare for the occasion. The Hall houses ancestral tablets since early 20th century and in 1926 a school was established in the hall (Ying Xin School) to provide education for the children.

Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
Remnants of the original Shuang Long Shan at Ying Fo Fui Kun Cemetery. Ironically the hillock that once embraced these tombstones now house the HDB blocks while the tombstones are on flat ground.
From Google Map. The Ancestral Hall with the half-moon lake in front; as pointed out by the guide, the building is not aligned with the tombstones due to traditional practice of chinese buildings facing south.
Media Preview - Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour
We were directed to the slope at the back of the Ancestral Hall by one of their folks to look at this stone. This is no ordinary stone; it is one of the five element stones used in the construction of the Hakka Ancestral Hall.

Ying Fo Fui Kun Cemetery marks the beginning of the Commonwealth Trail for our tour. We have left Holland Village, which many residents see as part of Buona Vista neighborhood, to venture into another neighborhood in Queenstown.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Mar 22, 2016

Commonwealth & Holland Village Heritage Tour by My Community


To continue from my previous post, I'm pleased to make the acquaintance of Kwek Li Yong from My Community when he invited me to the media preview of the Commonwealth and Holland Village guided tour that will be launched in April 2016. The tour covers the following heritage sites:

  1. Chip Bee Gardens
  2. Holland Village
  3. Former Eng Wah Theatres
  4. Former Kampong Holland Mosque
  5. Holland Drive Neighbourhood Centre
  6. Shuang Long Shan Wu Shu Memorial Hall
  7. Queenstown Lutheran Church
  8. Commonwealth Crescent Neighbourhood Centre
  9. The First Flatted Factory
  10. MOE Heritage Centre
  11. Block 85 & 86 Commonwealth Close
  12. The VIP Block
  13. Former Baharuddin Vocational Institute
  14. Ridout Tea Garden
  15. 23 Ridout Road, 2 Pierce Drive, India House
During the media preview, Li Yong gave me their "My Queenstown Heritage Trail" booklet published in Feb 2015 and I was told, intriguingly, that it will be reprinted soon. I also came to know two other tours conducted by My Community - Alexandra & Dawson and Tanglin Halt & Margaret Drive. How does their new tour fit into the big picture? I look at their map of "My Queenstown Heritage Trail" and things start to clear up. Here is the map that will presumably be updated with the booklet.

Source: My Community

There are five smaller trails on the map under the umbrella Queenstown Heritage Trail and these roughly coincide with the different neighbourhoods in Queenstown. Historically, a total of 5 neighbourhoods were planned for Queenstown by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Later HDB took over SIT and added Buona Vista and Mei Ling. The name of the trail for the neighborhood in bracket.

  1. Princess Estate (Princess Trail)
  2. Duchess Estate (Duchess Trail)
  3. Tanglin Halt (Wessex & Tanglin Halt Trail)
  4. Commonwealth (Commonwealth Trail)
  5. Queens' Close & Crescent (Mei Ling and Alexandra Trail)
  6. Buona Vista
  7. Mei Ling (Mei Ling and Alexandra Trail)
That leave Buona Vista / Holland Village end of Queenstown uncovered and my guess is they are updating the map to include the new location cluster. The guided tours combine the smaller trails and the new tour of Commonwealth & Holland Village will be no different in combining a new smaller trail around Holland Village and the existing Commonwealth Trail.

In my next post, I will blog about the new guided tour in greater detail.

Mar 21, 2016

Friends of My Community


I have been invited by Kwek Li Yong to the media preview of Commonwealth & Holland Village heritage tour on 20 March 2016. Before I pen down my experience, let me briefly introduce Li Yong and his heritage group My Community; and also put a blurb on their volunteer programme.

From their website,

My Community is a registered charity which documents social memory, celebrates civic life and champions community heritage. Every community in Singapore has stories to tell and we organise cultural and heritage activities to transform social spaces and ageing neighbourhoods.

The civic group is founded by Li Yong and Jasper Tan who are the group's President and Vice-President respectively, and have received accolades for its work in documenting, researching, education and advocacy of Queenstown's heritage. Fantastic work I'd say. You can read this to get an idea of what they are doing. By the way, Queenstown is the winner of NHB's Heritage Town Award 2014 which saw the collaboration of My Community, residents and the Queenstown Citizens' Consultative Committee (CCC). The inaugural award from NHB went to Joo Chiat in 2011.

Beside doing a lot of "groundwork", Li Yong and Jasper also did a lot of "blogwork". Prolific bloggers since 2009, they have been writing on Queenstown in the MyQueenstown portal. Like many other bloggers, to reach out to more people they have taken to Facebook and fully migrated in 2011. Their Facebook group is here. MyQueenstown portal is still online though the last post was in 2011.

If you are interested in community heritage, guiding tours, curating exhibitions or researching community history, you can join them as Friends of My Community as a volunteer. My Community is holding a recruitment exercise for new volunteers in 2016. At their Open House on 26 March 2016, volunteers will share experiences on guiding, curating, researching and events organizing. The actual boot camp workshop for volunteers to train them on basic oral history interviews, guiding and research techniques will be on 24 & 30 April 2016. See the poster below.

I'm glad to know the two young gentlemen passionate on community heritage have started this heritage group to tell more people on Queenstown, the first satellite town in Singapore among other firsts. While the focus is more on Queenstown at the moment, I'm given to understand from their mission statement that there may be similar activities conducted for other old housing estates.


Mar 18, 2016

First post in 2016



Hello, I'm back!

After a long hiatus of 2 years 2 months, decided to revive Second Shot and resume blogging and second shot photography.

I took a break in 2014 as I could sense a growing awareness in local heritage due to the sheer number of individual and government agency websites that have since mushroomed after I started blogging in ... June 2008. 8 years is a long time indeed! Back then, there were only a few of us heritage enthusiasts in the blogging scene; we belonged to an interest group FOYers (Friends of Yesterday.sg) affiliated with the National Heritage Board. Yesterday.sg is still around but the last update as I'm writing this is in March 2015. SG50 was of course the special year. In the months leading to Aug 9 2015 there was a flurry of activities as the nation celebrated the golden jubilee. There was a lot of talk on heritage matters; government agencies used the opportunity to showcase the glowing achievement since independence and individuals old enough reminisced on their childhood spent when Singapore was less developed but more carefree.

Around the same time, I saw more and more people taking to Facebook as a medium that was growing in popularity. Heritage enthusiasts who did not keep a blog, heritage bloggers, government agencies and readers are investing more time and eyeball in this social media. There was tremendous sharing of photos and short snippet of information; it seems like everybody was contributing in one way or another, by putting up posts, comments or simply clicking the 'Like' button. As the popularity of Facebook increased, I noticed blogs were getting less updates even from the prolific bloggers.

The explosion of information online, proliferation of social media and golden jubilee gave me the perfect excuse opportunity to take a break from heritage blogging and second shot activities. Family and work commitments did not make my life easier too. Gradually I stopped as I could not keep up pace that would give me satisfaction of writing a good blog and taking good second shot photos.