Sunday, October 04, 2015

I bid farewell. Goodbye 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive.

Seven blocks, Block 74 to 80 at Commonwealth Drive have been vacated for the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). The replacement flats for the residents are located across the road, at Blk 50 to Blk 54 Commonwealth Drive.

A long queue to collect the goodie bags and to register.

Yesterday, on 3 Oct 2015, from 1100 to 1900 hrs, there was a commemorative event "Goodbye 74 - 80 Commonwealth Drive" to bid farewell to this estate before the blocks of flats are demolished.

Photography exhibition at Commonwealth Drive.

During the event, I had the privilege to gain access to the ground, second and third level of Block 74. At the second level of Block 74 Commonwealth Drive, visitors were treated to a photography exhibition by Nicky Loh Photography and Erwin Tan. I was intrigued by the privileged access to the flats more than the photography exhibition. I suppose the artists would forgive me for this.

Photography exhibition at Commonwealth Drive.

I did not get the coupons to the event so I decided to give free ice-cream a miss. I felt a sense of sadness in the air. Could the people queuing for the ice-cream and the tidbits be at the event because they would like to relive their experiences of the estate that will be demolished? Maybe the ice-cream and the tidbits could be excuses for their presence? It would be easier to tell friends that one was there for the ice-cream than to tell that one had braved the haze and heat, to bid farewell to Block 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive. Yet, everyone who was present at the event had a good reason and a story to tell.

The queues for ice-cream and tidbits.

My story was that I had wanted to be a part of this shared and collective memory of a community of people who bid farewell to Block 74 to 80 Commonwealth. I was curious to find out how the estate had looked like before it was physically demolished.

My eyes were fascinated by the design elements that I could see every step that I stepped on at this to-be-demolished Block 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive estate. The design of the stairway, the design of the doors, the symmetry found on the metal gates, an occasional unlikely find of a withered plant and the lines formed by the pillars of the void deck. Nearby the estate was the Green Corridor. There was a time when the KTM trains travelled near the estate and literally became everyone's daily alarm clock? Were you one of the residents who miss the sound of the trains, or even the sound of the crickets at certain moments of the day?

Peering into one of the units.

Did you notice the lines and the symmetry?

A withered plant along one of the corridors.

The Green Corridor.

Visitors to the event were also treated to free movie screenings of "Singapore Dreaming", "Taxi Taxi" and "7 Letters". For the people who prefer music more than movies, they had the option to listen to the performances by White Ribbon Live Music, ShiGGa Shay, Tay Kexin and the Switch.

We have the organizers (My Community, Queenstown Citizens' Consultative Committee) to thank for organizing the event. The community obviously welcomed the opportunity to come together to grieve and yet commemorate an estate that will be demolished.

May the visitors who had came to this event with a heart as heavy as gold felt better after bidding farewell to the estate with their presence. Together we grieved and mourned the loss of a place that was part of our collective memory. May we forge more meaningful ones by integrating our memories from the past with our present and our future.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Goodbye 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive Carnival

Image courtesy of My Community and Queenstown Heritage Committee

In the year 2008, it was announced that seven blocks at Commonwealth Drive has been identified by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) for the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers). These blocks are 10-storey blocks. By early 2014, all the residents had moved out. The replacement flats for the residents are located across the road, at Blk 50 to Blk 54 Commonwealth Drive.

On 3 Oct 2015, from 1100 to 1900 hrs, there will be a commemorative event "Goodbye 74 - 80 Commonwealth Drive" to bid farewell to one of Singapore's most iconic housing estates. The farewell event includes final access to the blocks before they are demolished.

Programmes on 3 Oct 2015 include:
1) Screening of "7 letters"
2) A photography exhibition, Forget Me Not, by Nicky Loh and Erwin Tan
3) Performances by Tay Kexin and Shigga Shay
4) Free flow of drinks and ice-cream

Endearing places, 7 blocks of public housing at Commonwealth Drive, will be demolished.
In our hearts, they will be remembered.
They are replaced.
Yet they are irreplaceable parts of our shared and collective memories.
It shall be with ambivalent feelings of loss and commemoration that I shall attend this event.
Goodbye 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive...

Photo courtesy of My Queenstown.

Image courtesy of My Community and Queenstown Heritage Committee
Goodbye 74 to 80 Commonwealth Drive Carnival
3 Oct 2015, Sat
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Blk 74 Commonwealth Drive Carpark
Nearest MRT station: Commonwealth MRT station
Organized by My Community, Queenstown Citizens' Consultative Committee

Please also visit:
Tanglin Halt Estate, posted on Singapore Lost and Filed


An exhibition on anything coffee and inspired by coffee
17 Sep 2015 to 28 Oct 2015
The Art Gallery @ GCV 
Glocal Connect Village
Temasek Polytechnic

21 Tampines Ave 1, Singapore 529757
Free admission to the exhibition.
For the details on visiting hours, please contact Temasek Polytechnic.

Bus services: 9, 15, 23, 69 and 519
Nearest MRT stations: Tampines/ Bedok.

This post is for readers and friends who are interested in learning about coffee. Temasek Polytechnic's Centre for TransCultural Studies, in collaboration with their exhibition partners, Coffee Artist Maria Filatova, Dutch Colony Coffee and Santino Coffee Specialists, will be presenting an exhibition titled 'Coffee Culture Conversations' at the Art Gallery @ Glocal Connect Village, from 17 Sep 2015 to 28 Oct 2015.

Glocal Connect Village (Blk 41 - 43, 45), Temasek Polytechnic.

"In this exhibition, The Art Gallery @ GCV celebrates coffee as a centuries-old culture, with diverse social practices, characteristics and values evolving into the exciting global phenomenon this day. It brings to the learning space in GCV the science and art of a commodity that is second only to oil in its importance to world trade. This curated exhibition at the gallery will bring a deeper understanding of coffee, from its history and origins to intriguing stories from religion to politics to revolutions, from the science of growing, harvesting and processing to the art of roasting, grinding and flavour pairing. "

A section on brewing.
Some of the equipment used to brew coffee.

Thanks to one of my friends, I got to learn about this exhibition and the coffee workshops that were organized in conjunction with this exhibition. I had signed up for and attended one of the workshops. The Latte Art workshop that I had signed up for is catered to members of the general public, including people with no prior barista knowledge and skills. The workshop is worth a good consideration. Special thanks to the trainers for an enriching class and for their patience.

Latte Art Workshop

The exhibition came across to me as visually pleasing and offered an introduction to coffee from the science of growing, harvesting and processing to the art of roasting and more.

A section on Traditional Coffee Culture, the 'Nanyang' style.

While I prefer to read about coffee than to learn about coffee through an exhibition because I prefer learning at my own pace over a longer period of time, I think anyone curious to learn more about coffee could consider checking this exhibition out especially if one is nearby the Temasek Polytechnic.

Coffee Art. Beautiful works.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Second weekend of Singapore Night Festival 2015 - Glimpses of humanity

Photo source: Bras Basah.Bugis FB page.

After a fantastic first weekend of the Singapore Night Festival 2015, will you be game for more during the second weekend of the Singapore Night Festival 2015?

The second weekend, while enjoying the glitz and glamour of the nights, I shall look out for programmes that will remind us of our shared humanity. We are so different yet we are so similar and interconnected. So here are my special picks for the second weekend:

Before the show.

Lost Vegas
By Frankie Malachi (Singapore)
28 Aug and 29 Aug 2015
7 p.m.
Free admission with registration

The puppets maneuvered by the award-winning puppeteers, Frankie Malachi, may not be real human beings, yet under the skilled hands of puppeteer, they communicate glimpses of humanity. We love, and we fear. We experience sadness, joy, anger and more. Frankie is a pioneer in the use of giant puppets, marionette puppetry and black-light puppetry in Singapore.

News: As of 26 Aug 20115, 5.30 p.m., all tickets to Lost Vegas shows have been taken up.

Garden of Angels.

Photo source: Bras Basah.Bugis FB page.

Garden of Angels - Performance
By Theater TOL (Belgium)

Parade starting from Armenian Street
28 and 29 Aug 2015 
8.00 p.m. (30 minutes)

National Museum of Singapore, Front Lawn
28 Aug and 29 Aug 2015
9.00 p.m., 11.00 p.m. (25 mins show)

Are you someone who likes the paintings of Russian-French artist, Marc Chagall, whose works were based on emotional association? One essential feature of being human is that we experience emotions. How would a dance move, a facial expression and a body gesture be associated to our emotions?

For the Night Festival supporters who would be willing to wait till the second weekend of this year's festival, they will find themselves joining dancers, musicians and more in a surreal and vibrant parade that will start at 8 p.m. from the Armenian Street. The parade culminates at the National Museum of Singapore.

As the title of this performance suggests, with a bit of imagination, be prepared to witness an aerial carousel of angels descending from the heavens. Don't many of us hope for miracles in our lives?

May we find enough hope and miracles in our lives.

Rehearsal: Theater TOL Armenian Street.

Bugis Street. At Cheng Yan Place.

One of the Festival Specials:

Bugis Street

Cheng Yan Place
29 Aug 201
8 p.m. - 12 midnight

This may be the festival special for anyone who would like to catch a one-night only glimpse of Bugis Street in the glitzy days of its past. Those were the days when it was the international go-to place for fun, comedy, cabarets and more. Expect to see staged flamboyantly-dressed women and sailors posing for photographs and dancing to the tunes. This festival special at Bugis Street aptly reveals a common humanity's interest in having fun, lots of fun? Our definition of fun can be subjective however.

Tip: To enjoy the best of this one-night only glamourous Bugis Street event, it could help to leave the children at home or have them being well-supervised and entertained at one of the museums, especially the SAM@8Q, while the adults check this out. While this event does not have adult-only content, we would prefer not to have too many inquisitive questions from our young ones that we could not answer, won't we?

Please keep our expectations moderate for this. This festival special is actually not one of the main highlights of the Night Festival. However, I have chosen to bring special attention to it because it is an one-night only event that will attempt to offer a glimpse of the past flamboyant nights of Bugis Street.

Eat@Festival Village
SMU Green
21 Aug and 22 Aug 2015
28 Aug and 29 Aug 2015
SMU Campus Green

A trip to the Singapore Night Festival 2015 will not be complete without checking out the Festival Village to enjoy performances by the local artistes. Furthermore, there will be a number of specialty pop-up food stalls reminding us that we human beings need food to survive. Take the MRT train to Bras Basah MRT station to head for the SMU Campus Green.

Being a biased and picky eater, my personal favourite are:
Spinacas for its Meaty Nachos - for the meat-lover who thrives on protein
The quarters - The durian creme brulee is a dessert for the durian lover.
Swag - for people who love having vegetables or like an option that is vegetarian.
Nomad - The Gallant - For its satay-in-a-cup, the affogato and beverages.

The durian creme brulee (duriancanboleh)
Nomad - The Gallant

The rest of the food stalls also serve delicious food. Could you share with me your verdict please?

More information on Eat@Festival Village can be found here:

Garden of Angels. By Theater TOL.

In addition to the above-mentioned picks, you are welcomed to customize and design your own Singapore Night Festival 2015 itinerary by browsing through the Singapore Night Festival 2015's festival website:

Please be reminded that most of the night lights from the first weekend will continue to be showcased during the second weekend, so you could refer to my earlier blog-post: Singapore Night Festival 2015 - Glitz and Glamour for an option or two.

Singapore Night Festival 2015
21 Aug and 22 Aug 2015
28 Aug and 29 Aug 2015

Zone 1: National Museum of Singapore (The main festival zone)
Zone 2: Armenian Street (The edgy and experimental festival zone where music, song and dance take centre stage)
Zone 3: House of Glamour (An eclectic mix of ticketed local performances on Cathay Green)
Zone 4: Festival Village (Local bands, buskers, flea market and pop-up food kiosks)
Zone 5: SAM and Queen Street (The artistic activities gather here)

Festival Tip: Choose one or two zones from this year's Singapore Night Festival 2015 and focus on enjoying what the zone/s has to offer for the night. After which, visit the Singapore Night Festival on another night to check out another zone.

Festival Tip #2: Travel by public transport, especially by MRT train, as there will be road closure and slow traffic on the roads of the vicinity. The nearby MRT stations are: Bras Basah, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall.