Eversince I started YOLOsg.com, I’ve created a bookmark folder in my computer, keeping a collection of people, businesses and things I would want to feature someday. As my friends and I started the journey of microfilm-making, the bookmarks came into use, and I finally met some of the people I’ve been wanting to meet.
The day began at 10.30am, where I had made an interview appointment with Mr Khor Ean Ghee, the man behind the iconic dragon playground.
We arranged to meet at Toa Payoh dragon playground, one of the last few of its kind left amidst urban redevelopment plans. Interestingly, when I looked it up online, the playground is stated as at Blk 28. But as I looked up the address on streetdirectory, I realized… There’s no Blk 28…? #RealLife9and3/4
That was the first thing I asked Mr Khor, haha. So apparently Blk 28 has been demolished. He even had a photo show me where it was, and how it was the backdrop for the playground. :’)
The interview was supposed to take just 15 minutes, but he was really passionate about sharing, and it was insightful for us too, so 15 minutes turned into over an hour.
What was insightful was having a glimpse into the past, seeing how the pioneer generation of urban developers and designers thought. They were focused on what people would like, how to make amenities accessible, convenient and usable for everyone, how to make the structure safe, relate-able, durable and yet leave some space for imagination.
Compared to the modern times where playgrounds are so often over-designed without thought for the safety of children and without any local flavour, it’s easy to see why and how the dragon playground withstood the test of time, and why people are so appreciative of it.
Took another photo of the playground before leaving. 🙂
After the first shoot, I went home to recharge some batteries, empty the SD cards and grab my monopod, before heading out to meet Dexter, a junior working in the same field, for our next and last two interviews. Terry met up with us at the venue directly.
Last shoot to wrap things up before the edit process!
We interviewed a social worker and two migrant workers who have gotten injured while working in Singapore.
From the first shoot of cat welfare to the last on people from overseas working to make Singapore a better place, it’s extremely motivating and makes you think about the people and things that we’ve taken for granted.
I start to think about how we define a successful nation. Our government is over-fixated on numbers and the economy. But what can we do as citizens? We’re only a successful nation, in my opinion, if the way we treat the less fortunate and weaker members of the community decently. And right now, that’s a big problem.
First we demolish buildings and places that mean a lot to the pioneer generation and gave them money and health benefits instead. What’s good about living if the familiar things are all gone?
Then you see how we are becoming a less tolerant society – don’t want to take care of old folks? Make apartments just for them. It sounds nice in name, ‘condo’, but it’s just a modern version of quarantine and separation from the other people. Don’t like animals in estate? Cull, kill, poison, force out by law.
Next you see how the less fortunate are doing in Singapore. How we strive hard to build sports infrastructure, community centres, malls, but while making everything look glamorous, technologically-advanced and ‘first in the world’, the basic needs and facilities that the less fortunate need are given at a bare minimum or none at all. Why haven’t they been integrated into the society? Why are their differences still swept under the rug?
At the very personal level, I look at our malls. It’s always bugged me to see how the toilet cleaners do not have a proper resting room. There’s only standing room in the one space they have, and it’s beside the toilet. The malls are so big, can’t developers consider the welfare of these cleaners too? Just one room? One space?
And yes, the complaints about foreign workers. Do white-collar and our members of parliament know that what we have came from their blood, sweat, tears and even lives? In our pursue of greater economical developments and all, can’t we spare more thought and empathy for them?
The biggest lesson in making this film for me is – stop saying our government should do this or that. What are YOU doing as a citizen? Are you thanking our contributors enough?