Monday, 30 April 2012

Istana Woodneuk

We went in search of Istana Tyersall yesterday, having vaguely heard about it. Knowing it was somewhere close to the Botanic Gardens, we launched off into an enthusiastic hike into the thick jungle. As we climbed up the hill, where the grass had not be cut in years, we were literally just clawing our way through endless heaps of damp wet grass. Philipp literally had to help push me up the hill along some parts as I am admittedly quite poor at hiking or climbing...


After crawling up a hill and madly beating through all the tall grasses for what seemed like ages, we saw the building in the distant clearing.


The second storey of this once imposing house was completely gutted by a fire. Ironically, many "visitors" have left their mark on the second floor using the "charcoal" of the burnt building to write their names and the dates on which they visited. Some of the graffiti even dates back to 1998.


Front of the palace


Electrical lines splayed out almost animatedly after having been cut out from the building years ago


The doors are all gone but we found them stored in the kitchen.




As I was walking on the second floor, which had an impressive view of the area, I suddenly decided to seriously google for Tyersall FOR THE FIRST TIME and on my phone, i read a page on the Asia Paranormal Investigators website that explained that the original Tyersall building no longer exists, and that the nearby Woodneuk house is commonly mistaken for Tyersall. (I asked Philipp later and it turns out neither of us had really googled or searched for much information about Tyersall before being seized by the idea of going on this adventure, but happily so because we might not gone all foolhardy into the jungle otherwise and discovered this other building instead...)

It looks like that the National Archives received a batch of mislabeled photos (all dated 01/07/1986) that wrongly identifies Istana Woodneuk as Istana Tyersall. The Istana Tyersall no longer exists at all. screen capture 2012-4-30-8-19-43.png

This is the mislabeled photograph. Credits to NAS. screen capture 2012-4-30-8-21-46.png

This is the correct image of Istana Tyersall. Credits to NAS.

Screen shot 2012-04-30 at AM 08

This is the building plan of Istana Tyersall. Credits to NAS.

As you can see, this is the plan for the Istana Tyersall and not the Istana Woodneuk which we had found. I think we were off the map somehow as well (but in any case, the actual Tyersall is said not to exist anymore - but this is an exploration for another day!)


The burnt second floor and a blue roof tile

(For more photos, i've posted them up on my flickr)

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Obsdocu, Artsciencepocketbooth, and Ujikajirecords

One reason why I've wanted to go away on residency was because it was hard to break the cycle of overworking. Now I've taught my last class for the year, but the crazy working still continues. So here's an update of the "fun" work done this month (I'm not even going to talk about the commercial work I've also been working on...):

Screen shot 2012-04-29 at PM 11

A simple website for a crowdfunded documentary about one of my favorite Singaporean bands of all time, The Observatory. I've followed them and their various other bands for well over a decade, in the form of other bands as well, and they've dedicated so much time to their craft and music. I'm proud we have guys making music like this here in Singapore. The folks who are trying to produce the film are also friends of mine, and we're seeking funding to make this documentary. Please donate generously if you would like to support this project!


Screen shot 2012-04-29 at PM 11

A simple website for a flash interactive onsite at the ArtScience Museum, part of the children's section of the Andy Warhol exhibition. Visitors can take pictures of their belongings and it uploads straight to this site online. Visitors can also tag the pictures with their own keywords, although so far most people seem content to be tagging it with



handdrawn chinese words for ujikaji!

I'm also rebuilding an online shop for Ujikaji Records, run by my good friend Mark "Ujikaji" Wong. Ujikaji Records is a label/distro specialising in experimental music from Singapore/South East Asia, and they'll be releasing a number of new digital releases soon and also a compilation of experimental music from Singapore soon (AS SOON AS WE GET ALL THIS UP!). This week, after building the above two sites in record time, I suddenly discovered the magical Wordpress plugin known as Jigoshop and after one evening of tinkering I already had incredible results, and I've realised its certainly well within my ability to BUILD AN ENTIRE ECCOMMERCE SITE IN TWO WEEKS! OH YEAH, SO THATS WHAT I'M GONNA DO.

Don't visit until next week!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Visit to the Police Memory Booth


We received this "exciting" letter at the flat today. It was addressed to a "Loo Pin Seng" and was postdated 11 April 2012. Unfortunately, no one called Loo Pin Seng has ever lived at this address in at the very least the last 7 years, so this is a bona fide mystery!

What is the significance of the yellow paper though? I am not sure, for Taoist practices are completely alien to me. The Wikipedia page on Taoism in Singapore says that a "paper coloured yellow with a gold foil printed on it represents a gold tael", so I think this might be joss paper. What is the significance of sending joss paper then?

We've passed this on to the friendly policeman at Rochor Police Station, who took our statement and wrote us and our account into a lovely little story which he printed out, got my housemate to sign, and then filed away for posterity. Although it was replete with typos and grammatical errors, I love the idea of this police man sitting here and writing down all these silly little stories all day long. Years ago I'd imagine the head of a town would do pretty much the same, minus the uniform.

Although it is a kind of memory booth, the crucial difference is that this is not a place to make up stories. I wonder whether the policemen have to go through a writing course, because they would be writing down all these statements, and how did they know how to write a compelling statement or story? Wouldn't it be a bit like having to read the account of someone else's dream, something that you won't ever live but have to imagine being real because it was going to be set down in writing?

Behind us there was also a sign board that warned us that it was bad to tell false stories to policemen in order to get back at people who had offended you. It had a photo of two men sitting in the very same position that we were sitting in Rochor Police Station, across the counter from a policeman, and submitting their statements to a policeman. I looked up to the left and also saw the surveillance camera in the corner. The sign had a very longwinded story in it about a man who had told the policeman that someone had stolen his phone because the other man had offended him. It said that the lying man was jailed for 6 months for making a false statement. In the police memory booth, it is clear that there are some stories that will not be told, that the police refuse to tell and record - ie: those imaginary stories, the made up stories. How can we ever tell which is the true story? If we hadn't made this legal statement, and because the police make their business about recording true stories, would this incident be any less real or true if not backed up by the physical statement written on the paper?

Anyway, if anyone wants to have a hot sexy chat with a mysterious english-speaking illegal loanshark, the hotline number to call is 83485909.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Empty Chairs on Sungei Road

The day before, I took a walk from my house to the Immigrations building to collect my passport. It was long and lovely and although I did not intend to, I ended up having to do this trip twice because I forgot to bring my old passport on the first trip.


However, as a result of this oversight, on my walks I observed a female construction worker/surveyor doing some measurements and annotating on the ground with a correction pen and had a leisurely walk home again from Lavender to Little India. There are many new markers on the ground that have only just appeared in the last day, and surveyors can actually be seen everywhere. The trail is hot!


All the annotations refer to C935, sometimes also represented with a LJH which stands for Leighton-John Holland, a joint venture between two Australian rail building companies. You can see plastic road dividers being sloppily sprayed with the initials LJH all around the Sungei Road area, and many large objects around the area such as the electronic traffic diversion signs are also labeled with C935.

Later that night after Korean classes, I walked home from Bugis to Jalan Besar/Little India. The Victoria Street Wholesale Market was already being demolished, and with the shops taken out of the buildings, you could see the huge bricks which had been used to construct it in the first place. It is funny because my memories of it are less as a market but rather as a night time playground, walking around its empty but fishy corridors and imagining all the dried produce stored within.


The compressed and cramped roads of Sungei Road are still active even at night. As always, the chairs have been stashed on the posts of the very fences that were used to keep the people out from the empty grass and on the pavements. It is a funny thing when there is a market place but the place is fenced off to the people such that people are only allowed on the roads - and yet one can see how the people have also fought back so much to keep this space in spite of everything.


And there used to be fewer chairs before they dug up half of the road - I remember this clearly as we used to "borrow" a few of these chairs and sit on them at night so being able to find the chairs was crucial - but for some reason the number of empty chairs seem to have suddenly multiplied recently. As I walked past late at night, a group of old men were still sitting and talking in the middle of Sungei Road. Were they trading old stories or talking of new ones, or keeping an eye on the street? Its hard to tell, but this is visibly a major transitional phase for Sungei Road. I just hope that it remains full of life even after they construct the new station in the middle of the Thieves Market...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Made-up Road Names and Temporary Islands

"There was once an "island" in the middle of Kalang Basin called "Pulau Geylang". In his speech at the opening of the Kallang Airport on 12 June 1937, Director of Public Works, Major R.L. Nunn, revealed that the "island" was found to be composed almost entirely of sawdust, possibly waste material from the many sawmills dotting the length of the river, and was consequently removed and the area reclaimed to construct the Kallang Airport."

- Michelle Tay, Assistant Archivist / From Emporium to Singapore City: Mapping the Journey


Yesterday I also found another colonial town plan map (dated 1878) that has a picture of Kampong Saigon on it. (Pulau Saigon!) I also find it tediously difficult to find old maps of Singapore. You would imagine someone would have made a definitive map book of Singapore by now. It must be intellectual property issues here, but I wish someone would print a map book with every single old map of Singapore in it. Or if only I could do it myself.

And going off on a slight tangent, last night I also read an article about a group of women in Rome wanting to push for more roads to be named after women (Toponomastica femminile) because most roads are named after men and other things and there is an incredibly low representation of women names on Rome's roads. I have the feeling this is a situation that would be even more pronounced in Singapore. Now most of my own work with maps and research about maps can be said to have developed without much thought of issues of gender, so I realise it might be interesting to consider what the roads are trying to spell out. Discussing it with friends, we also realised that not only were the number of actual prominent "women pioneers" rather small and the roads named after them even fewer, on some occasions those roads named after females were actually wives or daughters of colonialists in Singapore rather than having a road named after them by their own right. So if one were to develop such a list in Singapore today, it would need to also separate these into different categories. It's not the same if you've named the road after a woman but she was in fact closer to being a trophy wife or an ornament, rather than the actual participant in the life of the city.

I would like to tabulate a list of all the roads in Singapore, and to check off on a list to see what they are named after.

My guess would be that the following main categories will emerge:

- Fruits
- Important Men
- Actual Women
- Wives/Children of Important Men
- Social activities/Events
- The Names of Other Places
- Generic Number names (Ave 1, Ave 2, Ave 3...)
- Made-up names (edgefield, compassvale, etc)

I am certain there are more roads named after fruits than women.

Looking for the Yangtze Scribbler



Pin Pin's Yangtze Scribbler was featured in the Straits Times today, along with Wee Li Lin's Singapore Country. They printed a decent sized photograph of the Scribbler's mark in the Life Section. Never would I have dreamed that it would one day see the light of day like this. I wonder if someone will see it and find a way back to me and then tell me what it all means?

IF SO, MR YANGTZE SCRIBBLER, WILL YOU FIND ME AND LET ME KNOW? Our paths must certainly have crossed in the past. My name is Debbie, half my hair is black and half my hair is yellow and this is the easiest way to recognise me. I am friendly and can be usually found roaming the streets around Sungei Road. I would write my phone number here but I suspect you don't use the internet. But how will I find you on the streets?


[Thanks to Pin Pin for making the short and for sending this image over]

Monday, 9 April 2012

Do Digital Worlds Fill up with Digital Kipple?



When I am bored, I sometimes take a walk around the 'Destination Highlights' on Second Life. I suppose it was one of those things I continued playing even as everyone else I knew in real life left the game, probably because I still enjoyed it as a space for scripting and playing in sandboxes. As usual, one can always find a number of things to see, and installations and artworks in Second Life, such as the spots above at LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts), but last week I clicked on a random advert ( for a destination in Hathian that was highlighted that week in SL. I was teleported to the "Hathian Crack Den" which also had this one particular shopfront...


An advertisement for Trash and Rubbish.


And... Dirty Laundry.

Yes, it was a virtual storefront for a virtual box of trash and rubbish. And dirty laundry. Nothing new you might say, since there are many "grungy" places in Second Life. So people who are building such places must be buying up this virtual trash. Made for the people who are too lazy to sculpt up some prims to make their own dirty laundry, or perhaps, should I say, those who might not actually have loads of trash lying about and dirty laundry in real life? Because I recently watched Louis Theroux's preposterous docu entitled THE CITY ADDICTED TO METH (a completely different world from Singapore, I might add), and let's just say I don't think many of those people addicted to crystal meth are on the internet playing Second Life. And even if they were, I don't think they would create a Second Life in order to play the role of a virtual crack addict all over again. And to sell Virtual Trash (of which its contents are indistinct except for the understanding that this looks like a pile of trash on the ground?)? Who is building this? And who is buying this? OH GOD AM I BECOMING COMPLICIT IN ITS CREATION BY BEING HERE...?



Alright, but objectively now, in any case, it seems so wrong that it completely crosses the boundary of wrong and comes back around on the other end. And joins the list of WRONG THINGS THAT ARE UNEXPECTEDLY AWESOME BECAUSE THEY ARE COMPLETELY WRONG AND SHOULDN'T EXIST.

Physical items are able to become waste material or trash, but virtual items cannot turn into physical waste material. As Flusser writes, "Information is synonymous with value. However, if apparatus can create information in the place of humankind, what about human commitment? What about values?"

I suppose for me, the virtual trash is the ultimate black hole of meaning. Objects mostly get their meaning from what they are used for, or from their shape. To transfer the image of trash to a virtual/digital state that doesn't exist in the physical realm, and to also erase the meaning and create it without an original physical shape in mind (being just a pile of trash), and YET to create a product that sells itself on the very feature that separates real things from virtual things (the potential ability of real and useful things to eventually become physical useless waste), is a kind of entropy itself. And the potential transaction of purchasing this virtual trash, would be the ultimate simulacra. Like partially gibberish spam advert emails, this is the virtual, 3d embodiment of pointless commercialism and empty meaningless packaging present in almost every facet of modern life today.

Why do people turn to digital formats anyway? Was it not to avoid this very entropy in the first place? To avoid the disintegration and decay of paper, of flesh, of physical things, and to create eternal digital memories for information that would potentially outlive the physical records?

From Philip K Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep":
"Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you to go bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up there is twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."
"The entire universe is moving toward a state of total, absolute kippleization..."

March 2012: Open Urbanism, Yangtze Scribbler, DTL Numbering System

This blog which was previously named "Techno Power Hobby Time" is now being renamed "Open Urbanism", because I suppose that reflects my interest in open source as well as urban environments more accurately. (And why had it been given that name in the past? Because of some old "TECHNO POWER" button I had worn on my hoodie since the 2006 Singapore Biennale. And I don't know where it is right now....)

I guess I view technology as the (incidental) "medium", rather than it being the "work" itself. Whereas others might use technology to their advantage to seamlessly show something or some idea such that the technology becomes invisible, I realise that I do quite the opposite instead - I often try to break down the technical process into tiny little manageable bits that in the end reveal all of the magical and oft hidden process in technology. I suppose its my silly way of figuring out things.

So actually, my obsession with diy/programming has developed largely from my inability to find a collaborator who can handle the more technical portions of my work for me while I do what I think I still do best - the conceptualisation, the writing, and the mapping. Having very little math or science foundation to fall back on, these desultory meanderings into programming or electronics subsequently occupy a lot of headspace as I take time to figure things out, but still they are not to be mistaken for the crux of what I am truly interested in...

Yangtze Scribbler


Tan Pin Pin made a short film on my collection of graffiti signs in the Yangtze Stairwell (and its accidental discovery elsewhere in Bugis as well), and its now online at the Singapore Memory project showcase. (Thanks so much for bringing it to a wider audience, Pin Pin!) We saw it screened at the Singapore Memory Project roadshow in Toa Payoh (one of the oldest and most mature Housing Board estates in Singapore), where it was also screened alongside Wee Li Lin's Singapore Cowboy. The titular character himself, Matthew from Matthew and the Mandarins came down to perform his golden hit. "Singapore Cowboy, where do i belong......."

I was seated next to a 79 year old nurse who suddenly started talking to me half way through the preamble of a moderately long speech made by the MP for Toa Payoh/Minister of Defence. "I don't like Matthew Tan," she frowned, "No, I never really liked Matthew Tan." "But... you've come to see his performance...?" I asked. She then said, "Well, I don't like Matthew Tan, but my husband did. He listened to it so much, he even bought the CD. He would have been 85 now... He died 9 years ago...."

Later, she said she had been living in Toa Payoh for 39 years, when it was mostly still a swamp, and she had to take a pirate taxi to work at the hospital each day (she also went up on stage where they gave out movie tickets to the various denizens of Toa Payoh who would recount their tales). She asked me to come down to her church's Easter festival. She pointed at my hair, "You don't have to tell me your name, I can remember how you look like!"

"Crack Monitors" and the DTL3 numbering system


A common sight here is this C9XX number that is commonly seen on pavements, old shophouses, walls, and small electrical boxes that have been popping up everywhere. A friend mentioned seeing these "crack monitors" in my area near the Downtown Line construction, something quite similar to this photo i took back in November. The prefix in the stick always has something saying "C9XX".




Some years back I had already realised that these numbers which appear everywhere, especially on the old buildings, are actually for measuring the cracks growing in the old buildings around the Downtown Line construction sites. When I was working in my old job around South Bridge Road back in 2009, we would walk from our office to the main office at Robinson Road in order to pick up a brief, and we'd pass through the Telok Ayer area with the numerous old shophouses next to the green-fenced construction site. The fivefooways were festooned with these mystical numbers and stickers with barcodes and plastic markers over the cracks. One day after having casually observed them for a number of weeks and gaily reading them out to my colleague while walking past them, I suddenly had the epiphany that the numbers switched from C908 to C909 when I crossed "Cross Street". Dashing from shophouse to shophouse on both sides of the street, I realised that the numbers plotted out an area that was delineated by Cross Street, and that the numbers weren't just random C numbers, but that they actually reflected the zone or station that they were "zoned" under. It turned out that C908 was the project number for the soon-to-be-constructed Cross Street Station, and C909 was the project number for Chinatown Station.




Since then I have collected countless sets of C9-- numbers. I suppose this one is the most straightforward system I have figured out so far.


Here is a spreadsheet I've made so far on the number system used for the DTL3 Contracts. These are the newest ones to be built, fully underground, with target completion in 2017. When I have more time I will compile a list for DTL2/DTL1 stations as well. All data was found by scouring LTA press releases and other publicly available press announcements on whom they awarded contracts to. In the end I also happened to collate data on the amount being spent on the various stations, so I have included it in as well:

No. DTL Number Name Detail To be constructed by Contract Value
1 DTL3 C922 Expo Interchange (Circle Line) Samsung C&T Corporation US$171.5M
2 DTL3 C923 Upper Changi
Samsung C&T Corporation S$256.98 million
3 DTL3 C923A Tunnel Tunnels Between Tampines East and Upper Changi Stations Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd S$91.13 million
4 DTL3 C925 Tampines East
GS Engineering & Construction Corp. US$174M
5 DTL3 C925A Tampines Interchange (East West Line) KTC Civil Engineering & Construction Pte Ltd US$98.7M
6 DTL3 C926 Tampines West
Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti – C.M.C di Ravenna US$185M
7 DTL3 C927 Bedok Reservoir
Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti – C.M.C di Ravenna US$160.3M
8 DTL3 C928 Bedok Town Park
Sato Kogyo (S) Pte Ltd S$268.68M
9 DTL3 C929 Kaki Bukit
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited US$76M
10 DTL3 C929A Tunnel Tunnels Between Ubi and Kaki Bukit Stations Nishimatsu Construction Co. Ltd S$211.7M
11 DTL3 C930 Ubi
SK Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd S$161.71M
12 DTL3 C931 MacPherson Interchange (Circle Line) Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd S$188 million
13 DTL3 C932 Mattar
Sato Kogyo (S) Pte Ltd S$199.85M
14 DTL3 C932A Kallang Bahru
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited US$99M
15 DTL3 C933 Bendemeer
Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd S$215.24 million
16 DTL3 C935 Sungei Road (Jalan Besar)
Leighton Offshore Pte Ltd/John Holland Pty Ltd (Singapore Branch) JV US$139.1M
17 DTL3 C936 Bencoolen
Sato Kogyo (S) Pte Ltd S$177.58 million
18 DTL3 C937 River Valley
GS Engineering & Construction Corp. US$212.5M

Does anyone have any clue why there is no C934 contract? And why is Kallang Bahru station given a number C932A, when all the other A numbers refer to tunnels instead?

(And for those concerned with the situation with Sungei Road Station (C935), I read on tunnelingjournal the following statement: "Under the contract, the joint venture will construct the new Sungei Road Station, a four-level station box with a platform, mezzanine, concourse and linkway, along with comprehensive civil, structural, architectural, plumbing, drainage, landscaping and reinstatement works... Twin tunnels approximately 770m in length between Sungei Road Station and Bencoolen Station will be constructed...")

DIY Renovations

Recently I have been crazy about diy work again. I installed two layers of curtains and reupholstered a chair on my own. One day I would like to build my own house from scratch. I would really love to understand every single part of urban construction from the ground up, because I am strange like that. Here are some notes (mostly for my own record) on my recent DIY efforts:

1. Drilling into brick/masonry

It really makes a difference if you buy a brand new masonry drill bit. If you are having problems drilling into a brick wall and it simply won't give, don't despair and don't panic, just go out and buy a new masonry drill bit and see if this helps. This should be the shiny metal one. After some despairing and calling up people to ask if I should be taking half an hour to drill one hole, I found out that a new drill bit will work significantly better than using any old one (obviously). Also, the black ones are for wood and should not be confused for use with bricks/concrete/masonry, and remember to turn on HAMMERMODE on your drill.

2. Building an IKEA Expedit bookcase on your own within in one hour

Yes! I built this within one hour on my own, the one-man team of DBBD. If you google, you might read horror stories online about groups of people taking hours to construct this and having an awful time. The key to building this as fast as you can is actually to hammer all the wooden pegs in until the sound of your hammering changes - this will be when the wooden pegs have been hammered in as deep as they will go. If they aren't hammered in properly on each step of the way, it will be hard to continue adding on new boards. The rest of the construction is otherwise straightforward, but it will probably require at least three small people to lift this up when you're done, as its pretty damn heavy.

3. Reupholstering a chair

It was easier than I expected. I bought cloth, foam sheets, and staple-gunned everything together within about 2-3 hours, including disassembly and reassembly of chair. On hindsight I would say: Pick a sturdier material like canvas (and not cotton as I have done, silly me). And everything really needs to be pulled tight or else you get a lumpy chair. Lumpy cotton cloud chair...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A walk along Stamford Canal


Full Name: Stamford Canal
Description Name: Canalized Stream
Description Text: a stream that has been substantially ditched, diked, or straightened


We took a walk past Stamford Canal the other day. It was completely covered of course, but peering down the large storm drain cover, I could see it was at least a 3 metre drop down.


This is a topographic image from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, in a Oral Reply by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources to Parliamentary Question on flash floods in Orchard Road (in December 2011). He describes Stamford canal as such: "Stamford Canal drains a catchment area of 631 hectares… It starts upstream at the Botanic Gardens and Dempsey Hill. It extends downstream to Bras Basah and City Hall areas and ultimately drains into the Marina Reservoir."

In trying to defend the flash floods on Orchard Road, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan uttered this:
"Members (of the parliament) will notice that, in fact, the Stamford Canal is already very deep. If we go any deeper, we will create a Stamford basin, which is not the objective…"

But when something is completely underground in large parts, what do we care about its shape? It could be a Stamford basin for all we know. Canal, River, Basin, Pond, these can just be abstract terms for abstract shapes of water bodies.


Recently, I have also noticed that they are raising the roads outside my area (Little India/Farrer Park/Jalan Besar). This has dragged over many months and caused endless congestion on Jalan Besar and most of Little India (which is always heavily used by cars, pedestrians, and armies of trishaw drivers from Albert Square.


The construction work is slow, prolonged, and seems almost half-hearted in my opinion, with only single bricks laid each week. It has also forced human traffic in this area off the pavements and on to the vehicular roads because nobody wants to climb up a half-metre step to be on a pointless pavement for a few metres. And Little India has always been a place where unruly human traffic often takes over the road without a care for oncoming traffic.

Reading the responses by MEWR, it appears that they place greater importance in making sure that the vehicular roads remain passable at all times. The result is a somewhat disagreeable situation in which all the shophouses appear to be "sinking" into the ground, and where pavements are completely incondusive to walking. The old shophouses, which are the very core of this area, are more prone to becoming the "flooded basement" in Liat Towers and Lucky Plaza that were unfortunate enough to be "lower" than what they wanted to protect (the vehicular roads) by raising. Surely in all this, I find that there is a lack of understanding of what is truly important in the country, and what needs to be protected or preserved.

Also, I spotted this rampant case of stupidity at the end of Jalan Besar Road:


Just in case you couldn't recognize what the traffic crossing looks like now, they decided to make a poster to tell you what it looked like.

It doesn't actually look like that at the end of the road, although I suppose they just meant to tell you that it looks like an utter mess and perhaps they wanted to reassure (or taunt) people that as unlikely as it seemed, there would still be a traffic crossing at the end of the construction chaos. Because, you know, they are trying very hard to make them very hard to find around this area.