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“Falling through the windows”

Chanced upon this short essay submitted to The Straits Times by a Secondary 3 Changkat Changi Secondary School student in 1978 (he / she would be 58 years old now).

The author wrote this at a transition in Singapore’s post-independence history - the Republic was in the midst of constructing New Towns filled with high-rise flats, while clearing rural kampungs and agricultural communities; however, the island still had plenty of both. Hence, it was the opportune time to weigh the pros and cons of living in either habitat.

What tickled me was the innocent manner in which the student wrote about the “dangers” of living in high-rise flats: Little children “may fall through the windows”, while “people living on the higher floors tend to throw rubbish and things down through their windows”.

Also, the author was one of a small group of students who lived on one island and studied in another! He / she lived in Pulau Tekong Besar, but went to school on the mainland.

A Malay village in Pulau Tekong Besar. Credit: Pinterest.

Pulau Tekong Besar’s residents were resettled to the mainland by the late 1980s.


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