Sep 10, 2012

"Postcards From the Past" Memory Project

No, I'm not showcasing postcards from the past. Today I received an email from Isabel Ong of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) informing us the collective memory project they are currently running. Wait a minute, why is the environment and water ministry also running a memory project when they should be tackling once-in-50-years floods?

As I read more about the project (see the paragraphs end of this post), I thought it a rather ingenious idea. Memory projects invariably touch on things that are not longer around, whether they are buildings that are demolished, friends or kins who have passed on or objects like books and toys we have lost or discarded over the years. Some evoke strong emotions, even disappointment, from the way the demise is caused by and handled by the authorities. Greed, short sightedness ... sound familiar? But here is a memory project that touches on the environment - air quality, sanitation, clean water ... in other words aspects of Singapore that only got better over the years! Put it another way, old folks bemoan the loss of their kampong, the open areas, their nature playgrounds, but not one of them wishes the return of night soil workers and jamban toilet!

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Do you recall a time, decades ago, when Singapore's streets were polluted, air quality was bad, and there was no proper sanitation? Do you remember family outings at reservoirs or meeting friends for makan at the street hawkers outside your house? Or do you have vivid stories of when you were working in the early days of the Ministry of the Environment?

If you have fond memories of life in olden-day Singapore, or know someone (your friends, parents, grandparents etc) who lived through these times, do share your stories with our Facebook readers.

We are looking for personal snapshots and interesting anecdotes that can shed more light about our environmental past and achievements. You also welcome to send in more recent memories about how the environment has made an impact on your personal lives.

Please send in your stories and photos via the private message function on the MEWR Facebook page or email to Selected contributions will be published on the MEWR Facebook in the form of a postcard. All entries should reach us by 30 September 2012.

We look forward to receiving your "postcards"!