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Pillars of civilisation

When I visit an old building that has been abandoned and is about to be torn down, I take a close look at what has been left behind - the detritus of decades of daily life, reminders that people once lived their lives, grew up, and grew old within the four walls.

In Yishun town, Chong Pang Community Club (built 1988) and Block 102 Yishun Avenue 5 (built around 1984) will make way for an integrated development with community facilities, including a hawker centre. The community club has already been demolished; the 68 commercial units of four-storey Block 102 have been vacated. Any time now, Block 102 will also disappear from the urban landscape.

This is Block 102, devoid of human occupation.

I recently studied the pillars at the ground floor. The ground floor had been occupied by shops offering fruits and vegetables, pastries, household appliances, optical services, the like. The shops have moved out, but signs of decades of occupation remain on the pillars.

These are Block 102’s Pillars of Civilisation.


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