Thursday, June 17, 2004

Clifford Pier: Retro Lost in Modernity

Located at the edge of the familiar concrete jungle we know as Shenton Way is a forgotten treasure trove of curious sights. Dwarfed by its towering neighbours, most people in their daily rush to and from work hardly pay any attention to this quaint little place by the waterfront. It takes a professional bummer like me with a curious eye to notice it. Of course, I only did because G's working in the area.

Named after former colonial governor Sir Hugh Clifford, Clifford Pier was opened in 1933 and underwent major expansion in the late 1970's. Once bustling with the activity of money changers hawking their services (supposedly yelling "Change! Change!" hence the name Change Alley) and American sailors whose ships had called at the pier, today it is quiet and unexciting mainly because of competition from other ferry terminals. And since I was there on a hot, lazy sunday afternoon, it seemed especially deserted, except for tourists heading for a cruise aboard the Chinese junk and foreign workers chatting and even napping on the cool, concrete floor. Sadly, with a new pier coming up at Marina South, this pier is slated to be demolished, but for now stands to remind us of our heritage and identity.

As I walked over from Caltex House into the bridge linking Clifford Pier and Change Alley, the scenery changed from one of sparkling modernity and see-through glass walls to one of dim lights and dirty walls, typical of old shopping centers. I was immediately drawn by the curious interior design that is reminiscent of earlier times. The shop names ("Dinky Di Store, House of Russian Goods" and "Trendy Cafeteria") were even more intriguing. Thus I made a promise to return with my camera to capture these sights that we always take for granted. So there.

Do check out my photo blog but please pardon the poor quality of the pictures. It's my first photo essay anyway, so be nice. Do check out a much more professional article and a photo essay done by Straits Times a while ago.

Neither did I know about Neptune, the first revolving restaurant and the largest theatre-restaurant in Singapore that used to run topless nightclub shows. In the course of my online research, I also found a forum where various people have posted photos and postcards of Singapore in her yesteryears.

See, there are interesting places in Singapore after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, interesting essay, i tink it's pretty well done and its good to capture all these cos everyone thinks singapore is boring. yay you!