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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Singapore - Crossroads of the East 1938

A tour of the British colony of Singapore in 1938.  Footage from this film is available for licensing from

I can identify some of the scenes taken in Singapore River then as the River in the late 1950s and 1960s when I am a child was like that in my memory, especially the sights of Chinese workers (Ku Li) walking on planks with loads of goods on their shoulders brought back many fond memories of my childhood living near boat quay (Tan Thye Alley)

My father came to Singapore in the 1940s, if he is still around, this film will bring back some of his fond memories:

Singapore in 1938:
- the Gibraltar of the East!
- the cheapest shopping centre in the whole world!
- with modern buildings and large boulevards!
- thriving harbour!
- a lively city with lively people!
- religious freedom and harmony!

When I heard this in the movie, it is like what is like reading printed text in the geography text book in school in the late 1960s. Yet is was the achievement 30 years before Singapore's Independence.

We were told that Singapore was a poor city and it is very enlightening to see 1938 with all the modern facilities already in place!

I really enjoy this movie as it made me understand the way Singapore is today are the toils and hard work of our ancestors.

During that period of time, the whites are the ones who enjoy themselves while our ancestors toil. 

Now some of us are engaging foreign maid and doing the same like the white did in the past. 

The population in 1938 was only 500,000.  Our ancestors were immigrants then and now in 2010, the population is 5,000,000+ and many of our maids and workers etc are immigrants.

If history can help us reflects and projects into the future, it will tell us whatever we have at present will not be permanent!  Things will change and evolve from time to time.

The future of our Singapore is for all of us to create!

Whoever toils and hard work, like our ancestor may harvest the fruits of their labour, if not within their generation,  it will in their next generation.

What will Singapore be in 2050 and who are the Singaporean then?

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