The big white envelope came, tattered at the edges. The distinct blue logo announced the identity of its sender and the receipent was a certain "Mr Char Lee". I had been expecting it. Finally it arrived.
After the memorable "When Nations Remember" Conference in October, I was contacted by NLB for a piece of my work to accompany their writeup in biblioasia on the event. I thought it was an honour; first to be invited as a co-speaker with Chun See and then to publish one of my second shots.
Naturally I selected something I presented during the conference - the (old) National Library. I just blogged about it but I did not tell readers it remains one of my toughest shots to date but also one of the most emotional satisfying. After multiple site visits and countless tweaking at home, the shot is still off by a margin. Today the gate pillars and parapet on the site are living heritage of our National Library and we are grateful to Lek Li Chu for documenting it before the library was demolished.
The editor did not concur with my selection as the red-bricked building, the landmark of the Old National Library, is not visible. It would probably confuse the many overseas libraries and organizations receiving biblioasia and even some local readers. What is visible (in the background) is in fact the National Museum.
The overseas libraries and organizations who are receiving biblioasia. This is indeed a much respected publication.
So I submitted another piece of a different nature; no building this time but a road: the end of Choa Chu Kang where purportedly the last tiger of Singapore was killed in 1930. They selected this but unfortunately copyright for the first shot was not obtained in time for publication. The Choa Chu Kang branch library actually has the same first shot picture on a glass partition and before the library was renovated, a larger version stood behind the information counter. I guess this tiger and its hunters have become a part of Choa Chu Kang's heritage.
In the end, we settled for a scene of Smith Street, less exciting (to me) but perhaps more aesthetically pleasing. The "then and now" presentation of Smith Street, like PM Lee's National Day Rally message few years ago, tells the story of Singapore's progress to the audience.
My second shot of Smith Street published with the conference writeup.
It was a kind gesture from NLB to put me on their mailing list for biblioasia. A quarterly publication, there are many fine articles in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil written by professional librarians and library researchers. Though the website says it is "a news journal to promote collection services and programmes of the new National Library", half of the journal are articles related to the humanities and social sciences. I got my previous issue free from the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.
I found a small note tucked between the pages. With compliments from NLB.