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Someone took photos of Singapore's long-gone public house estates, and they're beautiful

There's going to be a book too

By Tay Shi Ting | May 19, 2017

  • Someone took photos of Singapore's long-gone public house estates, and they're beautiful
    Kallang Airport Estate, Blk 12, Lee To Hair Dressing Beauty Parlour. August 2001

A metropolitan city like Singapore has changed quite a bit since the '60s, and in the name of development, countless landmarks that are considered iconic to the young and older generations have disappeared. But, 61-year-old photographer Koh Kim Chay has been quietly documenting changes in Singapore since the mid 80's. He recalls, “[i]n Pickering and George Street, the rows of Chinese coffin shops fascinated me, and in the street market of Chinatown, I watched exotic animals being slaughtered for sale. All of these are gone. The rapid economic progress that started in the 1970s saw the demise of much of our architectural heritage”.

Hence, in hopes of preserving memories of Singapore, Koh worked with fellow photographer Eugene Ong who's in charge of restoring and editing the shots taken on analog film, and researching on the lost places. Together, they're launching the 208-page book, Singapore’s Vanished Public Housing Estates at DECK on May 20. The book is designed by creative studio Do Not Design, who are also behind the SG50 funded magazine, Dear Vol 1: Lost & Found. You will find 27 photographs of early public housing estates, along with postcards, old maps, HDB eviction notice and memorabilia of the estates. 

Check out some of the photographs, as well as the official trailer, below. 

Cantonment Road Blk 2. Taken in Aug 2001

Geylang Serai Blk 1. Taken in Jan 2004

Kallang Airport Estate, Blk 12, Lee To Hair Dressing Beauty Parlour. Taken in August 2001

Princess Estate, Forfar House  Blk 39. Taken in Sep 2000

Taman Jurong, Yung Sheng Road, Block 109 and 110. Taken in August 1996

 

Getting the book

Pre-orders on Indiegogo have already began, but you can grab the physical copies at $50 (at the launch). Most of the books during the first print have already been sold, but you can still grab limited copies at the launch. They are working hard to get Kinokuniya in for a reprint, but till then, look out for more updates here.

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