image by otto0731
It was with great affection that I read today that Singapore's oldest Bus Stop will be preserved. Originally reserved for demolition as part of upgrading works, it has been saved after the Straits Times ran an online poll earlier this month asking people to vote for their favourite landmark earmarked for demolition. The bus stop was the most popular pick, drawing 27 per cent of the 1,103 votes cast in the week-long poll.
I find it slightly bizarre that a bus stop should come up first in such a poll. Situated on Old Chua Chu Kang Road, I haven't been out to see it, but from the picture in the Straits Times (which I cannot reproduce) it looks like a very ordinary bus stop dating back to the 1970s.
This is perhaps the point though. People need these small ordinary parts of their history to stay connected to the city which is changing so rapidly. If everything is new, gleaming, plastic and soulless, what is there to associate with?
The second choice was Queenstown Library (15% of the vote), whose lease expires in 2010. It's fate is uncertain, as the Housing Board Apartments surrounding it are being upgraded. The modest two-storey building in Margaret Drive was Singapore's first full-time branch library when it opened in 1969.
It seems to me that there is too much new and not enough old here in Singapore. Even if the only "heritage" left in local neighbourhoods is a 1970s bus stop, or a modest library, this poll shows that these landmarks have a place in people's hearts and therefore a valid place in Singapore.