Jun 21, 2008

2nd Shot: Buona Vista Road

Buona Vista was so named because of the good view it offers — buona vista means "good sight" in Italian. Indeed Buona Vista offered good view of the Pasir Panjang Ridge and the sea beyond during the early days, as shown in the source of my second shots.

South Buona Vista Road

Source 1
Source: National Archives of Singapore PICAS
Caption: Pineapple Plantation at Buona Vista Road
Record Date: 1900
2nd Shot
Date: May 2008

South Buona Vista Road

Source 2
Source: National Archives of Singapore PICAS
Caption: View of Buona Vista Road, Singapore
Record Date: 1910
2nd Shot
Date: May 2008

The photos, taken at different times, were shot at neighboring locations. In source 1, there is a tree where the road bends around the hill. In source 2, there is a big tree in the foreground. They are uncannily similar. If a photographer stood at the bend in source 1, he should produce a shot like source 2.

So where are these two places today?

The photos should be taken at the Gap area of Buona Vista Road because of the proximity to the sea. After looking through map photos of the Gap, here is the most likely candidate along South Buona Vista Road. Indeed the valley below the pineapple plantation looks like where part of the future Prince George Park Residence will be built.

With clue and camera-phone in hand, I took the 2nd shots under the punishing heat of the midday sun.

Unfortunately, for source 1, the high ground where the picture was taken is gone. There is no way to reproduce the 2nd shot accurately. I have to be contented finding the next best "high ground":

South Buona Vista Road

High indeed. Luckily I did not fall down for my effort, after risking my limbs and all. The motorists would think I'm crazy though, standing on the, er what's that called, box.

This explains why the angle at which the road appears from the corner of the first 2nd shot is off. If I were to stand at the position in the above photo, the 2nd shot will be more accurate.

Next, I tried searching for our friend the tree. It has been 100 years since the photos were taken. We can see striking changes, like over the years, part of the cliff in source 2 have been chipped away, so the bend is more gentle now.

Sadly, I couldn't find the tree. None of the trees resemble it. I think it is gone. But imagine if the tree survives, how would it look like?

By the way, anybody knows what tree is that?


Adelin said...

maybe it wud still look the same, more bushier perhaps. LOL.

rk said...

This is such a great insight into the place i'm writing this from now- the erstwhile pineapple plantation(on a high storey, with a clear view of the road along the ridge out my window).

Being an obsessed enthusiast of such things, your article gives me jitters imagining how the sight out my window used to be a hundred years ago.

Sadly, most of the development has already been in place in my time, but i guess i will have similar stories too in about 20-30 years time! Will definitely check out the old N.Buona Vista Rd.(gosh, i didnt know of the old ayer rajah road before the AYE!)

Keep the great work going, and i hope to join in soon someday!